Since it’s an essential part of the overall presidential endorsement package, I thought it would be a good idea to post Warren’s dissenting column on the blog as well. I don’t know about you, but I thought he did a good job with it. — Brad
By WARREN BOLTON
WHO WILL lead us through these extraordinary times — John McCain or Barack Obama?
Which of these men — both uniquely qualified to be president — can not only return confidence and stability to a country shaken at its foundation, but get Americans to see and embrace a future beyond today’s challenges?
The top question Americans confront as foreclosures rise, credit dries up, jobs are cut and financial markets free-fall is: Are you better off today than you were yesterday? We’re engaged in two wars — one of which was an ill-timed war of opportunity that has distracted us from the war on terror. Other threats and hot spots dot the globe.
While America remains a beacon of hope, our light doesn’t shine as brightly. The next president must shoulder the dual burdens of strengthening the home front while leading globally.
Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are both capable, but only one possesses extraordinary qualities to shepherd our country through these extraordinary times.
That’s Sen. Barack Obama.
Under Mr. McCain, I see an America that’s safe, stuck and satisfied. The middle class would remain stuck, while only the wealthy would be satisfied.
But Mr. Obama’s a game-changer. He’s a gifted leader who possesses the right judgment, leadership skills, temperament and steadiness. He has a consistent, coherent vision for America, whereas Mr. McCain has been all over the place.
Mr. Obama’s health care plan is far superior and will actually expand the number of people covered. And if we’re going to have tax cuts, it should be for the many working people who have seen their wages stagnate, their plans for their children’s future endangered and their lifestyles dwindle.
Mr. McCain has lots of experience in national politics and a record of legislative and diplomatic leadership. He’s worked across party lines and is rightly hailed for his service to this great country. But there are questions about his temperament as well as his ability to craft a cohesive vision.
The John McCain of 2008 isn’t the stalwart leader many admired in 2000. He walked away from some of his independence in exchange for a shot at the White House. He embraced positions straight from the Bush playbook, including wanting to continue tax cuts he once denounced.
For a man who said he would rather lose an election than a war, he has gone to great lengths to win, even to point of saying that if he is elected and something happens to him, Gov. Sarah Palin, who is clearly not ready, is the one he would choose.
That irresponsible choice says a lot about Mr. McCain’s judgment. A number of things he’s done or has allowed to be done on behalf of his campaign suggest that he’ll do anything to win.
Mr. McCain’s unrelenting support of the Iraq war and inability to clearly articulate the “victory” he speaks of is troubling. Yes, he was right about the surge. It brought violence under control. But now what? Where’s the victory? Where’s the political progress in Iraq? It’s time we get out and allow Iraqis to run and defend their country.
Sen. Obama would be much wiser about getting out of Iraq. He would focus us back on the dangerous situation in Afghanistan, the war on terror and Osama bin Laden.
One of Sen. Obama’s greatest strengths is the fact that he thinks. Wow, a thinking president. I know. Wild isn’t it? Many who have sat with him — including me — notice quickly he doesn’t give stock answers, and genuinely considers questions and issues.
As intelligent as he is, Sen. Obama won’t hesitate to surround himself with other smart people who will challenge him. He would build an experienced, credible and bipartisan Cabinet. He’s already given us a glimpse of the kind of choices he would make by selecting Sen. Joe Biden.
Some have mocked Mr. Obama’s rhetorical prowess as being “just speeches.” Powerful oratory has built nations and reshaped civilizations. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “speeches” transformed the soul of America. John F. Kennedy’s “speeches” united America to do the extraordinary — to go to the moon.
Sen. Obama has energized millions of all races, ages and socio-economic backgrounds. People are engaged, waiting for the messenger to lay out the vision. He’s shown he can and is willing to talk about tough issues with Americans when he gave his speech on race.
Mr. Obama is one of those rare leaders who come along too seldom. His bi-racial background and multicultural experiences give him a unique lens through which to see an America that is becoming more like him. He represents where America is headed, and might be the one who can convince a broad range of people to help mend our fractured country, already the greatest on earth, and make its light shine brighter both at home and abroad.
His well-organized, record-setting campaign has been well-managed, features an awesome army of staff and volunteers in nearly every state and hasn’t suffered the infighting that characterizes — and kills — so many campaigns. Mr. McCain’s campaign has been woefully disorganized and has done a pitiful job of capturing who Mr. McCain really is and why he should be elected.
Has there been anyone more unflappable, more consistent, more thoughtful, more engaging — when he speaks, the nation listens — than Sen. Obama? Has anyone been more presidential?
No. That’s why we need an Obama presidency.
Reach Mr. Bolton at (803) 771-8631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.