In addition to my admiration and respect for Barack Obama — based on his life history, persona and performance against all the odds the last four years — there are several reasons why I am voting to re-elect President Obama:
First, he has earned it.
On the domestic front, in spite of the blatant Republican congressional obstruction he has faced, he has done the following:
He prevented a major Depression during the deepest, longest economic crisis of our time.
He rescued the auto industry and effected a painfully slow but steady recovery. He also imposed a measure of regulatory oversight on the corporate and financial sectors, which were wracked by the lack of even a baseline integrity, fueled by outrageous rewards, with no checks, balances or accountability.
He enacted universal health care, a core economic and quality of life issue, which will deliver millions of Americans from potential bankruptcy, poverty or death.
He fulfilled his promise and ended the war in Iraq and he is in the process of ending the war in Afghanistan; wars which have drained trillions of dollars from our Treasury and killed thousands. He restored American foreign policy credibility around the world, which in the midst of widespread turmoil, has allowed international coalitions built on trust to combat the growing threat of terror and upheaval.
I am also supporting the president because I believe unspoken racism underlies a broad swath of the criticism he has engendered, but, more positively, his leadership reflects a core value of my own – that we did not ‘build this’ alone and that the role of government in a democracy is critical. He believes in vigorous and robust competition and equal access to opportunity, but ensuring a level playing field and providing a core confidence that the system is fair and affords a modicum of equity.
The national Republican Party today is committed to systematically undermining those values. Under the guise of freedom, free enterprise and entrepreneurship, the party of Abraham Lincoln has been hijacked by leaders who relish making government the enemy. They take pride in weakening our core as a community, but do it while boldly rigging the economic and political system to protect those who have already won, privatizing the gains and socializing the losses, all the while espousing cultural and social values designed to return women and minorities to the days of “Mad Men.”
Finally, President Obama has my vote because to me, Mitt Romney is the poster child for hypocrisy. Ten years after he was elected as the socially moderate, fiscal conservative governor of Massachusetts, he has changed his position on nearly every major social and public policy issue and yet he exhibits no shame.
If elected it’s not at all clear which Mitt Romney we will get. The moderate — or the severe conservative? The one who "loves" all 100 percent of us — or the one who says 47 percent of us are just "takers"?
The one who pledged armed intervention in Syria and Iran — or the “peace loving” candidate we saw at the last debate? The pro-choice candidate for governor — or the pro-life candidate for president?
Who is he trying to seduce with these baldly politically driven shifts? Surely no one can believe he will challenge the dominant right wing base that elects him?
For me, the choice is crystal clear — not because Obama fulfilled all his promises of “hope and change,” or that all the critiques are wrong. The choice for me is clear because I want to be able to trust my president, as well as believe in his character and integrity.
I want to know that my president is focused on protecting the public interest, ensuring that the people and not just the special interests will be heard, and that he, above all else, will work to restore the sense that we are all in this together.
In the words of John W. Gardner, the legendary founder of Common Cause, “Liberty and duty, freedom and responsibility. That's the deal.”
I want a commander-in-chief who understands that that deal is more than a political slogan – that it is the core of presidential leadership.
This program aired on November 5, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.