Decision ’08

The Student Perspective on the Upcoming Election

October 17, 2008

Obama: Genuine Change American Needs

While many students cannot vote yet, the future of their lives will be deeply affected no matter who the president is. The United States cannot afford to suffer any more at the hands of poor leadership, especially during the current economic crisis. We need a president who truly represents the country’s needs and interests and can readily address its challenges. The candidate who can best do this is Senator Barack Obama.

From his views on the economic crisis to his stance on the environment, it is obvious that Obama, not Senator John McCain, is what this country needs.

Unlike his opponent, Barack Obama has proven time and again that he possesses the good judgement that the president needs. Obama has remained firm in his stance against the war in Iraq, shown by his voting against the invasion during his time in the Senate. His foresight is also evident in his warnings two years ago about the subprime mortgage crisis.

McCain’s claim of being the original “maverick” cannot be backed up by the history of McCain’s service in the government. By voting with President Bush over 90 percent of the time, McCain has proven himself to be the exact opposite of a “maverick.”

With the nation’s stock market experiencing the largest point drop in the history of the United States, Obama is focused on making changes that the United States desperately needs.

Unlike McCain’s plan, Obama’s does not give tax cuts to the wealthy and instead cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans. These tax cuts will give welcome relief to people who need it most. By allowing the middle class to save money on taxes, the “fundamentals of our economy” that McCain recently called “strong” will be able to recover. McCain’s plan will give tax cuts to the wealthiest five percent. The rich will get richer, while the middle and lower classes suffer through a full-blown depression.

Barack Obama has stated that his is committed to investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to help create a cleaner future for the United States. According to Obama’s official website, greenhouse emissions will be cut down 80 percent by the year 2050 and 1 million houses will be powered by wind power. Over five million “green collar jobs” will be available for Americans.

McCain’s campaign and energy plan has mostly focused on offshore drilling and nuclear power. He voted against an attempt last year to extend investment tax credit around solar and wind energy projects, and also wants to build 45 nuclear power plants; although it does not emit any greenhouse gases, he has no plan for long-term waste storage. Obama’s plan however, emphasizes the importance of developing new technology for storage of nuclear wastes before expanding nuclear power.

In the vice presidential debate, Governor Sarah Palin told the world that she does not believe that global warming is caused by human beings. However, she thinks that the campaign can still help the problem.  If the problem is not manmade, the question must be asked: “How can we fix something that we have no part in or understand?”

Overall, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are without a doubt the people who will bring the reforms to Washington that we need so desparately. The country simply cannot afford to suffer another four years of the Bush administration, and McCain’s long record has shown he is essentially no different from the current administration. McCain and Palin claim to want change and reform in Washington, but with the same polices and the same staff Bush used, change is nowhere to be seen on the Republican ticket.

McCain: A Leader with Concrete Experience

In Los Altos, most people are too caught up in Barack Obama’s speeches to bother reading John McCain’s credentials. If they did, they would see that McCain’s résumé includes decades of experience and a lifetime of dedication to his country. Obama, on the other hand, has spent the majority of his “career” campaigning for office.

The primary reason the Obama has become such a political rock star is because of his brilliant campaigning. He has taken full advantage of his oodles of charisma, filling his speeches with calls to action and emotional appeals. What his speeches lack, however, is substance; he is deliberately vague about his plans in order to avoid losing votes.

Obama claims to stand up for the little guy who gets taken advantage of by a corrupt and greedy Washington, to which his slogan “Change We Can Believe In” will attest. However, Obama hasn’t stood up for much of anything in his career. In the current Congress, he has missed almost half of all the votes and simple to the Democratic Party’s line 96 percent of the times he actually cast a vote.

Whichever candidate gets elected is going to inherit the country in a time of economic and political crisis, and his term could determine the future of our country for decades. How can Americans honestly say that a man who has spent the majority of his political career running for office can provide better leadership in such a time of crisis than a war hero who has lived in politics for the last half-century?

Many have compared our current situation in Iraq to that of the infamous Vietnam War, the only war that American lost. McCain’s primary experience with war came directly from Vietnam, from the perspective of both a soldier and a POW. He knows what kind of war the Iraq War is; he knows how the United States can win it and what must be done to prevent losing it.

McCain supported the troop surge, though it was initially unpopular, and his decision has proven to be a wise one. Waving the white flag and hightailing it out of Iraq now would only undo any steps that have been taken to fix the situation, meaning that our soldiers would have died in vain.

Level-headedness, foresight and the ability to make decisions for the good of the country are traits that will help McCain handle both the Iraq War and the economic crisis, if his is elected.

McCain has the integrity to fight corruption and not bow down to special interests; whereas Obama has only spoken about changing Washington, McCain has actually taken a hard stance against mutual back-scratching and has proven that he is a man of morals.

McCain’s active stance against corruption has been consistent throughout his long career. The McCain-Feingold Act attempted to combat corruption by reforming campaign financing to loosen the hold that corporations have on Washington politics. His sense of morals has even come between him and the views of his party, earning him the reputation of a maverick and of being nearly an Independent. He is able to work together with Democrats when his interests come in conflict with those of his own party.

“McCain is more bipartisan than Obama is, so he is far more likely to work with Democrats than Obama [is] to work with Republicans,” senior Brian Sanders said.

Barack Obama may have a nicer image than McCain, but he has not shown that he can stand up for a cause, and he is certainly not ready to inherit the country in crisis. John McCain has the integrity to stand up for a cause and the strength to fight for it. Just think: Who would you rather have sitting across Vladimir Putin of Russia or Hu Jintao of China — someone whose political experience in months, or decades?

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