BDN Endorsement

Obama should serve four more years

U.S. President Obama speaks during a campaign rally in Richmond, Va., on Thursday.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
U.S. President Obama speaks during a campaign rally in Richmond, Va., on Thursday.
Posted Oct. 26, 2012, at 1:58 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 28, 2012, at 4:59 p.m.

President Barack Obama is more likely to help secure America’s economic footing than Mitt Romney. We recognize the difficulties of Obama’s presidency and understand where he is responsible for falling short, but we will not blame him for the failures of Congress.

We are disappointed Obama could not persuade members of the worthiness of some bills, such as the DREAM Act or the Cybersecurity Act. We are disappointed the president could not find the votes in Congress to pass two budgets. We are concerned about the morality of using drones.

But faced with a severe financial crisis in his first term, he prevented a depression with a bipartisan stimulus plan and continues to move the country in a positive direction.

Obama recognizes the need for revenues, healthy spending cuts and reform of entitlement programs, all of which require persistence and time. His message at the Democratic National Convention is one we emphasize here, that when he spoke in the past about hope, it was not about blind optimism “but hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, that dogged faith in the future, which has pushed this nation forward even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.”

The president offers a realistic plan that will require patience. He intends to reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending through programs implemented under the Affordable Care Act, which is an important step. And he wants to end the Bush-era tax cuts for couples making more than $250,000 annually. He signed the JOBS Act, which passed with bipartisan support, and he wants to increase the number of math and science teachers. He ended the war in Iraq and is winding down the one in Afghanistan.

We recognize that the president underestimated how long the economic recovery would take and realize he could have placed more value on the input of business leaders in crafting assistance plans. Too often, he has been out of touch when his leadership was needed.

We are not convinced, however, that Romney offers a clearer solution to improving the economy. We are concerned that he has not learned from the presidency of George W. Bush, and is relying on a plan to cut taxes with no way to pay for it. We are concerned about his history of changing his position on many issues and believe it makes him appear untrustworthy.

Romney has not strongly differed himself from Obama on matters of foreign or military strategy. His stance on women’s rights is regressive. Romney’s stated love of coal is worrisome and threatens Maine’s environment and natural resource-based small businesses. He has not shown he has the compassion necessary to care for all of the country’s people, choosing instead to marginalize many with his comments about the “47 percent.” He has changed his views to suit the extremes of his party.

Obama is in a much better position to lead the country. We appreciate that he has kept many of his campaign promises despite the challenges of a split Congress and horrific economy. He is strong on social issues — ending military policy that required gays and lesbians to remain quiet about their sexuality. Obama became the first president to publicly state support for same-sex marriage. He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to prevent pay discrimination. He signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform to prevent the tactics banks used to help create the recession. He has encouraged the growth of the renewable energy sector and helped set high fuel-efficiency standards.

In the end, we trust his plans for growth more than Romney’s. We believe in Obama’s integrity, intelligence and perseverance. In his convention speech, the president said, “If you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen.” He’s right. It’s an honor to endorse him for a second term and cast away the cynicism for what Obama has and continues to represent: hope.

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