Lifelong Democrat Bryna Franklin, who has never voted for a Republican for president, explains why she’s voting for Mitt Romney
I am a former chairperson of Democrats Abroad Israel, and was an official delegate to the 1992 National Democratic Convention. In all of my 80 years, I have never before voted for a Republican for president. But this time around, I am not only proudly voting for Mitt Romney, but feel compelled to encourage others to do the same.
I grew up in a Reform Jewish family in Missouri, and came of age politically as a proud Democrat due to the inspiration of my native-son president, Harry Truman. I have been involved in Democratic Party politics for many years in both America and Israel, including serving as vice chairperson of the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee in Missouri.
It is precisely because of my belief in the longtime ideals of the Democratic Party that I feel the responsibility to speak out now.
Why? First, because we ask in each presidential cycle, “Are we better off now than we were four years ago?” This year, the answer is a resounding “NO!” But even more troubling, in so many ways, President Barack Obama has betrayed the ideals of the great Democratic Party. He is a poor successor to Truman’s legacy.
No Democratic president has ever been so fiscally irresponsible. President Clinton worked together with Congress to balance the budget and erase the deficit; President Obama has run trillion-dollar deficits every year, and we are now $6 trillion deeper in debt than when he was elected. Over 40 cents of every dollar we now spend is borrowed from China.
Future generations are being saddled with this burden.
Past Democratic administrations have records of high economic growth and high employment. Yet, under Obama, millions more Americans are without jobs than before he took office, and half of recent college graduates are unable to find work. Far too many of the jobs that Obama claims to have created or saved are in the public sector, and small businesses, the backbone of our economy, are hurting. Property values have not rebounded, and home foreclosures continue at a frightening pace.
On the international level, President Obama has proven himself to be a weak leader. Where has any of his diplomacy succeeded? Presidents Truman and Kennedy stood strong against the tyrannies of their time; President Obama bows down to the king of Saudi Arabia, and does not stand up to the president of Iran.
DEMOCRATS BELIEVE in furthering human rights and promoting liberty around the world. But Obama completely misreads the international scene. He called Syria’s Assad a “reformer,” yet has remained silent as Assad slaughters his own people. He abandoned president Hosni Mubarak to the Egyptian mobs. In addition, he allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to take control, not only threatening Israel but also terrorizing Egypt’s minorities.
Nowhere has President Obama failed to live up to Democratic ideals more than in his relationship with democratic Israel. From his creation of “daylight” between our countries to constant public criticism of Israeli policy – does Obama do this to any other country? – Obama has allowed severe deterioration of our special relationship just as Israel and the world face extreme danger.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S open hostility to Israel’s prime minister, and his insulting true feelings caught on an open microphone, indicate antipathy towards the citizens of Israel. Obama’s administration does not even maintain symbolic gestures: at the recent opening of the United Nations Assembly, the United States sat and listened to the address by the president of Iran, yet Ambassador Rice was absent during the entire presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This wasn’t lost on the leaders of Israel’s enemies.
Coming from Missouri, I take immense pride that President Truman had the courage, conviction and moral compass to recognize the nascent state of Israel. By comparison, President Obama has steered our relationship to an abysmal low.
In reviewing the above, I see no choice but to switch sides and cast my vote for the Republican candidate for President Mitt Romney, who better embodies our Democratic ideals. I ask you to join me.
The writer is the former chair of Democrats Abroad Israel and a lifelong Democrat. She is a Missouri native, and currently lives in Jerusalem.
Ten months ago this newspaper endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president. An overarching consideration was which of the party’s candidates could we see occupying the White House, and there was no question that Romney was qualified for the job.
Now, in the closing days of the general election campaign, the question is which of the two contenders deserves to be the next president of the United States.
Both President Barack Obama and Governor Romney are superbly qualified. Both are graduates of the Harvard University Law School who have distinguished themselves in government, in public service and in private life. Both are devoted husbands and fathers.
American voters are deeply divided about this race. The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands.
Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.
