- - Monday, November 5, 2012

With just hours to go before the polls close on this historic election season, the candidates and their campaigns have made their closing arguments. Voters will soon render their verdict, and the choice seems starker than at any point in this race.

Mitt Romney has offered America a path to a better future and a detailed, specific “Plan for a Stronger Middle Class.” His policies would create 12 million new jobs and increase take-home pay. They would restore fiscal sanity to the nation’s capital and opportunity to an economy that has lacked it for four long years.

Mr. Romney has been big and bold. President Obama has been small and petty. In his attempt to remain president, he has diminished the presidency.

When Mr. Romney offered solutions to tackle our greatest challenges, Mr. Obama defended Big Bird. When Mr. Romney offered a positive vision, Mr. Obama resorted to negative attacks. While Mr. Romney looks to the future, Mr. Obama desperately wraps himself in the mantle of Bill Clinton. Nothing says “forward” quite like nostalgia for the ‘90s.

Mr. Obama has not earned re-election. We cannot afford four more years like the past four. With no new ideas, nothing would be different in a second term.

America needs a new direction, but Mr. Obama refuses to accept responsibility for his failures and has displayed a shocking unwillingness to change course. As a result, our debt has increased by more than $5.6 trillion. He did not cut the deficit in half as he vowed — he exploded it. High unemployment has become a chronic condition as Mr. Obama’s policies have blocked the recovery he promised.

Harry Truman once observed, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods in which there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

Mr. Obama made history with his election. He didn’t make history with his presidency. There was no progress. His tenure could be described as stasis at best. He was not and is not capable of the “courageous, skillful” leadership Truman prescribed and America needs.

In his career, Mr. Romney has proved himself a true problem-solver — in business, at the Olympics and in Massachusetts. Even when he faced an 85 percent Democratic legislature in the Bay State, he balanced the budget, cut taxes and reduced unemployment. He worked across party lines, and he will do the same in Washington to bring an end to partisan gridlock.

I’ve had the amazing opportunity as Republican National Committee chairman to travel the country these past two years. In each state, without exception, I’ve met Americans who want nothing more than real leadership from their president. They’re tired of the gamesmanship and hyperpartisan politics of this administration, for which photo-ops and well-crafted narratives take precedence over common-sense solutions.

Indeed, what does it say about the president’s leadership that the most pressing problems we face today are the very problems he was elected to solve? Four years later, we’re not better off. We’re sitting at the edge of a fiscal cliff, about to fall into an entirely predictable crisis in the absence of presidential leadership.

Recognizing the need for a new direction, more than 150,000 volunteers joined the Republican cause this election season, making phone calls and knocking on doors to get out the vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket. Republican volunteers will have made more than 55 million voter contacts when all is said and done. We thank them for their work. A campaign is only as strong as the dedicated individuals who support it.

But there’s still work to be done, even now: Voters need to be contacted and urged to vote. If you have time, find a Romney Victory Center and help us in our final get-out-the-vote push. Talk to your friends and family and the Romney supporters you know to make sure they cast their ballots. The polls tell us the election will be incredibly close. We cannot take any chances.

America needs a proven leader with a plan — one who thinks big and can bring all parties together. There’s only one such man in this race, and it’s Mitt Romney. Case closed.

Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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