This story was written by Editorial Board, The Bates Student
With the election just seven days away, the Bates Student Editorial Board is excited to endorse Senator Barack Obama for President. Neither candidate has much executive experience besides Senator John McCain's frequently referenced time as a naval aviator, yet the candidates' behavior and actions during this seemingly endless campaign reflect how they would lead the country.Time and time again, Obama has proved himself an effective leader as he managed the campaign of the first African American major party presidential candidate. He has shown patience, fortitude and aptitude. Ever since his experience as the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, Obama has valued academic prowess when making decisions. He embraces consensus to the point of forcing contribution by all participants, often pointing out the similarities in opposing arguments.Obama forsakes impulsive decisions for careful planning and implementation. An article by Jodi Kantor describes Obama's method of forming judgment: "Devise a plan. Anticipate objections. Adjust the plan, and once it's in place, stick with it" (nytimes.com). It was this technique that beat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton who continuously sought new messages while Obama maintained his consistency, even in the face of criticism. The same method has worked against McCain as polls in states across the country swing in Obama's favor. Obama's message of hope and change survived McCain's multiple reincarnations from war hero to maverick to country-first leader.The intensive thought process and analysis of Obama's leadership directly contradicts McCain's. In his 2002 memoir, McCain described his decision-making style as "instinctive, often impulsive. I don't torture myself over decisions. I make them as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow if I can" (nytimes.com).McCain's decision to choose Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate has been called into question by Republicans and Democrats alike. Her minimal foreign experience - other than being able to see Russia from her house - puts the whole country at risk if, God forbid, McCain, who at 72 would be the oldest person to assume the presidency, died in office. Her mediocre vetting process by the McCain campaign reflects the impulsiveness and unpredictability he would bring to the presidency. Obama, on the other hand, made a decision that complemented his weakness in foreign policy by choosing Senator Joe Biden, one of the foremost foreign policy experts in the Senate.McCain's impetuous decision to halt his campaign, almost cancel the first debate, and return to Washington to forge together a bailout consensus contributed to the total collapse of the economic recovery package. Obama encouraged McCain to attend the debate, acknowledging that the United States president would be forced to tackle multiple issues simultaneously.As a collegiate newspaper, it is difficult not to support a candidate who has stirred up such frenzy in college-aged students. Obama raised a record-shattering $153 million in September from 632,000 new donors of whom the majority was students and retirees, according to an e-mail from campaign manager David Plouffe. While youth turnout has been unreliable in the past, if Obama's candidacy succeeds in bringing a massive amount of youth to the voting booths, it may usher in a new generation of political activism worthy of American democracy.