In 2008, then-Senator Barak Obama ran as a self-proclaimed candidate of change. A mantra of ‘hope’ and promise of fresh leadership in Washington was understandably appealing for voters hungry for a new direction. His inspiring words gave Americans reason to believe that a new political era was about to emerge based on sober analysis and mutual cooperation.
Sadly, the change never came. Out of the gate, Mr. Obama approved a stimulus bill written by Congressional Democratic leaders that lacked coherent focus and bipartisan support. He then signed into law a massive healthcare reform cobbled together behind closed doors that was ironically named the ‘Affordable Care Act’. His attempt to mend foreign relationships has strained our dealings with Russia, Poland and Israel. All the while, his administration takes credit for new domestic oil production and free trade agreements he played no part in brokering.
With the fall election season in full swing, our president, who is leader of his party, is now asking for more likeminded allies in Congress, and another term based entirely on uninspiring tweak of the status quo. Whether it is the economy, our debt and deficit, entitlement reform, tax and immigration reform, energy, or the role of the federal government, the president has failed to offer fresh thinking or a positive vision for the future. Even the ordinarily supportive Washington Post labeled his second term agenda plan as ‘hazy’.
Compare this disappointment to his Republican opponents Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. With a five-point plan in hand and a record of governing, working across party lines and solving problems, the two share a commitment to address our most serious problems.
The heart of their campaign is focused squarely on the current fiscal crisis with which we are faced. They are aware that without swift, decisive action, our country will face continued economic malaise and a catastrophic end to our most precious social safety-net programs.
To support the Romney/Ryan reform agenda, a host of exciting candidates and lawmakers are ready, willing and able to make the changes that are needed.
In the Senate, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and candidate Josh Mandel (R-Ohio) are committed to bringing a renewed sense of purpose to a do-nothing chamber that has not been able to bring a budget to the floor in more than three years.
Principled legislators and candidates in the House such as Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), and Mia Love (R-Utah) understand the hard choices our country faces and are willing to voice the truth to their constituents about the tough decisions that need to be made.
In state capitals across the country, a charismatic group of governors are implementing the kind of commonsense reforms needed to promote a turnaround and positively impact local economies. States that have embraced true reform are beginning to balance their budgets and see the unemployed rejoin the workforce – think Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
A nationwide recovery requires the implementation of a pro-growth agenda led by leaders who understand that even though government cannot create wealth, it can impede its creation. It also requires leaders who have a history of accomplishment, are willing to level with the American people, and can make difficult decisions.
Former Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo from New York famously said that candidates for public office should ‘campaign in poetry but govern in prose’. The Obama administration understood the first part of this dictum, but failed on the second. We still have the ability to realize a better future, but first, we need serious candidates who embrace change and eschew rhetoric in favor of action.
Keelen is founder and president of the Keelen Group, a full service lobbying firm located in Washington D.C. DeFlaviis serves as the organization’s account manager and communications director.