If a person who starts out on a journey by automobile from Houston, TX to Los Angeles, CA calls home when he reaches El Paso, the person receiving the call does not report that the driver failed to reach Los Angeles. Likewise, the journey out of a near depression, which became the responsibility of President Obama, is making progress toward a recovered economy. Not having yet reached Los Angeles is not failure. Mitt Romney calls such progress toward recovery failure, and, mysteriously, many Americans agree.
But the following don't sound like failures:
(1) Ending the war in Iraq; signing a bill guaranteeing equal pay to women for equal work; (2) Passing health care plan that insures all Americans; passing a stimulus package that saved millions of jobs of teachers, fire fighters, and police officers; (3) Extending the Bush tax cuts during the low points of the present Great Recession; Finding and bring to justice Osama bin Laden; (4) Reducing middle-class and small business tax cuts; extending unemployment benefits during the depth of the recession; (5) Presenting a jobs bill, ignored by Congress, which would have further helped address the nation's critical infrastructure, clean energy and employment needs; (6) Wanting to introduce an immigration reform bill but not having able to get congressional support for such the bill; (7) Preventing the interest on student loans from being increased; (8) Expanding money available for student loans by removing middle men and granting direct federal loans; (10) Initiating a "Race to the Top" program to increase the performances of America's schools; (11) Improving the image of the United States throughout the world; (12) Ending the war in Iraq; confirming the end of 2014 as the end of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan; (13) Having the American auto industry and banking system, thereby preventing the nation--and the world--from plunging into another depression; (14) Decreasing the monthly number of jobs being loss by American workers and gradually reversed the trend to an increasing number of jobs being created; (15) Reducing the unemployment rate to 7.8% (under 8%), lower than what he inherited; (16) Protecting women's health and reproductive right, etc.
These are just some Obama successes on the journey toward fixing America's economy.
However, these successes have been referred to as failures by Romney without having to say what he would have done differently. When asked such questions, he says he "would not have done what this president did." When asked what he will do in the future, his answer is that he will "do better." But is never asked to tell how many jobs he created as governor of Massachusetts or since.
The candidate we elect to the presidency should be one we can trust to mean what he/she says and seriously try to achieve what is promised during the campaign. Whoever wins should be able to clearly identify the conditions or obstructions that may have prevented campaign promises from being achieved. Many voters don't remember--or never knew--Republicans in Congress did it.
Unfortunately, poor schools produce poorly educated Americans who are more likely to be sufficiently uninformed about political and economic matters to be easily confused and deceived. Being poorly educated and uninformed are not equivalent to being unintelligent. Rather, they are the consequence of being deprived of opportunities to observe and engage in rational discussions about competing political and economic ideas, and to think about and propose better alternatives. "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves," Thomas Jefferson. He says further that "No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity."
Who is the real Mitt Romney? Why would even informed people conclude that the most recent Mitt is the real and final one? Why do people, despite his many reversals on issues, believe that he will keep his word about the reasons they have decided to vote for him? More than eighty CEOs have asked Congress and the presidential candidates to cut spending and raise their taxes to address the national debt. If that's true, then Romney could change his mind again--this time about cutting taxes--and promise taxes on the wealthy. But, then, he could change his mind again after the election.
This election is uniquely important because this could be the first presidential election where a candidate can be both publicly and frequently inconsistent and loose with the truth, and neither the candidate nor his party be politically punished for it. Mitt Romney (a former Mormon pastor, minister and bishop) despite being deceptive and often loose with the truth presently has at least an even chance to be elected President of the United States. A nation is in trouble when supposed Christians no longer even pretend. This places at risk the integrity of all American institutions.
Attempts to suppress voting by segments of the populations are discussed primarily by those who are targeted. Polls suggest that most voters have no problem with the voter suppression efforts. Rewarding those who benefit from voter suppression reflects on the character of those who have gained control of our economy and politics and on that of an uninformed or indifferent public. Most troubling is the extent to which many religious leaders and religious communities are either supportive of or silent about these flaws in our nation's conscience.
This election, therefore, becomes crucial, less because of who may be elected president and more because of (1) how it reflects on the kind of religious values and political and economic reasoning characterize the American electorate, (2) what it will do to world's confidence in the wisdom of America's economic and political leaders and (3) what will be modeled by Americans and passed on to our children: America's politicians, economists, clergy and voters of the future.
Placing the most powerful military the world has ever known back into the hands of some of the most mistrusted, war-loving political leaders of all times is scary.