Skip to main content

Young people, don't vote for Obama

By Alex Schriver, Special to CNN
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
Graduates wait to hear President Obama deliver the commencement address at Barnard College on May 14.
Graduates wait to hear President Obama deliver the commencement address at Barnard College on May 14.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An op-ed recently urged young people not to give up on President Obama
  • Alex Schriver says writer overlooks the failure of Obama to fix the economy
  • Schriver: Grads can't find work, are burdened with student loan debt
  • We need Mitt Romney to move country in a new direction, Schriver writes

Editor's note: Alex Schriver is the national chairman of the College Republican National Committee, an elected body representing 250,000 members on 1,800 campuses. He graduated from Auburn University in 2010.

(CNN) -- In his September 4 op-ed, Jack Schlossberg presents his case that young Americans should cast their ballots for President Obama this fall. Published on the same day it was widely reported that the national debt had hit $16 trillion, his piece is as ill-timed as it is unconvincing.

Seeking to speak to and for his generation, he characterizes Obama as "our biggest ally in Washington." He neglects, of course, to recount the harsh realities of the Obama economy. Instead, his message rests on the flimsy notion that we should hang on a little bit longer because enduring change takes time.

Alex Schriver
Alex Schriver

You may be wondering what happened to "We can't wait" and "Yes we can." Schlossberg concedes that we're "a little more cynical," but contends that "just because our politics and government can disappoint us sometimes doesn't mean we should forget how far we've come."

How far we've come?

Unfortunately, such an argument demonstrates a sloppiness with the facts. Take, for instance, the fact that unemployment has remained above 8% since the beginning of Obama's term. Or, according to this analysis, that half of recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed Or that under Obama, the national debt has risen $5 trillion. Or that Obama presided over the first credit downgrade in American history.

Unemployment and the presidential race

I could go on. The point is, these facts are overwhelming. And they are neither fair to young Americans nor signs of the progress for which we yearn. Rather, they are the residue of generational theft, of promises unmet, of false hopes and of crushed dreams. In a word, travesty. To argue otherwise is to fall out of a fairy tale.

Schlossberg begins his piece with "The Catcher in the Rye's" Holden Caulfield. He compares Caulfield's desire to escape phonies to young people's support for Barack Obama in his first presidential campaign. But the problem with that analysis is that it's four years out of date. In 2008, Obama regaled us with promises of hope and change, but his time in office has exposed the emptiness of these promises.

And there's more than meets to the eye to the president's self-proclaimed achievements. While his allies may credit his health care law with allowing members of my generation to stay on our parents' health care until we're in our mid-20s, the real question is, why can't we find jobs in the first place? Obama regards students as beneficiaries of his achievements. Schlossberg praises the president's "insistence on keeping student interest rates low," but that hasn't kept student loan debt from reaching record levels.

Schlossberg's discussion of Obama's energy policy is equally selective. He talks about the president's "investments in clean energy projects and jobs," but fails to mention that some of these "investments" came at a high price and on the dime of taxpayers. The saying goes that brevity is the soul of wit, so this argument merits a one-word refutation: Solyndra.

But of all of Schlossberg's claims, perhaps the most misguided is the notion that Obama has displayed political courage in the White House. He has refused to reform entitlements in a way that will ensure they remain solvent for future generations -- which is to say, us. Instead, he started a brand new trillion-dollar entitlement program in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, an unaffordable government takeover of our nation's health care system. His fiscal stewardship has been nothing short of a disaster. Four consecutive years of trillion-dollar deficits isn't courageous; it's immoral.

Schlossberg does get one thing correct, however: Part of growing up is coming to terms with heartbreaking truths. But in this case, it's about coming to terms with the fact that Obama has had his chance to lead and his policies have failed. We don't have to fall into line once again only to be taken for granted. We can vote for a new direction. We can reward truth-telling. We can elect Mitt Romney.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Alex Schriver.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
updated 11:16 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
updated 9:40 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
updated 9:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT