In the tradition of election hyperbole, with this election goes the future of America.
We suspect that both candidates, as is typical, will adequately address only a handful of the issues on which they campaign. Yet we are approaching a time when circumstances will force the next president, whoever he is, to act.
As an editorial board that had plenty of John McCain supporters, a Naderite and a few people who were fed up with both candidates, we decided that the next president of the United States should be Barack Obama.
Obama is one of the least experienced candidates to recently run for president. He has a tendency to exaggerate his legislative accomplishments and has little record of standing up to his own party.
Still, Obama managed a campaign that beat out, in the form of Hillary Clinton, one of the biggest front-runners in history, and he has surrounded himself with some very smart (and non-ideological) foreign policy and economic advisors.
Barack Obama talks a lot about change. In some areas we certainly deserve nothing less.
President Bushs style of leadership has been consistently ineffectual, leading to inaction or delayed action on a number of issues, ranging from social security and immigration reform to dealing with the financial crisis.
Instead of having an open discussion about the scope of government in a time of terrorism, the Bush administration engaged in tactics that would be considered torture by anyone besides Dick Cheney.
On foreign policy Obama offers a more pragmatic approach towards negotiating with Iran and disengaging from Iraq. McCain denounces talking to Iran but will engage with an aggressive Russia. He accuses Obama of surrendering in Iraq when the Iraqis government we installed is negotiating our exit. Such contradictions reek of the politicization that imperiled the war on terror.
Obama is least impressive when it comes to the economy. His tendency to bash free trade is concerning, if not downright regressive.
He has supported farm subsidies, puts much of the blame of high gas prices on oil companies and speculators, and backed a bill removing secret ballots in decisions to unionize. He spends a lot of time pandering to the interest groups of the 20th century at a time when he claims we need a new perspective.
Fortunately for Obama -- but unfortunately for us -- McCain has supported some ridiculous proposals in the form of his gas-tax holiday and his recent plan to buy bad mortgages.
McCain incorrectly claims that Bushs tax cuts paid for themselves. Many economists predict that McCains tax cuts will drastically increase national debt.
On the financial crisis, both Obama and McCain tend to resort to old talking points instead of offering real solutions. Given that this crisis could offer the next president a mandate to redraw the line between the state and the private sector, the vagueness of the candidates has been concerning.
Both candidates are better than their 2004 counterparts, yet both have caved on a number of issues to keep their campaigns running.
McCain, in his choice of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate and his decision to mount a more negative, populist campaign instead of spirited defense of the market policies he and his party supposedly embody, has caved more.
If the McCain from 2000 was running now, this election would present a difficult choice. TBut the fall of McCain and the implosion of the Republican Party make it a much easier one.