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If it's true that united we stand and divided we fall, America will come crashing down should Mitt Romney be elected president. He's already declared half the citizenry worthless, and said that as president, he'll concern himself only with the others. All those deemed unworthy of Romney's attention are low- and middle-income Americans, people who, unlike Romney himself, had no rich father's shoulders to stand on. These are the people who most need a friend in the White House. Romney promises the back of his hand.

President Barack Obama has, to the contrary, shown compassion for the lower and middle classes, to a degree that his Republican critics find unmanly. The great achievement of the first Obama administration, comparable to the creation of Social Security under President Franklin Roosevelt and Medicare under President Lyndon Johnson, is the Affordable Care Act, a boon to Americans who can't pay for expensive medical care without help. (Romney would abolish or weaken all three of those great programs, for being the work of Democrats and for disproving the political and economic theories of the extremists who support him.)

The very rich can buy all the medical care they want. Does that make them more deserving of care? Romney seems to think so, now. As governor of Massachusetts, though, he sponsored state health-care reform very much like what Obama has done at the national level. That was Romney's greatest accomplishment, and now, running against Obama, he's forced to refute it, to deny that he was ever sympathetic to the poor, that he was ever politically moderate. Today's Republican Party won't tolerate moderation and generosity in a presidential candidate. One might even feel sorry for Romney, except that he himself clearly feels no discomfort saying whatever is politically expedient, no matter how false.

It was at what Romney thought was a private Republican gathering that he made his now-famous statement that 47 percent of the American people aren't worth doodley squat. After a video turned up on the Internet, Romney eventually made a sort of weaselly defense — "taken out of context," etc. — but it was so insincere that nobody bought it. He wasn't sorry for what he said; he was sorry he got caught. He's not sorry for shipping American jobs to China as a private financial manipulator either. He's sorry that Obama points it out. While Romney was exporting employment, President Obama's stimulus spending was creating and preserving jobs — as many as 3.6 million, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. A substantial number, though not enough to replace the jobs lost in the economic collapse that began under President George W. Bush, who believed, like Romney, in the efficacy of reducing taxes on the very rich, even if that means raising taxes on everybody else.

Americans are divided already; Obama at least wants to try to bring them together. The gap would widen under the elitist Romney, and even if he ever felt inclined to cease the class warfare and gender warfare his party wages, the party wouldn't let him. The choice this year is between a level-headed, well-intentioned, middle-of-the-roader and a political adventurer dominated by really nasty reactionaries. An easy choice, we believe.

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