The former governor and business executive has a strong record of achievement in both the private and the public sectors. He was an accomplished governor in a liberal state. He founded and ran a successful business that turned around failing companies. He successfully managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority — and rightly so.
The nation has struggled to recover from recession for the past 40 months. Still, the economy is growing at an unacceptably anemic rate of around 2 percent a year and could slip back into recession depending on what happens in the European Union and China.
The workforce is still 4.5 million jobs short of the nearly 9 million that were lost in the recession. Longer term, looming deficits driven by Social Security and Medicare pose the single greatest threats to the nation’s economic security.
The president’s best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House.
The president’s prescription upon entering office was a dose of government stimulus, which was the right call because it put cash in the pockets of consumers, made investments in vital infrastructure and kept millions of teachers and police officers on the job.
That stimulus was necessary to bridge the nation from recession to recovery, but the time is past for more government stimulus.
Consumers must feel more confident about their own economic futures to begin spending on the products and services that power the economy. A renewed sense of confidence will spark renewed investment by American companies. Industry will return to full production and hiring will begin again.
That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House.
There is not a lot of difference between the two candidates’ short-term economic plans, as both are heavy on a promise of tax cuts for the middle class but short on details. Romney’s plan, however, goes beyond helping the middle class with tax breaks.
Throughout the campaign, he has expressed faith in the private sector to fuel a more robust economic recovery if it has more confidence that the federal government will not be an obstacle. Romney has a strategy for job growth through tax and regulatory relief for small businesses, encouraging all forms of domestic energy production, education that prepares graduates with job skills, expanding foreign trade and reducing the burden of federal deficits.
That formula, coupled with his business acumen, should unlock this nation’s economic potential.
One of the biggest obstacles either candidate faces is partisan gridlock in Congress. It appears unlikely either party will have enough votes to have its own way without bringing over members from across the aisle.
Early in his administration, President Obama reached out to Republicans but was rebuffed. Since then, he has abandoned the effort, and the partisan divide has hardened. That has hampered not only the economy, but the entire country. We remain a nation of red states and blue states.
Romney succeeded as governor in Massachusetts where he faced Democratic majorities in the legislature. If elected, he would have an opportunity to renew the effort. He would begin with an advantage in the House, where a Republican majority is likely to remain after the election. The challenge will be in the Senate, where it takes a super-majority to pass anything of substance.
Romney could be assured that Democrats would work to defeat him as hard as Republicans worked against Obama is if he were to adopt the reactionary agenda of the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. Romney had to tack to the right during the primary season. Since then, he has recalibrated his campaign to focus on his concern for the middle class, and that is believable if the real Mitt Romney is the one on display as governor of Massachusetts who passed a health care reform plan that became the model for the one passed by Congress.
Romney should not squander an opportunity to build consensus in Washington by wasting time on issues that animate many in his party. We cannot rewind the clock on progress for minorities, women, gays and lesbians. We must make it easier for immigrants to come here to live and work legally and stop making criminals of those who are living here lawfully, paying taxes and raising families. The federal government must continue to insist on clean air and water and encourage clean and renewable energy.
Barack Obama rocketed to the presidency from relative obscurity with a theme of hope and change. A different reality has marked his presidency. His record on the economy the past four years does not suggest he would lead in the direction the nation must go in the next four years.
Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America — with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed.
