Exactly four years ago, on October 30, 2008, The Joust The Facts endorsement for President of the United States reviewed the lack of accomplishment, inexperience, nebulous feel-good gestalt and nefarious associations of then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. It's worth revisiting not only to see what the problems with his candidacy were four years ago, but mainly to see just how obvious those deficiencies were to even a political neophyte like myself. I don't think the Wall Street Journal or NY Times will be calling me looking for their next political columnist. Particularly not the Times. But here's a snippet - see if anything rings true to you, given what we now know.
Sen. Barack Obama has run a very strong campaign, knocking off first the presumptive nominee when the campaign started, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and now standing on the doorstep of a general election win over war hero and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. Mr. Obama delivers an elegant speech, professing a politics of "hope" and "change." While both are nebulous concepts at best they do resonate. "Hope" and "change" make him look and sound forward-looking and optimistic. But campaigns do not make the candidate. Rather, the candidate is what he is, and all of the pomp and window dressing and platitudes and Greek columns in the world can't change that.
If that is indeed the case, then what is Sen. Obama? He's only been in the public eye since 2004, when he stepped onto the stage at the Democratic Convention wowing the audience with his speech on his way to the Senate. The media hasn't helped us to know more, failing to scrutinize adequately his many questionable past associations and pronouncements, glossing over some, excusing some, ignoring some...
We know that Mr. Obama has had quite a few associations with Marxists. Yes, I used the word. He has espoused redistributionist economics, in his tax plan where income tax credits can go to those who pay no income taxes, in his discussion of the civil rights movement in 2001 in the now famous tape, and in his off the cuff explanation to Joe The Plumber. It is hard to argue that his economic philosophy is not more socialist than free-market, and even harder to argue that that philosophy will lead to rising incomes, rising GDP, and more jobs. Having seen stagflation before, I don't want to see it again. His energy policy is blind to the need for additional drilling and nuclear power, the latter of which is quite 'green', certainly green enough for France.
Let me emphasize that important line:
It is hard to argue that his economic philosophy is not more socialist than free-market, and even harder to argue that that philosophy will lead to rising incomes, rising GDP, and more jobs.
Check, check and checkmate. America has seen in Obama's economic stewardship falling incomes, anemic and stagnant GDP growth, and job creation insufficient to bring back the lost jobs from the recession. Some of Mr. Obama's job claims were dependent on a new metric, jobs "created or saved." Here's a convenient video of the deception involved in Mr. Obama's claims of robust job creation, courtesy of Political Math.
And with that record we now have $6 Trillion more in national debt, in just 4 years time. So economically his record has been less than stellar, much as I had anticipated four years ago.
How about in terms of foreign policy? Well, there's alienating our ally, Poland, in several instances; dissing another staunch ally, Israel, again several times; looking towards increased flexibility after November 6; bowing to a Saudi royal, among others. And, oh yeah, Benghazi. Benghazi? Benghazi. If you read the New York Times this may be news to you, but back on September 11 four Americans including two heroic ex-Navy Seals and the Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, were murdered by terrorists in the American consulate there. Help was called for. Help could have arrived. Help didn't. We won't get into Iraq and Afghanistan here.
Recall, also, that Mr. Obama's signature achievements in his four years are the 'stimulus,' ObamaCare, killing Osama Bin Laden and saving GM. Let's go in reverse order. "Saving" General Motors meant transferring wealth from bondholders and taxpayers to the company's autoworkers, and the company is still on shaky footing - look at the sales of the Volt, for example. And yes, Bin Laden is dead. The intelligence community found him, Seal Team 6 got the job done, and Mr. Obama gave the operation the thumbs up. Terrorist fighter? Benghazi!
ObamaCare is one of the worst monstrosities foisted upon American citizens imaginable. Nancy Pelosi famously said that we had to pass the bill to know what was in it. Well, now we know, and we don't like it. Bottlenecks, waiting lists, doctor shortages, losing your doctor, paying more for insurance, paying for insurance coverages you don't need or want, loss of freedom, IPAB. The administration knows what medicine you need, and they want you to swallow it and like it. Oh, and there's $716B less for Medicare, by the way.
The 'stimulus' didn't stimulate, and it's not because it was too small. What, we needed $12 trillion in new debt, not just $6 trillion? Private businesses hiring private individuals to grow their businesses is the engine that moves the economic wheels, and with the specters of ObamaCare, fiscal cliffs, exploding debt and blossoming over-regulation, that just isn't happening.
So we can see that Mr. Obama lived up to expectations here at Joust The Facts. He failed. But what about Mitt Romney? Well, he has much more of a record than Mr. Obama did four years ago, having successfully governed Massachusetts, a deeply blue state, as a Republican governor. His RomneyCare is bad, but it pales in comparison to the much more coercive ObamaCare, and it may have been the best he could have done with a legislature that, being 85% Democrat, could pass what it wanted and override his veto. He stepped in and righted the troubled Salt Lake City Olympics from 2000-02. He has been a successful executive.
The economy needs to have politicians stop playing politics with it, and Mr. Romney knows this. Mr. Obama came in and turned his back on Republicans from the start; huge congressional majorities his first two years didn't improve that attitude. Mr. Romney won't be so dismissive. Entitlements need reform. Mr. Obama didn't tackle this necessary task during his first two years with his huge majorities, and he didn't do so with a Republican House. Mr. Romney will.
Mitt Romney knows that businesses need certainty, the ability to see their future and plan for it. Mr. Obama sees business as a large piggy bank that should be required to hire workers and pay higher taxes, or as a way to push an ideological agenda in ways that help his bigger donors. Mr. Romney is a capitalist, and conveniently the American economic soul is also capitalist. The debates did Mr. Romney the primary service of exposing his reasonableness to a wider audience. His jump in the polls after the first debate is attributable to the fact that he didn't and doesn't look and sound like the soulless caricature of him touted by the Obama campaign. He looked ... what's the word ... presidential.
And indeed he is. Joust The Facts issues a hearty and hopeful endorsesment of Mitt Romney for president.