In 2004, I unenthusiastically opted to vote for Bush for the reasons given here. This year is so different in so many ways starting with the fact that, while I disliked both of the choices in 2004, I like both of the choices this year. But in the end, I have decided that Obama is going to get my vote. Here is why.
1. In my opinion, McCain exercised horrible judgment in picking Palin. It was a stunt designed to energize the “base.” McCain’s health is an obvious concern, and for me he needed to pick a seasoned person who I could see being president. He failed.
2. The entire McCain campaign has been marked by stunts. I found the proposed gas tax holiday to be particularly obnoxious and pandering. Obama earned points with me for refusing, in the face of being double-teamed by Hillary and McCain, to agree to that bad policy proposal for political reasons. More generally, I think that Obama has acted amazingly presidential throughout this whole process, something that I can not say about McCain. The relative presidential auras of each also came through to me during the debates, and I don’t think it was even close.
3. Obama made an excellent choice in Biden. The man runs on at the mouth sometimes, but I would be comfortable with him as president and he brings actual governing qualities to the table.
4. I believe that Obama’s election would have a profound positive impact in this country and around the world. It would remind the world that this is the greatest country on earth. It would generate more goodwill than $1,000,000,000,000 in foreign aid could generate. And it would remind every kid in this growingly diverse country that you can be the best that you can be. Of course, all of this is because he is black. Although his skin color certainly is not the reason to vote for him, the fringe benefits that would accompany his election would be vast and immeasurable.
5. In the end, I look for something deeper in my presidential candidates than policy proposals and ideology. Above all else, I value common sense. So I ask myself “if I was not able to make a major decision for myself that has nothing to do with politics or ideology, which of the candidates would I most trust to make that decision for me and do what I would do?” It is an instinctive, intuitive feeling. In the 1990s, my instincts led me to vote for Clinton. In the 2000s, my instincts led me to despair, but ultimately to Bush. In 2008, my instincts point to Obama.
So this year, unlike in 2004, I will cast my vote with enthusiasm and with the hope that 2009 will represent the year we started a new and exciting chapter in American history.
(For substantially similar cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)
UPDATE: It turns out the my favorite former Minnesota governor has endorsed Obama.