The bottom line in Election 2012: TRUST

By Peter Fenn – 11/02/12 02:08 PM ET

For most Americans, the most personal vote they ever cast is for president of the United States — not mayor, not school board, not state rep, not Congress. The reason is simple: There is so much at stake and voters want to make sure they know the candidates, know what makes them tick and have a real three-dimensional sense of the person who will govern for four years.

In poll after poll for decades, the questions of honesty and integrity and trust rise to the top. Who is leveling with me, who do I believe, who do I truly trust in the office?

One of the reasons that President Obama has such high ratings in such a very difficult time for many people is that most Americans trust him. He says what he means and means what he says. He is a straight shooter who cares about the people of America. He touches the values and the aspirations and the common-sense judgment that permeate our nation.

He is not a flim-flam artist, he doesn’t put his finger up to the political winds and constantly change positions, he doesn’t make decisions based on the next election. You may disagree with the president’s policies, but it is hard to question his honesty and integrity.
Over the course of this campaign and previous campaigns, voters have gotten a pretty good look at Mitt Romney. They have seen him change substantive positions at a moment’s notice — on practically every conceivable issue. You come away not knowing what he believes or when he believes it. You question why he seems not to care about policies and positions. He says what people want to hear, when they want to hear it.

Let’s forget issues like abortion, gay rights, gun control, healthcare, the environment, etc., etc. We all know that story.

But let’s look at his closing argument in Ohio and Michigan and throughout the Midwest on the auto companies. His blatant lie on exporting jobs to China has been called out by the top executives of Chrysler and GM. But he doubles down on the lie, with more ads. He read the political tea leaves when Americans were against bailouts and highly critical of the auto companies and wrote his op-ed piece, with his finger up to the political winds, on letting Detroit go bankrupt. He refused to support government funds to help bring them back to life simply because, at the time, it was not politically popular (or because he truly believed it — even scarier).

This decision was fundamental to the recovery of our economy, and Mitt Romney failed to make the tough call. And now he says he supports the auto industry, when he very clearly didn’t.

Mitt Romney’s political career, sadly, is replete with examples of not sticking to his beliefs, not adhering to his principles, not holding anything close to consistent positions. What was so disturbing in Massachusetts is that the one issue he came around on, healthcare, he has now abandoned. His promises quickly became history when he announced for president — it was like he never believed any of it in the first place.

His performance during the Republican debates was appalling — he engaged in an all-out effort to out-right-wing the right-wingers.

Voters do see through this and many understand that this is about, as the old quiz show said, whom you trust.

Barack Obama is a president who has earned our trust. Sadly, Mitt Romney is a candidate who has failed to earn that trust or exhibit any sense that he could earn it in the future.

To me, it is personal and it is clear. Our nation will be far better off with Barack Obama as our president.