Obama is ready for office

By By Brendon Gehrke

By Brendon Gehrke

The headlines in Saturday’s newspapers, Web sites and blogs show mixed reactions to the debate: “Neither candidate won…” “McCain very glad he decided to show up,” and “Round 1 in debates goes to Obama.” My personal favorite was “The big winner was America.”

Watching the debate felt like I was watching a boxing match8212;there were times that I curled up on the couch and muttered “ouch.”

Still, for the most part the candidates kept to the issues and explained to America their viewpoints, rather than participating in partisan bickering. Americans should be proud that we chose two viable candidates and demanded they come together for a whole-hearted debate.

Sen. Barack Obama is much more in step with the American people than his opponent on the issues on the forefront of the public policy agenda.

The 90-minute debate at the University of Mississippi was originally intended to focus entirely on foreign affairs. However, the recent convulsions in the financial markets led debate moderator Jim Lehrer to spend the first 40 minutes on economic issues.

This was a clear advantage for Obama. John McCain adheres to the age-old theory that we can shred regulations and consumer protections, and give more to the most prosperous and somehow prosperity will trickle down.

This extreme ideology has been proven false in recent days. First, the gap between the rich (those making above $250,000) and the middle class is larger than ever. Second, a large part of the banks’ recent failure was the Congressional Republicans and President George Bush’s lack of willingness to regulate Wall Street.

The result of this ideology has been disastrous for the American homeowner. Obama’s tax plan is geared to revamping the middle class. His opponent wants to keep Bush’s tax cuts. If Obama adopts the phrase “it’s about the economy, dummy,” he wins the election.

The Republican campaign was delighted that the series of debates began with the issue of foreign relations, McCain’s strong suit. In essence, McCain got cheated by the unfortunate circumstances of an economic meltdown.

Nevertheless, when foreign policy questions came into the debate, Obama took on his opponent head-on concerning the issues of Iraq, Afghanistan and other international relation events. While the Republican candidate made the valid point that Obama opposed the surge, which “worked beyond his wildest expectations,” Sen. Obama retorted that the war started in 2003 not 2007, and McCain had made a wide array of misjudgments about the War on Terror.

Sen. Obama successfully made the argument that as commander in chief he would have the best judgment on when to use military force in time of conflict by stating the failures in strategy of the current administration8212;the failing strategies he opposed and his opponent supported.

Both candidates stated their opinions with substance to their arguments and were able to be passionate without political rancor.

CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib said it can be reasonably concluded, especially after accounting for the slight Democratic bias in the survey, that we witnessed a tie in Mississippi.

If there was a tie in the debate, it breaks toward Obama. Obama’s goal was to demonstrate that he could go blow-to-blow with McCain on foreign policy, his opponent’s supposed strength and his own wrongfully alleged weakness.

He accomplished the task of looking presidential and gave a compelling impression that he was ready to be commander in chief and a president educated with a pattern of credible judgments on making international relation decisions.

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Editor’s Note8212;Brendon Gehrke is the vice president of the U College Democrats.