As interesting as the Orlando Sentinel’s choosing to endorse Mitt Romney is, what the editorial actually says is more so. It is fair, but fair is brutal. As Shakespeare put it, “I must be cruel only to be kind. Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.”
On the economy:
If that were the only metric that mattered, the president might credibly argue that the U.S. economy was finally on the right track. Unfortunately for him, and for the American people, he can’t.
On the next four years:
We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.
Obama’s defenders would argue that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and would have made more progress if not for obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But Democrats held strong majorities in the House and Senate during his first two years.
Other presidents have succeeded even with the other party controlling Capitol Hill. Democrat Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom and balanced the budget working with Republicans. Leaders find a way.
On that leadership:
The next president is likely to be dealing with a Congress where at least one, if not both, chambers are controlled by Republicans. It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years.
Two years ago, a bipartisan panel the president appointed recommended a 10-year, $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. Rather than embrace it and sell it to the American people, Obama took his own, less ambitious plan to Congress, where it was largely ignored by both parties.
Now the president and his supporters are attacking Romney because his long-term budget blueprint calls for money-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, three of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. Obama would be more credible in critiquing the proposal if he had a serious alternative for bringing entitlement spending under control. He doesn’t.
The endorsement concludes that, “after reflecting on his four years in the White House, we also don’t think that [Obama’s] the best qualified candidate in this race. We endorse Mitt Romney for president.”
In 2008, the paper endorsed Obama. In 2004, it put its weight behind John Kerry. Prior to that it endorsed George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and George H. W. Bush.