Senator Barak Obama should win the United States Presidential election in 2008 because of his stance on three major policy issues. Obama’s plan for the Iraq War, his plan for energy, and his plan for the economy as stated on his official web site (Obama NP) will be the principle reasons why the majority of the electorate will vote for the Illinois Democrat on Election Day. These three issues dominate the presidential debates and Senator Obama’s views differ significantly from the opinions of Senator John McCain. This paper will show the differences between the two Presidential candidates on these three issues (note that the major differences of their plans will be stated, not the entirety of their plans); show how the foreign and domestic press present these issues to their readers; and show how these presentations will shape the opinions of voters.
Senator Obama states his policy on the Iraq War clearly on his web site. He will remove all but a cadre of anti-terror forces “in 16 months” (Obama NP). Senator McCain on the other hand believes that troops should remain in Iraq until it achieves a secure posture from foreign and domestic enemies. Senator McCain gives no precise timeline for the end of the Iraqi War and states that Senator Obama position: “is a failure of leadership” (McCain NP).Senator Obama’s policy for energy includes windfall profit taxes on energy companies to be distributed to the pump paying public, production of energy from renewable sources, and the promotion of hybrid cars (Obama NP).
Notably Senator Obama does not address the prospect of increased production of US oil. Senator McCain’s energy plan includes: increased drilling for domestic sources of oil, tax incentives for driving gas-efficient cars, and offering incentives for industry to develop battery technology (McCain NP).Senator Obama’s plan for the economy rests on tax cuts for the middle class, immediate Federal payments to create jobs, immediate payments for State welfare programs, and negotiations for trade programs that will benefit US companies (Obama NP).
Senator McCain’s plan for the economy includes encouraging workplace flexibility, gas tax cuts during the summer months, and incentives for companies to hire and keep US citizens working in America. (McCain NP)In an article of The August 2008 issue Foreign Affairs magazine, Stephen Biddle, et. al. describe how the security position of the Iraq Government has improved since the surge of troops earlier this year and that a withdrawal according to the McCain plan was possible by the 2010 or 2011 timeframe. Biddle warns however that “… if an electoral crisis or some other event returns Iraq to civil war, it would be very hard to justify another troop surge to try to stabilize Iraq” (Biddle NP)Time Magazine barely tries to hide its bias for Senator Obama’s candidacy. For its coverage of the September 26th, 2008 debates the magazine did not give Senator McCain’s position on the issue of Iraq, only Senator Obama’s. “[the war] had hurt America’s overall position in the middle east by empowering Iran and allowing Al Qaeda to regain strength in Afghanistan.
Joe Klein, the author, did not mention Senator Obama’s withdrawal timetable, deleting the starkest difference between the two politicians (Kline NP).The Guardian web site covered the debates and covered the energy aspect of the debate in a separate section. While not as blatantly biased as Time Magazine, The Guardian leaned subtly towards Obama’s policies. “McCain’s response nods at the importance of addressing climate change, but then goes on to stress that the United States needs to invest in a broad range of energy sources, particularly nuclear power.” Note the difference in tone when talking about Senator Obama: “But Obama, in directly taking on the Republicans’ pro-drilling talking points, talked quite frankly about the scope of the climate challenge” (Guardian NP) The British generally see the prevention of climate change as the sine qua non of energy policy and so the understated positioning of the debate in the favor of Senator Obama brings comfort for English readers. The Economist takes a more reserved approach. Its pages contained a description of the differences between the Republican and Democratic policies but concluded:” America’s debate about energy and climate change is far too contentious, and too new, to be resolved in a single election.
It will surely be the subject of attack ads for decades to come.” (Economist NP).The state of the United States economy summons the greatest news coverage across the globe.
The difference between the policy positions of the two candidates on this issue is slight, and almost meaningless. The independent body, The Federal Reserve, sets economic policy in the United States although the Secretary of the Treasury and Congress may influence its decisions. Either candidate may submit budgets that contain Federal spending to increase the supply of money but ultimately the House of Representatives appropriates the money to spend for such a boost, and their discretionary funds for the task will be limited. The business minded Swiss see Senator McCain as the only hope for the US economy.
“Obama is a welfare-state politician, a protectionist and a state interventionist… Let’s hope the 72-year old free trader John McCain gets elected and lives another four years without becoming senile before his term is over” (Cosmopolis NP) . Compare this to the Washington Post that looks for non-partisan economic plans.
“[Obama’s economic advisor] sends a signal that his economic policies will be consensual, mainstream, bridge-building — all the qualities appropriate for a president who wants to break down partisan divisions” (Ignatius A23).Partisanship as seen above was rampant throughout the US and foreign press. Regardless of the issues, or the side of the issues, most of the press opined that Obama would win, but typically not because of his stance on any of the issues. The press based their predictions mostly on US polls, and a sense that President Bush’s unpopularity will work strongly against Senator McCain.The current shape of the United States economy, the dearth of credit, jobs, and the loss of equity, has become the issue paramount to voters, whereas fears of terrorism, Supreme Court appointments, or immigration reform seem to be ignored.
Health initiatives, the Iraq War, and the environment also have become secondary to the spiraling collapse of the United States financial markets. If the current Bush administration managed to stall the financial crisis until after the election, the review of the periodicals may have focused on other issues, and the polls they used for predictions may have been closer than they were at the time of this review.CNN shows 58% of voters said the economy was the most important issue for the Presidential election. Health care, terrorism, the Iraq War, and illegal immigration were all under 20% (CNN.
COM). If 58% of the voters cite the economy as the most important issue, and the economy has over the last few months shown increased unemployment, overwhelming stock market losses, a collapsing real estate market, increased food prices, and increased gas prices, the incumbent political party stands on shaky ground. The United States electorate traditionally has seen the short term.
Voters seem to cast ballots based on what affects them at the instant they enter the voting booth. If terrorists staged a major attack tomorrow, the title of this paper may become why McCain will win the election.