Barack Obama has the energy, stamina, vision, resolve, and charisma to deal with a host of problems America faces
TWO days from now, Americans will go to the polls in what is arguably the most important election in generations. It behooves them to approach their task, electing the next president of the United States, with seriousness and objectivity, rejecting appeals to emotion in favor of calm deliberation as if their jobs, their savings, their futures, their hopes, and their dreams were at stake. Indeed, for many Americans, that may well be the case.
America is beset by serious, systemic economic problems for which solutions must be found. At the same time, the United States faces an often unfriendly world that is being transformed as surely by the emergence of China and India as economic competitors as it is by the growth of terrorist ideologies. And it is involved in two wars that could further destabilize two critical regions, the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent.
The next president will have to have the energy, stamina, vision, resolve, and yes, the charisma to deal with these problems, plus global warming, dependence on foreign oil, a crumbling national infrastructure, rising medical costs, growing numbers of uninsured, the prospect of a bankrupt Medicare system, and a host of other issues. He will have to inspire confidence in the American people while still making tough choices that may require sacrifices.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan were leaders uniquely suited to their times. Like them, the next president will have to be a unique individual who can help America chart a new course through these uncertain times. As we said in our initial endorsement on Oct. 12, Barack Obama is that man.
Mr. Obama rightly advocates greater regulation of the financial institutions whose reckless practices largely led to the nation's economic woes. He'll push for a $50 billion stimulus package that will put the money where it can do the most good, creating 1 million jobs to repair America's aging roads, bridges, dams, and railways and helping local governments avoid cuts in basic services. He also wants to help struggling home-
owners stay in their houses by allowing them to restructure their mortgages.
Mr. Obama has promised to cut income taxes for 95 percent of all Americans, putting money in their pockets to help the middle class get through these difficult times. He'll promote "green" jobs and eliminate capital gains taxes for investments made in small businesses. And he has called for legislation to allow families to withdraw part of their 401(k) savings without penalty during this crisis as well as for a temporary lifting of taxes on unemployment compensation to help tide people over.
Mr. Obama has promised new directions in education, emphasizing early childhood education and rewarding expert teachers; the environment, where he advocates a broad cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and wants the United States to lead the world in alternative-energy technology and the effort to combat global warming, and the war on terror, where he has long recognized that Afghanistan, not Iraq, should have been the focus of U.S. counterterrorism policy.
John McCain has had 20 months to convince voters that he is capable of leading America in the 21st century. He has failed to close the deal, mostly because of his inability to show that he has a vision coherent enough, forward-thinking enough, global enough to answer the summons of which Kennedy spoke in his inaugural address 47 years ago: "not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are - but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation' - a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself."
Mr. Obama is ready to answer that summons. He deserves your vote on Tuesday and your support in the years beyond.