Chase Woodruff | dissociativepress.com
In little more than a week, Americans will vote in what is being called — yet again and (probably) accurately — the most important presidential election in our lifetimes. The choice is stark. The basic argument for President Obama’s reelection holds that a four-year term has not been enough to undo the unprecedented fiscal and economic damage done by or during the previous administration, that the country is on a path to recovery, and that a reversion to the same policies that caused or enabled the Great Recession in the first place would be a mistake. The argument for Mitt Romney is, chiefly, that the president is a failure, that he has aggravated the unemployment crisis, besieged businesses with higher taxes, and spent the country further into debt, and that things would only get worse in his second term.
I’m writing this to offer both an endorsement of the former argument and an aggressive, unqualified rejection of the latter. The image of the Obama presidency as some sort of historic calamity is, if not pure fiction — Romney and his campaign have, for reasons noble or otherwise, broken from those on the lunatic fringe of their party who talk of death panels and U.N. conspiracies — then a gross distortion of reality authored by partisan doctrinaires and propagated by an insular but powerful faction of ideological media typified by Fox News and the Drudge Report. It relies almost without exception on cherry-picked data, omissions of fact, biases, innuendos, and, perhaps above all, simple mendacity.
It would of course be impossible to litigate each and every charge leveled against President Obama over the course of the campaign. But on the core issues that should define and decide this election — jobs, the debt, spending, and taxes — the conservative rhetoric upon which Romney has based his campaign is so astoundingly incoherent that it’s actually rather easily refuted. The four charts I’ve included below reflect both the president’s success in addressing the complex set of challenges we’ve faced as a nation over the last four years and the abject inadequacy of the solutions put forth by Romney and the Republicans going forward.