I'm Australian, I have European citizenship and I live in Asia. On behalf of the 6.7 billion people on this Pale Blue Dot who are not permitted a vote for the leader of the Free World, I beg you: Vote for Barack Obama.
It's not just me. In a GlobeScan survey of 21 countries, the residents of all but one have overwhelmingly indicated a preference for Obama. Please understand that your vote affects us, your international family. By an accident of birth, you have both the right to vote for your nation's leader and the privilege to vote for the man (this time around) who will set the world's economic and diplomatic tone for the next four years.
This table shows just how much we Earthlings prefer Obama. Spain's Christians, Indonesia's Muslims, India's Hindus, Japan's Buddhists and Australia's drinkers-of-beer are all in agreement. For once. Your three closest allies, the next six largest economies in the world and both of your adjacent neighbours. Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa all strongly prefer Obama, up to 45-to-1 over Romney.
Such cultural, economic, political and religious differences, yet the world agrees on this one choice. Everyone but Pakistan, that is. Pakistan, where a man in Romney's former position, the governor of Punjab, was murdered by his own bodyguard for suggesting that the death penalty for blasphemy might be a bit harsh. Yet even in this deeply religious, atrociously conservative place, Obama's only trailing by a couple of percent.
But why? What reasons could there be for the entire planet agreeing that Barack Obama is the right choice and that Mitt Romney is not?
It's because the United States has the world's largest economy, whose stability dictates the economic stability of the world. It has the world's most powerful military, whose budget is higher than the military budget of the next sixteen countries combined, with active forces deployed to 150 countries. Your population, 4.5 percent of the world, produces 16 percent of the CO2 emissions.
We care about these things and I think most of you do, too.
The New Yorker sets out an erudite account of Obama's first term:
The President has achieved a run of ambitious legislative, social, and foreign-policy successes that relieved a large measure of the human suffering and national shame inflicted by the Bush Administration.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ... was larger in real dollars than any one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal measures. It reversed the job-loss trend--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 3.6 million private-sector jobs have been created since June, 2009--and helped reset the course of the economy.
[T]he Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Obama signed into law in July, 2010 ... sought to prevent abuses of the sort that led to the crash of 2008. Against the counsel of some Republicans, including Mitt Romney, the Obama Administration led the takeover, rescue, and revival of the automobile industry. The Administration transformed the country's student-aid program, making it cheaper for students and saving the federal government sixty-two billion dollars.
Obama's most significant legislative achievement was a vast reform of the national health-care system ... The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the single greatest expansion of the social safety net since the advent of Medicaid and Medicare, in 1965. Not one Republican voted in favor of it.
Obama came into office speaking the language of multilateralism and reconciliation ... He spoke for the rights of women and against torture; he defended the legitimacy of the State of Israel while offering a straightforward assessment of the crucial issue of the Palestinians and their need for statehood."
I've been listening to my Republican friends wail about how Obama has made the economy worse, as if (a) that's remotely true; and (b) nothing else matters, or at least, nothing else is more important. To sideline human rights, healthcare and international diplomacy in favour of money in one's pocket is, no offense, selfishness incarnate.
And for the record, all reports state that by almost any measure, the economy is in better shape today than the day Obama took office, mid-freefall.
The Washington Post took a position of unveiled disgust at Romney's campaign of enthusiastic, unashamed vote-grabbing:
How, other than an assumption that voters are too dim to remember what Mr. Romney has said across the years and months, to account for his breathtaking ideological shifts? He was a friend of immigrants, then a scourge of immigrants, then again a friend. He was a Kissingerian foreign policy realist, then a McCain-like hawk, then a purveyor of peace. He pioneered Obamacare, he detested Obamacare, then he found elements in it to cherish. Assault weapons were bad, then good. Abortion was okay, then bad. Climate change was an urgent problem; then, not so much. Hurricane cleanup was a job for the states, until it was once again a job for the feds.
Mr. Romney promises to reduce income tax rates by one-fifth -- for the rich, that means from 35 percent to 28 percent -- and to raise defense spending while balancing the budget. To do so, he would reduce other spending -- unspecified -- and take away deductions -- unspecified.
[One study] said Mr. Romney could make the tax math work by depriving every household earning $100,000 or more of all of its charitable deductions, mortgage-interest deductions and deductions for state and local income taxes. Does Mr. Romney favor ending those popular tax breaks? He won't say.
Mr. Romney ... seems to be betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and a general inability to look behind the curtain. We hope the results Tuesday prove him wrong.
As a voter in the United States, don't you want to know the policies and intentions of each candidate? Can you or any of your friends explain, with any degree of confidence, Mitt Romney's position on any subject at all? I can't, and I've been watching the campaign coverage on CNN, MSNBC, Fox and BBC like most people watch Honey Boo Boo. (Shame on you for that, by the way. That girl needs an education, a responsible parent and a salad, not a TV show.)
And the Economist, after describing a laundry-list of what the editors consider to be Obama's failures, concedes:
This newspaper would vote for that Mitt Romney [from the first presidential debate], just as it would for the Romney who ran Democratic Massachusetts in a bipartisan way (even pioneering the blueprint for Obamacare). The problem is that there are a lot of Romneys and they have committed themselves to a lot of dangerous things.
Mr Romney seems too ready to bomb Iran, too uncritically supportive of Israel and cruelly wrong in his belief in "the Palestinians not wanting to see peace".
[F]ar from being the voice of fiscal prudence, Mr Romney wants to start with huge tax cuts (which will disproportionately favour the wealthy), while dramatically increasing defence spending ... Mr Romney is still in the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking you can do it entirely through spending cuts: the Republican even rejected a ratio of ten parts spending cuts to one part tax rises. Backing business is important, but getting the macroeconomics right matters far more.
Many of The Economist's readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don't believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive.
In the end, my American brothers and sisters, as much as some of you may not think that President Obama's approach is ideal -- and we could have long discussions about the merits of your argument -- at least you know what his approach is. In contrast, Mr Romney has simultaneously promised nothing and everything. Nobody, not even Romney himself, seems to be able to articulate his intentions. That scares us out here on Earth.
A would-be world-leader who, given ample opportunity, refuses to indicate what he's going to do when he takes power? Please don't do that to us or yourselves.
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