Putting aside all the voter models, there’s one overlooked point worth making with Election Day at hand. Most times in American politics, optimists win, and pessimists lose. I know that’s not always the case. And sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two. But in this election, I believe Mitt Romney is the optimist, and Barack Obama is the pessimist. It’s Romney’s election to win.
Parenthetically, in my lifetime, it was Dwight Eisenhower the optimist, Adlai Stevenson the pessimist; John F. Kennedy the optimist (“Get America moving again”), Richard Nixon the pessimist; Ronald Reagan the quintessential optimist, Jimmy Carter the pessimist; and going further back in history, FDR the optimist, Herbert Hoover and the rest of them the pessimists.
And of course, four years ago it was Obama the optimist. He was the candidate of hope and change. But he has run such a negative campaign in 2012, right up to the end, that I believe his negativism is translating into pessimism. And that’s not what the beleaguered American people want.
“Voting is the best revenge,” Obama infamously said this past weekend. What did he mean by that? F. Scott Fitzgerald’s line was, “Living well is the best revenge.” But with President Obama, what exactly is this revenge? Revenge against whom? Against what?
Mitt Romney quickly countered that one should vote for the love of country, not revenge. But I wonder, regarding President Obama, is his revenge against the rich? Is it revenge because his class-warfare argument isn’t working? Is it revenge because his policies have not spread the wealth and redistributed income as much as he wants?
Is it revenge against his failure to grow the government even larger? Is it revenge because he wants more than 50 percent of American households to be government dependent? Is it revenge because his big-spending fiscal policies haven’t worked?
The Joint Economic Committee reports that both economic growth and job creation are the worst in modern times, dating back to 1947. So is it revenge for Mr. Obama because he hasn’t had the chance to create even higher spending, taxes, and regulation?
In his closing argument in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, Obama went on several times about raising taxes on individuals and businesses. This is pessimism. You know why? Because optimists believe in the ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and spirit of gifted individuals who are free to use their God-given talents to make our economy and society the best it can be. Not government. That’s the pessimistic view. But individual initiative — the optimistic view.
Mitt Romney takes this individual view. God granted natural rights to individuals, and it is they who truly run the government and the country. That’s the Romney view. It’s the free-enterprise view. The market view. The human-action view. To my way of thinking, that makes Romney the model optimist.