BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
The news this week was that the economy experienced growth by 2% in the third quarter, unemployment is said to be at 7.8% below 8% that initially doomed the Obama’s campaign. As questionable as these developments may look while we get closer to the decision day, they are what voters will remember when they go to the polls in a week’s time. Just this past week, Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party Republican who defeated incumbent Republican Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana’s Primary election for Senate, dealt a heavy blow to the Romney’s campaign when he said if a woman gets pregnant as a result of rape it is a “gift from God.”
Just as Todd Akin the GOP nominee for Senate expressed his opposition to abortion rights in the case of victims of “legitimate rape,” Mr. Mourdock added salt to the injury when he rubber stamped the GOP stand against women’s right to abortion in rape cases. These among other issues are what may help President Obama win reelection come November 6. Mitt Romney has appeared in one ad endorsing Mr. Mourdock for Senate, which to some is an approval of his policies including his opposition to women’s right to abortion in the extreme case of rape. So far, Mr. Romney has refused to remove his endorsement of Mr. Mourdock despite calls from conservatives and liberals alike, asking him to do so.
The fact is Mr. Romney can’t eat his cake and have it same time. He continues to play a double game by saying he disagrees with Mr. Mourdock’s statement to avoid losing the support of women and by refusing to remove his endorsement of Mr. Mourdock to appease the Tea Party base. By now it is clear voters want to know each candidate’s position on the issues and to think he can play it both ways and defeat the incumbent in November, may be wishful thinking. At this stage, the undecided are likely to lean towards Mr. Obama. Many are already of the view that it is unacceptable for a Republican politician campaigning for the highest office in our nation, to tell women that if they get pregnant as a result of rape, that it is a “gift from God.”
Make no mistake, the aforementioned are destined to doom Mr. Romney’s candidacy on Election Day. They are just a tip of the iceberg, as there are other pressing issues affecting the nation where Mr. Obama has performed that would help him make the case for a second term in office. Unlike Mr. Romney, who is deemed to lack the quality of a leader capable of representing 100% of America after, his damaging statement on the 47% low income. Recently, the Washington Post endorsed Mr. Obama for a second term and among the reasons given was the President’s commitment to the “only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases.” In contrast, Mr. Romney “has embraced his party reality defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up,” a reason why the GOP has refused to raise tax on the wealthy.
Mr. Romney’s policy translates to a situation where interest payments takes over everything else a government should do for its people, “from defending the nation to caring for its poor and sick to investing in its children.” A situation where the poor and middle class are shortchanged, whereas, the greater share of the nation’s wealth reside in the wealthy and privileged few at a time, when the nation is dealing with the problems of inequality which continues to relegate the poor and middle class.
It will be difficult for Mr. Romney to convince America that President Obama’s four years in office has been a total failure. When Mr. Obama came to power, U.S. economy was in shambles and at the brink of collapse. On becoming President, Mr. Obama was able to steady the economy, the housing crisis was hitting hard on home owners and banks could not lend money as they were at the point of folding up due to the poor shape of the nation’s finances and poor judgment by Wall Street. To turn the situation around, the Obama administration needed a bailout fund which Mr. Obama, had to fight to get from the Senate and a Republican controlled House, which was bent on blocking all his moves. Months after, the rest is history. The economy has returned to the path of recovery, banks were saved from crumbling and the housing bubble is gradually on the way to recovery though, the road ahead is still difficult.
With the stimulus bill, Mr. Obama designed a plan that helped slow down job loss and increase confidence in consumers, especially those that refused to spend as a result of fear of uncertainty and insecurity about the troubled U.S. economy. He put forward a plan to rescue the auto industry and many in the industry, who had lost their jobs due to the financial hole created in the car business, were able to get their jobs back, families regained their livelihoods and GM among others rebounded with better productions and increasing profits.
The stock market, which was fast losing its value, saw a dramatic change. The Dow Jones saw a gain from 6.626 in March 2009 to above 13,000. Despite all oppositions especially from the GOP base, the President was able to get the Affordable Care Act passed. The move will help about 45 million Americans without healthcare to have a form of insurance security. Patients will no longer be discriminated against because of preexisting conditions and for the first time, children can stay on their parent’s care until the age of 26 while they complete college and find job that could provide them with insurance.
