The presidential race now looks remarkably like one of the closest in U.S. history and could look similar to the down to-the-wire contest in 2004 between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry. Both candidates were locked in polling 48 percent to 48 percent.
Less than four years after Mr. Bush left the White House, the legacy of national debt, economic meltdowns and war still linger. Presidents inherit all good and bad, and through time and national scrutiny, eventually a report card will become judgmental in the form of a voters ballot.
The day George Bush stepped into the Oval Office he had no idea what black swans he would come to face. Not a clue. Many presidents and governors develop great dreams, hopes and far-flung ideologies of how they will shape a country or a state like no one has ever seen before. Of course, we now know the black swans that George Bush faced; we also know that he did the best he could to ensure that the American people were safe. President Bush stated that he “crawled out of the swamp of Washington” when he left office, few would argue. Politicians by nature seek authority and policy over others through the electorate. The process is dissected for the average voter based on a wide range of ideologies, polls, rhetoric, CNN, FOX, and if you are a women, Hispanic, African American, white, unemployed, rich, middle class, gay, religious or a combination of many, all candidates will cater to you, the voter, specifically based on how you fit into the American pie.
President Obama has the advantage afforded a president during a re-election, such as policy and presidential order driven support for changes to immigration law, resulting in part to the president’s lead among Hispanic voters in huge margin, estimated at 45 percent. The same advantages can be found in key battleground states such as Ohio and Florida.
So, which of the two presidential candidates will get the largest slices of the American Pie? By last count, Romney has rebounded strong with a bold vision (5-Point Plan) for jump-starting a dragging economy and getting folks back to work. Obama continues to distract voters away from the failed economy and the lack of substantial growth in the job sector by barnstorming America about women’s rights and Romney binders, along with Big Bird, all of which falls to the likeability formula driving the “who’s the nicest guy” to the forefront of the national debate.
Economics isn’t as much of a science as we’d like. Both sides have their own economic teams that are much smarter than any of us, yet both have drastically opposite positions on how to get out of the mess we are in. On the one hand you have the Obama team stating that the current situation is normal and will take a long time to recover. And then we have the exact opposite from the Romney team: “We are presently in the most anemic economic recovery in the memory of most Americans, with significant joblessness and long-term unemployment, as well as lost income and savings. We are stuck in a low-growth trap following the 2007-2009 recession and financial crisis.”
Focus should always be the norm when working very hard to get things done. Lack of focus and everything gets sideways and half finished. It’s clear that the president has gone sideways and left many agenda items unfinished. He has not controlled and focused on a shorter list.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stated recently that as a governor he was lucky to get 50 percent of what he wanted to accomplish completed: “It’s just really difficult.” This only reminds us that the best an elected leader such as the president of the United States can expect to accomplish should be a shorter list executed with complete focus and detail. Unfortunately, as of this date, the lack of focus and details is not found in the Dodd-Frank Act and Affordable Healthcare for America legislation, both falling extremely short with substantial flaws that will and is hurting the middle class and small business in the United States.
The third and last presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney lacked any real surprises. The rhetoric and ideology appeared at times to focus on most issues in foreign policy that have been covered over and over by both sides. I had expected dialogue about foreign aid to countries that failed to meet certain requirements would be debated, along with where the funding would come from.
As we walk to the voting booth on Nov. 6, remember the turmoil the past four years have brought and let history remind us that each administration will be tasked with managing daily political realities at home and abroad regardless of the ever-so-inspiring speeches and visions laid out during the campaign to the White House. John F. Kennedy stated during his inaugural speech, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
The author is the senior vice president of business development for Diede Construction Inc. in Lodi.