In my opinion, the most important tasks our next president must tackle are, in no particular order, to disentangle us from Iraq, to begin to repair our credibility internationally, to restore and protect civil rights, to improve environmental protection, to provide health care for all Americans and to restore the middle class. (To be honest, I don't think any candidate is capable of restoring the middle class.)
I might have been willing to consider John McCain as a presidential candidate in the past, but now is not the time for another Republican presidency. If we are interested in sending a reasonable message that these past few years have destroyed American stability, we must not elect a Republican president. Some may say that there are almost no more real differences between the Democrats and the Republicans, and I would agree on some levels. At some time in the future, I hope we can see a contending third-party. Right now, however, these are our best choices.
In a fight between McCain and Clinton, McCain would be able marginalize Clinton's benefits. Frank Rich discusses this in his piece "The Billary Road to Republican Victory":
In a McCain vs. Billary race, the Democrats will sacrifice the most highly desired commodity by the entire electorate, change; the party will be mired in déjà 1990s all over again. Mrs. Clinton’s spiel about being “tested” by her “35 years of experience” won’t fly either. The moment she attempts it, Mr. McCain will run an ad about how he was being tested when those 35 years began, in 1973. It was that spring when he emerged from five-plus years of incarceration at the Hanoi Hilton while Billary was still bivouacked at Yale Law School. And can Mrs. Clinton presume to sell herself as best equipped to be commander in chief “on Day One” when opposing an actual commander and war hero? I don’t think so.It is this promise of change that separates Obama from the other three candidates entirely. In contrast, McCain, no matter his current position, is going to be forced to continually shift to the right for much needed money and support.
In addition, the Clinton campaign has been shrewdly using smear tactics to attack Barak Obama in recent weeks, and have been resoundly criticized for it. Bob Herbert wrote in "Questions for the Clintons":
These types of questions underscore the impact of using divisiveness to achieve a goal, a quality we don't need in America 2009. Finally, the New York Times Op-Ed piece: "Primary Choices: Hillary Clinton" discusses the differences between Clinton and Obama:
Still, it’s legitimate to ask, given the destructive developments of the last few weeks, whether the Clintons are capable of being anything but divisive. The electorate seems more polarized now than it was just a few weeks ago, and the Clintons have seemed positively gleeful in that atmosphere.
It makes one wonder whether they have any understanding or regard for the corrosive long-term effects — on their party and the nation — of pitting people bitterly and unnecessarily against one another.
What kind of people are the Clintons? What role will Bill Clinton play in a new Clinton White House? Can they look beyond winning to a wounded nation’s need for healing and unifying?
I agree that Mrs. Clinton's experience would be invaluable, but that experience does not need to be seated at the helm. The New York Times endorsement of Hillary Clinton continues:
On the major issues, there is no real gulf separating the two. They promise an end to the war in Iraq, more equitable taxation, more effective government spending, more concern for social issues, a restoration of civil liberties and an end to the politics of division of George W. Bush and Karl Rove.
Mr. Obama has built an exciting campaign around the notion of change, but holds no monopoly on ideas that would repair the governing of America. Mrs. Clinton sometimes overstates the importance of résumé. Hearing her talk about the presidency, her policies and answers for America’s big problems, we are hugely impressed by the depth of her knowledge, by the force of her intellect and by the breadth of, yes, her experience.
The sense of possibility, of a generational shift, rouses Mr. Obama’s audiences and not just through rhetorical flourishes. He shows voters that he understands how much they hunger for a break with the Bush years, for leadership and vision and true bipartisanship. We hunger for that, too. But we need more specifics to go with his amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern.I can understand the writer's concern here. Nobody has a clear idea of how an Obama presidency will unfold. Nonetheless, Obama is the only major candidate that smacks of the possibility of rejuvenation. There's plenty of evidence that a Clinton presidency will be less like a break from the status quo and more like a Third Clinton Presidency. In my mind, I keep thinking: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." I'm willing to take my chances with a uniting and motivating leader supported by a solid, well-chosen staff.
The American people don't need new ideas, they need proper execution of existing, good ideas. I believe that Barak Obama is our best chance at implementing ideas that help solve the problems I consider important.
It is my sincere hope that this November, the American people elect Barak Obama for President of the United States.