THUNDER BAY – It has been a long and tough campaign. President Obama is facing down the prospect of being a single term leader, if he loses the election. Likely if the President loses, there will be two factors. First that the lofty rhetoric that Obama presented in his winning campaign in 2008 set the bar so high that no one could have achieved those goals.
In June 2008, speaking in Minnesota, Obama said, “The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth”.
The President took office with an economy in a mess. On election night, four years ago, the President Elect stated, “This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can”.
That spirit of optimism was slowly blunted by partisanship, economic reality, and a mounting number of problems.
For the United States, there is the solid feeling that the nation is a very special place. General George S. Patton said, “Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American”.
That can be seen by many as arrogance, and by others as confidence. During this campaign, the promise has been measured by results. That is where Mitt Romney and the Republicans have mounted their challenge and made this such a tough campaign.
The second factor in this campaign has been one that has gained serious traction, especially with American veterans, and it might be a real factor in today’s vote. That factor is the September 11th attack on the United States Diplomatic Mission in Syria. The mission was attacked on September 11, 2012 and the Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans died.
The White House has not been fully forthcoming on the official response, and while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility, many Americans, especially veterans have been expressing grave concern over this incident.
Those two factors may well impact the vote today, and thereby impact the next four years in America and around the world.
Some have dubbed this a race between the ‘salesman’ and the ‘diplomat’. By the time the votes are all counted the world will see if Mitt Romney has closed the deal with American voters. History is on the side of the President if you go back in history, voters tend toward re-electing a president for a second term. In the past thirty years, President George Herbert Bush, President Jimmy Carter, were single term presidents. President Ford never was voted into office, serving after the resignations of Vice President Agnew and President Nixon. President Kennedy was assassinated during his first term, and President Johnson only ran for one term.
Politics are always interesting, and today’s U.S. election results are a clear demonstration of that fact. If you plan on waiting for the final results, it is likely critical to have a supply of coffee on hand, it promises to be a long night.