Who would have thought, three months ago, that next week’s presidential election would be so tight? Incumbent Barack Obama was clearly leading the polls, with Republican Mitt Romney having to realign after a nasty and prolonged primary season.
Today the picture looks different. Most polls are neck and neck, with either Romney or Obama leading only in the margin of error. The Jewish vote, traditionally Democrat, is still largely with Obama, but a growing — and vocal — minority, are backing Romney. Most of them say it is because of Romney’s foreign policy positions, specifically on Israel.
The country is divided. Whoever wins will have, among other problems, to deal with unifying the country. Unfortunately from past experience we’ve seen how difficult a task that is. Both of our last two presidents have faced a similar challenge, and neither has succeeded in meeting it. Should Obama win on Tuesday, he’ll have a second chance to prove that he is indeed capable of unifying America.
Mitt Romney, as the former governor of Massachusetts, a very Democrat state, has shown he is able to collaborate successfully to bring prosperity to a state as a whole; whether that’s all in the past, or he can apply the same strategies and principles he used then to the nation now, well, he may get a chance to show us come Tuesday.
There’s not denying that Obama’s victory in 2008 was monumental; however the follow-up to the historic win has been less spectacular. Our economy, while in some areas slowly recovering, is sluggish at best. America’s reputation globally has not improved. Obama’s strategy of reaching out to the Muslim world as one of the first international acts of his presidency has failed miserably, as evidenced by the Islamization of the Arab Spring and the tragic murders in Benghazi. Obama’s message failed to deliver.
Contrary to popular opinion of 2008, it turns out that the simple fact of not being George W. Bush isn’t enough to make a successful presidency.
Some people are disappointed. Some accept that Obama faced a monumental task that could never be fulfilled in a mere four years. Many of these people are hopeful, and believe that Obama can achieve his goals if re-elected. Still others fear Obama’s worldview, and are concerned for America’s long-term future. For those, America in in the Last Chance Saloon, and Mitt Romney is the final hope.
If you’re still undecided, or looking for some last-minute guidance, check out our guides, published in this week’s IJN and online, to the candidates’ positions on issues that affect the Jewish community:
Once you’re decided, vote in our online poll; we’ll be posting the results here on the blog on Monday, for some really last-minute analysis.
Whatever your final choice is, make sure to vote on Tuesday. As we wrote in our editorial this week, at the IJN we don’t endorse candidates or encourage our readers to vote in a certain direction. But we do encourage all our readers — both on and offline — to participate in “the wonderful system known as democracy.”