Another achievement of Mr. Obama was ending the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of the Military that discriminate against gays and lesbians serving the nation’s armed forces. He made a bold move which no past Commander in Chief had done, when he declared his support for same-sex marriage which analysts say was a big risk for a sitting President to take. He did not relent on his fight against illegal harassment and deportation of undocumented immigrants and with the help of his Justice Department he successfully, challenged the immigration policies in Arizona and Alabama. Though, he could not achieve a concrete immigration reform on the national level, the President was able to pass the Dream Act, which will allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to obtain legal status.
On the issue of foreign relations, Mr. Obama was able to improve U.S. relations with other nations that had sidelined the U.S. after the invasion of Iraq which many disagreed with. Since taking office, he was able to reestablish with the Arab world, U.S friendship that was badly damaged by the Bush administration. Al Qaeda was disorganized and put on the run under his watch and as promised, his administration working with the CIA and the Defense Department, killed Bin Laden the Al Qaeda former chief, who planned and authorized the attacks of 9/11.
Mr. Obama also supported the uprising that saw an end to the reign of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya. He did not commit American boots on the ground but by giving NATO the necessary support, his administration was instrumental in designing a plan that saw no loss of American soldiers in Libya, while at the same time able to achieve the end sought and the ouster of Gaddafi. On China, he did not waste time to criticize the leadership in Beijing on the devaluation of its currency and as a result, the Chinese currency increased in value by 13%.
On Iran, the Obama administration should be credited for not rushing to take unnecessary actions, as demanded by Israel that would have led to another war in the region. Instead, he renewed America’s support for Israel and made clear Iran would not acquire a nuclear weapon as long as he is President. Rather than establish a “red line,” Mr. Obama working with American allies imposed aggressive sanctions on the Islamic nation which so far, have regressed its economy. The Iranian currency has lost value compared to the dollar and the adverse effect of the sanctions has forced the leadership in Tehran, to consider its return to negotiations.
While Mr. Obama still face criticisms from Mr. Romney and the Republican base on the issue of Syria, voters understand there is nothing much the President can do as long as China and Russia continue to give their support to the Assad regime. At this stage, the U.S. cannot go it alone, the Military is strained and our nation cannot lose more lives in a sectarian conflict. The Obama administration is doing all it can behind closed doors to support a legitimate opposition and there is no doubt the Assad regime will eventually fall. Therefore, Syria may not be a good argument that could propel Mr. Romney to the White House.
The failure to secure American presence in Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. troops has been another argument of the opposition which Mr. Romney has used to discredit the President’s foreign policy. The fact is Mr. Obama tried but could not secure an agreement that would protect American troops from prosecution if they remained in Iraq. No American President would have sacrificed American troops just to establish a base in a foreign nation as a bounty of a decade long war. The point is Mr. Obama ended the war and brought the troops home as promised, there are no more body bags from Iraq and the war in Afghanistan is scheduled to end by 2014. These are what will resonate to voters and may not work to the advantage of Mr. Romney.
So far Mr. Romney’s prescriptions on Iran, Syria and Afghanistan are same as that of the President. In fact, he completely endorsed Mr. Obama’s foreign policy at the last Presidential debate, which makes one wonder how the opponent differ from the incumbent. His tax plan and economic policy is destined to be a disaster for the Middle class if implemented. He promised to create 12 million jobs if elected but still has no explanation of how the jobs would be created. It is hard to know what candidate Romney believes and from all indications he is out of touch with mainstream America. He is likely to fail on foreign policy since showing his distaste for Russia and China, which he criticized for the loss of jobs in America.
Moreover, Mr. Romney is unlikely to find a partner on the Palestinian question. He has demonstrated a lack of commitment to resolving the issue with his undiplomatic attitude to the problem. The Palestinian side and the Arab world are unlikely to see him as a neutral party willing to resolve the conflict without leaning too much on the side of Israel so, where do we go from here? Americans will decide on Election Day. However, the abovementioned are Romney’s woes that may help Obama retake the White House.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ a new fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.