Friday, October 10, 2008

Thoughts about the election

My wife and I have just voted for Barack Obama, and for the first time since 1996 we think we have voted for a winner in a Presidential election. We voted on an absentee ballot in New Jersey, our legal residence, because we plan to be in Florida on Election Day.

Just a few months ago, I was not very optimistic that Obama would be the victor. I feared that John McCain would win because he was much better known and experienced. I was worried that Obama was handicapped by both his limited record of political achievement and his race.

But Obama has clearly demonstrated that he possesses the credentials to be President. He has campaigned with dignity and has shown himself to be a man of superior intelligence and integrity. He appears to be far more suitable than McCain to cope with the current economic crisis and with the national security and foreign policy issues facing the nation. He is far more impressive as a force for the political change that both candidates claim is needed.

McCain is still ideologically linked to the disastrous policies of George W. Bush. Moreover, McCain has displayed extraordinarily poor judgment. The most obvious example was his selection of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

McCain has failed to explain how he would meaningfully bring change to government. For instance,he talks about economic reforms, but sticks obsessively to the idea that the free market, unfettered by government intervention, will solve basic economic problems. In his many years in Congress, he has been a consistent champion of deregulation of business and the financial markets, a philosophy that helped produce our current economic plight.

McCain has behaved so erratically that I am concerned that his temperament makes him ill-equipped to handle the very serious and complex problems that the next President must handle. In particular, I worry that his macho-aggressive approach to foreign affairs could revive the cold war with Russia.

In contrast to Obama's well-mannered style, McCain and Palin have conducted a disgraceful election campaign, employing gutter tactics with slanderous personal attacks on their opponent. This is the kind of campaigning that twice brought Bush to the White House.

Obama still faces a serious obstacle. As they see Obama gaining in the polls, the McCain-Palin team seems to be turning even more aggressively to hate-filled personal attacks on Obama. Example: Palin's absurd argument about Obama "palling around with terrorists."

The big question is whether white voters' fears about the financial crisis will overcome any unwarranted concern that some of them may still have about Obama's race and patriotism.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Sylvia K said...

Thank you! It's the first time in several days that I have felt something anywhere near positive. You certainly support my views, I know, but I'm so eager to get this election finished so, hopefully, we can begin to rebuild our country.

Friday, October 10, 2008 9:28:00 PM  
Blogger fpaynter said...

I hope I'm not being over confident when I say that I think Obama will win the most lopsided election since Reagan's 1984 victory.

Hopefully he will see it as a mandate to begin rebuilding government. I was reminded today of the need for an impartial scientific perspective of the kind that used to be offered by the Office of Technology Assessment. That was axed during the Reagan years on the theory that lobbyists could keep government informed of new developments and the salaries of public employees were simply needless overhead.

I could go on...

Friday, October 10, 2008 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I have also cast my vote. Three cheers for the absentee and overseas ballots! Now that I have voted I feel that I can excuse myself from the rest of the show (or nightmare) and pray for a good outcome.

I can't believe it is already time for you two to travel back to Florida. It seems as though you just came up!

Saturday, October 11, 2008 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger tamarika said...

McCain's campaign of "Hate speak" speaks volumes for itself. I am voting for Obama on November 4! I came to your blog from Frank Paynter and am so glad I did!

Saturday, October 11, 2008 5:00:00 AM  
Blogger Florence said...

Mort, This will be the first time in our lives that my husband & I will vote for a Democrat for President and we have been voting since 1972. And we are not the only long time Republicans making this change. I think Obama has a very good chance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Have a safe journey, Snowbirds. Next year you should migrate to Arizona for a change in scenery.

I mailed my absentee ballot on Wednesday and it was a relief to feel like I was doing something at last.

If the gutter tactics work again there will be no hope for this country. I have my fingers crossed, but am afraid to be too optimistic. The fat lady hasn't sung yet.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Watching the McCain campaign implode reminds me of Hillary's. It shows what happens when the candidate is not in charge and there are too many fingers in the pie.

We can only hope that those who are trending toward Obama actually do so in the voting booth!

Saturday, October 11, 2008 5:47:00 PM  
Blogger janinsanfran said...

Thanks for such a concise and cogent description of why voting for Obama is the right thing to do at this time!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Margie's Musings said...

Very good blog and your thinking matches mine. I am a lifelong Republican who has never voted the straight ticket. This year both my husband and I will vote for Obama and Biden.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 9:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Claude said...

Seen from here, the odd couple, McCain-Palin is really scary. I do hope you are right and Obama is elected. Have a nice trip south!

Monday, October 13, 2008 3:41:00 AM  
Anonymous nazar said...

I hate to spoil the party, but Obama has campaigned with anything but dignity. He just has his henchmen do his dirty work for him. The media's disgraceful handling of Sarah Palin comes to mind. The medias attempt to humiliate Palin's pregnant teenage daughter is something that any decent American would be ashamed of. And yet, Obama has said nothing to condemn this.

I have yet to hear any ideas from Obama on how to solve the economic problems. More government? Please, it was govnerment stronghandling (focing companies to give mortgages to people who didn't qualify for them) that's partly responsible for this problem.

Obama's association with known terrorists, and yes they are terrorists, would render him unable to get a job with the FBI, much less be the president of the USA. If McCain hung around with people who bombed abortion clinics, the Left would be screaming bloody murder, and rightfully so. These excuses for Obama's association with terrorist-turned-proffessor Bill Ayers drip with hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty.

Monday, October 13, 2008 8:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Mort,

Just think, no longer do triple digits mark the remaining days of the administration of George W. Bush ,who yesterday had this profound statement to make.

He said," I firmly believe that the future is yet to come."

Deep,George,Deep............

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Lydia said...

Agree with you and wanted to thank you for a post that I'll recommend to others. Here in Oregon we vote by mail and my husband and I are anxiously awaiting our ballots. They should be here soon and I can't wait to vote for Obama-Biden. I intend to take a digital photo of my completed ballot before mailing (actually I'll just drop it off in the box at City Hall) just to keep as a souvenir of this historic time.

At my blog I'm featuring an on-the-road journal done by my cousin and her husband (former U.S. Congressman from Oregon) as they stump for Obama-Biden in Ohio. It's at top right margin, or cut and paste this link:
http://ohiojournal.wordpress.com/

I hope that folks like nazar above will give a President Obama a chance, much like the those of us who have literally suffered the Bush presidency gave to him in his early presidency. Bush blew our confidence, but Obama won't follow suit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 3:44:00 PM  
Blogger LadyLuz said...

Well said, Mort

It is very strange to us Brits that US elections resort to personal attacks and mud slinging instead of focusing on the issues.

It's as plain as day that Obama is the superior candidate. It was refreshing to watch the debate this morning saying, vis-a-vis the slanders, that they could be there all night going tit-for-tat but what matters is how your country is to be turned around.

I've lived under the National Health Service for most of my 67 years, both in UK and in Spain and to know that my contributions paid all my working life now give me the security of free health care when I need it is a comfort.

Why are Americans afraid of this and yell "socialism". Free health care for all is a fine system, in my opinion. Look how many Americans go over the border to Canada for treatment.

I would happily have paid double to maintain the NHS (the choice of private treatment has always been the luxury of the better-off). And if I never needed medical treatment, it has been good to know that people like my grandmother who couldn't afford a doctor in the mid 1940s are now well protected.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:01:00 PM  

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