In the midst of the vicious election cycle and the subsequent, sudden expertise of every individual citizen concerning matters of policy and governance, the very issues at stake on November 6th seem to be obfuscated by political blackwater. Rather than focusing on the soundbites and easily consumable slips and blunders, I believe we are called to discussion on a higher plane. Thus, due to this confused nature of our shared political discourse, I’d like to use this space to give three good reasons to reelect the sitting president, Barack Obama.
1. Economic recoveries take time. Following the sub-prime mortgage crisis, America’s economy was on its knees. Some very brave men in the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department risked their academic reputations and suggested the largest bailout of American businesses in history in an attempt to prevent economic depression. This program, now known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) largely succeeded in limiting the economic destruction to a recession. That said, the economy isn’t yet at healthy capacity. The political expectation is that President Obama deliver a Clinton-era economy out of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Put succinctly, economic recoveries take time, but the kind of recovery policies this administration has enacted are exactly what the economy needs to crawl out of recession. The classic response to recession is increased spending to jumpstart a stalled economy and this administration agrees. If spending is a swear word, how can we understand FDR’s New Deal policies and wartime spending as a solution to the Great Depression?
2. Recessions are a matter of life and death for the very poor. The least empowered among us should have the guarantee of our government to work on their behalf. The notion that people are impoverished because they are lazy, unmotivated, or otherwise inferior is both offensive and oppressive. This administration has committed itself to the protection of the poor against negative macro- and microeconomic forces. The President states a deeply moral and biblical belief in the protection of the poor, which has informed such policies as the DREAM Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and a commitment to continue funding Medicaid and other social welfare programs. This comes at the expense of higher taxes on the more wealthy among us, which is nothing less than a routine commitment and moral imperative for a healthy and just society.
3. The Obama administration supports a radically different, if not perfect, foreign policy culture. In spite of the incumbent administration’s deeply disconcerting policies concerning the use of unmanned drone attacks on terrorist suspects (including American citizens), this foreign policy aspires to humble practice in the world. The administration emphasizes the combination of wise use of force, intelligence-gathering, and open diplomacy. President Obama is reluctant to come out and support Israel over and against Palestine in every circumstance. He supports talks with Iran as if they are a nation and not a band of anti-Semitic thugs. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has done more for diplomacy with governments of previously closed-off states, like that of Myanmar, than any other State official in recent memory. The administration is not without bite either, due to tough stands in countries like Libya and the gulf states. This is not a weak foreign policy, nor is it a perfect one, but it seems, like the rest of the incumbent’s policies, to be engaging in some measure of wisdom.
For these reasons and many others, I encourage you to vote for President Barack Obama.