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The Presidential primaries are less than two months away and I am supporting Barack Obama. After nearly seven years of the George Bush administration and over four years of the war in Iraq, the country needs to see some serious change in our capital city. The Republican candidates are promising more of the same. There are several good candidates in the Democratic field, but Obama stands out on several issues. Here are a few of the reasons why I've decided to vote for him.
Obama wasn't in the US Senate when they voted to allow Bush to invade Iraq, but he did go on record at that time opposing the war. He's the only leading candidate from either party with the judgement and foresight to have spoken out about the problems of invading Iraq from the beginning. He also has a clear and sensible plan for getting our combat troops out of Iraq and ending the war. He would leave troops to protect our embassy (relieving private contractors of the task) and fight terrorism, but we would no longer be the occupying power. This is not a fast or irresponsible withdrawal, but it would bring the war to a close by the end of next year.
An Obama presidency would work together with our allies and use diplomacy with our enemies. He isn't promising to not use the military against Iran, but he is promising to talk to them.
As much as I would like to see insurance companies removed from the picture and free health care for every American (like Canada and the UK have), I understand that a lot of people are afraid of that. Obama's plan isn't as bold as I would like, but he does promise to take on the insurance industry and make affordable health care available to more people. He says, "It's time to let the drug and insurance industries know that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair."
Obama is pledging to use both regulation and funding to move us toward energy independence. In the Senate he's been an outspoken proponent of increasing CAFE standards, which would require new cars to be more fuel efficient. While we're working toward breakthroughs in renewable energy, we need to be using less gasoline.
Lobbyists, corruption and open government
Too often, people in government are making decisions based on the interests of their financial supporters. We'll never have a just government when favors go to the highest bidder. Everyone talks about this problem, but I believe Obama has the best chance to actually change the culture of Washington. He may not be perfect in this area, but here's what I like:
- He was a leader in drafting reform legislation in the wake of the Abramoff scandal.
- He introduced legislation to open up the earmarking process, which would at least keep deals from being made in secret and slipped into a bill at the last minute.
- Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
- He's new enough to Washington that maybe, just maybe, the lobbyists haven't systematically rotted his soul out.
Obama has held elected office for 10 years. That's longer than Hillary Clinton (6 years), John Edwards (6 years), Rudy Giuliani (8 years), Fred Thompson (9 years) or Mitt Romney (4 years). Prior to entering politics, he was a civil rights lawyer and a constitutional law professor.
I just read this from NASAWatch.com:
I have no clue who I’m going to vote for, but this is the second candidate (first was Ron Paul) who I’ve read has issues with funding NASA, who already receives less than 1% (~0.6%) of the US budget. Obama also proposes delaying the Constellation program an additional FIVE years! We’d then be relying on the Russian Soyuz for ISS travel for a total of ten years. Ugh.
Like I said, I don’t know who I’m going to vote for. But, aside from NASA funding being important for my job, I would resist anyone who wants to trim money from the organization responsible for some of the Unites States’ greatest achievements.