The Affirmative Case: Tommy For Obama
Why vote for Barack Obama? There are many reasons, which I will go into shortly, but foremost among these is his unassailability. This seems paradoxical in view of the fact that Obama’s candidacy has come to be partially defined by constant assaults on his character, seemingly from the air itself.
What I am referring to is his unassailable logic. When this guy says something, it is tough to argue with. He has tapped into something that allows what he is saying to just make sense to the listener. A big part of that is his rather singular grasp of the interdependencies in our society — the idea that the people, the government, and business are connected like a web, rather than stacked on top of each other like a game of Jenga.
For this assignment, I am going to use the template that I set out in January for my Closing Arguments story, which was the conclusion of a series of analyses of the candidates.
Obviously, this is where the idea of interdependencies really comes into full relief. For example, his energy plan is centered around creating jobs and funding research that will make America the global leader in alternative and renewable energy. The dollars spent ($150 billion over ten years) benefit America in several areas. The jobs created help the economy, as do the new technologies developed. Reducing or eliminating our dependence on foreign oil benefits our national security interests, and the environment.
Obama also has far more ambitious plans for increasing, in the short-term, the number of hybrid cars on the road, and gas mileage standards all around. Republicans and Democrats agree on where we need to end up, but Obama wants to get us there faster, so we can stay ahead of the game.
Tax policy is another area where Obama’s approach is fundamentally different. While Obama wants to raise taxes for those making $250,000 or more, it is important to also understand that he wants to eliminate loopholes that keep the wealthiest individuals and companies from paying their fair share, or any taxes at all in many cases. His tax plan challenges the notion that the 4% difference in the corporate tax rate is the overriding engine of economic growth here.
Companies send work offshore because they can. When that’s no longer the case, they’re not going to abandon the US, because this is where the best customers in the world are. We are well within our rights to say, “You want access to our markets? Pay us what the market will bear.”
On a level playing field, American workers and consumers will keep businesses here, regardless of a small tax hike.
Obama’s foreign policy is based much more on the US’ practical interests than on belligerent or jingoistic posturing. Eight years of saber-rattling have not benefited the US’ standing in the world, or our security interests. As Obama points out, the successes of the past eight years have been the result of direct diplomatic engagement, not unilateral demands of capitulation.
The decision to invade Iraq, and to continue to pour blood and money into that conflict — to the detriment of our mission in Afghanistan and our ability to engage in other parts of the world — is a major flashpoint of this campaign. Senator Obama opposed the invasion, and has taken what steps he deemed necessary to try to end the conflict.
The truth of the Iraq War is much more complex than a political campaign can handle, but it boils down to this: The next president may be put in a position to decide where and why to expend American lives. As an opponent of the invasion, Senator Obama has shown superior judgment. In opposing the surge, he put forth a plan that could have resulted in a better, quicker outcome in Iraq, both for the US and Iraq. Contrary to the current agreed-upon media narrative, the surge did not work.
Obama has been criticized as a “flip-flopper,” but I would characterize him as a “free market idealist.” On the issue of drilling, for example, he had the right position. Drilling won’t help in the near-term, and help very little in the long-term. However, when it became apparent that refusing to drill would net us nothing, and agreeing to drill would result in progress on good energy policies, he gave ground. In return, he got what the market would bear in terms of concessions on energy policy. A good leader knows when to give ground, and how much to give. Conversely, he knows when to hold his ground, as with the gas tax holiday. I believe Obama has struck the proper balance.
On the issue of experience, many people justly express concern. My response is that, if we are interested in electing someone with fresh ideas, a young candidate, Barack Obama has amassed a level of experience commensurate with someone his age. I believe that his years of experience meet the bar necessary for him to govern, and his other qualities far outweigh whatever deficiency could be argued. He has demonstrated himself to be more than capable in every area that a president needs to be.
Finally, Barack Obama is smart. Not just book-smart, which he is, but politically smart. Throughout this long campaign, he didn’t zig when we thought he would zag, or vice versa. He has traveled a straight line, remaining consistent, cool, and calm, no matter what has been thrown at him. He has resisted the temptation to swing at every pitch that’s been thrown at him. For any man, but especially for one so young who has had so much thrown at him, Barack Obama has shown a steady hand, the kind of steady hand that has been missing for 8 years. With the world moving so fast, we would be wise to elect someone who can steer us in the right direction, yet keep us on the road. Barack Obama is that leader.
Read other Affirmative Case endorsements:
Caleb for McCain
Jay for Obama
Dave for McCain
The idea behind The Affirmative Case series is here.