Those seven words from President Barack Obama to Republican challenger Mitt Romney during the final presidential debate are reason enough for MLive Detroit to endorse Obama for another four years in office. We don't forget Romney's editorial in the New York Times titled, "Let Detroit go bankrupt." It is an unforgivable and unconsciouble position by a man with the audacity to claim himself a son of Detroit. Romney may have grown up here, but he left long ago.
Romney defends his editorial as the blueprint for, essentially, what Obama did. The president's administration brought the automakers into a controlled bankruptcy, bolstered the companies with capital, and gave them time to right the ship. Romney says he wanted to do the same, he just wanted to do it through private investment. The problem? No one was investing in anything when the automakers nearly collapsed, much less offering up $80 billion to failing companies. Lack of government intervention would have resulted in the liquidation of Detroit's Big 3 and the end of the American automotive industry as we know it.
Obama saved Detroit. We don't forget.
While enough to earn an endorsement, the president has done enough in his 3 1/2 years in the Oval Office to earn another term. The Affordable Health Care law, while touted as a step toward national health care, is actually a long-term budget solution. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will cut the deficit $1 trillion by 2021. Provisions within the law reign in health insurance spending on advertising and executive bonuses, and, for the firs time, insurance companies will need to publicly justify cost increases. No modern president has done more to bring health care costs into line than Obama. Passing the Affordable Care Act, even in its watered down form, is a fiscally responsible move that ensures Obama's legacy.
The Obama administration also stood strong on national security. The president extricated the U.S. from an unproductive war in Iraq, and his administration brought about the death of Osama bin Laden. He also restored our nation's standing as a voice for freedom in the world. He took the last three years to undo much of the harm created by his predecessor.
We have concerns with the president. While pushing some immigration reform, he's been shockingly tough on detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants. The Obama administration has empowered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to unprecedented levels. Thousands of hard-working immigrants have been split from their families due to heightened in ICE enforcement. The president's conservative approach to immigration enforcement falls to the right of previous presidents.
In Detroit, MLive covered the story of one man picked up in a random traffic stop in Pontiac, detained from his family and then sent back to Mexico, where he hadn't lived for two decades. This tough-line policy hurts Detroit by sending fear through immigrant communities that represent some of the strongest neighborhoods in the city. At a time when people are fleeing the city, the Hispanic community is holding strong. Obama's policy threatens these vital communities.
Obama has shown leadership on immigration in the past six months. It's hard to say, though, if that was pandering to Hispanic voters or a sign that he'll address immigration in a substantive way if given another four years. Just this week Obama said he anticipated a compromise with Republicans on immigration if he's re-elected. We hope these are signs that he'll work during a second term for comprehensive immigration reform that supports Detroit's vibrant immigrant communities.
Obama's dismal record on immigration for the bulk of his tenure is only muted by the prospect of a Romney administration. Romney's chief immigration advisor crafted the Arizona law that allows local and state police to seek out and arrest illegal immigrants. Romeny has said he would drop federal lawsuits challenging the Arizona law on his first day in office. Remarkably, immigration may be the one major issue President George W. Bush bests Obama and Romney in terms of Detroit's best interest.
Obama ran four years ago on the promise of change. He's been unable to deliver on this overarching promise, but he's had an unwilling dance partner. Republican leadership the past two years ruled out compromise as a form of governing. With an eye to the upcoming election, they chose to stand against Obama rather than work with the president in the country's best interests. Even when the president attempted to compromise - angering his supporters on the left - Republicans refused to budge off hardline stances against efforts to jumpstart the economy and pass reforms designed to prevent another economic meltdown. They put politics and special interests ahead of good government, and now criticize the president for failing to transform Washington. Amazingly, the ploy may work.
We hope not. For all of the president's faults and disappointments, he's been a steady hand through difficult times and made the right call more often than not. The auto industry bailout is a prime example. Obama intervened where Romney said he wouldn't. The president got it right and saved Detroit. Romney got it wrong. If he'd been in charge, an historic American industry and city may have fallen.
Governor, the people of Detroit don't forget.