With the 2012 presidential campaign rapidly coming to a close -- and not a moment too soon -- below are, in no particular order and based in part on some of my prior articles on The Huffington Post, my personal Top Five Reasons why I believe that President Obama should be re-elected:
Superstorm Sandy: Leaders are judged by their behavior in times of crisis. Since the Sunday before Superstorm Sandy devastated the New Jersey shore, entire neighborhoods of New York City and other parts of the Northeastern United States, President Obama's actions and demeanor have been pitch-perfect. Suspending his campaign, he threw himself fully into the urgent needs of the moment. Speaking frequently and late into the night with governors and mayors of the affected region, he has demonstrated a compassion and a steady leadership that should remind us all of the qualities we not only want but should require in our president.
"The president has been all over this, and he deserves great credit," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a prominent Romney supporter and surrogate, said on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday. "He gave me his number at the White House and told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it. It's been very good working with the president and his administration. It's been wonderful."
Noting that he had spoken with President Obama six times since the weekend, Governor Christie reiterated the following day after the two had flown over the devastation left behind by the storm that,
It's been a great working relationship.... I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state. And I heard it on the phone conversations with him, and I was able to witness it today, personally.
Let's also not forget that when Governor Romney was asked about the federal role in disaster relief in the context of the Joplin, MO, tornado, he said during one of the GOP presidential primary debates that,
We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off.
Israel: President Obama has been a stalwart and reliable ally of, in his own words at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, "a secure, Jewish state of Israel." Only two weeks ago, the New York Times reported that the first of 1,000 U.S. troops had arrived in Israel to take part in what US Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin called the largest joint missile-defense exercise in US-Israeli history.
Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, who served as Under Secretary of Commerce for international trade, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, recently wrote in the Jerusalem Post that,
President Obama has demonstrated his unshakeable commitment to Israel's security in countless ways: enhancing security cooperation, passing unprecedented sanctions against Iran, and defending Israel against the Palestinian statehood bid, to name a few.
In that article, Ambassador Eizenstat also cited the appreciation Israeli leaders have for President Obama:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak last year said of the current Administration, 'I can hardly remember a better period of support' for Israel. President Shimon Peres has called President Obama 'a great president and a great friend of Israel,' and referred to President Obama's speech at AIPAC this year as 'the most pro-Israel speech I have ever heard from an American president.' And Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself, following the President's speech at the UN, said the president deserved 'a badge of honor' for his principled stance.
The Supreme Court: There are likely to be several vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court over the course of the next several years. With the Court precariously balanced along ideological lines, all Americans concerned about the protection of Constitutional liberties and civil rights should bear in mind that a President Romney's Supreme Court appointments would unquestionably, by his own campaign website's admission, be in the far-right mold of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Less than two months ago I wrote that:
President Obama's two Supreme Court appointments, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are very much part of the judicial mainstream. Romney appointees, on the other hand, would certainly be chosen for their willingness to turn back the clock on the constitutional protections of women's reproductive rights, a litmus test as it were.... The prospect of Governor Romney appointing Supreme Court justices who share his social world view is reason enough to vote for President Obama.
That remains the case.
Richard Mourdock, Rush Limbaugh, et al.: We are entitled to judge candidates for public office by the company they keep. While the Romney campaign has distanced itself from Indiana GOP senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock's pronouncement that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," a television ad in which Governor Romney enthusiastically endorses Mourdock has not been pulled.
Governor Romney has also been extremely careful never to cross Rush Limbaugh or any other conservative extremist. In March, after Limbaugh had called a young woman named Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" for publicly advocating contraceptive health insurance coverage, the most Governor Romney was willing to say was that Limbaugh's odious remarks were "not the language I would have used."
Back then, I wrote that,
it would behoove every one of us, Republican, Democrat, or independent, liberal, moderate or conservative, and most especially those of us who are husbands, fathers of daughters, grandfathers of granddaughters, or who have women as friends and colleagues whom we respect, to also ask ourselves one simple question before we cast our votes for anyone: Has he, or she for that matter, been willing to stand up to the likes of Rush Limbaugh?
The fact that Governor Romney will not disavow or denounce Mourdock, Limbaugh and their ilk speaks volumes and should be a constantly flashing yellow light as we prepare to enter the voting booth.
Susan Eisenhower: Four years ago, Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, left her grandfather's Republican Party, became an independent and went on to support Barack Obama. Several days ago, she endorsed the president for re-election. "As a result of this campaign," she explained on her website, "I am more confused than ever about what Mitt Romney stands for. I know little of his core beliefs, if he even has any. No one seems to agree on what they are, and that's why I do not want to take a chance on finding out."
In contrast, she believes that President Obama
[R]epresents the future.... His emphasis on education is an example of the importance he places on preparing rising generations to assume their places as innovators and entrepreneurs, workers and doers, and responsible citizens and leaders. He recognizes, as many of us do, that access to opportunities must be open to every American, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. This is not an entitlement, but a sound investment in the future.
I cannot think of a way to express these sentiments, with which I wholeheartedly agree, any more eloquently.
There are other equally valid reasons, of course, to vote for President Obama on November 6, but these five are at the top of my list. Each, taken separately, strikes me as persuasive. Together I find them compelling.
Menachem Z. Rosensaft teaches about the law of genocide and war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities.