By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
I've sent the letter below to relatives and friends around the country who I know or suspect still are on the fence or are leaning toward the Republican candidates. You may know friends and kin who likewise are undecided or leaning toward the McCain/Palin ticket, and if you think this list might prove useful in perhaps leading them to vote for Barack Obama, feel free to pass it on.
I do a lot of political writing on the internet and for books, but I don't
normally express my political views directly to others outside of my immediate family and intimate circle of friends in the city where I live. But this 2008 presidential election is just too important to America's future to remain silent. Hence, this personal-letter approach. So here it is:
I'm hoping that you're considering voting for Senator Obama. I have a number of reservations about some of his policies but I am enthusiastically supporting his candidacy for a variety of reasons, and I think some of them may resonate with you as well:
1. STABILITY AS A LEADER
Obama seems to me to be the more reasonable and stable of the two major candidates, solidly grounded in the values he picked up from his mother, grandmother and other relatives, and from his early community-organizing work. He seems much more connected to ordinary citizens' concerns, because he grew out of the American middle class.
McCain, who has seven homes and thirteen cars, doesn't seem to understand how most Americans struggle economically; in addition, sometimes, especially in the past month or so as he's gotten more desperate, McCain seems less stable, more flaky, and more willing to flirt with those, including his running-mate, who by their incendiary comments wind up inciting violence and hate. (Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited some of these reasons in his full-out endorsement of Obama the other day.)
2. HEALTH-CARE AND FAIRNESS
Obama's views on universal health care seem more inclusive. For example, McCain would grant a health-care tax credit but would make your health-care benefits taxable income; the average family pays $7000 to $12,000 in premiums per year, so you might well wind up losing money. Also more inclusive is Senator Obama's dedication to helping all kids who want to go to college more financial help to do so.
Obama's attitude towards women is much more humane, open, forthright and equitable. McCain voted against equal-pay-for-equal-work bills, called his wife in public the four-letter "c" word, and demeaned women who, out of concern for their own health and survival, opt for terminating pregnancies. In the final debate, McCain suggested that the "health of the mother" (he gave the word "health" a sarcastic spin) was a ruse, not deserving of serious consideration.
3. SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENTS
Obama would appoint justices to the U.S. Supreme Court based on
qualifications and not partisan politics. McCain and Palin both have indicated they would appoint jurists from the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Those appointments could unbalance the court and lock in potentially dangerous precedents for decades to come.
Obama's judicial appointments, he's made clear, would be much less
ideologically-based, oriented more toward the mainstream of contemporary jurisprudence.
4. JUDGMENT: RUNNING MATES
Obama chose his running mate, Senator Biden, largely because he is ready to step into the presidency based on his 26 years in the U.S. Senate and his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. McCain selected somebody who has admitted she had no idea what the Vice Presidency is all about and, judging from her know-nothing comments about national and foreign-policy experience and knowledge, clearly is unqualified to serve as President should the occasion arise. No wonder the McCain campaign will not let her appear before a news conference where reporters would ask questions.