President Obama has moved the needle on many important topics. His aggressive support of stimulus spending helped the nation avoid another depression. He made it clear that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would not continue as nation-building missions that run counter to the wishes of people in those countries. His support for the alternative energy sector was wise, despite the occasional failures that inevitably accompany any such investment effort.
His support for Middle East democracies has allowed voters in countries there to select new leaders without heavy pressure from the United States. And his groundbreaking, though tepid, support for same-sex marriage is the farthest a sitting president has gone to recognize the rights of gays and lesbians, which is long overdue on the national stage. Finally, Obama’s health care reform was a giant step forward in a country in which far too many people lack access to suitable medical care — although far from the universal health care this country needs.
That’s how the San Francisco Examiner put its endorsement of President Obama on October 8, 2012. The same newspaper—under different ownership—had backed John McCain in 2008.
In fairness, the newspaper’s editorial writers tempered their endorsement with some critical remarks about unfinished business in Obama’s first term.
But the balance sheet—against his own first-term record, as well as against Mitt Romney—clearly tips toward the President, says the editorial.
Running against Obama is Mitt Romney, a social moderate but staunch economic conservative who believes that people unfortunate enough to require the safety net of social programs during economic downturns are complainers who feel entitled to government services. Romney has proven genuinely adept at making money for himself and his investors, but his private sector track record provides no support for his assertion that he knows how to put America back to work. And he has flip-flopped on numerous issues, most notably his own healthcare record — the program he signed into law while governor of Massachusetts. By disavowing his greatest legitimate accomplishment, and by running on a business record that is hardly a résumé for job creation, it is unclear exactly what platform Romney advocates.
A president’s second term is an opportunity to implement his legacy agenda. Nothing we have seen suggests that Barack Obama will be content to rest on his laurels in the next four years.