Editorial: Obama Brings Responsible Leadership

This story was written by Editorial Board, The Stanford Daily
It goes without saying that tomorrow is a pivotal day for the future of America. Our next president will inherit an economic crisis, two wars, a nation of families losing their homes and an increasingly anti-American global landscape. The two parties produced their best candidates, Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and John McCain of Arizona.

After examining what each candidate offers not only Americans, but also Stanford students specifically, the clear choice for president is Obama. This endorsement may not surprise some. Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin would probably categorize the editorial board as part of the liberal, elite, gotcha media.

Our choice, however, was not forged by party ideologies or any liberal agenda. The editorial board believes that Obama is the best choice for president because he best represents the values, the goals and the inventive spirit we all share on the Farm. As we stand on the brink of adulthood about to enter the real world, we also must consider the policies that will allow us to inherit an America of promise, not one that continues the exact same policies that contributed to the current international and political crises.

The economy is the No. 1 issue in this election and for good reason. Students in particular will be directly impacted by the current economic crisis. We face a terrible job market, decline in wages and bonuses, rising unemployment rates, increasing struggles to pay tuition, higher healthcare and costs of living and a collapsing stock market. Bushs deregulation of Wall Street and tax breaks for the wealthy have left our nation in the midst of what is possibly the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

And yet, McCain wants to continue many of these same economic policies, arguing that American economic fundamentals are strong. America cannot stand four more years of failure. We clearly need economic reform and increased governmental responsibility to protect Americans from the unchecked greed that helped bring about the crisis. Obama offers a more equitable economic program of tax breaks for the middle class, anyone making less than $250,000 a year. As most of us will be entering the job market at entry-level positions that fall into this category, the majority of tax-paying graduates would benefit from Obamas tax plan.

Lest we forget the War on Terror, we are also in the midst of two major wars on two fronts, with no clear plan or definition of victory, despite McCains persistent claims that we are winning. Yet, Obamas thoughtful and rational early opposition to the war and astute call for pulling out of Iraq in favor of the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan show sound military judgment. Senator McCain instead chooses to labor on to protect our troops from the shame of defeat. We should not sacrifice lives and valuable resources over a pointless, un-winnable war when the true threat grows unchecked because our military is overstretched.

But above all, we value intelligence and education. We are all at Stanford because we value the power of knowledge and intellectual endeavor. And for us, the most damning and inexcusable feature of the McCain-Palin presidential ticket is that it represents the anti-intellectual presidency.

The McCain-Palin campaign persistently and flippantly criticizes elites, tossing the phrase about to characterize everyone from the news anchors who interview Palin to Obama himself. McCain and Palin put a negative spin on elites and instead champion everymen like Joe the Plumber and hockey moms who embody what Palin describes as real America. These attacks devalue our Stanford education. Stanford students and graduates are no more or no less valuable to society than Joe the Plumber. We are all real American.

We walk a dangerous and potentially disastrous fine line when we start rejecting the value of intellect. We send our elite athletes to the Olympics, we give Nobel prizes to elite minds and make our elite soldiers Marines why cant our nation be represented by the best and brightest America has to offer?

While McCains 26-year career in the Senate and service to his country are commendable, such campaign tactics have placed his run among arguably the dirtiest of all time. This is ironic considering that McCain himself was the victim of a smear campaign, when a 2000 South Carolina primary ad campaign suggested that his adopted daughter was his illegitimate child. His alarming pick of the untested and controversial Sarah Palin for vice president further reveals a desperation to be elected president at any cost. This desperate, shoot-from-the-hip style of judgment is exactly what America does not need right now.

We particularly urge Hillary Clinton supporters who feel disenfranchised to cast their ballots for the candidate Clinton now backs. Do not let spite override the shared beliefs both Senators Clinton and Obama have crusaded for. Do not let your disappointment cause you to vote for a Republican ticket that stands for everything Clinton was against.

Finally, we recognize that some Stanford students may be undecided. We urge them to think about our future, what we will inherit. This is the time to vote for vision, integrity and, above all, change. We deserve compassion, vision, innovation and responsible leadership qualities Senator Barack Obama will bring to the White House.

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