Editorial: Romney looks better suited for job at hand
For much of the 2008 presidential campaign, the long-running War in Iraq and the declining popularity of George W. Bush were the big issues.
Barack Obama's message of "hope and change" struck a chord with many voters across the country, and as Wall Street took a dive in October, the economic bad news seemed to be the last straw for Republican nominee John McCain.
By the spring of 2009, the larger impact of the global recession had become evident, with unemployment up over 8 percent and layoffs and salary freezes the rule of the day. America's collective "savings" from retirement accounts to non-profit endowments were hit hard, too.
It has been four long years of slow recovery, and for many families little recovery at all. So, this campaign season, most voters are looking for a presidential candidate who can get the economy back on track and Americans back to work. Many voters also want a bridge builder who can help Washington close its deep partisan divide.
That's a tall order, but Republican Mitt Romney seems to show the better track record on both of those objectives.
While President Obama speaks eloquently about bringing the country together, he has failed to do that. Understandably, he has used his partisan leverage to achieve goals he thought important, such as health care reform. But in doing so, he divided the nation in a debate that is still raging.
On the economy, the president took some positive actions to deal with an historic recession, but he also pursued an agenda that made it harder on some industries. A placard displayed at a recent rally of coal miners makes that point in a very personal way -- "Give us permits instead of handouts." The financial reforms intended to rein in Wall Street have had perhaps the unintended consequences making it more difficult for small businesses and prospective home buyers to get the loans they need to hire people and restart the housing market.
Romney in both his rhetoric and his past achievements promises a more pro-business approach. If there were ever a time for an "all in" energy policy, it is now. If there were ever a time to take the pressure off small business, it is now.
The former governor and businessman also has demonstrated a willingness and ability to build bi-partisan coalitions, something Washington so greatly needs. That is going to be critical in addressing long-term financial challenges such as the federal deficit, Social Security and Medicare.
Despite the confrontational theatrics of the television ads and town hall debates, there is much to admire about both candidates. And there are policy concerns on both sides, as well. But whoever wins in November, we have to hope they can move to the center, consider the needs on all sides, and lead the country toward a better future.
Polls show neither candidate has majority support at this point, so every vote counts. Early voting begins this week, and we urge everyone to go to the polls and let their voice be heard.