Saturday, May 26, 2012


        Mitt Romney claims that he is better qualified than Barack Obama to fix the American economy because of his experience in the business sector. President Obama is challenging that claim ---effectively, in my view.
       While acknowledging that private equity firms have their legitimate place in our free enterprise system, President Obama points out that their main purpose is not to create jobs but to make money for their investors. He concedes that Mr. Romney did a good job at that at Bain Capital. The President argues, however, that such a role does not qualify someone to be President, whose main concern must be the welfare of all the people, not just investors, and certainly not just the wealthy.
        Since the Republicans want to make the economy the focus of their campaign, President Obama has every right to engage them on that issue. The economic statistics tell a different story from the one presented by Mr. Romney and his surrogates. Government spending under Mr. Obama's administration, for example, is actually the lowest it has been in decades. More than four million private sector jobs have been created. Corporate profits as a share of the nation's GDP are the highest they have been since 1950! Millions more Americans have health care insurance. The auto industry is back on its feet. But these and other positive accomplishments are conveniently ignored or discredited by the Republicans.
        Everyone knows, and the President is the first to admit, that there is still much more to be done. The unemployment rate is much too high. Our infrastructure is in desperate need of a major overhaul. There's a long way to go to a full recovery, but we're moving in the right direction. Partisan voters have short memories, but they must not be allowed to forget the state of the economy when Barack Obama entered the White House. The question posed by the President, echoing what many Americans have asked, is "Why should we go back to the same Bush policies that got us into this mess in the first place?"
        Mr. Romney apparently is either unaware that his policies would do that, or he doesn't care. Either alternative is unacceptable to those who remember what the Bush years were like, and how his trickle down tax policies led to the huge national debt, the budget deficit, the Wall Street financial crisis, and the high unemployment rate inherited by the Obama administration.
        It is a mystery how so many Americans can be bamboozled by Mr. Romney's platitudinous rhetoric. They obviously don't want to be confused by the facts. Their hatred of Barack Obama blinds them to reality.They refuse to give the President credit for any of his many accomplishments, most of which were achieved without any support or cooperation from the Republicans.
         To be sure, both the President and Governor Romney must be held accountable for what they say. The difference between the two men, however, in their factual accuracy, in their specific proposals, and in their basic commitments, is plain to any objective observer. It is obvious which one is on the side of the poor and the middle class, and which one is on the side of the wealthiest one percent. Mitt Romney's views on public education and taxes are evidence enough as to where he stands.    
         Mr. Romney, whose record as Governor of Massachusetts was apparently not worthy of his using it as proof of his readiness to be President (he prefers to point to his record as a venture capitalist), feels he is nevertheless better qualified to be President than the man who will have already held the office for four years, and who has accomplished much in those years.
         His opponents have every right to differ with the President on the issues and challenges facing our nation and how to solve them. But the tone of their attacks is often despicable. His attackers bristle when anyone suggests their criticism reflects their latent if not their overt racism. But what else can it be, when their comments about him are so disparaging, unfair, and untrue?
         And what is most disturbing is that Republican Party leaders, including Mitt Romney himself, do not forthrightly repudiate those attacks. Witness Romney's silence on Donald Trump's continual questioning of the legitimacy of Mr. Obamba's citizenship.
         Mr. Romney has been widely criticized for his mendacity. The truth is, however, that it is not politically expedient for him to tell the truth about his opponent or about himself. Instead we are forced to keep waiting for the real Mitt Romney to reveal himself. Maybe the real Mitt Romney is none other than the Mitt Romney we've been watching all along ---the flip flopping Mitt Romney.

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