With only a few weeks left until election day, voters are finally tuning in to the presidential election and taking the time to learn about the vision each candidate has for our nation’s future. It’s a big choice indeed, and nowhere has that choice been made clearer than in the recent debates — including the one that took place in Colorado last week.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both came into the night with something to prove. President Obama needed to explain why his policies have not succeeded in turning around the economy, and why the voters should believe that he can accomplish in the next four years what he hasn’t accomplished in the last four. Romney also had a challenge. The American people take removing a sitting president very seriously, and if Romney wants our votes, he had to present a concrete plan to end this seemingly endless economic downturn and get Americans back to work.
As it turns out, that night was a microcosm of everything that has been wrong with the Obama presidency. President Obama was inconsistent and unfocused. He was high on rhetoric and low on specifics. He had little in the way of plans, and little in the way of explanation for why his policies haven’t worked over the last four years. And time and time again, President Obama’s platitudes were empty and lacking in substance.
The President wants to create jobs. That’s terrific. But he didn’t provide a plan to lower Colorado Springs’ 9.5 percent unemployment rate besides more taxes and more government spending we can’t afford. Romney provided a very different take. If you want to help business, you need to reduce costs for those businesses. Mitt Romney has explained several ways he will do that. He will cut the cost of energy by opening up the incalculable resources we have here in America. We are in the midst of a natural gas revolution. Untapped oil resources are off our shores and waiting in Canada for the completion of the Keystone Pipeline. We need to explore those resources in an environmentally sound way that will produce millions of jobs and pump billions into our economy.
Governor Romney also told us how he will reduce burdensome regulations — including Obamacare — that add thousands upon thousands of dollars of costs on top of businesses, killing jobs and crushing growth. He’ll cut taxes on small businesses, allowing them to reinvest in their enterprises. He will put creating jobs for the American people first. That will be his priority. That will be his legacy.
In contrast, President Obama’s policies have slowed our economy’s recovery, and his reckless spending habits have saddled our children and grandchildren with another $5.5 trillion in debt. A second term will send our national debt soaring to $20 trillion. Meanwhile, the only part of the budget President Obama seems all too willing to cut has been funding for defense and for our military, threatening some 20,000 Colorado jobs.
There was a moment that night in Denver that was particularly telling. The candidates were given a question about their theory of the role of government. President Obama began, giving a rambling answer about government programs and the new spending he thought the country needed to get back on track.
Governor Romney turned and pointed to the words on the wall behind him. They were from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Then he talked about America. He talked about dreams and goals deferred in a nation that is thirsting for a real recovery, one that lets them pursue happiness in their own way. In that moment, we weren’t watching another politician or a bureaucrat.
We were watching a president.
The above comments are as a citizen voter and do not reflect policy of the City of Colorado Springs, for which I currently serve as Mayor.