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November 05, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-05

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4A - Monday, November 5, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, November 5, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
TIMOTHY RABB
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Re-elect President Obama
Despite disappointments, he deserves a second term

"You can't measure change in speeches. You measure
change in achievements:"
-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
speaking at a campaign rally in Iowa on Sunday.
Vanity (un)Fair

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In 2008 The Michigan Daily endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama
for president of the United States. His platform was inspiring -
his rhetoric, extraordinary. Young people here at the University,
of Michigan and across the country participated in the campaign and
election at historic levels. Many volunteered for Obama's effort with
hopes of "change" - a scope that excitingly included addressing cli-
mate change, civil rights, immigration and health care overhaul.

Four years later, much of the rhetoric hasn't
reflected policy or sweeping change. Politi-
cians, presidents included, can only change the
country so much - Obama has faced a historic
recession, a deadlocked Congress and an ever-
changing world. Obama, however, has done a
remarkable job considering the gridlock and
barriers he has faced thus far.
Obama has most clearly excelled in the realm
of foreign policy.While he hasn't been the pro-
gressive social activist many expected and con-
servatives still fear, he has lived up to many of
his foreign policy initiatives. From successfully
locating and killing Osama bin Laden to wind-
ing down wars the in Iraq and Afghanistan, he
has taken significant strides toward ending our
nation's longest and most expensive foreign
entanglements. Obama also successfully signed
an arms control treaty with Russia, presenting
a united front against Iran's nuclear program,
which marked an important milestone for
nuclear disarmament, despite Iran's agenda.
Obama also promotes a variety of sound
social policies. The politically convenient man-
ner in which Obama endorsed same-sex mar-
riage doesn't change the fact that he is the first
sitting president to do so. Obama extended ben-
efits to same-sex domestic partners of federal
employees, granting the same rights that all
employees and their families enjoy. He has also
appointed the greatest number of openly gay
officials in U.S. history. He also signed off on
the end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell"
policy so those serving our country can do so
with full integrity.
Though Republican presidential nominee
Mitt Romney is using the current state of
the economy as a selling point for his cam-
paign, Obama has handled the economy quite
remarkably. With the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 - a $787-billion
stimulus package - Obama created between
1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs. He also estab-
lished the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau, among other consumer protections
in the wake of Wall Street's collapse as part of
the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Con-
sumer Protection Act.
Students, especially those in college, have
also benefitted greatly from Obama's policies
in spite of the economic downturn. In May,
Congress successfully kept the student loan
interest rate subsidy at 3.4 percent with the
president's support.

Perhaps Obama's biggest achievement is
the Affordable Care Act, a milestone that was
decades in the making. By 2022, 33 million pre-
viously uninsured Americans will have health
coverage, according to the Congressional Bud-
get Office. Children can also now stay on their
parents' plans until age 26,, and the act makes
sure those with pre-existing conditions can't be
denied health coverage.
It most likely won't come as a surprise that
The Michigan Daily endorses Obama for presi-
dent - his administration has been successful
against great odds.
Romney, on the other hand, has cam-
paigned on a constantly shifting platform. His
policies and past beliefs have ranged from Tea
Party conservatism to almost liberal progres-
sivism - his Massachusetts health care policy
became the model for Obama's health care
reforms. His lack of consistency begs the ques-
tion: which incarnation would a President
Romney govern as?
Romney also seems to be out of touch with
certain issues, particularly those affecting stu-
dents. During a visit to Otterbein University on
April 27, Romney said to students, "Take a risk.
Get the education. Borrow money, if you have
to, from your parents." This cavalier attitude
isn't the right way to pursue higher education
policy, and this may be indicative of Romney's
ignorance of the financial state of many Ameri-
can families.
However, our endorsement of Obama can't
be as enthusiastic as it was four years ago.
Obama's progressive rhetoric hardly matches
his centrist policies. While it's important for
Obama to work across the aisle, he should also
be more assertive in his beliefs - a president
has to play politics, too.
Obama has the ability to lead this nation
through the challenging and confusing era
we're in - and with another four years we
believe he can do so. Romney's platform repre-
sents backward social policy and dispassionate
economic policies.
Students across the country campaigned
for Obama in 2008 for a good reason. He's
pragmatic and has done his best to help
struggling students. A president must lead
the country - through words and actions -
into a future that improves the quality of life
for Americans and for the rest of the world.
Vote for President Barack Obama to keep us
on this path.

