I've become pretty unhappy with both of our selections for president this year. It makes me wonder if it's possible to have a presidential candidate that inspires you. Has that ever happened?
Here are the problems:
John McCain. I hate his stance on Guantanamo and on the war. While I think it would be irresponsible to pull out of Iraq all at once, he seems to want to stay there forever. He likes tax cuts, while I believe that the government has to tax in order to provide services, especially services to people in need. While he used to be champion for sorely-needed bipartisan immigration reform, he seems to only be talking about immigration enforcement now. It seems like he is pandering to the far right.
Barack Obama: He has very little experience. He basically started running for president as soon as he became a U.S. Senator. When he gave that inspiring speech at the '04 Democratic National Convention, he hadn't even been elected yet. So I think it's unfair when he attacks other people for their stand on certain issues, when he wasn't even in Congress to take a stand on most issues. Reports show that while in Congress, he has always toted the party line, and has never had an opinion about an issue that was different from the Democratic Party establishment's. He keeps talking about "change" but does not give specifics and does not have a history of making change. It is unclear where he stands on most issues, and his stands on some issues don't make any sense. For example, Jim heard an interview with him on NPR regarding the issue of instituting a "windfall tax" against the gas companies. The interviewer told him that basically every economist has said that a windfall tax was a very bad idea. He agreed that it was a bad idea, but said that it wasn't fair that the gas companies were making all that money and that's why he supported the tax. WTF?
He appears to be telling people that they should vote for him because he doesn't look like the guy on the 5 dollar bill. It seems to me that the ONLY reason he should get my vote is if he convinces me HOW he is going to change the current situation in the U.S. I need to know what he is going to do about Afghanistan, which now has more deaths than Iraq. How is he going to close Guantanamo? What does he propose doing with the prisoners, especially when their countries won't take them back? Does he agree that the Geneva Conventions should apply to all prisoners of war, regardless of whether they represent a particular country or a guerrilla group? What does he think of "The War on Terror"? Can we have an indefinite war on an idea? What will he do to gain credibility back for the U.S. in Europe and beyond? What is his stance on immigration? How will he work with Congress to get it done for once?
I don't like John McCain's answers on these issues, but I don't feel like I'm getting any answers from Barack Obama. I worry that people like him mostly because he's an amazing public speaker (which he is) who seems young and vibrant and idealistic where McCain looks old and jaded. The problem is, I think McCain is qualified for the job. I don't think Obama is.
People liked what they saw with George W. Bush too. A plain speaker. Someone like them. The problem was that he also was not qualified to be president. He picked sycophants for his cabinet instead of people who challenged him or gave him different points of view. The people who did challenge him (ie: Colin Powell) were forced out. I worry that Obama is sounding more and more like that, and that worries me a lot. At least McCain is able to think for himself and do what he thinks is right, based on reasoning and listening to advisors. He has a proven record of doing that. Obama has no record or history of that.
Will I vote for McCain? I don't think so. But I don't know that I can vote for Obama either. I guess we'll have to see how the debates go.