Hard-headed economic stewardship is nationís foremost need.
BY THE TIME itís all over next week those in the know think total political spending for the White House and Congress will be somewhere in the range of $6 billion. Just under half that is expected to be spent on the presidential race.
That kind of money isnít being burned through just to decide who gets to be manager-in-chief the next four years. The big money is being shelled out to determine who gets to call the shots on what kind of country America will be, to set the compass toward that direction and to guarantee the check-writers can expect a return on their investment.
Most of that cash goes into television advertisements, boatloads spent by the candidates themselves but even more directed by shadowy groups with little transparency or accountability for the messages they portray. And what have we learned from this nonstop barrage of political ads and attacks?
PRESIDENT OBAMA is a socialist. Worse, he may not even be an American. And he could be a Muslim. He wants to confiscate all the wealth. And the guns, too. In the name of fairness, he wants to take everything from hard-working Americans and just hand it off to lazy freeloaders. Heís intentionally bankrupting America, because he hates it. If he gets four more years the United States may not even exist anymore.
Mitt Romneyís real name is Thurston Howell Romney III. Heís in bed with the plutocrats, because he is one of them, what with his untold wealth stashed (probably illegally) in the Caymans and Swiss bank accounts. He gleefully destroyed companies and threw thousands of workers destitute into the streets when he ran Bain Capital. He has no core beliefs and flip-flops to suit every audience. And did we mention he hates women and autoworkers?
The simple-minded excesses by the campaigns and their supporters has been astonishing. The marketing wings of the campaigns and the parties ó not to mention the sheer mean-spiritedness of those ďindependentsĒ ó make all Americans feel as if they need a very soapy shower.
Seriously. Is this any way to pick the leader of the Free World?
LETíS TRY TO set the record straight. Obama and Romney are, yes, flawed men ó like all human beings are flawed. But they are both good, decent men. They are smart and successful. They love their families and they love America. They both want to do the right thing for their fellow citizens.
And thatís where the rubber meets the road in this campaign. Defining ďthe right thing.Ē
In our view, neither candidate has the corner on what the right thing is ó a common-sense conclusion most people can easily understand. The notion that one person or party is 100% right and the other 100% wrong ó every day, on every issue ó is patently ridiculous. No matter who wins on Tuesday America will not truly get moving toward solving its problems unless both sides stand down from war footing and find a way to work together for the common good.
Somebody has to get the most votes, though, and we favor the Romney-Ryan ticket.
JANESVILLEíS PAUL RYAN is the main reason. In fact, we think the Republican ticket would be stronger if the order were reversed, with Ryan on top.
Thatís not because he has all the answers, either, but rather because he has been the most courageous and serious political figure in the country the past few years. Ryan has been a big thinker, proposing bold blueprints to right the ship of state. In the past, neither political party wanted to go bold first, to lay out a detailed plan for the future, because that just became a target of opportunity for the opposition. Ryan recognized nothing gets done that way, except endless political gamesmanship.
So he put a plan out there, a very detailed plan. And, yes, he has been Target Number One for Democrats ever since. But Ryan just keeps talking about the problems, potential solutions, the consequences of inaction, needling the opposition to stand up their own plan so serious negotiations can begin. So far it hasnít worked. The response has been old-fashioned partisan demagoguery.
Will that ever change? All of us had better hope so.
RE-ELECTING OBAMA likely would produce four more years that look a lot like the last four ó and that hasnít been a very good time. Itís not as if Obama failed to get anything right. Osama bin Laden is dead and Obama deserves credit for that, and for working to get our American troops out of wars. The auto industry didnít disappear and thatís a good thing. Obama seems to be leading a competent response to superstorm Sandy.
But the economy remains a mess and millions and millions of people are unemployed or under-employed, with a lot of trepidation in the country over 2013 and beyond. Deficits and debt are beyond alarming. Obamaís financial plans ó known as budgets, in a more productive time ó have been so bad his own party members in Congress wonít vote for them. The darkest cloud hanging over the nation is that too many people have started to believe Americaís best days are behind her.
We wonít suggest Romneyís election is a magic pill that fixes everything. We will say the primary strength of the Romney-Ryan ticket is economic savvy, a commodity sorely needed in this era of diminished hopes and nagging anxieties. America needs a turnaround agent. Romney and his running mate Ryan are better suited to that job.
The Beloit Daily News endorses Mitt Romney for president and Paul Ryan for vice president.