When asking ourselves whether we're better off than four years ago, we must answer yes. When President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in a free fall, the nation remained involved in two wars, health care reform was merely an idea and Osama bin Laden was alive.
But economic recovery has been slow, unemployment remains too high, we're still disentangling ourselves from Afghanistan, Iran poses a serious threat and promised immigration reform never materialized.
On balance, however, given the complexities of the job and political polarization in Washington, the president has generally delivered during tremendously difficult economic times, which is why we endorse his re-election.
No issue weighs on voters' minds -- and ours -- more than the economy. On that, Obama has performed adequately given that he inherited the worst economic downturn since the Depression. Understandably, it took time to stop the skid.
The Dow reached a low of 6,547 about six weeks after he took office. Today, it's more than double that. Employment continued falling, losing 4 million more jobs during Obama's first year in office. But since then, we've gained most of them back.
No industry symbolizes the U.S. more than automobiles. And no company more than General Motors. We credit Obama's insistence on salvaging GM for its resurgence today.
That's not to say that the economic stimulus plan was beautifully executed. It was not. It was rife with waste. Frankly, it showcased an inexperienced president. Of course, all presidents are inexperienced presidents in their first year.
While we're sometimes frustrated by Obama's wonkish, plodding style, we respect his patience. Abroad, he resisted saber-rattling with Iran, choosing instead to isolate it economically. At home, he tried futilely to reach a bipartisan health care deal before finally moving on without Republicans.
Obamacare is not ideal, but Obama, like us, concluded that perfect should not be the enemy of good. Millions with pre-existing conditions or without insurance agree.
Ironically, the plan's model was orchestrated by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. But now he attacks the principles he once championed.
Under Obama, progress has been slow or nonexistent on key fronts. He has yet to adequately address Social Security and Medicare solvency or tax reform. And we see no viable road map for living within our means without an annual federal deficit.
We have come a long way since January 2009. Fear of economic collapse has abated. Our war fatigue is fading. Bin Laden's taunting has ceased. Much more remains to be done. For that, we're sticking with the guy who got us this far.