Faceoff Election 2012: Obama versus Romney—Who should be president?

Marty Rogachefsky, College Republican Representative

Why vote for Mitt Romney? He is generally scoffed at by liberals, taken like cough syrup by conservatives and seen as out-of-touch by independents. To moderate libertarians like me, he is a flip-flopping neocon that tries to appeal to everyone, and is accepted by no one as a result.

During a meeting of the Geneseo College Republicans early last year, an organization of which I am vice president, we drew straws to determine who would represent Romney in our mock primary debate. He is the universal “meh” candidate: the man who nobody wants to be associated with, but appears to be the next best alternative to the current president. The typical response a Republican gives to, “Why do you like Romney?” is, “He’s not Obama.”

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing an article supporting Mitt Romney when I’ve spent the first two paragraphs bashing him. To answer that question, let’s begin with a premise on which both candidates have agreed: This election represents a choice between two fundamentally different visions of where to take the economy. President Barack Obama’s vision has been made clear over the past four years: spend our way to prosperity.

Romney’s vision has been less clear but is becoming more coherent since choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate. The Romney-Ryan ticket has shown the largest commitment to cutting our deficit and national debt than any other candidate in recent history. Past presidents, Obama included, have maintained their voting base by doling out dollars to special interests and promising that entitlement programs will not be touched by stealing from the next generation and kicking our long-term problems down the road. As college students, we are the ones who are going to have to pay for the reckless spending of the past.

Romney and Ryan are not afraid to tell us that we need to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C. by making difficult decisions. The reason Romney has been so vague about his plan is because he knows it will be politically unpopular to make those cuts. No candidate can run a successful campaign by telling people that he is taking away their goodies. But no president can truly say they are committed to reducing the debt without making difficult cuts.

Let’s do a comparison: Obama has rejected the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and said that he wants to keep government spending at 22 percent of gross domestic product; Romney wants it to be at 20 percent, and it is currently at 23 percent.

Right now, the national debt is 63 percent of our GDP. Over the long term, Obama’s 2013 budget will allow the debt to skyrocket to a potential 76.5 percent by 2020 and 180.8 percent by 2080. These numbers come from his very own Office of Management and Budget. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future,” on the other hand projects a debt increase to 69 percent of GDP by 2020, stabilizing, and then reducing to zero by 2080.

Although Romney does not have nearly the same amount charisma or eloquence as his opponent, he is serious about the country’s fiscal needs and committed to reducing the deficit. When you go to the voting booth in November, you will be able to choose between the same failed fiscal policies of the past four years and policies that will lead to a future where we leave the next generation better off than we leave ourselves. The choice is yours.

Devin McConnell, College Democrats Representative

At the beginning of 2008, I was a proud and self-described cynic, convinced that America had once been great but was on an irreversible path toward social and economic entropy started long before I was born. But here I am, four years later, convinced that America – thanks to President Barack Obama – is back on the right path.

As I sit at the close of 2012 and reflect back over the past four years, I can’t believe the changes I have witnessed. I can’t help but think that my cynical self of a few years ago wouldn’t be able to believe the hope and pride I’m flushed with today for the future of our country, all thanks to the changes won by Obama.

At the top of the list is, of course, the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to this historic piece of legislation, all Americans are guaranteed the ability to obtain health insurance, regardless of their medical condition. In addition, middle-class families will finally have help paying medical bills when insurance tax credits go into effect in 2014.

Insurance companies will no longer be able to rescind policies when people get sick, nor will they be able to put yearly or lifetime limits on people’s insurance policies. Young people will be able to stay on their family’s health plans until they turn 26. Women won’t be charged higher premiums than men simply because of their gender. The Affordable Care Act will lead to an America where every citizen can have affordable and dependable health insurance.

The student loan system has also undergone major changes for the better. Under the old system, the federal government not only insured private lenders against any possible defaults but also paid them taxpayer money to do it. Under Obama’s reforms, the money that used to go to banks was put into the Pell Grant program and into lowering student loan interest rates.

Under the Obama administration, gay and lesbian Americans have finally seen more rights recognized. From federal protection against hate crimes, to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to hospital visitation rights, to having the first president in American history voice his support for same-sex marriage, the LGBTQ community has seen the greatest advancement of rights thanks to Obama.

While most of us thought this issue would be settled by the 21st century, Obama has acted time and time again to make sure women are treated equally. Not as despicable sluts, not as criminals, not as second-class citizens, but as what they truly are: half of the population. From equal pay for equal work to universal birth control coverage, Obama believes it’s more important to regulate banks then to regulate women’s bodies.

These policies are just a taste of the change that is all around us. From net neutrality to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and from reducing loose nuclear weapons around the world to reviving the American auto industry, you’ll find numerous ways the Obama administration has positively affected you and those you care about.

That’s what this election is about. Change is an unending process, and we need to make sure America continues to change for the better.