By DANIEL GARDNER
â€śIâ€™m just going to pray whoever is in there does the right thing,â€ť said a friend last week as we were lamenting politics going on and on and on. Everybodyâ€™s ready to get this over with. Though Americans are as politically polarized as ever, weâ€™re also disgusted with both parties (rightfully so) and blaming both for all the mess in Washington. Even President Obama voiced this when he said, â€śYou canâ€™t change Washington from the inside.â€ť He ought to know!
Elections are always about the future. Does it really matter whoâ€™s in control? Thatâ€™s why we have elections. Four years ago candidate Obama promised voters all the usual things and more. Voters were hooked on hope and change. A new day was coming to Washington. We were looking for a brighter future. What did we expect to see four years later, and how do those expectations align with realities today?Â
Even by President Obamaâ€™s own standards from four years ago, he has failed. Of course, he says itâ€™s not that heâ€™s failed, but that he just needs four more years to accomplish what he told us he could accomplish four years ago. In fact, heâ€™s offering voters the same promises and the same policies he offered four years ago. Howâ€™s he going to fulfill these promises? Through more government in Washington!
So, how about the alternative? Mitt Romney is the not-Obama candidate. Is he more than that? What are his plans? What are his promises?
Frankly, both candidates promise to fix our economy, and heaven knows our economy needs fixing. The Great Recession ended more than three years ago and weâ€™re still languishing in exploding deficits and debt (Obama said heâ€™d cut the deficit in half in four years), unprecedented unemployment continues to set records that would make Depression era economists blush, and median income families have lost more than $4,000 of annual income over the past four years.
Could Romney govern Washington better than Obama? Could he work better with Republicans in the House? No doubt. How about the do-nothing Senate? I have to agree with President Obama here: nobody can change the Senate from the inside, especially as long as Harry Reid is presiding. After all, the Senate rejected President Obamaâ€™s own budget 97 â€“ 0, and hasnâ€™t passed a budget at all under the Obama/Reid team. First time in history the U.S. has gone this long without a budget.Â
Romney says he can work with both parties and points to having worked with a Massachusetts legislature that was 87 percent Democrat when he was governor. Would he be a more effective president than Obama? Â
This week leaders from around the globe are streaming to the UN. President Obama is scheduled to give a speech but not to meet with any leaders. Instead, heâ€™s scheduled an appearance on ABCâ€™s program for women, â€śThe View.â€ť We are in the last leg of a campaign season that beganâ€¦how many years ago? Â
The Middle East is on fire, Americans have been brutally murdered in terrorist attacks, and our economy is on the verge of collapse unless Washington does something to stop all the whopping tax increases heading our way January 1, 2013. But, nobody inside Washington is governing until after the election. Many of us are still praying whoever is in Washington will do the right thing.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com.