America is at a crossroads, and this election will decide whether the American government will take control its budget, create the opportunities for job creation and growth, and constructively reengage with the world, by electing Gov. Mitt Romney, or whether we will plunge into permanent decline, economic stagnation, and continued international crisis with Barack Obama.
For Irish Americans, this election is even more decisive, since President Obama betrayed his pledges from 2008, and downgraded America’s engagement with Northern Ireland. Obama never appointed a US Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process – despite his 2008 promises to the contrary. Obama just doesn’t care about Ireland, or Irish Americans, thinking he can fool voters again into supporting him.
Gov. Mitt Romney is a successful lifelong businessman, a man who created and saved numerous business ventures, and made them into growing, vital job-creating enterprises. He was also the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – the most heavily Irish American state in the United States - where he was successful in balancing the state budget – without raising taxes – and worked in a healthy bi-partisan relationship with an overwhelmingly Democratic dominated State Legislature. Governor Romney was able – working with the Democratic legislature – to enact fiscal, health and safety programs that helped make Massachusetts one of the most dynamic, entrepreneurial and wealthy states in the United States.
Gov. Romney proved in Massachusetts that despite our hyper-partisan age, a real political leader can work with people of good will from the opposing party, for the good of the public. This record is not shared by Barack Obama, whose behavior in Washington has been haughty, imperious and arrogant when dealing with Republicans, or anyone who is not immediately useful to him. Unlike President Bill Clinton, who carefully built working relationships with Republican leaders such as Rep Peter King, President Obama has insulted, lectured, and mostly ignored Republicans (and many Democrats who had supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries) adding to the partisan bitterness of Washington.
The most important issue in this election is the revival of our economy. Under Barack Obama, the national Debt was exploded from $9 billion to now over $16 billion. Those are not just “numbers” – they represent days, hours, months and years of hard work that all Americans will all have to do – for decades in the future – the work of our children and grandchildren - just to repay those debts. The explosion of debt under Obama is unprecedented in human history. Continued government deficits and borrowing are unsustainable. If you want to see what a future America under Barack Obama will look like, just look at the street riots, 55% youth unemployment, broken store windows, hopelessness, and massive business failures of Greece today.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are serious policy leaders who have pledged to bring government spending and debt under control. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have produced detailed budgets – projecting how we can and will get out of this fiscal catastrophe that Obama has gotten us into. Romney and Ryan will balance the budget something that was done as recently as 2000 – but seems like a fantasy under Barack Obama. The explosion of government debt has strangled our economy by government consuming all credit, leaving small and large businesses without credit or capital to help build a recovery.
Under Barack Obama there has been a massive increase in welfare spending, reversing many of the reforms enacted during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The Obama administration has even proposed repealing the work requirements of Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act - that able bodied adults would no longer have work as part of their requirements to receive welfare. Food stamps, housing vouchers, unaccountable “grants” to opaque “community organizations” and government give-aways to wealthy and well-connected business donors, have all exploded to unprecedented levels under Obama. Another four years of Obama will leave America as a dependent and bankrupt Welfare Nation.
On foreign policy, we should all give President Obama credit for continuing President George Bush’s policy, of vigorously using drone strikes and intelligence to attack the terrorist network of al Qaeda. Despite his campaign promises to the contrary, President Obama has kept Guantanamo Bay open – which was the right policy.
But the Obama policy towards the so-called “Arab Spring” has been a disaster of naïve intentions, wishful thinking, weakness, and lies. The attacks now occurring on Americans in Egypt, Libya, Yemen are all traceable to Obama facilitating the rise to power of Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist regimes.
And the lies made by Obama and his officials – blaming the death of US Ambassador Stephens on a silly YouTube video, and then arresting the creator of that video – when the White House knew the truth that the attack was a pre-planned terrorist assault – are completely disgraceful. Obama’s actions betray both the Truth, and America’s constitutional tradition of free speech.
Finally, on Northern Ireland, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will see a return to the bipartisan Clinton and Bush administration policies of active engagement in the Irish Peace Process. Gov. Romney’s chief foreign policy advisor is Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, whom Irish America knows well as the man who served as US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, and who made history by bringing devolved policing, the Sinn Fein-DUP joint Executive, and the St. Andrew’s Accords to Northern Ireland.
By contrast, President Obama betrayed his 2008 promise to appoint a US Special Peace Envoy for Northern Ireland, only briefly allowing Hillary Clinton to appoint an “Economic Envoy.” Even that position has now been vacant for nearly two years.
The closest that the Obama administration comes to having an Irish Policy is dying the Chicago River green for a parade in March. When all of the leading Irish American groups asked President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder to not allow British intelligence – a foreign intelligence service - to subpoena the Irish Archives of Boston College – Obama ignored Irish America and prosecuted the subpoenas. When Sen Scott Brown (R-MA) issued an E-3 Visa bill to allow young Irish students to come to the United States, the Obama administration connived to kill the legislation. Whenever something is important for Ireland or Irish America, it’s just not important to Obama.
Every four years the US presidential election is billed as the “most important” in generations. This time it is true. America needs to get its government fiscal house in order, and end the orgy of government spending and borrowing that has strangled the recovery and kept America in recession. The policies of the Obama administration are not sustainable, and four more years of Obama will result in a fiscal collapse of the kind seen today in Greece and Spain.
We have a great opportunity with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to elect a team of responsible, principled, leaders, dedicated to restoring fiscal balance, and creating the environment where America can again grow, create jobs and prosper. Please elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan this November.
Grant Lally serves as Co-Chairman of the Irish American Republicans (www.IrishGOP.com). He is a partner in the New York law firm of Lally & Misir (www.LallyMisir.com).