President Obama picked up a pair of high-profile backhanded compliments today from both NYC’s mayor Michael Bloomberg and The Economist magazine. While ostensibly good news for Obama, both endorsements chose Obama as the lesser of two evils and offered a bleak assessment of where we stand as a country.
Both Bloomberg and The Economist seemed disgusted by the childish insults and negativity of both campaigns and chastised the shortcomings of Obama’s term. Bloomberg writes: “Rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.”
He goes on to say that his first choice would be Mitt Romney circa 1994 or 2003 “because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.”
The Economist starts off its endorsement leveling a sobering criticism, writing that Obama “set a new low by unleashing attacks on Mitt Romney even before the first Republican primary.” But on the economy the magazine says “he stopped it all being a lot worse,” noting we were hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs per month when Obama came into office. “On that basis, the Democrat narrowly deserves to be re-elected,” they conclude.
But Bloomberg raises the biggest point—the one we can no longer ignore after Sandy: “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
While he says both Obama and Romney have histories of progress on climate change, Obama is a better choice since Romney has reversed his calls for aggressive climate action.
Bloomberg praises Romney of yesteryear and writes “He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported.” Bloomberg adds “in the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them.”
And the Economist asks, “can America really trust the ever-changing Mitt Romney to do a better job?”
Bloomberg had resisted endorsing any candidate for president and it was widely suspected he’d keep mum. Sandy seems to have have pushed him to act. So there you have it—Obama picks up two high-profile endorsements, but neither one will exactly give you the warm-fuzzies.