President Barack Obama has led with wisdom. We endorse his re-election.
With an economy in free-fall, Obama’s only responsible path when he entered office was to increase federal spending.
Studies of the Great Depression found austerity aggravated the crisis. Federal spending must increase until consumer spending rebounds, a strategy since followed by presidents of both parties.
During the 14 weeks of his term when Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Obama ignored the polls and pushed through a stimulus plan. It was not large enough, but it ended the recession and began a gradual recovery.
Nations that confronted the recession with austerity — an approach still favored by Obama’s detractors — are re-learning the lesson of the Great Depression.
Critics accuse Obama of reckless spending. The reckless course would have been to ignore the advice of mainstream economists.
Ending the recession was not just important for the millions who lost jobs. A strong economy generates deficit-reducing revenue. As anemic as it is, the stimulus-triggered recovery already has trimmed $207 billion from the deficit.
Obama pushed for a bailout of the automotive sector, even as challenger Mitt Romney embraced polls showing Americans opposed it. Combined with a reorganization bankruptcy, the bailout saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and left the companies strong.
Obama’s skill in foreign policy came as a surprise. Early on, he discarded the swagger of his predecessor and reassured the world that America had no imperialistic designs.
Many Americans feared peaceful rhetoric would lead to meekness. Instead, Obama has paired diplomacy with deadly military efficiency.
Three months after taking office, Obama startled Americans almost as much as Somali pirates when he authorized a daring hostage rescue.
That was only the beginning. While calming the fears of nations that viewed America as an oil-thirsty crusader, he terrorized al Qaida and authorized the incursion into Pakistan that ended Osama bin Laden’s life.
The recent death of four Americans in Libya was tragic. The overall story of Libya, though, is one of success. For all its turmoil, Libya is an ally and its former dictator is dead. The Iraq War, by contrast, cost almost 5,000 U.S. lives while fueling widespread anti-American sentiment.
Obama again rebuffed the polls when he pushed through the Affordable Care Act, a law that benefits millions, fosters competition and reduces the deficit. Eventually, Alabama will thank him for it.
Despite virulent opposition, Obama has accomplished much.
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