NAPOLITANO: Election 2012: A failure and a disappointment

System fixed with Obama or Romney

President Obama is a failure as a president, and Gov. Romney has been a disappointing candidate.

When he took office, Mr. Obama told the press that if he couldn’t cure the economic mess he inherited from President George W. Bush in four years, he wouldn’t deserve a second term. I guess he didn’t anticipate making the mess worse.

When he took office, the federal government owed $11 trillion to its creditors; today it owes $16 trillion. When he took office, gasoline was running about $1.85 a gallon; today it costs about $3.85 a gallon. This is price inflation that he directly caused by flooding the markets with cash, and that directly harms the middle class and the poor. Unemployment has remained north of 8 percent throughout his presidency for those still looking for a job, and about 16 percent if you count all able-bodied out-of-work adults, half of whom have stopped looking for work on his watch.

He supported radical fanatics in their takeovers of the governments of Libya and Egypt, even going so far as to help them kill Col. Gadhafi, the former Libyan strongman who was once our ally. In the process, they opened jails in Libya, and out came some of the same folks the U.S. government has been fighting against in the Middle East since 2001. Mr. Obama pushed from power Hosni Mubarak, the strongman in Cairo, and he was replaced by the head of a criminal organization that Mr. Obama’s own State Department has prohibited Americans from engaging with. (Query: If the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, how can the government help a foreign group and at the same time prohibit Americans from doing the same?)

In his lust to build a new world order in the Middle East, a goal for which he roundly criticized President George W. Bush, Mr. Obama has unilaterally, unconstitutionally and unlawfully killed Americans there. He killed Osama bin Laden when he could have captured him, and he let a mob kill our ambassador to Libya when he could have protected him — all to justify a value-free foreign policy that has no lasting friends or enemies, just fleeting interests. He has killed thousands in foreign lands in secret, using drones that will soon find their way here and come back to haunt him.

Perhaps the next month will prove me wrong on Mr. Romney, but so far he is putting the electorate to sleep. I believe him when he claims to favor free market approaches to the nation’s economic ills, but I don’t believe him when he rails against big government and central economic planning, because his record belies his words. He is, of course, the father of the individual mandate — a totalitarian giant leap forward for the welfare state. He has stated that if elected and re-elected, he will borrow money every year he is in office until the last.

When he was interviewed with the president on “60 Minutes” last week, I purposely did not watch or listen to the show. The next morning, I read the transcript of the interview and thought many of Mr. Romney’s answers were articulate and rational. Then I watched the same interview on tape and was bored nearly to death. Mr. Romney cannot put a fire in people’s bellies. The only reason he gives for voting for him is that he is not Mr. Obama — a reason that appeals to just under half the country, but is not enough to seal the deal. He needs to recognize that his audience for victory is not his former neighbors in Boston, but Joe Sixpack in the heartland.

He supports all of Mr. Obama’s killings in the Middle East, but claims he wants to control events there with a more muscular foreign policy. He cannot justify that view, along with the fact that it has failed and put us close to bankruptcy, to an electorate weary of wars. He rips into Mr. Obama’s borrowing, but overlooks his running mate’s voting record in Congress, which authorized all of it. At first he vowed to repeal Obamacare saying it is unconstitutional, and then he said he wants to keep the parts he likes, even if they are unconstitutional.

Can anyone get excited about Mr. Romney? Aside from a capitalistic attitude about the economy — as opposed to the president’s love of central economic planning — does anyone know what views he will embrace on Inauguration Day? Do you know anyone just aching to vote for him, the way conservatives were for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and progressives were for Mr. Obama in 2008? I do not know of such a person.

What do we do? The president’s countless failures have made all of us the worse for them. Gov. Romney’s failures will give us four more years of Mr. Obama. Who says the system is not fixed?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He is author of “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2011).

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