Column: President Romney? Heaven help us

I have decided to get my Obama birth certificate T-shirt back out of the drawer, where it has been tucked away for the last year or so, and start wearing it again in public.

You know, now that the weather has turned from winter into spring, the recent temporary cold snap not withstanding. Think I’ll work on my tan, stir things up a little now that the Republican presidential candidates have taken a break in the ritual of eviscerating one another.

You know the T-shirt I’m taking about, right? The one with an image of the president’s birth certificate on the back and the words

“Made in the USA” emblazoned on the front.

I wore it proudly for a while during the B.S. controversy over his citizenship, then tucked it away in a drawer when the electricity, hope and optimism of election night 2008 began to fade. It turned out he wasn’t really our knight in shining armor.

Like all politicians, he made compromises. He stumbled out of the blocks, reneging on some of his promises. (And if they weren’t promises, they were certainly intimations. As with Afghanistan, offshore drilling, alternative energy and Cuba.)

So the T-shirt got packed away. But now it’s time to get it out again because I’ve heard what the Republicans have been saying during the primaries and I’m not buying it.

In the end, it comes down to this: three and one-half years into Obama’s presidency, America is decidedly and demonstrably in better shape than when he entered office.

Let us count the ways.

The Republicans tell us the Detroit bailout was unfair to car company shareholders. Reality tells us the bailout was integral to the current economic recovery (lower unemployment, rallying markets, renewed confidence across the board). And can you imagine what kind of shape our national economy would be in today if the feds had allowed Chrysler to fail? Let us shudder at the thought.

The banking and housing industries were in a state of free fall. Both have been stabilized and continue trending upward.

Osama bin Laden was pacing the grounds of his walled compound in Pakistan. Now he’s not.

The war in Iraq still was raging. Now it’s not.

In Afghanistan, there was no end in sight. Now our troops are being withdrawn methodically and should be out entirely by the end of next year.

Our national health care system — or, more accurately, the lack of one — was a global embarrassment. Now, unless the Supreme Court screws things up, Obamacare can begin bringing affordable, comprehensive health care to all levels of society.

Almost everywhere you look, we as a people are in better shape than when George W. Bush was in office. And speaking of the 43rd president, can anyone really argue successfully that the office of the presidency and the perception of our nation around the world have suffered with Obama having replaced Bush at the helm? No, I didn’t think so.

And do you really, truly believe things will be better under President Romney, President Santorum or President Gingrich? No, I didn’t think so.

As it turns out, Barack Obama is not the answer to all our prayers. But he’s done a solid job under extremely difficult circumstances, and he’s earned another four years to finish the job.

Now where’s that T-shirt?

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