The rallies are over, the hoopla has ended, and the seemingly endless stream of opinion surveys has finally given way to voting day. An inordinately high number of voters have already cast their ballot in advanced polls. But it’s today that America will choose its 44th president. Last night, I attended the final rally of Barack Obama’s campaign in Virginia and was able to hear up close the powerful oratory of the Democratic contender. It was truly spectacular.
Senator McCain did a seven-state tour on the last day of the campaign to present his closing arguments–lower taxes, a strong foreign policy, and fiscal conservatism. He asked for one more mission on behalf of his country. It was touching, but not very convincing.
We now know the deregulation mantra has failed miserably. The bailout is an admission of that, and even Alan Greenspan has had to concede he was wrong about market discipline. Conservatives like to rail against government, but they have in fact expanded it: both Reagan and Bush II dramatically increased spending, the deficit and debt are at record levels, and unemployment is high. On the foreign policy front, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still going on, Pakistan remains a serious problem, and Al Qaeda is still a force to be reckoned with. Add to this a corrupt and poorly managed response to the biggest natural disaster in US history (Hurricane Katrina), and we understand better why so many respected pundits on the conservative side have opted for Obama.
I know my conservative readers will go berserk and question my knowledge and objectivity. I respect their right to disagree and actually appreciate their desire to challenge my views. But the Republican campaign has been a disaster. Off message throughout the campaign, engaged in constant personal attacks and lacking policy initiatives that can inspire and rally America, John McCain ‘s presidential bid in 2008 was a far cry from his noble endeavour in 2000. Labeling Obama a socialist was ignorant and showed no grasp of history or understanding of the meaning of the word. McCain should have never used this line of attack. To claim Obama will raise taxes on all Americans was a plain lie.
Finally, when it comes to whom would make a better President, McCain has given experience a bad name with his impulsive and impetuous character. Obama, by contrast, has remained cool and shown a better temperament for the job. Obama can never be fully tested before he takes on the job, but he has shown an intellectual curiosity and a capacity to unify the country that McCain cannot even contemplate. Obama has simply shown himself to be the better candidate for the times.