- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barack Obama’s closing argument for his re-election requires a declaration of faith. “I believe in you,” he told a crowd of supporters Wednesday. “I need you to keep believing in me.” Regrettably, four years of failure leave precious little to believe in.

Mr. Obama’s economic record has been about as bad as it could possibly be. In his first budget proposal, he promised the economy would be growing at a brisk 6.3 percent by 2012. Instead, it’s limping along at just over 1 percent. He promised that the federal deficit would be carved down to $581 billion. Instead, it has ballooned beyond $1 trillion. In 2009, he promised that if his budget-busting stimulus plan were passed, unemployment would be around 5.5 percent by now. Instead, the official rate is nearly 8 percent. Poverty has increased; the number of long-term unemployed has increased; there are millions more discouraged workers; food stamp use has surged; gas prices are up and family incomes are down. A second term would be no different.

Mr. Obama has not shown mastery of the high office he has attained. He enjoys its perks — lavishly — but eschews the hard work that goes with the job. He pursued a one-dimensional presidency based on the flawed assumption that his personal charisma would be enough to bring about the change he sought. Charisma is fleeting, but the problems are enduring. Mr. Obama was out of his depth, with nothing to fall back on but blaming others for his failures.

The future would simply be more of the same in a second term. Mr. Obama’s slogan is “Forward,” but he does not know where he is going. There are many options for moving the country ahead, but Mr. Obama knows only one way: an overweening, blind faith in government as the solution to all the nation’s problems. Mr. Obama speaks of “economic patriotism,” but he is talking about neither sound economics nor anything patriotic.

The next four years will require someone skilled in the art of the deal. The incoming Congress will almost certainly be Republican in one or two houses. Under any likely election scenario, the Senate minority is going to be large enough to block all progress in the absence of presidential leadership. Mr. Obama has never been very good at bipartisanship, despite his statements to the contrary. He showed that in 2009 when Republicans attempted to offer input on the near-$1 trillion stimulus plan. Mr. Obama gave them a curt two-word dismissal: “I won.” At a time when a more magnanimous leader would offer a conciliatory gesture, Mr. Obama chose a display of arrogance. Since then, whenever he has been presented with the opportunity to reach out his hand, he has presented a clenched fist. He has offered no compromises, choosing instead to find devious means of circumventing Congress and imposing his will by fiat. America does not need another term of gridlock, but re-electing Mr. Obama will guarantee it.

The American people have no obligation to devote another four years of their lives to a man who has failed them. The country deserves better. By all means, America must move forward, but the country will not get there with Mr. Obama. Believe it.

The Washington Times