Tuesday 4 November 2008 is undoubtedly a date which will be forever marked in global history as the day the American public go to the polls. Their role is to vote for the future leader of, arguably, the most powerful country in the world. A win for either political party will be a defining and contested moment. Barack Obama stands as the first ever black candidate for the Democrats against the Republican John McCain (who is older than my grandparents).
John McCain, who has been mistaken for John McClane (aka Bruce Willis in Die Hard) by my less politically minded friend, promises to lead America forward at the grand age of 72. McCain has been involved in politics from 1982 when he was elected in to the U.S House of Representatives, and before this he served in the U.S Navy and fought in the Vietnam War. The earlier part of his life is a subject he has often dwelled on in the election campaign. Why? Possibly to show the American public that they are voting for a candidate who has fought for his country, a true American or more likely due to the fact that his opponent can not claim to have achieved such feats in his life.
McCain takes on the battle for presidency at a time when the economical grounding of America is failing. After voting in favour of the $700 billion rescue plan put forward by the Bush government, McCain has focused heavily on economical issues in his action plan including the intention to make the Bush tax cuts a permanent fixture. The second area of focus for the Republican Party is the war in Iraq which divides the American public. In McCain’s somewhat optimistic outlook he intends to have all service men and women returned from Iraq by 2013 when Iraq will supposedly have a functioning democracy. McCain believes that the war in Iraq should be fought until a successful conclusion can be drawn. What exactly is meant by a successful conclusion I, for one, am not entirely sure.
Almost as influential as McCain himself is his chosen vice president; Sarah Palin. It is hoped that the 44 year old from Alaska will attract votes from mothers, the men who vote on how good looking the vice-president is and those who enjoy listening to her public speaking. Obviously I mean that Palin will attract a different demographic to that of McCain and present herself as a true, honest American woman. Palin has arguably done more harm than good in McCain’s campaign. According to a poll taken on the 9th September 2008, 25% of the American public are less likely to vote for the Republican Party because of Palin’s involvement. This statistic may have something to do with her media appearances, which have been less than favourable. For example, a now infamous interview on CBS News demonstrated how Palin couldn’t actually name an American newspaper. Palin also carries with her some controversial views including opposing same sex marriages.
Really, the question is whether a duo made up of a 72 year old war veteran and a former Miss Congeniality is the kind of political pairing which can drive America forward? The decision lies with the voters of America. Another issue to be considered is how another ageing Republican is going to bring anything new, contemporary or sustainable to The White House. After all, the Bush administration is hardly leaving in a blaze of glory. The issues facing the new President are way beyond those that faced George W. Bush at the start of his reign: economical crisis, war, global terrorism, climate change the list could go on. It would seem that McCain’s ability to deal with these issues is in serious question.
As I write, McCain is allegedly falling in the polls and is being written off by much of the press. However, it does not matter how many polls are taken, how many opinions are voiced or what the media presents because the true judgement day will come on November 4th when McCain, Obama and America learn the fate of their political future.