Election 2012 | President
After two years of speeches, forums, debates, press releases, testimonials and attack ads, the presidential election yields something clear and concise.
This really is all about the economy.
Given Democratic President Barack Obama's attempts over the past four years to improve it, and Republican nominee Mitt Romney's credentials as an astute businessman who understands how money works, our endorsement goes to Romney.
This time four years ago, this newspaper's editorial board sized up the state of the economy and other issues and concluded the country needed a change, to Obama.
While we believe the national economy is on the way back, we believe it will take another administration change, to Romney, to bring the leadership that will make that recovery timely, robust and sustainable.
Our own community has a clear-cut stake in all of this. New home construction and sales — the bedrock of the economy in our region as well as Florida as a whole — was one of the first industries to go into the abyss. We believe Southwest Florida and the rest of the state can lead the way out of this recession, especially with Romney and new economic advisers who are battle-tested in business at the helm.
We believe Romney knows what it means for government to make it easier for business to do business, and that is where the comeback ought to start.
We believe a Romney administration will move instinctively toward spending and taxation policies that will free up money for investment and economic diversification — and jobs.
A Romney administration would be well advised to avoid the distractions and divisiveness that often come with social issues. Those can wait.
At the same time, we call on Romney, moving forward, to make sure health care coverage remains accessible to all, as he did as governor of Massachusetts; that energy independence and diversity means more than drill, baby, drill; and Everglades restoration remains on track.
President Obama did as well as he could against tall odds, with some Republican leaders and media voices vowing from his inauguration to make sure he does not have another swearing-in ceremony. Still, despite those strident messages — which at times subjected him to more and wilder conspiracy theories than any public figure in history — a better leader could have made more progress on reducing the deficit and a health-care plan that enjoyed bipartisan buy-in.
President Bill Clinton did it in 1994 after a convincing Republican "Contract with America'' sweep. Obama failed to attempt the same reality-driven statesmanship following the midterm 2010 GOP sweep.
The Obama presidency can claim its share of positives, including the killing of Osama bin Laden and the passage of the economic stimulus, without which our economy would have totally cratered. Yet, that stimulus, and two wars, did not come cheaply. We have more confidence in Romney to lead us out of the hole and avoid the fiscal cliff that awaits us.
So do investors, boards of directors and CEOs, which brings us back to the economy.Do you wonder or do you know something different will happen in the next four years? With enough votes, we know something different will happen in the next four years with a Romney administration.
Some of the warnings about Obama's lack of legislative and leadership skills have come true over the past four years. It is not worth risking the state of our economy for the next four years to see whether his learning curve really is behind him.
We have more confidence in Romney being able to build upon the economy as far as the Obama administration has been able to resuscitate it.
Despite all the conflicting messages about the candidates being weak on terrorism or uncaring toward Americans, ambassadors or allies in need — none of which we believe to be true — this campaign comes to a finale on getting the private sector back to what it does best.
Reinventing science and medicine.
Our community can be out front of all of that.
Our state can be out front of all of that.
We believe Mitt Romney is the candidate for president of the United States to do what we have to do.