" 0 h em gee. Can you
believe they both
showed up last night
wearing match-
ing dresses, in
the same exact
color? I mean,
come on, that's
totally embar-
rassing, right? I
would've been
utterly morti-
fied. Though SARAH
it's really not a SKALUBA
secret that Ann
looked fiercer in
that fuchsia dress, just look at those
giant blue baubles she flaunted!
Such a statement piece - turned
heads and blew away the competi-
tion! Her rival never stood a chance,
poor thing."
Just another casual convo over-
heard in the depths of your neigh-
borhood sorority house, or the
political gossip following the second
presidential debate? Unfortunately
for us, it's the latter. Welcome to the
realm of today's American politics,
ladies and gentlemen. Where policy
and platform should be front and
center, somehow the media man-
ages to spew completely irrelevant,
almost laughable stories about first
lady Michelle Obama and Republi-
can presidential nominee Mitt Rom-
ney's wife, Ann.
The first lady of the United States
- "FLOTUS" - has frequently been
dubbed a style icon by fashion maga-
zines and news sources. Harper's
Bazaar even coined the nickname
"First Lady of Fashion," noting
Obama is "well on her way to leav-
ing a stylish legacy on par with those
other White House arbiters, Jacque-
line Kennedy and Nancy Reagan."
And who's to say Michelle doesn't
rival the famed Jackie O with her
immense poise, style and grace? It's
a feat in itself to be named one of
Forbes' "Most Fashionable Power
Women of 2012." But where do we

draw the line between "acclaimed
style icon who just so happens to
play a powerful role in American
politics and diplomacy" and the
"fashionista" who has little more to
bring to the table than elegance and
immaculate style?
You won't find The New York
Times or The Washington Post
spending too much time analyz-
ing the choice of tie color President
Obama or Mitt Romney sported at
the last presidential debate. Nor do
we read about their personal styles
and choice of dress - though Mitt
Romney's flawless locks may be a
fair exception.
We're frequently bombarded,
however, with a plethora of blogs,
articles and photos analyzing every-
thing from the first lady's choice of
nail color to the exact cut and fit of
her designer dress. It's time soci-
ety views women first as influential
leaders, not fashion statements.
Let's take a moment to compare
the fierceness of Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton with the demean-
ing gossip surrounding Michelle
Obama and Ann Romney. When
Clinton was interviewed in 2010 by
the American University of Central
Asia, the moderator had the naivet6
to ask her "What designers do you
prefer?" and without skipping a
beat she replied, "Would you ever
ask a man that question?"
Of course not. The answer is
unsurprisingly "no." Our society
couldn't care less about which
designer dressed Obama or 'what
color tie Romney rocked during
the last presidential debate. But the
media attacks each woman with
a ferocity that makes me think
they've confused New York Fashion,
Week with the 2012 U.S. presiden-
tial election.
As Hillary fights to gain the
respect and admiration of those
around her, the first lady and Ann
Romney aren't fortunate enough to
say the same. The Huffington Post

is notorious for publishing articles
aimed solely at the contrasting fash-
ion choices and individual styles of
these leadingladies.
According to the ever trustworthy
HuffPost, "As the presidential race
heats up, the prospective first ladies
continue to duke it out in the fash-
ion department, one-upping each
other on the campaign trail in eye-
catching outfits and trend-setting
nail art." Right, well I'm pretty sure
the last time I saw anyone sport-
ing "nail art" was in middle school,
when bedazzled fingernails were all
the rage.
Women need to
be respected for
their skills and
intelligence.
In all seriousness though, we need
to break down this double standard
that plays such a large role in Ameri-
can politics today. Women deserve
to be respected for the skills and
leadership they bring to the table,
rather than their immaculate style
and dress choice. Both Romney and
Obama may have "obscenely perfect
eyelashes and shiny hair," according
to Vanity Fair, but they still deserve
to be treated as intelligent and pol-
icy-affecting women - not symbols
of beauty and high fashion.
It's just a shame we couldn't see
the two of them in a head to head
debate before our final votes are
cast, because let's be honest, we'd
rather see the first lady and Ann
Romney debate live than read one
more editorial bickering about "who
wore it better."
- Sarah Skaluba can be reached
at sskaluba@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
Tips to take to the booth

BEN LERNER I VIEWOIN
Vote for cleaner air

I'm a 20-year-old student at the University
of Michigan who suffers from asthma. I'm
one of more than 800,000 people in the state
with this disease. Michigan also happens to
be one of the most coal-dependent states in
our nation - 60 percent of our electricity is
generated from coal-fired power plants that
fuel global warming, pollute our air with soot
and smog and poison our water supply with
mercury. Recent studies have shown that pol-
lution due to coal is a leading source of asth-
ma attacks. Clearly, it's not a coincidence that
Michigan has such a high number of asthma
patients.
If we care at all about the public health of
our state, we will end our addiction to this
dirty source of energy. Proposal 3 does just
that by requiring utilities comapnies to get 25
percent of Michigan's electricity from renew-
able sources, like wind and solar by 2025. The
Michigan Nurses Association even endorsed
Proposal 3, calling it "the most important
public health initiative in decades."
The reality is DTE and Consumer's Energy
have pooled more than $5 million to make
sure that we stay reliant on dirty, sources
of energy, airing television advertisements
against the ballot initiative. Overcoming the
influence of our coal-burning utilities is not
going to be easy.
By this point, I'm sure you've seen their
misleading TV advertisements and mail-
ings, stating that Proposal 3 will cost con-
sumers millions. For those skeptical about
who will be paying for all of these changes,

