After almost two years of stump speeches, shameless pandering and a few minor media scandals, the people of the United States will choose a new president. There are many dichotomies between the major-party candidates, and there are many ways to choose to cast ones vote. Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain both have their strengths and weaknesses. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not and it should not be an easy decision. Taking as much as possible into consideration, however, The Post endorses Obama for president.
Although Obama has tried to present himself as bipartisan, the truth is there is no doubt that he stands far to the left. However, he has clearly thought out that position, and despite his decisiveness, he shows a willingness to at least listen to other points of view. McCain seems to want to lean toward free markets and government nonintervention but he has a populist streak that occasionally makes him come off as indecisive.
Many of the most-hyped issues of this campaign are really nonissues. Troop levels in Iraq, for example, are likely to decrease under either an Obama or a McCain administration Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants all foreign troops out by 2011, and it is unlikely that the next president will directly contradict that request. Speculation on Supreme Court justices, too, is unwise most of the justices on the court attempt to reject partisanship, and their lifetime terms allow them to do so without fear of retribution. And attempts to tie the candidates to domestic terrorists and radical groups have been little more than loose associations that have little relation to reality.
Recently, the focus of the campaigns has turned to the economy. Seeing so much turmoil in the financial sector, Americans are looking to the candidates for solutions. The bad news is that neither Obama nor McCain can single-handedly stabilize the market. This does, however, raise the question of the presidents ability to get things done. As a Democrat, Obama will be more able to work with a Democratic Congress to move legislation. Efficiency comes at a price the laws are likely to be more partisan, and overspending is certainly a concern. However, a Republican president and Democratic legislators are much more likely to butt heads and stalemate, even on relatively minor bills. McCain has, in the past, been able to reach out to Democrats to achieve bipartisan efforts, but there is a difference between having the power to co-sponsor or vote on a bill and being the sole person with veto power over a bill.
The hockey mom in the room is McCains running mate, Sarah Palin. It is a mistake to make personal attacks on the vice presidential candidate, as many well-meaning people have. However, it is clear that Palin was chosen to appeal to a fundamental right-wing base. That is troubling, as it seems to nullify McCains claims of bipartisanship and moderatism. The other reason Palin was likely chosen to appeal to women would be laughable if it werent sad and somewhat insulting.
Dont believe that this decision is a choice between life or death. Panic breeds ignorance. Vague promises of hope and change, are poor reasons to choose a candidate. But there is a school of thought that any choice made with thorough consideration and thoughtfulness is a good one and Obama represents that kind of decision-making. With that in mind, our collective vote is for Barack Obama.