(This editorial appeared in the October 24, 2012 issue of the Irish Voice Newspaper)
Four years ago American international standing received an enormous boost when Barack Obama was elected president.
There is simply no other country on Earth where it could happen that the African American son of a teenage mother who barely knew his father and had every reason to end up a failure becomes the first black president.
Overnight the image of America was transformed internationally after the miserable years of the Bush reign when wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a cowboy mentality towards the rest of the world had created a fierce anti-Americanism.
The last four years could not be more different, with America acknowledged again across the world as the international leader, taking the initiative in major international crises such as Iran and Libya and restoring the good name of this country.
Obama has strode manfully on that world stage and won respect and admiration for his nuanced, serious and inclusive view of how best to use American power.
He has kept America safe, killed Osama bin Laden, decimated much of the Al-Qaeda power structure and projected an air of competence and authority in his international dealings.
Domestically Obama has tried to soften the blow of the worst recession since the thirties which he inherited from his predecessor. There seems little doubt that inch by inch, slowly America is coming back.
It hardly seems the ideal time to switch horses for the United States, especially as Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney has shifted shapes so dramatically in the past month or so that the real GOP candidate remains something of a mystery.
Is he the moderate governor of Massachusetts, or the right wing acolyte we saw in the Republican primaries?
Is he the creature of a right-wing America-first bellicose foreign policy like George W. Bush, or is he the kinder gentler character who emerged in the final presidential debate?
One hopes it is the former in both cases, but it is hardly the most convincing of arguments for electing him. Romney appears to understand that shifting to the center is where the election can be won, but his sharp departure from previous positions is surely a cause for concern.
The voters who know Romney best, those in Massachusetts, will hand Obama a 20 or so wining point margin in the election. That surely says something about his long-term impact on a state that he claims he successfully governed, and the voters who had four years to rate him.
Why at this critical time should America take a chance on a politician who has failed to forge a clear identity and persona at a time when clear leadership is desperately needed?
Obama seems the far safer choice for these troubled times, a man who has learned many hard lessons during his first four years in power and now seems ready to take on a second term with far more knowledge and insight for the job than he had when he first took over.
Running for president of the United States is a difficult, fraught and often times vexing prospect, with the race seemingly starting earlier every election cycle.
Be that as it may, we have a clear choice between the two contenders who have made it to Election Day.
Barack Obama represents a far better, safer and more credible choice than Mitt Romney.
We are proud to endorse him.