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I honestly believe that Barack Obama’s presidency will be regarded in history as one of the biggest failures of any US president. Unlike his predecessors, and most political leaders for that matter, who are often remembered for a particular policy decision (or indecision as the case may be), Obama will be judged for having failed to meet such huge expectations. No president in recent American political history has come to power on such a wave of hope and promise as Obama did back in 2008. And this wasn’t merely because he was the first black President, one of the over-cited reasons for his victory, nor for the fact that he was replacing a thoroughly unpopular, ineffective Republican administration that put restrictions on civil liberties that would make even George Orwell blush – not to mention totally abandoning the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck.
Time will tell with regards to Obama’s legacy, and it is almost a fruitless exercise trying to second guess how he will be viewed by the children of our generation. Indeed, should Obama be given a mandate by the US electorate for another four years, then he may (and hopefully will) prove me wrong. However, the American people will be given an opportunity to change their government on the 6th of November. It would, in my estimation, be one of the stupidest and most ill-informed judgments any electorate would ever have made should they decide to elect the Republican Party under the leadership of Mitt Romney. The man has an unbelievable lack of substance, has led a campaign which has been farcical and offensive enough to insult half the country, and remains insistent on adhering to political dogma so out of touch in the 21st century.
People are repetitively referring to the importance of the ‘debates’ that have been going on, and it is true that Obama’s weak and shallow performance in the first (there are more to come, remember) of these may be considered a turning point in the election. However, most people aren’t fixed voters, and only pay attention to the parts of debates which concern issues of particular interest to them – i.e. green energy, tax breaks for poorer families, welfare for veterans etc. Thus, the delivery in these debates matters less than what is actually being said. It is because of this that Mr Romney, for all his charm and careful delivery, will not convince the American people of the suitability of his candidacy and indeed his party.
Romney lacks the principles and convictions necessary to win majorities – his outdated right-wing approach was most apparent in his ‘acceptance speech’ at the end of August, in which he manipulatively outlined his desire to allow the ruling classes of a country in its worst economic downturn since the 1930s to intensify attacks on the working classes. Romney, with an estimated wealth of $200million, condescendingly spoke of his pretended concern for high levels of poverty and record unemployment. Mr Romney has more than merely ‘flirted’ with the extreme right in order to bolster his support amongst wealthy party donors, his allegiance to the political Right is beyond question. This was aptly characterised by his cynical belief in a ‘school choice’ programme which would result inevitably in further privatisation of public education. Romney has simply stated that he will ‘cut the deficits and put America back on the path of a balanced budget’. Ah yes, I’ve heard that one before; perhaps Romney is modelling himself on David Cameron and his promises of a balanced budget and reduced deficit back in May 2010.
The point is a simple one. The American people have a difficult but vitally important decision to make about their future. Even if Obama has not met the expectations he set himself, Romney’s woeful campaign and his demonstrable ignorance of social strife and inequality make him by far the less suitable candidate.