You learned that the nation added 171,000 jobs last month, many of them in
areas such as construction that are significant to overall improvement in the
economy. It's the 25th straight month of job gains under President Obama, and
a sure sign that recovery is slowly but steadily underway.
You were reminded that when a disaster like Hurricane Sandy strikes, millions
of Americans depend on a swift response from the federal government. In a debate
over a year ago -- yes, the campaign has dragged on that long -- Mitt Romney
said that FEMA's disaster relief responsibilities should be turned over to the
states and, "even better," the private sector. It didn't seem too important
when Romney said it in 2011, but it became profound when Sandy hit. In the last
week you saw again that candidate Romney is willing to change positions to fit
the moment, now saying "FEMA plays a key role."
You heard New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg declare that he is voting
for President Obama -- an endorsement that the Romney campaign had hoped to secure.
Bloomberg said Sandy was the tipping point for him, because elected officials
must acknowledge the scientific reality of climate change. But he also cited
women’s rights and same-sex marriage rights as keys to his vote for Obama.
You saw New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a staunch Romney supporter, praise
the president for his efforts during the storm. Moreover, Christie and Obama
provided a clear example of how elected officials can dismiss partisan politics
when conditions demand that they find ways to work together.
You listened as one of the nation's most respected Republicans, Gen. Colin
Powell, carefully outlined why he is voting for President Obama. Powell said
he has seen "the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of
a second war and did not get us into any new wars." He added, "I think
the actions he's taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been
very solid. And so I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on."
Significantly, Powell said he still considers himself a Republican, but believes
that moderate Republicans are becoming a "dying breed, I'm sorry to say."
If you live in Ohio, perhaps the hottest of the battleground states where
Tuesday's election will be decided, two key editorials caught your attention.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote: "Ohio in particular has benefited from
(Obama's) bold decision to revive the domestic auto industry. Because of his
determination to fulfill a decades-old dream of Democrats, 30 million more Americans
will soon have health insurance."
And you read in the Akron Beacon Journal: "What is telling about a presidency
is its tilt, its direction, spirit and priorities. Thus, to those who argue the
president lacks a plan for a second term: Look at the foundation that has been
set. He has used the levers of government to bolster the economy, investing in
education, innovation and health care, understanding the essential role of the
public sector in competitiveness."
By next Wednesday it’s likely that some pundits and politicians will
begin talking about candidates for 2016, and the 24/7 process of picking a president
will start all over again. But if you spend only a week or so every four years
studying the matter, the last few days provided all you need to make a responsible
(c) Peter Funt. This column was originally distributed by the Cagle Syndicate.