rest assured, it won't be us. There's actually
a clause in the proposal to protect consum-
ers that caps an increase in electrical bills to
1 percent. A 1-percent increase is estimated to
cost only and $1.25 per month.
Furthermore, we can expect decreases in
our electricity bills within the next five years.
This has been proven in the 31 other states
already reaping the benefits of similar pro-
posals. I understand that some of us are for-
tunate enough to not have to worry about our
own electricity bills at this point in time, but
within the next four years it's something that
will affect all of us.
As a Program in the Environment concen-
trator at the University, I am obviously excit-
ed to see Michigan detox from years of coal
pollution. Knowing that my energy bills will
be decreasing at the same time is simply an
added bonus.
Whetheryou are aflamingliberal, extreme-
ly conservative or anywhere in between, this
proposal is something we can all agree on.
The truth is that renewable energy is no lon-
ger the future. It is the present and we cannot
be left behind.
As college students, it's critical that we
make it to the polls. But we can't just vote for
our elected officials. We must also turn over
the ballot and vote on nonpartisan issues like
Proposal 3. I urge you to vote "Yes" on Pro-
posal 3 because not only will it clean our air
and water, but it will also save lives.
Ben Lerner is an LSA junior.

y editors here at the Daily
encourage columnists to
write about issues that
are pertinent to
the University of
Michigan, Ann
Arbor or college
students in gen-
eral. I do my best
to abide by that
rule of thumb as
often as possible. DANIEL
But in case CHARDELL
you haven't
heard, the elec-
tion is tomor-
row. Whatever you think of politics,
the results of this election will have
an impact on all of us and at all lev-
els, from local to national. This will
be the first presidential election in
which most undergraduates are eli-
gible to vote.
So here's what I'll say. I won't
try to sway your vote one way or
the other - I assume you've made
up your mind by now. But I do have
some ideas, some tips that I want to
offer up.
Specifically, I ask of you just
three things:
1. Educateyourself
You wouldn't know it from main-
stream news coverage, but there's
much more to this election than the
heated race for presidency. That's
especially the case in Michigan,
where voters will determine the out-
comes of six state ballot proposals
as well as races for the U.S. Senate,
the U.S. House of Representatives

and the Michigan Supreme Court,
among others.
Don't let these less publicized
- but no less important - elec-
tions catch you off-guard. Before
you walk into the voting booth on
Tuesday, read up on the candidates,
their positions and their values. The
Michigan Daily has made endorse-
ments, as has The Detroit Free Press
and other Michigan news outlets.
Check them out.
An uneducated vote is worse than
no vote at all.
2. Beprepared to live with the con-
sequences ofyour selections.
Though we might (justifiably)
mock politicians for being out of
touch, their decisions have impor-
tant implications. They're empow-
ered to address major tasks: setting
budgets, declaring wars, levying
taxes and investing in education.
Elected leaders exercise power
because voters give it to them. When
casting your vote, ask which candi-
date's views mirror your own. Your
vote shouldn't necessarily define
you, but it does reflect what kind of
future you want to see. Will you be
proud to have made this selection? Is
your candidate "on the right side of
history," as they say?
3. Don't lose track ofpolitics after
the election is over.
I get it. We're all excited the elec-
tion has come to an end. No more
debates, hollow promises or pander-
ing. No more misleading campaign
ads polluting the airwaves. No more
obnoxious, albeit entertaining, can-
A

didates making a mockery of our
democracy - I'm looking at you,
Herman Cain. We've lived with daily
reminders of this election for the
past two years. Now the end is finally
in sight. I think that's a good thing.
Do your

4

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research, vote
proudly and
stay involved.
However, this doesn't mean we
should ignore politics or policy once
the votes have been counted and the
results are in. Quite the opposite.
More than ever before, we must now
focus on holding those we've elected
accountable. Poor politics thrive on
unaccountability. Given how polar-
izing the 2012 election has been, I
welcome its conclusion, but I'm fear-
ful of the apathy that it has engen-
dered. It shouldn't be too difficult
to follow the president in the news,
but do make a point of keeping tabs
on your representatives in Congress
and your elected local leaders.
I'm as happy as you are that the
election is almost over. But don't
think of that as a free pass to aban-
don the political process altogether.
- Daniel Chardell can be
reached at chardell@umich.edu.

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