FROM THE EDITORIAL DESK
By David Beilstein
ON THE DAY of the last presidential debate, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will square off on foreign policy in a nationally televised contest.
For President Obama, it offers the chance to engage the American people with a coherent, sweeping understanding of the 21st century world and America’s place within it. For Republican Mitt Romney, surging in the polls, ahead of the young incumbent in most, it offers similar contours.
Mr Romney’s goals are simple: counter the president’s handling of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran — and many other issues, along with forecasting a vision of the world where America is a beacon of liberty and a threat to its enemies while developing its own domestic resources to remain a strong and vibrant nation.
Endorsements must begin with a balance. As such, we must bring our attention to incumbent President Barack H. Obama first. The author of this piece has had harsh criticisms for the president. Various affairs of heart and mind about Obama’s ideological edge abound. Even still, a sense of humour (sometimes!) about the president’s seeming incompetence keeps things interesting.
There are a few things Mr Obama has done well, which in all honesty, have been praiseworthy.
Be it said. Mr Obama’s increased attacks on Islamic-Fascist terrorist leaders in Pakistan and Yemen have been audacious and inspired. The president’s overseeing the Navy SEAL mission that killed Osama Bin Laden was, too, bold leadership. News reports suggest Mr Obama took the threat of Osama Bin Laden seriously, making it a priority upon assuming high elected office. It is equally true — and alarming! — Mr Obama railed against many of the intelligence apparatus and tactics put in place by the Bush administration that enabled Mr Obama and his team to send Osama Bin Laden swiftly into the undiscovered country.
Further still, the Obama administrations need to “spike the football” on the Osama Bin Laden operation, too, has been beneath the dignity of the office Obama holds.
ON DOMESTIC ISSUES, then, there is, sadly, a discernibly bad record to look upon when considering Mr Obama for a second term. Economically, the president has been a disaster. He has destroyed his political capital (and promises) by enriching those he railed against on the campaign trail. Large sums of stimulus money went to political allies, not to relieving economic woes (reduction of government spending).
Likewise, Mr Obama’s blind trust in the heavy and laborious regulatory state has stifled economic development for the average American and caused massive job loss and income disparity. He has warred against energy production — one of many reasons for our foreign entanglements, and raised the cost of energy production immensely. The cost of living rises, while wages decrease, because the Obama administration has impoverished too many.
While rightly campaigning against Bush administration overspending, Mr Obama has spent trillions more — not even approaching balanced budgets and fiscal sanity. In trying to shape and form ‘fair’ markets, Mr Obama has created an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor — and ideologically, through class warfare, Mr Obama has helped create a spirit of sharp discontent and angry covetousness in the nation.
In November of 2008, President-elect Barack Obama was given the opportunity to be a post-racial president — to mend fences, repair bridges, and seek reform and new ideas. Instead, Mr Obama and his administration chose to tack against lofty Enlightenment winds, festooning him and the nation to the oldest, harshest, leftist agitprop in generations.
OVERALL, ON FOREIGN POLICY, America is not stronger than it was in January of 2009 — it is weaker, and precious time has been wasted on a presidency adrift — a presidency without serious ideas of reform or betterment in an increasingly competitive global economic market and one strafing with dangerous international thugs abroad.
Mr Obama has written two memoirs before the age of 45. But his presidency does not reveal large ideas or comprehension of the vagaries of individual life — of the world, or political office. Frankly, Mr Obama was never qualified for the presidency. The media’s kindred spirit with Mr Obama arises because both share sharp progressive sentimentality. Neither is merit for the presidency.
Mr Obama has not earned a second term.
Former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney is a man of accomplishment and personal ambition. He has lived a generous and inspired life — giving up personal fortune to seek his own path. In consequence, Mr Romney produced his own fortune and helped erect circumstances that produced fortunes and livelihoods for others. Such accomplishments, while commendable and richly laudable, do not mean Mr Romney would make a good president. They do, however, illustrate a man who understands the world and its people as ‘is’ — a man accomplished at leading people and circumstances to improved mesas and greater opportunity.
We need such a president now in our hour of uncertainty.
Mr Romney seems to have trouble articulating a foreign policy of different hue than past misguidance and direction. Overall, it seems the Romney plan codifies what George W. Bush got right, while trying to learn from what the 43rd president got wrong. However, the present desire within popular Republican circles of socially engineering the world seems foreign to prudent leadership abroad. America’s foreign policy has always been rooted in preserving and securing our way of life — and culture, not the worlds. This means a lethal and stronger military, to be sure, but it does not mean military intervention the way the Obama administration has torn into Libya, Africa, and the Middle East. Romney’s weakness here, apparently, resides from wanting a little bit of both. The best argument against Libya’s disaster is not simply the Obama administration’s seeming cover-up, but American forces being in Libya in the first place.
We cannot reshape the world no matter how powerful or rich we are. We can protect ourselves, build allies, and coalesce alliances that do help protect the world’s peace and security.
Even still, Romney offers solid leadership — however one frowns at the neo-conservative edge of Romney’s influences — in comparison to the derelict and political correctness of the Obama administrations understanding of the broader world, particularly, the vagaries of the Middle East.
In Barry Goldwater’s 1960 memoir, The Conscious of A Conservative, Sen. Goldwater wrote,
“I seek to repeal laws, not make laws.”
This author is not confident Mr Romney shares the late Barry Goldwater’s richly aggressive classical liberalism. For this author, then, such realities are the fault of the conservative movement in America. It has shifted from its roots. And it has not championed intellectual ideas about the modest parameters of government, but instead, has feasted on the night soil of cultural warrior-ism and identity politics over classically liberal ideas about individual liberty and free markets.
Mr Romney, though less classically liberal than one might like, has thankfully strayed away from the cultural-uniformity and crass ‘evangelical’ commercialism of the GOP. In doing so, Mr Romney does help steer the political conversation in the right direction, a welcome relief from the Santorum minions in the GOP.
One hopes a Romney administration will seek inspiration from President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 agenda (beautifully Goldwater-esque) in desiring to end the Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency. This is a large wish, obviously. Still, a Romney presidency prepares the soil for such executive leadership, whereas an Obama second term assures no ground in areas of dismantling statist encroachment.
Both the DOE and EPA are statist leviathans, violently squeezing out economic opportunities for many Americans and robbing younger Americans from the educational choices and liberties necessary for individual maturation.
There is, then, a clear choice laid before the American people. More of the same, or a stark change of course, allowing, if God permits, greater leadership based upon historic American principals. A vote for President Obama anchors the republic into a undisciplined, oscillating trek, erecting a more dangerous world abroad, and an impoverished America at home.
We cannot afford either.
Mitt Romney is the better man to be president of these United States of America.