Com­pe­tence in pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics

The Covington News - - Opinion -

The ques­tion this fall is clear: Do we want a pres­i­dent who cares for oth­ers but is not com­pe­tent or a pres­i­dent who might care, if he could just show it, but has proved his com­pe­tence?

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has had his chance. He re­cently gave him­self the grade of in­com­plete. His goal: to get an ex­ten­sion.

All Amer­i­cans should ask them­selves: Does he de­serve an­other term? Let’s re­view the facts: Obama, 42 months into his term, has over­seen a net loss of 300,000 jobs.

He has yet to pass a bal­anced bud­get; our debt has in­creased 51 per­cent — from $10.6 tril­lion to more than $16 tril­lion. U.S. gross do­mes­tic prod­uct an­nual growth is 1.7 per­cent. Un­em­ploy­ment ex­ceeds 8 per­cent. More than 17 per­cent of those who want to work full time are ei­ther not work­ing at all or are work­ing part time. How does this com­pare? When Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan was 42 months into his first term, 3.8 mil­lion new net jobs had been cre­ated.

Four years af­ter the Republicans took over the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 1994, run­ning on the Con­tract With Amer­ica, GDP growth was 4 per­cent; un­em­ploy­ment was 4.2 per­cent; 11 mil­lion new jobs had been cre­ated; and the bud­get was bal­anced.

Amer­i­cans have done it be­fore; we can do it again.

Last week, Ann Rom­ney, wife of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney, spoke at the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Tampa, Fla. This week, first lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Char­lotte, N.C.

Both ladies shared a sim­i­lar theme: what their hus­band is re­ally like as a per­son. Both had the same goal: to per­suade vot­ers that their hus­band is the right choice to be the next pres­i­dent of the United States.

“We learned about dig­nity and de­cency,” said Michelle Obama, “that how hard you work mat­ters more than how much you make...that help­ing oth­ers means more than just get­ting ahead your­self.”

“So when it comes to re­build­ing our econ­omy,” she con­tin­ued, “Barack is think­ing about folks like my dad and like his grand­mother.”

She con­tin­ued, “Those sto­ries — our col­lec­tion of strug­gles and hopes and dreams — I see how that’s what drives Barack Obama ev­ery sin­gle day.”

Ann Rom­ney talked about strug­gling Amer­i­cans. “I’ve been all across this coun­try for the past year and a half and heard these sto­ries of how hard it is to get ahead now,” she said. “I’ve heard your voices: ‘I’m run­ning in place,’ ‘We just can’t get ahead,’” she said. “I’m not sure if men re­ally un­der­stand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in Amer­ica who re­ally ex­pects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know bet­ter!”

“We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy an­swers,” she con­tin­ued. “But we’re not dumb enough to ac­cept that there aren’t bet­ter an­swers.”

Both ladies talked about their his­tory as a cou­ple.

The Oba­mas had stu­dent loans that were more than their mort­gage when they were first mar­ried; the Rom­neys lived in a base­ment apart­ment while go­ing to col­lege. “We walked to class to­gether, shared the house­keep­ing, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish,” said Ann. “Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our din­ing room ta­ble was a fold­down iron­ing board in the kitchen.”

Rom­ney pro­vided the data to back up her as­ser­tion that her hus­band has what it takes to lead our coun­try. “He did it in Mas­sachusetts, where he guided a state from eco­nomic cri­sis to un­em­ploy­ment of just 4.7 per­cent. Un­der Mitt, Mas­sachusetts’s schools were the best in the na­tion. The best. He started the John and Abi­gail Adams schol­ar­ships, which give the top 25 per­cent of high school grad­u­ates a four-year tu­ition-free schol­ar­ship.”

Michelle told us that Obama cares. I am sure she is right, he does care about peo­ple — but is car­ing enough, or do we need com­pe­tence?

There will be a clear choice this fall.

Peo­ple ver­sus the gov­ern­ment.

Per­sonal in­de­pen­dence ver­sus gov­ern­ment de­pen­dence.

Pri­vate-sec­tor build­ing ver­sus gov­ern­ment build­ing.

It boils down to this: Where do drive and ini­tia­tive come from in Amer­ica? From peo­ple or from gov­ern­ment? Who is the ser­vant, and who is the mas­ter?

It’s not enough to feel some­one’s pain — we need a leader with com­pe­tence, who un­der­stands that our gov­ern­ment did not build any­thing, but that our gov­ern­ment was built by “We the Peo­ple,” and that free­dom and in­de­pen­dence lead to pros­per­ity for all.

To find out more about Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man, and read fea­tures by other Creators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit



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