Sunday, September 9, 2012

Reelection Through Failure

As I have watched this campaign thus far I have tried to figure out how a president that has been effective at nothing, save showing how ineffective he is at leading our country, is still so close in this race.  I understand that Mitt Romney is not overly charismatic or intrinsically inspiring, but when you compare these two men in the areas of organizational leadership, positive results and earned achievement, the winner is so blatantly obvious that only a member of the Obama campaign could deny it.  So this begs the question, why during a time when our nation is in such vital need of a results oriented and proven leader would the electorate not gravitate in droves toward the only one running meeting this description?  Both sides have their faithful that would vote for whatever candidate their party nominated even if it happened to be ineptitude incarnate, but I would still like to think that while common sense is not so common anymore that it hasn’t yet vanished from our society’s lexicon.  So with the acknowledgement that one contributing factor is that Mitt Romney is not a particularly dynamic candidate, the question is what else can be causing some to continue to consider reelecting a proven failure in the position as a plausible option?

In 2008, the majority of voting Americans decided to place their faith in a man who was all fluff and no substance, in a desperate attempt to find something new and different -hope and change.  As the last four years have proven, hope alone is no way to run a country and soaring rhetoric is no substitute for effective leadership.  These lessons are quite obvious to those not blinded by unwavering party loyal or a naive belief that the only thing President Obama needs is more time.  In the end though the reason for the continuing support for this failed president doesn’t really matter, but the fact that our nation has lost its ability to recognize leadership and demand it of those running for and elected to office is truly frightening.

The expectations raised by the Obama campaign in 2008 were quite ambitious, even by political standards.  Campaign promises are an institution of our electoral system, while unfulfilled campaign promises are an institution of reality.  We expect our candidates to make grandiose proclamations, so they do.  The first Obama campaign took this strategy to a new level in that they made the promises and yet had a candidate that lacked not only the experience and abilities to fulfill them, but even effectively handle the much more mundane tasks of the office.  The type of dismal record he has amassed while in office would usually be a devastating blow to a reelection bid, but during this cycle it seems to have served as a possible salvation.  Some voters seem to be wary of giving Romney the same benefit of the doubt they gave Senator Obama; it seems that bridge has been burned or at least heavily damaged.  I believe this to be the second contributing factor, for in modern times never has a president had such lofty expectations thrust upon him and then fallen so very short.  Once bitten, twice shy causing many to feel more comfortable staying with the incompetence they know versus voting for the unknown.  Some simply do not want their hopes for a better future dashed again; the disappointment was rather severe last time around.

As both campaigns have stated over and over again, this is a watershed election.  This election will decide the type of nation we choose to be.  The two major party candidates are stark contrasts, one a self-made man and the other a self-made myth.  One a record of practical experience and tangible achievement, the other a startling lack of a record and accolades bestowed due to a baseless notion of greatness inevitable.  The leap of faith to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012 pales in comparison to the one it took to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.  Though no experience can fully prepare one to be President of the United States, nor guarantee they will be successful in the post, the Republican candidate’s resume is much more encouraging in this aspect than the one sworn in as President on January 20, 2009.  Let us not reward failure because we are too afraid to put the last mistake behind us and forge ahead in a new direction.

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