Obama for president: How bad could he really be


Since I do not plan to address the issue of the election with my next column, I will take the opportunity to acknowledge a response now. The infamous McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, which was backed by the White House, was never signed into law. The McCain-Feingold bill, with its good intentions, was largely backed by the public. Sen. Barack Obama also has a record in both the Illinois State House and the U.S. Senate in sponsoring bills with bipartisan support. Even in his short time in the latter, he co-sponsored the Lugar-Obama initiative, which was involved with nuclear proliferation, and the Coburn-Obama Act, which increased transparency of federal funds. Let us not pretend that one candidate has a monopoly over bipartisanship.

Indeed, Sen. John McCain obviously supported the Iraq War resolution, along with many Democrats and Republicans in a hawkish political climate. Fortunately, with Obama on this year's ballot, we do not have to settle for a politician who initially supported the war only to later rescind that decision.

Whatever problems McCain had with the Iraq War strategy, he clearly held back on it while campaigning for the incumbent in 2004. The result of the 2004 election, which McCain helped contribute, led to the reelection of an administration that refused to acknowledge substantial major mistakes until a full two years later, after the 2006 midterms. The challenger in 2004 believed that a change in strategy at the dawn of 2005 would have created the political conditions in the region that would allow for most U.S. troops to be out of Iraq in 2009. I'll let you decide if waiting two years for a strategy change in Iraq was worth it.

We have seen how one extreme has done to country. We waged an optional war, we suffer an unpredictable economy, Osama bin Laden remains at large, our closest allies often mistrust us and the Constitution remains ignored by the Justice Department. One of Obama's campaign themes has been about putting the culture war that has defined baby boomer politics behind us. Considering how Obama opposed, from the start, the biggest foreign policy blunder of our generation, I would like to know what kind of Bush-level mistakes Obama would make. McCain, on the other hand, has argued since the Clinton years for the United States to overthrow, through force, foreign regimes and installing pro-democracy governments. McCain quickly flocked from talking about alternative energy to where the polls pointed him to - to drill now in our shores and wildlife refuges and to fix our energy policy at a much later time. That is the choice in leadership we face.

Roger Sheng is a Rutgers College senior majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. His column, "The Echo Chamber" runs on alternate Mondays. He welcomes feedback at rogsheng@eden.rutgers.edu.


Roger Sheng

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