Finally! Tuesday, November 6, is Election Day. Hopefully, that will end the incessant, redundant, campaign advertising that fills every hour of airtime, and voters’ mailboxes every day. Political campaigns are an advertising expert’s dream, with so much money spent to build up, or tear down, a candidate’s positions and reputation. The stakes are high, but think how much more could be accomplished if the advertising money was spent on providing things like human services and affordable housing. Wouldn’t it be great if all those campaign contributions could be transferred and sustained into philanthropy locally for the arts, the needy, and the environment?
Selection of a president may be the most exciting vote one can cast every four years. Certainly, every aspect of a presidential election is parsed, analyzed, evaluated, critiqued, and re-analyzed for years. The global spotlight is on America right now, and Virginia voters are in the white-hot center of it all. Both President Obama and Governor Romney have made repeated visits to the Old Dominion to secure our swing-state votes. The race is close, and Northern Virginia voters well may choose the next President of the United States. Re-electing President Barack Obama is in our best interests, and here’s why.
A few weeks ago, Robert J. Samuelson, perhaps the nation’s best-known economist and academic, wrote a Washington Post column that asked “Are you better off now?” than four years ago. A comparison of early 2009, when President Obama inherited the Bush recession, and mid-2012, has some good news and some not-so-good. The nation was hemorrhaging jobs, but by mid-2012, job recovery had stabilized. Disposable per capita income actually has increased by a little over one percent. Average hourly earnings increased by more than a dollar, and the Dow Jones industrial average went up 60 percent. Consumer confidence more than doubled by 2012.
Granted, there are some disappointments. Gas prices are high, and the unemployment rate hasn’t come down to pre-recession levels. Some voters are unhappy that the President hasn’t “fixed” things quickly enough. Realistically, though, President Obama has not shirked from telling Americans the truth – that recovery is a long-term process, not a quick fix. That is a marked difference from the “pie in the sky” promises that Governor Romney espouses. He still doesn’t understand that government policy changes must take into account the effect on the whole nation. We saw the ruthless business side of Mr. Romney in the last debate, when short-term gains – in foreign policy as well as domestic policy – seemed to be his mantra. That kind of approach does not build a sustainable recovery. And Mr. Romney has little or no grasp of diplomacy in the international arena. There is a magnitude of difference between staring down a CEO across a board room table, and staring down a nuclear crisis, or sending troops into a dangerous strategic military action. Running the Winter Olympics doesn’t give one a foreign policy dossier! President Obama deserves our votes, and a second term.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org