McCain and Obama, compare and contrast…

August 30, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

What the public really thinks of John McCain’s vice presidential pick will be played out in all that constant polling and news talk and stories and the Republican Convention over the next week, but let’s just try to concentrate on what will happen if either John McCain or Barack Obama is elected.

The economy:

Really I don’t think presidents affect the economy as much as they are given credit or blame for, although bankrupting a nation through wars could be an exception. But I think the economy will pretty much follow its cycles regardless of who is elected. There is hope for the middle class and lower to get some relief, I suppose, if Obama is elected. Not so much if McCain is elected. But the cycle is the cycle and if or when it starts on the upswing again, either McCain or Obama will look good. I do think we need fundamental change. We need to regain our strength as an industrial giant and producer of goods and say good riddance to the “service economy.”


It seems we are in a much more precarious situation with McCain because he comes from a military family and his pride in his own service, to include his war heroism, predisposes him to think in terms of the military option. He also thinks we are doing great in Iraq and therefore must stay till the bitter end (oh I know he wants the Iraqis to take over as soon as they can – kind of like we always wanted the South Vietnamese to take over. We finally did let them have it and they lost the whole thing in short order). But Obama does not want to cut and run, he just wants to end things “responsibly.” Nixon promised to get us out of Vietnam, but insisted on “peace with honor.” We got our own peace by quitting. We did not get honor. And no one can predict what or what more might happen in the Middle East or the old Soviet empire and elsewhere once or even before either man becomes president.

One can’t forget there is a war in Afghanistan as well. Both candidates seem commited to continuing action there.

National defense, military spending in general:

We certainly don’t want to withdraw from a war and decide we’ve spent too much on the military and then let everything go to heck like we did after Vietnam. I think a lot of people forget how we let our armed services deteriorate for quite awhile. It was bad for morale and made us look weak. One can only wonder if that sent a signal to the terrorists movements that plague us today.

With only history to go by, the Democrats are more likely to let things slip than the Republicans. But that does not have to be the case. The public itself has to realize the need for a strong military.

Energy independence:

From what I have heard, both men claim to be solidly for energy independence. Just how we will get there is not for sure. McCain talks a lot about drill, drill, drill, but even he does not propose that such would be the total answer. So really who can say which man would get us there, if either?

Health care:

With Obama and a Democratic majority in both houses there would be no excuse not to get to universal health care (but I’m sure congress can come up with one). McCain is not so excited about guaranteed health care, to say the least.


I’m not sure what the problem is in education, except the costs of higher education are formidable. So in that regard I’m sure Democrats are more likely to restore or create new programs that provide grants and low cost loans. Obama actually seems to propose free or lower-cost higher education for all (or something of that order). I think demonstrated scholarship has to be a requirement. Our colleges are already forced to do too much remediation, as if they were high schools. Help in trade and/or technology school education is certainly needed.

Social issues:

If you want to retain the right for a woman to decide whether she is to receive an abortion (“pro-choice” being the euphemism), then you have to vote for Obama. For homosexual (“gay” being the euphemism) rights a vote for Obama is required. And basically any change in the direction of further guarantees on social rights, and assistance for the disadvantage is dependent primarily on Democrats. If you believe things are good the way they are, McCain is your best option.

Governmental reform:

Cutting out waste and malfeasance in government is something that can be accomplished by both parties and in fact almost has to be bi-partisan. We as citizens have to accept that in the long run honesty and integrity and fairness in government are just as important as achieving our normal political objectives, unless we don’t care for democracy. An informed citizenry can and should bring the pressure to bear to get governmental reform. If we fail to pay attention, we deserve what we get.

Foreign policy:

This may be the biggie, since it always seems to affect us so much. You get the impression that McCain will help us stand tall, which we do need to do toward aggressors. With Obama it is kind of hard to tell. Would anyone believe him? Does he have to prove himself, thus risking war? Could he be bluffed or cowed? Not sure. I still maintain we need to be the strong and silent type on the world stage. Let them know we’re strong by being obviously militarily ready, but keep them guessing and off balance as to when and where we would strike or strike back. That is a strong deterrent in itself. Bush and cronies were too much about talk that forced us into possibly unnecessary action and/or not enough action when it was needed (if the surge worked, what were we waiting for?). Both McCain and Obama offer the risk of war, one by action, and one possibly by inaction. Really impossible to predict.


Can McCain, 72 now, with cancer history, war injuries, survive the presidency? What would President Sarah Palin, 44 years old, no experience on the national or world stage, be like? Now that’s a wild card!