Last week, I cast my absentee ballot for President Barack Obama.
I have Republican friends, and I have Democratic friends. I have friends who don’t like either party, and I have friends who think politics is a waste of time. I’m sure I have some friends who are still conflicted about their choice in this year’s election.
I know some of my friends disagree with my politics, and they will disagree with what I have to say here. But I hope those of you who know me believe that I am a thoughtful person, and that I don’t make important choices without giving them a lot of consideration. And I hope that I can convince you to join me in voting to give Barack Obama a second term as our president.
I am going to take a few minutes here to tell you some of the most important reasons why I believe President Obama has earned a second term.
1) We are better off than we were four years ago. In the year before President Obama took office, 5 million U.S. workers lost their jobs, and in just the last month of the Bush administration, 839,000 Americans became unemployed. After President Obama and the Democratic Congress took over in January 2009 and implemented their stimulus program, the job losses began to dramatically reverse, and by April 2010, the economy began adding jobs, as it has done every month for the last two-and-a-half years. Since that time, the economy has added about 5 million jobs. Don’t take my word for it; if you want to see the statistics for yourself, go to the nonpartisan Bureau of Labor Statistics report at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/ceshighlights.pdf. When President Obama ran for office in 2008, he promised he would take action to get Americans working again. President Obama is fulfilling that promise.
2) We are safer today than we were four years ago. President Obama saw that the large, costly invasions of other countries that took place before he came into office were not working. He shifted to a policy of targeted, special-forces strikes that ultimately culminated in the killing of dozens of leading Al Qaeda operatives, including Osama bin Laden. (Again, do not take my word for it; a fuller accounting can be found at http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/the-terrorist-notches-on-obamas-belt/). When President Obama first ran in 2008, he promised that if he had reliable intelligence that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, he would send in a strike force to take him out. President Obama fulfilled that promise.
3) More Americans now have access to health insurance than at any time in our history. Although polling clearly demonstrated that the health care bill now known as Obamacare would cost the president and his party politically, they pushed it through. Two key benefits: nobody can be denied health care coverage anymore due to preexisting conditions, and the adult children of policyholders can stay on those policies until they are 26. (Want more information? Go to http://visual.ly/two-years-under-obamacare-look-whats-changed.) When he ran in 2008, President Obama promised to provide more access to health care coverage. President Obama has fulfilled that promise.
4) President Obama and the Democrats in Congress saved the U.S. auto industry (and 1.5 million jobs). According to the a Center for Automotive Research report quoted in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/opinion/sunday/a-million-jobs.html), the bailout—half of which General Motors and Chrysler have already repaid to taxpayers, according to politifact.com—directly contributed to the employment of a million-and-a-half Americans. President Obama promised not to let this industry die. President Obama has fulfilled that promise.
5) President Obama and the Democrats in Congress cut taxes for the middle class. We hear over and over again how the president and the Democrats have raised taxes. It just isn’t true. President Obama and the Democrats cut taxes for working Americans. (See the rundown at http://www.republicansforobama.org/firstterm.) The president and Congressional Democrats do propose to raise taxes on individuals who make more than $250,000 in order to help balance the budget and bring down the deficit. That’s a fact. But anybody who tells you the Democrats have raised taxes under President Obama is lying to you.
Is everything perfect or back to normal? No it isn’t. But it took eight years of extremely unwise economic and foreign policies to get us into the mess that President Obama inherited. How can we possibly expect him to fully repair eight years of damage in only four years?
The president has made a good start. We need to give him time to finish the job. That’s why I have already cast my vote for President Obama, and I ask you to join me in doing the same.