It’s almost over, one of the most tedious presidential elections in recent history. After a few debates, Americans will go to the voting booths where they will reelect President Obama or replace him with Mitt Romney.
Because so much is riding on the debates, both campaigns are trying to manage the expectations of the electorate. “Obama has not debated in four years, so he’s rusty,” and “Romney is no match for Obama in a head to head debate.” All this positioning is meant to protect the candidates if either has a bad night.
Obama is in an enviable position. If he hangs in there, does not make any drastic misstatements and turns a deaf ear to the inevitable assault by Romney, he will not lose ground.
Most talking-heads are saying that Romney is a dead duck if he does not kick butt during the impending confrontation. I tend to agree with this perspective and would like to give Romney some advise about tactics during the first debate on Wednesday.
If I were a Romney confidante, I would tell him to be relentless, just shy of ruthless, as he addresses the over-exaggerated achievements of Obama. The last four years have not been kind to the president, no matter what he says. Personally, I am skeptical of nearly every one of his “achievements.” In almost every case, I think one can make an effective argument that the things he says are shining moments are disappointments, if not outright failures. Romney has to do this on Wednesday to convince those on the fence that Obama’s record is not what he says it is.
The sensibility, timing, costs and benefits of Obamacare should be front and center for the challenger. The implementation of health care reform at a time when the president and Congress should have been focusing on job creation is a wonderful target. Also, a $1,000,000,000,000 entitlement for about 30 million Americans with no corresponding relief for the other 300 million is terrible public policy. Sure, Obama promised us decreased medical and insurance costs, but like many of his campaign promises, they have not materialized. In fact, Americans are spending much more on health related costs than before Obamacare was enacted.
Unemployment is also a fertile area for Romney. For one thing, no president has ever been reelected with unemployment over 8%. Eight percent is unacceptable, but it is even worse when you take into consideration the underemployed and those who have given up looking for jobs. Frankly, Obama has not discovered an elixir for growing poverty, food stamp need and the horrible job situation. Ironically, those who are most impacted by these things are the president’s greatest supporters. Needy and minority voters should query what this president has done for them personally over the past four years before they pull his lever.
Foreign policy is often touted as an Obama strong point. And yet, we are still fighting in Iraq (even though the war is supposed to be over), trying to figure out a way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, responding meekly to the murder of our diplomats, losing the trust of the Israelis and standing by idly as America’s reputation as a leader of the world diminishes every day.
Afghanistan offers a great deal of opportunity for Romney too. The death count of American soldiers has just passed 2,000, and it is still growing. According to our generals and President Karsi, Al Qaeda is gaining strength even as Obama says they are no longer a factor, and the Taliban are taking control of more parts of the country every day. We continue to fight, and yet, we tell our enemies when we will disengage; the latter is a very strange way to prosecute a war.
Bin Laden is dead. After years of untiring effort by the intelligence community and a heroic mission by Navy SEALs that resulted in the death of the man who master-minded the killing of thousands of Americans, Obama takes credit. Obama authorized the mission and then sat in a cozy war room in the White House and watched the soldiers risk their lives; why didn’t he shower those really responsible for this event with kudos? His advisors should have told him to do so, and he would have been rewarded politically.
Our nation is paralyzed because Obama assured us he would end partisanship in Washington, and he has not kept his promise, as usual. The president does not know how to lead, compromise or work with others. He is an autocrat in president’s clothing.
It is unfortunate that American voters have not pierced the Obama façade; it must have something to do with his “good guy image.” He does deserve credit for being able to avoid conversation about his performance. Rather, the president has orchestrated a vicious attack on the most successful Americans, and Romney is at the top of his list. Working with Occupy Wall Street, Obama has attempted to assassinate the character of 1% of America because they earn too much and they fly first class. As I wrote in other essays, this warfare is just another form of discrimination.
America should not reelect Obama because it is fashionable. He should be reelected only if you think he has done a good job. Disregard his smile and his flowery oratory, they mean nothing. Romney should take every opportunity to make Obama justify his horrible record.
We are not better than we were four years ago. We are still at war. We are still very unemployed. We are still very partisan. And, we still have no plan to end the recession other than to tax a small group of Americans.
Wake up America. Wake up Mitt. Another four years of Obama will be four years of stagnation and total focus on the legacy of man who has not earned it.