The Collegian
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

I'm down with the GOP vs. The Dems have the upper hand

Richmond College '09

America is struggling. Our country faces the threat of worldwide terrorism, nuclear-armed rogue nations, a faltering economy, high energy prices, global warming and a host of other problems. Now is not the time to experiment with an untested leader. John McCain is better suited to handle conflicts with emerging powers such as Russia, can best clean up Iraq and has the more sensible and humane policies on international trade.

Sen. Barack Obama's foreign policy credentials rest on a whirlwind travel tour, his intellect, a gifted set of advisers and one speech he gave against the Iraq war while he was still a state-level politician. Obama has never had the opportunity to develop relationships with foreign leaders and get a sense of how the world's movers and shakers operate on a personal level, where many of the most important decisions are made. His policy positions seem very attractive in theory, and his temperament often suits him well, but he is often off-base in practice.

Example A: If America had negotiated directly with Hugo Chavez in early 2008, as Obama said at the time he would do as president, the boost to Chavez's credibility would have likely secured the passage of a slate of anti-democratic laws that Venezuelans later rejected in a referendum. Had Obama been around long enough, he would've known that so much as listening to buffoons like Chavez only serves them well. Venezuela's a different ballgame than Iran.

Example B: Obama waffled for a day or so before issuing a stern statement against Russian aggression in Georgia. There's an important difference between thoughtfulness and indecision. Do we want indecision in the face of Russian revanchism?

Obama's foreign policy greenness was also reflected in his opposition to the surge. Even if you give Obama credit for opposing the war, it's clear that John McCain has a better sense of how to clean up military messes. This shouldn't be terribly surprising, seeing as how McCain has an impressive military background. Furthermore, McCain has far more experience examining wars. Iraq is a mess that we need to continue to clean up. Odds are that McCain knows how to do it best.

John McCain also has a much healthier and humanitarian platform of trade policies. Especially in such fraught times for the world economy, America should open its borders to international business.

This means passing and signing a number of free trade deals currently on the books, as well as avoiding all sorts of Democratic protectionism. Not only is this issue in the interest of the bottom line, it's also the right thing to do. Developing nations that are suffering from the greed of American and Western European bankers could use the boost to their export industries that would come from a freer trade policy here in America.

Richmond College '09

Thank you, John. He's right, ladies and gentlemen. We both concede agreement on some major issues, and I know many people would be surprised about my opinions of the GOP in particular. To meet this challenge, I am going to explain why Barack Obama would make the better president out of the two.

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Many great leaders in American history have risen from unexpected backgrounds. Lincoln was born in a log cabin, Reagan was an actor and Barack Obama started his career as a community organizer in Chicago. From humble beginnings, I believe true transformational leaders are born. The current political establishment and the Bush administration have failed. It took Carter's failure to bring about Reagan, and it even took Hoover's failures to bring about FDR.

These men were great orators and left their fingerprints on the feeling of greatness that is America in the global theatre. Obama has been doing the same thing running for president. His rise in popularity has given a new respect for America in the eyes of the rest of the world. Obama's idea of meeting with other world leaders would allow America to have more of its soft power back. His foreign policy credentials are slim, but an Obama administration would help to regain the moral high ground in the War on Terror. That has to count for something.

At home, Obama has plans to reinvigorate the economy, ameliorate high health care costs, make college more affordable and help everyday Americans believe in the American Dream again. Obama would alleviate the tax burden where its supposed to be alleviated: the middle class. By alleviating the tax burden on the middle class, you allow it to grow and become even stronger, giving it financial resources to also keep our economy humming.

Many Americans cannot afford health insurance. Obama will tackle the health care issue hard with many ideas that bring both sides together to reach an agreement in the middle of the aisle with one goal in mind - that every American can be insured. Obama will also tackle college costs, increasing Pell Grants and easing the paperwork for federal education aid. Last, but certainly not least, Obama has already gone into the history books (even if he's not elected) because he has stood for so many as a real-life example of the American dream that so many work hard to achieve. His inspiration and his campaign have breathed life back into the American dream that has been shattered in the past few years.

Finally, though I am more in favor of decisiveness, Obama would make a thinking president. He is known for collaborative decision making and taking in the thoughts and views of others. For the past eight years, we have had nothing but decisiveness, regardless of whether or not it was without enough investigation or consultation or even collaboration.

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