Why I'll vote for Obama
I love following politics, so I've been following this presidential election process for the last year-and-a-half. Although politicians aren't held in the highest esteem in modern day America, I like both Obama and McCain, so deciding who to vote for hasn't been easy for me. In the last few weeks, however, I've pretty well made up my mind that I'll vote for Obama. I'm afraid that might be the kiss of death for him, though, because he's been dropping in the polls ever since.
Since I'm a teacher, education is important to me, and that is one of the reasons I've moved into the Obama camp, but the way that fits in is more complicated than you'd think. Although the Democratic party line on education doesn't really inspire me, I have been very impressed by what Obama has said to parents about their responsibilities. It is something I'd never thought I'd hear a politician say. I also think the guy is very intelligent.
McCain on the other hand simply parrots the Republican party line on education. "We have failing schools, and so we need vouchers to save the day." I'm no fan of vouchers, but what really bothers me is that when I've heard McCain recite the party line, I've gotten the same feeling I have when I've given an essay test and read answers from a student who seemed to have something memorized without really understanding it. I just don't think McCain really cares about education. In fact, the only things I think McCain really cares about are foreign policy, the federal budget deficit, and earmarks. (For pro-lifers who vote for McCain based on abortion, I suspect they might end up very disappointed if he gets a chance to appoint Supreme Court justices, because I don't think he really cares that much about that issue.)
The things that McCain cares deeply about are important things, and I've agreed with most of his positions on those things over the past several year. I agreed when we went into Iraq in 2003. (Yup, I admit it! I completely bought into the WMD argument.) I listened to him when he said we needed more troops for the occupation, (Joe Biden was saying the same thing for quite a while) and I think the results of the surge have shown him to have been right. The problem is that events have also caused me to conclude that we need a different direction in our foreign policy. Our military can beat up anyone in the world, but it seems to me that our aggressive foreign policy is just gaining us more and more enemies. What we are doing isn't working. Right now I think we need a very intelligent guy more than we need a very experienced guy.
Believe me, I do have my reservations. Obama's lack of experience does bother me, and I have no confidence that he will reach across party lines. But the bottom lines for me are these: I think Obama does care about and will be engaged in a wider range of issues than McCain would be, I think he's smarter than McCain, and I think our foreign policy needs to move in a different direction.
OTHER POLITICAL THOUGHTS
1. Politically, I think Obama should have picked Hillary as his running mate. But when it comes to governing, I think he made the right choice in by-passing her and turning to Biden. The president needs to run the show, and although I think Hillary would be okay, nobody can control Bill.
2. I think McCain will pick Romney as his V. P. candidate. One theme McCain is pushing is that he is strong, and Obama is weak. Picking Romney helps McCain to portray himself as "the grown-up" in this race. With Obama having passed over his top competitor, McCain can say he was man enough to pick his.
3. I think McCain will win the election. As of today, McCain is 2 points ahead in the Gallop Poll, and he has been gaining steadily as we've gotten closer to the election. I expect Obama to get a bounce from his speech, because that is his strength, but that bounce won't last for two months. I think the concern about Obama's lack of experience is taking its toll, and we really are a center-right nation. McCain is a lot closer to that than Obama is. As people pay more attention to the campaign and become more aware of the candidate's positions, more people will turn to McCain. The one thing that could turn the election to Obama would be a huge turnout by African-Americans and young people. And that is a definite possibility.