In January, I endorsed both of them. Here comes my suggestion who to vote for on November 4th.
A new hope beyond rhetoric? (via radiospike photography, Flickr)
A war veteran that was held five years in prison and is seen as a maverick by his party establishment on the one side, on the other the son of a Kenian father, an african-american community organizer with refreshing rhetoric: On paper, the American election shows once again that the USA can re-invent itself like no other country in the world.
Yet, these were not the reasons why this blog endorsed both candidates for their respective parties ahead of the primary season in January. It was their approach to politics, which felt as far away as the ideological mistakes of the Bush-years as it can get. Since then, I have criticized the candidates for not showing enough of their skills in the election campaign for remaining vague about a lot of issues (Mr. Obama) or reversing sensible positions (Mr. McCain).
While one candidate has used the last couple of weeks to go negative, the other has shown that he is ready, willing and able to take concrete measures to resurrect America in the time of one of its worst crisis in the history of the country. This other candidate is Barack Obama, who Kopfzeiler hereby endorses to be the next President of the United States of America.
The biggest crisis the new President will be facing is the economic one: Whereas Mr. McCain has reversed his prior standpoint and embraced the unjust tax-cuts for the wealthy, Mr. Obama has proposed a plan to reverse them and introduce tax-benefits to the working Americans. As the financial crisis continues and credit-cards might soon default, he may not have enough money to do so – but he will be able to tackle the crisis on an international level, probably establishing more transparency and stricter rules for financial products together with the European Union.
There are two “second biggest” challenges: Iraq and climate change. For Iraq, Mr. Obama has seemingly left his strong standpoint of withdrawing as soon as possible, though a withdrawal-plan will certainly be on his agenda, probably adjusted to the conditions on the ground and the state of the Iraqi army and security forces. Though I do believe Mr. McCain is right not to offer any time-corridor yet, I am sure Mr. Obama will not neglect the American responsibility for what happens in Iraq after the U.S.-forces leave.
As far as climate change is concerned, both candidates unfortunately do not embrace a carbon tax. But the Senator from Illinois wants to cut emissions big time, boost renewable energies and expand public transport. These measures need to be consistently implemented to make a difference in this important field.
Finally, Mr. Obama offers a better health-care-plan than his opponent. He wants to focus on a better insurance coverage, though he will not oblige people to take health insurance. Though it is yet hard to imagine Mr. Obama being able to improve health care without excessively burdening the federal budget, he aims in the right direction, the same is true for integrating illegal immigrants into American society.
I do appreciate some standpoints of Mr. McCain like his commitment to free trade (though I would have some suggestions about its basics) or his strong position on Iraq, a region crucial for the future of the Middle East. But the Senator from Arizona has switched from being reasonable to merely pleasing the Republican base in issues like immigration, taxes or reckless offshore-drilling (partly also embraced by Mr. Obama), and has shown little sympathy for multilateralism beyond his “League of Democracies” which looks like another attempt to abandon the United Nations.
Worst of all, he has made himself a captive of the Right by aligning himself with the smear-campaigners of the Rove-periphery making Sarah Palin his VP-candidate. This, undoubtedly, was his biggest mistake as Mrs. Palin is unqualified to be Commander in Chief if something happens to the 72-year-old McCain. Bluntly speaking, she is not even qualified to comprehend mildly complicated coherences. I have a feeling like the “old” Mr. McCain would not vote for the campaign-McCain and the Alaskan marshmallow Palin.
Barack Obama, judged by his senate record, has still to prove he can be the man leading America out of this huge crisis. But the impression he has given tells me that he is an able man who has the right visions and pragmatism for shaping the country in the 21st century.
Europe has to recognize that a multilateral approach by the new administration will mean not only benefits, but also obligations. Yet, an Obama-adminstration would give the world a unique opportunity to tackle the problems we are in and find sustainable solutions. Therefore, I embrace the promises and hopes of change Barack Obama has come to symbolize.