People say that it really doesn't matter who wins, the two party system doesn't leave us with any choices, that they don't like either candidate, or their first choice didn't win the primaries so they wont vote. Even though Obama's experience is questionable and many of the specifics of his ideas are not known, there is still reason to vote. Here are some.
The Economy. The Republicans are of course the best party for the economy, or so everyone assumes. But....the stock market was at 3250 on the first day of Bill Clinton's presidency and 10,600 on the day of the transfer of power to Bush, an increase of triple, and the budget was balanced for the first time in decades. More than 7 and a half years after having a "fiscally responsible" Republican in charge, the market is at 11,500, up a mere 8 %, the banking system is on the brink, foreclosures are at an all time high, the national debt continued to set records, our dependence on foreign oil is crippling and outsourcing of jobs to the rest of the world continues to increase. The $10 billion we spend each month to fund the Iraq war probably doesn't help. (and McCain really did say that he didn't understand the economy as well as he should).
The Supreme Court. In the next two years there will be two vacancies on the Supreme Court, and they will be two of the three most liberal members. By the end of the first term, there will likely be at least one more. There are already four strongly conservative justices, none of whom have shown any desire to leave, and the youngest two will likely stay on for another 25 years. If Obama fills the upcoming vacancies, the Court will maintain a healthy balance and not change drastically from its current state; McCain's promise to fill any vacancies with the likes of Scalia and Thomas would guarantee that the Court would continue to ignore people's civil liberties and be far more conservative than the country as a whole for at least a generation.
Health Care. This is a complicated issue to solve and anyone's current proposals are subject to significant revision before they would take effect. What better training on this important issue than running against Hillary Clinton? By going after her base, Obama had to both understand this issue as well as she did, and devise a plan that was so similar to hers that they often spent the largest portion of the debate trying to find small differences.
Iraq. Going to war in Iraq as a retaliation for the attacks on New York with solid evidence that they were not responsible, and no credible evidence that they had weapons of mass destruction, was wrong. McCain was one of the first, strongest, and longest supporters of the war. Obama was against it from the beginning. As a result we have destabilzed that country, hurt the economies of both, and worst, set a precedent for the US to invade countries who had done nothing to provoke the attack. Possibly even worse, it gave Attorney General Ashcroft the idea for the Patriot Act, making privacy and other civil rights limiting activities by the government acceptable. And years after the Mission Accomplished speech, we still are no closer to finding bin Laden. McCain's comment that he didn't mind if we stayed in Iraq for a hundred years is often quoted out of context, but he did say it. Our presence there is not like Germany or Japan after World War II because Iraq was not the agressor, and our presence there is disruptive rather than stabilizing. McCain's running mate's opinion? In an interview with Alaska Business Monthly, Palin said she hadn't thought about it. "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."
Judgment and experience. I don't care how many houses he owns (but, really, shouldn't he know?) or that his wife earns $6 million a year selling beer, and am not sure whether he really said that anyone earning under $5 million a year is middle class. McCain's pick of the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska as the person that he, the oldest nominee ever of any party, believes that the most qualified person to take over in case he cannot. Does she even have an immigration policy that doesn't involve Russians walking over the north pole? She is probably a nice lady and may have been a good mayor of this town north of Anchorage, but what does it show about his judgment? If his qualification over Obama is really the fact that he has 20 more years of experience in the Senate than Obama, shouldn't he have made a better choice? If he really is out of touch enough to think that any of the 18,000,000 Hillary voters will simply vote for her, do we really want his finger on the nuclear button? (for a comparison of the two, see http://www.sarahpalinisnthillaryclinton.com/). Obama's lack of experience was troubling, but for him to pick a person who is actually qualified for the job if needed shows that he has already made a better choice than McCain. McCain may want to renew his prior reputation as being a maverick, but if this means that he will continue to make silly decisions like risking the country's future by picking such an unqualified person, what else will he do?
There are other important issues, but this is enough to make a decision. Would Hillary have done better? That isn't the question. Would the country be better served by the leadership of Obama than McCain? Yes.
2 years ago