Here are the presidential candidates The Des Moines Register endorsed in each election in the past 100 years:
• 1912: William H. Taft (R) – lost
• 1916: Charles Hughes (R) – lost
• 1920: No endorsement
• 1924: No endorsement
• 1928: Herbert Hoover (R) – won
• 1932: Herbert Hoover (R) – lost
• 1936: Alf Landon (R) – lost
• 1940: Wendell Willkie (R) – lost
• 1944: Thomas E. Dewey (R) – lost
• 1948: Thomas E. Dewey (R) – lost
• 1952: Dwight Eisenhower (R) – won
• 1956: Dwight Eisenhower (R) – won
• 1960: Richard Nixon (R) – lost
• 1964: Lyndon B. Johnson (D) – won
• 1968: Hubert Humphrey (D) – lost
• 1972: Richard Nixon (R) – won
• 1976: Jimmy Carter (D) – won
• 1980: Jimmy Carter (D) – lost
• 1984: Walter Mondale (D) – lost
• 1988: Michael Dukakis (D) – lost
• 1992: Bill Clinton (D) – won
• 1996: Bill Clinton (D) – won
• 2000: Al Gore (D) – lost
• 2004: John Kerry (D) – lost
• 2008: Barack Obama (D) – won
New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin, a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, explains why he’s voting for Mitt Romney in 2012
Each time I mention that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I get a blast from some who didn’t. “How could you be so dumb?” is a typical response to my confession.
It is certainly a confession — of error. Obama fooled me once, but not twice. I’m voting for Mitt Romney Nov. 6th.
To understand why I’m switching, it helps to understand why I backed Obama four years ago. I am a Democrat, but vote as an independent. I see people, not parties, so Obama’s label played no role.
My choice involved a simple calculation. Would John McCain or Obama be more likely to forge a consensus on big issues? America was dangerously polarized, and unable to act in ways that even 60 percent of the public could support. History shows that paralysis leads to disaster.
The war on terror was falling out of favor, despite the continuing threat. Good ideas were getting thrown out with the bad and Republicans had squandered the chance to govern.
When the financial crisis hit, McCain stumbled. He wanted to postpone a debate and rushed back to Washington — but had nothing to say or do. Obama kept silent and followed the lead of congressional Democrats. While not exactly great statesmanship, he at least looked steady.
McCain, a genuine American hero, often revealed his maverick streak, his choice of Sarah Palin being Exhibit A. Despite doubts about her readiness, I found myself defending her against the vicious attacks from the left, especially by women.
McCain was my real problem. Mavericks make good whistleblowers and lousy CEOs. Upsetting the apple cart is not a qualification for the Oval Office.
Obama’s soaring rhetoric enticed me at first, and I agreed that a restoration of the Clinton presidency would be a bad idea. Still, I got a jolt of Messiah Alert when he said his rise marked the moment “when the planet began to heal.”
Where he totally fooled me was his claim to be a pragmatist, not an ideologue. He spoke of uniting the country and I believed he was capable and sincere. That he won 70 million votes and more than two-thirds of the Electoral College spoke to his appeal.
He failed as president because he is incompetent, dishonest and not interested in the actual work of governing. His statist policies helped consign millions of Americans to a lower standard of living and his odious class warfare further divided the nation. He had no intention of uniting the country — it was his Big Lie.
I don’t hate him. But I sure as hell don’t trust him.
As for the desperate charge that opposition to Obama makes me a racist, let me note that he was black when I voted for him.
Which brings us to Romney. A year ago, I thought he might be acceptable, maybe the only one in the GOP field. Now I see him as much more than acceptable.
During the long slog, Romney revealed qualities that could make him a very good president. There is not a hint of scandal in his life or career, and his economic policies could spark real growth in jobs, not in food stamps.
He keenly recognizes the danger of the growing debt. With Paul Ryan, he chose a youthful, smart No. 2 who possesses deep knowledge of the budget mess and yet an optimistic view of America’s future.
On the foreign stage, Romney is a novice, but his instincts about American power are right and his remarks in the last debate about Obama’s apology tour were a defining difference. It is impossible to imagine Romney going abroad to criticize his country, or lying about the murder of an ambassador. The challenger is right when he says Obama has made the nation less safe.
Romney is no “movement conservative,” but is moderate and prudent in the everyday ways of most Americans. As he proved in Massachusetts, he can work with Democrats to get things done.
As for being a Mormon, to hold that against Romney is pure bigotry. His election would knock down one more barrier to equality of opportunity.
Finally, there is temperament. Romney’s firm, steady demeanor during Obama’s rancid attempts at character assassination demonstrates the presidential character lacking in the incumbent. That’s the change I want for my country.