When John McCain took time at his public debate with Barack Obama to mention an alleged $3 million project to study the DNA of bears in Montana, it really put his priorities into perspective.
McCain used the bear project to moan about the irresponsibility of pork barrel spending, something he has made a hallmark in both his career and this campaign. Since he supports America's continued presence in Iraq, however, he never once decried during the debate that it costs taxpayers a whopping $10 billion a month.
Now $3 million for studying the DNA of bears may arguably be a waste of federal dollars, but do the math and you will find that $3 million is what a paltry 13 minutes in Iraq is costing us. His insistence on cleaning up such petty issues before closing the book on one of the greatest mistakes in U.S. history is just one of the reasons The Voice endorses his opponent, Barack Obama, for president.
Obama had the foresight and gumption to speak out against the idea of the Iraq War in 2002, a time when his fellow Democrats were scared of having their patriotism questioned for doing so, but he deserves more than a pat on the back for his past record. The foreign policy ideas he has laid out on his agenda -- a plan to evacuate Iraq within 16 months, a tough policy with Pakistan if it interferes with America's pursuit of al Qaeda and attempting unadulterated diplomacy with our enemies -- shows a fine balance of common sense, firmness and new thinking.
McCain has been fond of saying that on the key issue in this election, Iraq, he got it right and Obama got it wrong -- a reference to his support of last year's surge that has significantly lessened fighting in Iraq. This is akin to house-sitting for someone, spilling wine all over the couch, not tending to it for hours and then expecting creditfor wiping it up because even though a life-long stain exists, the surface is no longer wet.
We may not lose as many troops in Iraq these days, but we still spend more an obscene amount of money when we have much more pressing uses for that money here at home.
While McCain has proposed a spending freeze for all but "the most vital things" (of which Iraq is one of them), Obama has proposed a lot of nice ideas -- such as a massive Great Lake restoration project -- that won't be possible with so much tied into a war that never should have been waged.
At 47, Obama is not only at a fresh enough age to give young adults someone they can identify with, but he also comes from a generation that is not swept up in the problems of the distant past. The extraordinary cultural polarization we still suffer as a nation can be traced to the split over the Vietnam War, which we senselessly revisited in 2004 with George W. Bush and John Kerry.
We can and must change the way we do things here and abroad. On those fronts, it is Barack Obama's promise that resonates far stronger.