For 95% of you, this post doesn't matter. You've already voted. You're a straight-ticket voter. You made up your mind after the conventions, the debates, the Powell endorsement, the Joe the Plumber video. You asked, "Which way is Heidelberger voting?" read my final endorsements yesterday, and said, "Good—now I'm voting the opposite!"
But 5% of you still haven't decided among Obama, McCain, Barr, Nader, and whoever else may be on your radar and your Presidential ballot. Before you reach for that quarter... this post is for you. In no particular order, here are the top ten reasons I can give you this morning to get off the fence and choose Barack Obama as your President:
1. The Republicans don't deserve the White House. As Michael Kinsley has written: "It's important not to ratify failure, and the current Republican administration is a failure."
2. McCain is bad for South Dakota. The only concrete budget cuts McCain has talked about, in his rare moments of fiscal lucidity, are ethanol subsidies and earmarks for projects like the Lewis and Clark water pipeline and the Discovery Bridge. McCain would thus leave South Dakota farmers broke, Sioux Falls thirsty, and all of us unable to get across the river to Nebraska for jobs and water.
3. McCain has turned into Sibby, crying Socialism! at every turn. Obama doesn't sound half as radical as the Madville Times. On the SD Blogosphere spectrum of radical wingnuttery, Obama is the moderate, while McCain is Sibby. And nobody wants Sibby as President.
4. Obama is not a socialist... not that there's anything wrong with that.
5. Obama is not a Muslim... not that there's anything wrong with that. For those of you who groove to Jesus, Obama has more clearly and consistently articulated a vision of how his Christian faith motivates his practical social action.
6. Obama is not a radical left-wing ideologue... not that there's anything wrong with that. (If the Obama people sometimes exaggerate the similarities between John McCain and George Bush, the McCain people make it sound like they are running against true radical left-wing ideologue Dennis Kucinich... and I am acutely aware that Barack Obama is very far from being Dennis Kucinich).
7. Inspiration and leadership: Obama has been able to inspire lots of voters who had become disillusioned with politics, or who had never previously been involved with politics. Is some emotion involved? Sure. But true leadership includes that emotional component. The best leaders inspire enthusiasm among their followers, get them to believe in the mission in their heads and their hearts. Military man John McCain should know that. But McCain hasn't won hearts and minds. His followers don't feel the same excitement about McCain as Obama's do about the Democratic nominee. Many of them are voting for McCain just because he's not "that one." They'd vote for a sack of moldy potatoes if it were on the GOP ticket. McCain tried to inspire voters by choosing Palin to run with him. That choice won some hearts (a.k.a. "energizing the base") but lost many more minds as most voters thought, "He picked her? What kind of leadership is that?" When Republicans criticize the inspiration driving many of Obama's supporters, they're just envious.
8. Sarah Palin.
9. Bringing people together: McCain's people have tried to tout his ability to work on a bipartisan basis. But McCain's entire campaign has abandoned bipartisanship and focused on rousing/appeasing the hard conservative base. Barack Obama's understanding of bringin disparate groups together goes much deeper than the occasional political ploy to get votes in the Senate. He has spent his life reconciling the very different components of his own identity: black and white, Hawaii and Kansas, Ivy League and working class. Obama has had to live between worlds in a way John McCain, privileged child of a respected military family, never has. Cooperation and reconciliation is in Obama's blood.
10. Barack Hussein Obama is the man America and the world need. After eight years of thuggish foreign policy, after eight years of a Global War on Terror based on far too many racist, bigoted, xenophobic underpinnings, electing a man named Barack Hussein Obama can help restore our faith and the world's faith in the American ideals of equality and opportunity. Race is not a good reason to vote for or against a candidate... but on top of all the other good reasons I can think of to vote for Obama, electing a black man the leader of the free world will say something good about America to the rest of the world. And I relish the thought of the lingering racists in this country having to wake up every morning to see President Barack Obama speaking to them from the TV. Barack Hussein Obama will do this country good before he signs a single order, before he even lays his hand on that Bible on the Capitol steps and swears that oath, so help him God.
Thank you for your attention, dear Undecideds. Think it over, sleep it on it, then head to the polls tomorrow and do your best.
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