The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1:12 p.m.

Editorial: Obama the choice to lead U.S. into future

As voters, we know there is a fine line between a candidate who is the “lesser of two evils” and one who has simply made some questionable policy choices but who has ultimately been a genuine force for good. This Tuesday when — not if, but when — you hit the polls, we urge you to vote to reelect President Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney has failed to show a principled approach to any issue, domestic or foreign, and seems to struggle with his conflicting endeavors to tell people what they want to hear and to blindly uphold the ultraconservative values of the Republican Party. President Obama has managed to make some mistakes during his tenure so far: for example, target killings of American citizens allegedly associated with terrorism, and failure to close Guantanamo Bay. But much of the change that Barack Obama promised, he has delivered in spades.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act has achieved the most sweeping health care reforms since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. This legislation allows individuals under age 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies — this is a big one for young adults trying to cope with college expenses. His actions have reduced drug costs for people on Medicare, and provided preventive care such as free immunizations, mammograms and contraceptives. Because of President Obama, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, seizure disorders or mental illnesses. In fact, as of 2014, health insurance companies must accept all applicants.

When the president took office, the economy was in a sad state of affairs. Trying to turn around an economy the size of the United States is like trying to change the direction of a heavy revolving door — it’s a gradual, painfully slow process, and you take great caution not to be overzealous with your movements. Growth since Obama took office has been slow, but it has been and continues to be positive. The president’s $840 billion stimulus bill has continued to inject funds into the economy. It created and saved 2.5 million jobs, controlled the rate of unemployment.

Under President Obama, Congress has actually passed tax write-offs for new business equipment, and temporary tax cuts for hiring the unemployed, both stimuli geared toward the benefit of small businesses. Also at Obama’s direction, Congress established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and tightened regulations on banks and other lending institutions, to reform the circumstances that put us into the mess we found ourselves in by mid-2000. Despite the common misconception to the contrary, he has in fact reduced the budget deficit by nearly $300 billion since he took office.

Including but not limited to the killing of Osama bin Laden, the president has aggressively attacked the leadership of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. He said he would take us out of Iraq; he did. He said he would set a withdrawal date for our forces from Afghanistan; he has. He is working to help resolve the civil war in Syria. He has worked to balance the very difficult task of being strong but diplomatic — forceful without resorting to force — and these efforts have been largely successful. Our reputation internationally has finally begun to recover from the “cowboy” reputation that George W. Bush built for us during his eight years in office.

In the areas of Supreme Court appointments and civil rights, Obama has truly shone. He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act into law. The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule has been repealed. The U.S. Department of Justice has stopped enforcing DOMA against constitutional challenges. Unlike Romney, Obama has had the courage to affirm his support of same-sex marriage, an act that required extraordinary political courage.

Obama has been a force for the furtherance of most goals and ideals shared by college students and other members of our generation. His advocacy for tolerance and social justice and his sympathy for the financial struggles that plague so many Americans to different degrees, make him not only the better man for the job but one actively deserving of the vote you have the power to cast.