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Column: Candidates Appear Weak, Substandard For President

This story was written by Sami Hatoum, The Daily Gamecock

With Election Day nearing like a swooping, screaming eagle perpetually descending from the sky like a marksman's bullet that I hope will just graze the side of my head and not strike me full force, I can only think one thing: Are these the best presidential candidates we could find?

On one hand we have John "Maverick" McCain, celebrated Vietnam War veteran, long-standing member of the Senate, known for bucking his party on issues like tobacco regulation and campaign spending on personal expenditures. But can we not forget that this was the man who in 2000 was outdone by George Bush for the nomination? The first time McCain ran the biggest knock on him was his age and medical history, so what does it say for him one serious cancer operation, 1173 pages of medical records and eight years later? I'm not concerned so much for his mortality, just the number of sick days he may have to take.

Yes, McCain is a maverick in his party, but isn't it just as important that you can convince someone to agree with you? I won't bore you with the details of his political record, but let's just say that when you carry about such a bold and swashbuckling title as maverick, you should be able to at least persuade a couple of people to be on your side. However, nearly every time he has deviated from his party, he has been almost completely unable to change the outcome of the vote. Some have argued that he purposely votes against bills guaranteed not to pass, and is therefore portrayed as a trendsetter without actually having to switch anything up - kind of like someone wearing the newest most outrageous dress they can find to the Oscars, but it's still Versace. Maybe.

Now for Obama. Because I can't really criticize his Senate voting record (because he has only served a half-term in the Senate), what I find most telling about his campaign can be displayed by one of his catchy one-liners: "We do not need another Washington bureaucrat in the White House." Besides the fact that this would have actually fit Bush better than it does Obama, he is a Washington bureaucrat and running to become the No. 1 bureaucrat in Washington.

I love the notion of Obama running on the platform of change, but after seeing the debate, I am left wondering: Where does the teleprompter begin and Obama end? This can be said of McCain, too, which begs the question - what does that say of our candidates?

With Election Day fast approaching, I am left wondering if these are rebels with a cause, or if nothing will change and important issues will just be causes without a rebel.