Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obama v. McCain, The Significant Difference (or Why Even Conservatives Should Vote Obama)

There are many readily apparent difference between these two candidates and they could inform your vote were it not for the big difference. These difference are the typical ones that normally differentiate candidates in any election cycle.

Obama is a liberal - McCain is a conservative

McCain is a Republican - Obama is a Democrat

Obama is an outsider - McCain is an old hand

McCain is a war hero - Obam is not

Obama is an intellectual - McCain is an average guy

McCain is older - Obama is younger

Obama is a great orator - McCain is the cottage cheese in your green jello

These are the kinds of distinctions that have normally guided us when we choose who to vote for. If you are liberal or conservative, elitist or anti-intellectual, if you value change or experience you can make an informed choice about who deserves your vote. But this year these distinctions pale in comparison to the real difference between these candidates. McCain is a dogmatic ideologue - Obama is a practical politician who values results over adherence to philosophical purity.

"Hold on" you say "but McCain is a maverick." That is his earned reputation, but even on the things he splits with his party on, earning that reputation he is a demagogic ideologue. He sees the world in stark relief. He does not value subtlety. He sees himself as the righteous one battling the forces of evil. You are with him or again' him. For him campaign finance reform, or earmarks are not an opportunity to make progress reforming institutions. They are grand moral crusades. He does not like economics because he cannot figure out who is the bad guy and so does not have the ability to make a conclusion. Haven't we seen that movie for the last eight years?

Whether you are conservative or liberal the subtlety that Obama brings weighing each issue as a spectrum of choices should impress. He has been consistent in his approach to solving problems and confronting the issues. He weighs them carefully looking for a solution that is practical both in the world and in political terms. This is what impressed me from the start. He has laid this philosophy out from the start. It is all through his speeches. When he spoke before the 2004 DNC he laid it out. We all face the same problems that need solving whether we are conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, red state or blue. If we come together to solve the problems then we can.

Sen Obama is not going to stop being a liberal. He is, however, going to work in good faith with all comers who wish to be part of the solution. That is what we need. And it certainly does not hurt that he is the kind of orator who can sell his solutions.

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