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We've come too far: Why I'm voting for President Obama

 
Last year in my weekly opinion column, I frequently wrote in support of Gov. Mitt Romney. I truly believed he was the best candidate in the presidential race, but perspective changes, and I was wrong. Throughout his career, the GOP primary and the general election, Gov. Romney has consistently proven himself unfit to be president of the United States and incapable of – or unwilling to — unite our divided nation.
Time and time again we hear Gov. Romney argue that his skills as a private-sector businessman uniquely qualify him to be president. However, being a successful CEO of a venture capital firm and being a successful president are two entirely different jobs and require a completely different focus and set of skills. As a CEO, Romney was concerned with one objective, and one objective only — making a profit. That was his job, which is fine. Conversely, as president, the focus is on people — protecting their rights, providing for their needs and ensuring an equal opportunity for every American. The entire nation is the president’s constituency, not just those making an investment.
Romney doesn’t realize he has to worry about 100 percent of our nation. At a private fundraiser, he showed his true colors speaking to a group of millionaire donors, telling them his job isn’t to worry about the 47 percent of the nation that is “dependent on government, (and) who view themselves as victims” because “they should take personal responsibility and care for themselves.” That 47 percent includes elderly folks on Social Security and Medicare who have paid into the system their whole lives, veterans and soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to protect our shores, and college students furthering their education using Pell Grants. Romney views these people as leeches, while President Obama values their opinions.
On election night in 2008, after 47 percent of Americans voted against President Obama, he addressed McCain supporters saying, “And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn — I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help and I will be your president too.”
The president’s quote exhibits real leadership, while Romney’s quote manifests the opinion that he is superficial and out of touch and holds contempt for nearly half of our country.
President Obama inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression — his first term hasn’t been perfect, but logic tells us that we can’t replace him with a candidate whose exact policies caused the economic collapse and somehow expect a different result.
Before Obama took office, our economy was losing 800,000 jobs every month. Now, we’ve had 31 consecutive months of job growth and 5.2 million new private-sector jobs. Obama has cut taxes for the middle class — not once, but three times. Romney opposed the Recovery Act, opposed the auto industry rescue and said that we should let the housing market “hit the bottom.” His fiscal policy is reckless — the governor has proposed a $5 trillion tax cut aimed at the wealthiest Americans and an additional $2 trillion in defense spending that the Pentagon hasn’t even requested. And for a former CEO who claims to know a thing or two about the economy, you’d think the governor’s jobs record would be a little more impressive. During Romney’s term, Massachusetts fell from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, while the overall U.S. economy grew. Under Romney, Massachusetts’ debt burden grew to the highest per person in the nation. There’s a reason Romney isn’t even contesting Massachusetts in this election.
Aside from advocating for the middle class, the president hears the voices of our youth, the uninsured, women and other minorities, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and many others. The first bill the president signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women fight back against pay discrimination. Romney refuses to say whether he would have signed the bill, and Congressman Paul Ryan voted against it. The president also ended the military’s discrimination against LGBT patriots and declared his support for marriage equality. Obama’s landmark health care reform bill increases access to health insurance for tens of millions of uninsured Americans, strengthens Medicare, ends insurance company abuses and puts women in control of their health care choices. Young Americans now have the option to stay on their parent’s insurance policy until they are 26, instead of being kicked off upon high school or college graduation. Obamacare also ends discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions.
We, as voters, have a monumental responsibility in this election. We’ve tried Romney’s top-down approach — we had eight years of President Bush. We’ve tried Romney’s foreign policy, and it alienated the United States from the rest of the world. And we’ve come too far on too many issues to turn back now — that’s why I’m voting for Obama, and he is why I’m a proud Democrat.
  
Sean Higgins is a political science and sociology double-major from Brookings, S.D. Follow him on Twitter @seanmhiggins.