In early 2012, we watched as presidential candidate hopeful Mitt Romney ran hard to the right in the race to win the primary; he has spent the past several months running hard to the middle in the final sprint to win the general election.
Early in the year, we also watched President Barack Obama ran hard to the left, although there was no primary to fret; he’s been breaking middle ever since to win the general election.
The candidates are barreling so fast toward one another’s ideologies that they’re just about to collide as identical candidates.
But, they are not identical.
Of the two, Romney gets things done. Obama does not.
Americans’ single biggest concern is jobs. We want to work. We want to earn a living and take an active part in the American Dream.
That happened in Massachusetts under Romney’s leadership. It hasn’t happened across the country with Obama in the White House.
Putting aside the president’s lackluster performance, and focusing instead on what Americans say is our biggest problem, we will say it’s spending. We have said it loudly and for a very long time, but the president does not appear to be able to hear us.
In fact, at the end of the week this nation was carrying $16,202,191,698,307.91 in outstanding debt (which includes $6 trillion accrued under Obama's term).
If you’re doing the math, that’s $51,639.32 for every person in this country.
When Romney was governor, his hallmark achievement — in addition to health care reform — was eliminating $1.5 billion in debt he assumed when he took office. That’s a remarkable feat accomplished in four years’ time.
So, one difference between these men is that Obama has increased debt. Romney reduced debt.
But, if we’re going to outline the most jarring difference, let’s consider how they respectively implemented health care reform.
The president, keen to get something done during his term, pressured Congress into passing the 2,700-page Affordable Care Act at breakneck speed.
And, that rumor that there wasn’t time for all members of Congress to read the tome before voting on it? That’s true. (The Supreme Court justices didn’t even want to read it when the question of the ACA’s constitutionality came before them last March. Justice Stephen Beyer, who voted in the majority to uphold ACA, admitted he didn’t read the entire law and never had any intention of doing so.)
Rather than give the ACA the consideration and conversation it needed to be the best possible policy for American citizens, Obama opted for speed and flash.
Health care reform proposals have been proposed and defeated for decades, and there was great hope at the start of Obama’s term that his campaign promise to reform health care would succeed. Discussions of reform began in June 2009 at the committee level and each congressional Chamber eventually crafted its own version.
The Senate, after much stalling, voted in late 2009. The House couldn’t agree on passage, so the president crafted his own plan consolidating the chambers’ respective bills (favoring the Senate version) and then leaned on party leadership to get the thing passed ... by a super slim margin.
The president signed what has been called the most significant regulatory overhaul of our nation’s health care system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid into law just one month after his little-debated proposal was presented to the floor, despite great resistance across the country.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, who was one of six senators who participated in crafting the Senate’s original bill and arguably more informed than most members of Congress on its contents, ultimately voted against it, calling it a “bloated monstrosity.”
That’s not a compliment.
Whether Obamacare will fulfill its grand predictions of lower costs and increased access to health care remains to be seen, but its enactment was a procedural fiasco based on might, not right.
In Massachusetts, discussions on Romneycare carried on for a year before legislation was proposed, and then the law was debated for more than six months before the governor signed it into law, which is a far better demonstration of give and take, of compromise and collaboration, then exhibited by Obama on the national level.
Obama may have crammed health care reform into law, but it’s fair to say he hasn’t done much else on the policy level. Hasn’t passed budgets, hasn’t closed Guantanamo Bay (a campaign rally cry), hasn’t addressed immigration reform and hasn’t fixed Social Security (another campaign cry).
And, after a grand gesture on his first day in office requiring former lobbyists to wait two years before accepting government employment, he has routinely “waived” this ethics policy when convenient, most notably for Celia Munoz, former lobbyist turned Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House.
The president has, to be fair, fulfilled campaign promises to bring troops home and has worked to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he gets credit — as commander in chief — for the assassination of Osama bin Laden.
But in terms of working with Congress to get work done on the domestic front, he’s failed.
We believe Romney — a successful businessman and successful politician who has proven leadership skills — is America’s best choice right now.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.