All presidential elections are vital, we can't think of any more pivotal to the future direction of our country than the one coming up in nine days.
On Nov. 6, Americans will choose whether to continue the big government stewardship of Democrat President Barack Obama or cast their lot with the no-nonsense agenda of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In our view, the Republican Romney is clearly the best choice to be our next president.
There are three reasons for our endorsement.
First, the nation's economic standing is at a critical crossroads and Gov. Romney has the background rooted in private business that is desperately needed in the White House.
Second, the country's problems require a more bipartisan approach and Gov. Romney has already shown he can do this. As Massachusetts governor, he worked with an 87-percent Democratic Legislature and managed to engineer health care reform and economic and employment improvement in that state.
A third leg to recommend Romney is the simple fact that President Obama's approach and policies have not worked, won't work in the future and there is no reason to believe he would try anything different in the next four years should be re-elected.
The Obama record
Obama's four years have been marked by actions that have nearly doubled the nation's debt to $16 trillion, a government takeover of health care that threatens our entire economic structure, mounting joblessness and a gradual weakening of American's foreign relations standing worldwide.
Obama promised hope and change. His version of that has brought debts that threaten future generations and increases the percentage of Americans totally dependent on government.
Four years later, the economy is nearing a point of no return, resembling something akin to the European socialistic model that has several countries in ruins.
Joblessness is a growing problem. There are 23 million people without jobs. The unemployment rate, which Obama boasted he would drop to 5 percent, hovers around 8 percent. The real unemployment rate is almost certainly higher, since the jobless total doesn't include millions of Americans who have given up on finding a job.
Terrorism is hardly on the run, but rather is at the heart of the Libyan embassy deaths that exposed the Obama administration as inept. And there's evidence mounting by the day that the administration's leadership knowingly deceived the nation about the cause for the deaths of four Americans at the embassy.
The nation's debt grows daily and the economic plan - or whatever it is Obama has been doing - clearly isn't working. The warranty on blaming the Bush administration for the economy and almost anything else that hasn't been fixed has long since expired.
In fact, Obama had a Democrat majority in Congress to work with the first two years and frittered that time away with an obsessive, big-government takeover of health care.
What the next four years should be
With Gov. Romney's private sector experience, we can foresee reasoned problem-solving, based on his track record, with a fresh hand reaching across the aisle for bipartisan help.
That's how health care can get needed reforms rather than unnecessary overhauling. That's how the private sector can get support in economic policies that encourage job creation. And with that job creation comes economic energy.
And with a stronger economy and policies that promote less dependence on foreign oil will come a stronger America.
It's a clear choice.
How will this happen? We can see a Romney administration taking the reins off our oil, coal and natural gas industries, replacing governmental strangulation with intelligent rather than overbearing regulations.
Those industries will respond and bring us closer to energy independence. They just need a chance and, with gas prices more than double the $1.84 a gallon they were when Obama took office, they deserve that chance.
What Americans pay at the pumps these days is the same as a tax increase, only worse, since it robs them of most of the disposable income they could be spending to pump life into the economy. The high cost of gasoline is devastating to the middle class.
Added to the bleak employment outlook, it has caused many people to lose hope.
We understand why so many people voted for President Obama in 2008.
His message of hope and change resonated well with most Americans after eight years of war. We understand the likeability of President Obama and realize his approach comes with sincerity and philosophical upbringing.
But it's the wrong approach and must be repudiated for the good of our country's future. The simple truth is that most Americans are not better off today than they were four years ago.
It's time to elect Gov. Romney and his vice presidential partner, Rep. Paul Ryan, and start the process of lifting up all Americans while getting away from the damaging class warfare of the past four years.