2. SPENDING. The recent Republican administrations have all failed to control the bureaucracy and reign in runaway federal spending and deficits. While each of the last five Republican Presidents promised fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, all of them grew discretionary civilian spending by tremendous amounts, and ran up ever larger deficits. Meanwhile, only Pres. Bill Clinton balanced the federal budget, and produced four years of surpluses, with the same forecast long into the indefinite future. A big problem with the federal budget is that almost nobody knows where all the money is going; it's easy to add earmarks and pork barrel spending and special interest giveaways when the people back home can't tell the difference. Sen. Barack Obama's major legislative accomplishment in the Senate, The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 has been to bring transparency to federal spending. Check out http://www.federalspending.gov which Obama's legislation created; it's a veritable "Google of the Federal Budget", where anyone can research every dollar to see where their tax money is actually going. The whole Federal Rathole is now online, for the first time ever, inviting scrutiny from whoever has the patience to slog through it all. You donít have to be a CPA to realize that this does more in the long run to control wasteful federal spending than all the speeches Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon ever gave on the subject.
3. REDUCING BIG GOVERNMENT. In his North Carolina victory speech, among other things, Sen. Obama uttered the words "We donít need Big Government". Do you remember that Pres. Clinton's National Performance Review reduced the federal civilian workforce by 250,000 positions? This makes the last Democratic administration the only presidency since Eisenhower's to leave office with a smaller federal workforce that it started with - not Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, or Nixon. But, the real talent Obama brings to the table on this issue are his formative years on the south side of Chicago, doing meaningful community social work through voluntary, faith-based, non-governmental community organizations, rather than government bureaucracies. Yes, We CAN - rehabilitate the homeless, educate the illiterate, provide day care for single moms, dry out alcoholics, and clean junkies off the dope without building perpetual bureaucracies - Obama himself has proven that, through social entrepreneurship. By contrast, John McCain has never drawn a day's pay that didnít come from the public trough, courtesy of your tax dollars (getting fabulously rich by marrying an heiress or taking money under the table from special interests he did favors for doesnít count as 'earning money in the productive sector').
4. PERSONAL LIBERTY. Barry Goldwater must be rolling over in his grave over what debasements of the U.S. Constitution the Bush Administration has gotten itself into, and which the man who took his seat in the U.S. Senate, John McCain now ardently defends. Warrantless domestic wiretapping, warrantless searches and seizures, arresting U.S. citizens without probable cause, holding them without trial, etc., etc.... No REAL conservative believes these things are legitimate prerogatives of the federal government. There are innumerable horror stories you can research and recount of how the GOP has sat idly by while our cherished Constitutional protections have been ignored, abrogated, and turned into a joke. The last thing real conservatives want is the Orwellian Police State we're presently heading for.
5. NATIONAL SECURITY. Maybe your thoughts on the War on Terror run along the lines of "it's worked, we haven't been attacked since 9/11." But think about it: we haven't foreclosed the threat by taking out Al Qaeda, either. The war in Iraq, in addition to killing over 4000 Americans (more than on 9/11) has served as a focal point for anti-American hatred. Numerous studies have shown that Al Qaeda is actually stronger since the US invaded Iraq than it was back in 2003. In addition to focusing hatred towards America, this senseless war has weaken our armed services and drawn men and materials away from pursuing Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. McCain vocally disagrees with the successful CIA program to take out Al Qaeda leadership when located in northwest Pakistan, without alerting the local tribal authorities and Pakistani Intelligence, who have always warned off our targets in the past. Sen. Obama, by contrast, opposes giving Al Qaeda sanctuary in Pakistan, and ardently supports this initiative. When McCain attacked Obama as niave for "wanting to bomb an ally", the very next day the CIA took out the #3 leader in Al Qaeda with just such a raid, with a missile fired from a Predator drone. Coddling Pakistan's corrupt dictator for 7 years after 9/11 hasn't made us safer, and John McCain's simplistic continuation of this weak policy is just being Soft on Terrorism, no way around it. Also, its worth noting that whatever other implications it may have for John McCain's Character, Psyche, or Mental Makeup, having a plane shot out from under you and spending six years behind bars does not automatically qualify anyone as a "national security expert"; that notion is just ludicrous on the face of it.
6. OPPORTUNITY. While John McCain's four-star Admiral father ensured him a prized appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, his performance - 894th out of 899 cadets in his class - does not attest to diligent effort, whereas Barack Obama (from a broken home, on food stamps) won competitive academic scholarships to Harvard, which he proved himself worthy of by graduating Magna Cum Laude ("With Highest Honors"). Its been a long time since any politicians of either party could talk convincingly about "The American Dream", but Barack Obama can, because he lived it. Without handouts, family patronage, or inheritance, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps through the Chicago ghetto by his own hard work, enterprise, and initiative to become President of the Harvard Law Review, one of the most prestigious scholarly legal journals in the country. Which President is more likely to make a difference in the lives of people, and motivate them with initiative to best achieve their individual God-given potential?
7. NOT AN INSIDER. He's gotten his money from (literally) millions of small donors. He doesn't owe a single thing to the big Washington interests. For the first time in a long, long time, maybe first time ever, we have a serious, major party candidate that Washington insiders don't own.
8. TOUGH AND COMPETENT. He's an African-American that came out of nowhere, built a national campaign from scratch and beat the massive Clinton machine fair and square. That takes brains, guts and a boatload full of competence. America really needs that type of competent, energetic leadership in the worst way.
[Most of the above points come from someone who describes himself as a formerly lifelong Republican, a Goldwater Conservative, and a former Republican activist, operative and professional campaign manager, who now supports Sen. Barack Obama.]
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