When I was campaigning in Iowa, knocking on doors, a woman noticed that my hands were turning blue, and she insisted that she give me a pair of gloves that belonged to her son, who was now in college. Such a random act of kindness reminds me of the wonderful qualities of the American people.
If only Washington was more like us.
My hope is that this election will bring the nation — and its representatives — to the center. Americans are sick of the partisanship that has raged since 1994. The 2008 election was a repudiation of George W. Bush’s policies, and 2010 was a sign that the President needed to refocus on jobs. The super-left and super-right have had their heydays. It’s time to go back to the center, where I believe most Americans are.
This election is truly unpredictable. With the Democratic victory in 2008 and the shellacking in 2010, there is no clear expected winner here. Republicans have more support now than they did in 2008, and Democrats have more support now than we did in 2010.
Although it has not been easy, I believe that the country under President Obama has been going the right way. There is still work to be done, and I know that the GOP has been accusing us of using that phrase as a crutch, but taking us back from the worst financial crisis since 1929 will take more than one term for any president. But we are on the right track.
When President Obama inherited this mess, our GDP had just shrunk by 9 percent. The president wasted no time in bringing in the required stimulus to halt the recession, and he cut taxes for 95 percent of American people. And that’s not my words — that’s from President Bill Clinton, a moderate president whose policies I think we can all agree brought us the largest peacetime expansion in history. We are not content to stay at our current growth rates, despite Romney’s insistence that we are. We are working for nothing less than a roaring economy like we had under the Reagan and Clinton administrations.
I am proud of the president’s actions in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I am saddened by the actions of those Republicans who opposed allowing gay soldiers to serve openly and ensuring equal pay for women. What saddens me more is that too many moderate Republicans who supported these measures stayed silent for fear of being shunned by their peers.
The president has also responsibly brought our troops home from Iraq and shifted focus to al-Qaeda: the people who actually attacked us on 9/11. In May of last year, the president brought closure and solace to the country when he announced the death of Osama bin Laden, the monster responsible for murdering 3,000 people. And on the 11th anniversary, for one day, Republicans and Democrats stood united in opposition against a common foe. Yet several days later they were back to their old selves.
But overall, what do I want from this election? I want the government and members of both parties to get their act together. I am sick of the inability of members of Congress to work together. We do not pay them our tax dollars so that they can sit in comfy seats and yell at each other. They are not children, though they act like it often.
What happens all too often is that politicians, in their attempt to beat an opponent, grow to truly hate them. We have a Republican electorate whose goal in 2010 was not to help the country, but to stop the President’s progress. No wonder nothing’s getting done!
As for Mitt, I genuinely think he is a moderate Republican, and I respect him. We need more conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans in charge. However, his speech at the RNC and pick of Paul Ryan show that he is willing to let himself be dictated by the Tea Party and far-right Republicans. They don’t represent him, but he lets them. The president has stood against hardliners in his own party. He compromised with Republicans on Obamacare when the House and Senate were controlled by his party and put together a bipartisan debt-reduction committee (of which Paul Ryan was a member). He has shown himself to be capable of bipartisanship.
We need to bring the American character back to Washington, and my hope is that this election will get us started on that path.
Adam Roth is a Weinberg sophomore and co-president of Northwestern College Democrats. This column represents only the views of Mr. Roth and not necessarily those of NCD. He can be reached at [email protected] If you would like to respond publicly to this column, email a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]