America needs leadership that will take its citizens in a direction that is of forgiveness, consultation, compassion, and peace to become a shining example for the aspirations of the world. The policies concerning the ‘war on terrorism, taxation, health care, education, etc., are crucial agenda of every presidential candidate, and their strategy or vision for future America play a decisive role in their success in the final verdict. The founding fathers of the United States called for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and the ideals and aspirations of former role models like Abraham Lincoln still influence voters in selecting their leaders, who could lead them to uphold basic American ideals. Though there are three potential candidates it seems that the main contest is among the Democratic candidates Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. The questions posed by them are Will she be the first woman president? or Will he be the first black president? of America.
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The ambitious, charismatic, 45 years old Illinois Senator, Barak Obama, from humble beginnings has gone on to charm the world’s most powerful nation and is now within striking distance of its top job. He was born in Hawaii to a white woman, Ann Dunham from Kansas, and a black man, Barack Obama from Kenya, who was brought up by his grandparents in Honolulu. During his college days, he started to develop an interest in politics and first became aware that his skin color was a factor in life, which prompted him to embark on community programs in Chicago South Side, considered to be his initiation to a political career. Though his greatest skill is his ability to work with people, major criticism being repeated at the national level is his inexperience, lack of experience in the areas of foreign policy and national security. Mr. Obama gained national prominence in 2004 after giving an eloquent, unifying speech at the Democratic national convention, and three months later he was elected to the Senate in Washington. Now, in the arena for the Presidential election, he has to surmount Mrs. Hillary Clinton from his own party and encounter McCain of the Republican Party and survive negative propaganda and inevitable criticism that may crop up during an election contest.
Senator Obama is more thoughtful about committing to armed conflict and expresses eagerness to talk to those countries Republicans call enemies. He seems to connect closely to the problems of the middle class and poorer Americans, probably because the unorganized minorities have no voice in American politics. In addition, being a member of one of the minorities he has more exposure to the problems of minorities, which neither Senator Mrs. Clinton nor Senator McCain has.
The presidential election has once again brought to limelight the ‘race’ issue with Senator Barak Obama’s powerful speech in Philadelphia, his major address on race, politics, and unifying the country. It is a stark reality that America’s blacks and whites still choose to live separate lives, even in the bustling, multi-racial, and modern cities of the US. To quote the words of Christine King Farris, Dr. Martin L. King’s sister, “we have made a lot of progress and I’m sure that my brother [Dr. King] would be very pleased with that. But every day we see that there is not a level playing field for our citizens and the color of someone’s skin has a lot to do with that.” (Sherwell, Philip. Barak Obama’s rise highlights US racial divide. Telegraph. UK. 24/3/2008).
Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the New York Senator and former first lady, is the clear Democratic front runner in U.S polls and is bidding to become America’s first female President. The scandals of the Clinton era made the couple hate figures among American conservatives, which left her with high negatives among voters. Critics consider this negative image a much divisive figure to win a presidential election. Although she is portrayed as the candidate of experience her political history is entirely based on her husband’s career. We have to wait some more days to see how far her slogan “I’m in. And I’m to win” will come true.
In the present election scenario, we have to analyze the challenges posed by the Republican candidate also. Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, of Arizona and former Vietnam PoW, and veteran of the Senate armed services Committee is considered as a reliable successor to Bush. He has the backing of President George Bush, which is evident from his words “He’s going to be the president who will bring determination to defeat an enemy and a heart big enough to love those who hurt.” The president also adds that “John showed incredible courage strength for character and perseverance in order to get this moment and that’s exactly what we need in a president—somebody who can handle the tough decisions, somebody who won’t flinch in the face of danger” ( Spillius, Alex. John McCain endorsed by George W Bush 6/3/2008).
These words, direct from the mouth of the President, are a clear indication that McCain, the veteran of the Senate armed services committee is a reliable Republican successor who could conclude the Iraq war initiated by Mr. Bush. Considering Bush’s popularity within the party’s core supporters and being confident, McCain has the capacity to influence independent and swing voters to help him win the election.
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It is crucial to analyze the view of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Barack on the prominent issues affecting the nation to establish their suitability for the prestigious post of the President of the United States. The major issues that attract voters are war on Iraq, Health care, foreign policy, Taxes and economy, free trade, etc. Iraq is the big issue for Obama as he is opposed to the war from start, and it will be a vote winner for him from fiercely anti-war Democrat activists. On the health care issue, he challenges the proposal of Mrs. Clinton to make every American buy health insurance as a forceful action on poor people. This argument also has takers from the Democrat circle. Obama’s suggestion for outreach to enemies that he would meet with leaders of Iran, Cuba, and North Korea without conditions places more stress than Mrs. Clinton on foreign affairs. The economy is now the top issue in the Democrat agenda that holds the key in swing and Obama’s proposal to pumping funds into the economy from tax cuts to working families, pensioners, and unemployed will benefit his election process and turn him victorious.
At every turn of the current election process, it is expected that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will emerge as the overwhelming favorite. The race will certainly not be decided until August when the party holds its nominating convention in Denver, Colorado. It may be seen that Mr. Obama is ahead in the race, though the final decision will depend on the super-delegates who have a free vote in choosing the nominee. Let us hope Senator Barack Obama will become the first black President of the United state this time.