Most Americans are disappointed in the first-term performance of President Barack Obama. This disappointment runs across the political spectrum. The man talked an uplifting talk in 2008 but could not walk the walk in the following four years. In every aspect of his portfolio, President Obama has failed to deliver. His failure is most marked in the most important responsibility – helping to create an environment conducive to job creation and economic growth.
Obama made two crucial errors of judgment in the first year of his administration. First he chose as key economic advisers Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer, two left-leaning Keynesian economists who locked his economic policies into job destruction and economic stagnation. Those advisers gave the President exactly what he requested, with a gift that almost certainly will take him out of the White House in 2013. Second, he allowed his attention to switch from the economy to health care reform at a moment of economic crisis. That was a completely unforgivable error for which surely he will be punished
Barack Obama came to the White House with the slimmest of resumes. His principal career in Chicago was that of a community activist. His record of non-attendance in the United States Senate was a disgrace to his office and to those who voted him into the upper Chamber. Since then, I suggest, a poor resume has spiraled downhill.
Mitt Romney, of course, has no prior White House experience to put on the table – that is always the handicap of the challenger. However, he has built an impressive, diversified resume both in the private and in the public sector that should attract national attention:
“If a resume decided the question, the former Massachusetts Governor would win in a walk. As convention viewers have heard this week, his range of experience, and success in multiple endeavors, far exceed anything Barack Obama could boast in 2008 or today. It’s clear that he can make decisions and delegate authority and his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate suggests good judgment and an eye for talent. The Mormon Church elder has led what is by all accounts an exemplary life. He has an admirable marriage and family that seem odd in this era only because they are so free of obvious dysfunction. Mr. Romney also seems to be comfortable enough in his own skin that Americans needn’t worry about another President with deep but hidden flaws. He is competitive but not obsessive. He would not be another paranoid Nixon, bullying LBJ, or Slick Willie.” Editorial, ‘The Romney Opportunity’, The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2012
Of course, resumes alone are an insufficient basis on which to base one’s vote in a presidential election. Because Governor Romney had to fight off challenges from two trash-talking lightweights – Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – he was dragged away somewhat from his admirable focus on job-creation and economic growth into areas that should lie outside the scope of the legislative and executive branches of government – abortion, religion and marriage.
So now that he has been nominated, a courageous Mitt Romney should forcefully explain that economic and not social or religious policy will be his exclusive domestic focus, should he be elected into office. The religious right will not like to hear that message. But will their fanaticism be better served under Obama than under Romney? Some may not turn out, but they will be overwhelmed by the independents who carry Governor Romney into a White House newly- focused on helping to revive an ailing economy.