Obama best vote for students

January 17, 2008

Both in primaries and the general election, Georgetown students need to vote for a presidential candidate that will lead the country in a new direction in both foreign and domestic policy. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is that candidate.

In the months leading up to the disastrous invasion of Iraq, Obama voiced loud criticism of President George W. Bush’s stated grounds for war in his position as a state senator. Meanwhile, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) failed to turn a critical eye to the evidence at hand, even though as a U.S. Senator she shouldered a greater responsibility to do so.

Nearly five years later, Obama remains more responsive to Americans’ needs than Clinton. Almost three-quarters of the population wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq; Obama has designed a phased withdrawal which would be complete within 16 months of his election. Clinton’s plan would ensure that we remain in Iraq until 2013.

A worldly candidate who is not afraid to dialogue with rogue leaders, Obama’s presidency would vastly improve America’s standing abroad after the last administration degraded it. In a debate earlier this year, Obama said he would meet with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This commitment to rapprochement will do more for America’s foreign policy goals than ignoring or threatening other countries could.

Obama’s domestic policies are also superior to Clinton’s. If elected, Obama would be ready with a plan to combat urban poverty, one of the greatest crises this country faces, from the day he enters office. His plan employs tried-and-true strategies like flooding impoverished neighborhoods with daycare, job counseling and marriage counseling programs. It borrows heavily from the Harlem Children’s Zone, designed by Geoffrey Canada, arguably the greatest American mind working to solve the problem of urban poverty.

Clinton has no comparable plan. And while Clinton vacillated on universal health care months after announcing her candidacy, Obama declared his support for it even before it was politically viable.

Obama has drawn people into the political process who have previously avoided it and who might never have gotten involved this election cycle, with voters under 25 constituting an impressive share of his volunteers and base. Having struggled himself with student loan payments—he recalls a time when his monthly loan payments dwarfed his monthly mortgage payments—he has pledged to turn his attention to the affordability of education.

Obama’s sincere willingness to cooperate with his opposition is both one of the most attractive aspects of his candidacy and something America sorely needs. Any of the Democratic candidates would be better than the Republican frontrunners, but only Obama has appealed to the best in Americans by unfailingly stressing cooperation over partisanship. In doing so, he has proved that he is the right candidate for a country tired of the Bush/Clinton political dynasties.

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