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Tired of Bush, voters will choose Obama

By Lynne Serpe

My prediction is that Barack Obama will win the White House.

Not because of his fundraising prowess, his charisma or his excellent oratory skills — although they are considerable. He will win because people from across the political spectrum are tired of the Bush administration and they want change.

Obama will win because he recognized that desire early on, and when the economy became the number one issue, he was able to capitalize on the idea that it was the policies of the Bush administration that created this crisis. Because it was true (also true is that the Democratic Party rolled over so often they must have gotten dizzy, but the McCain camp couldn’t really play that card. And Obama could distance himself from a lot of that criticism because, hey, he is the new guy).I don’t want to short-change Obama. He is smart and savvy and hard working. If he was incompetent, people would likely stick with the devil they know. But I’m not sure he’d be heading into victory if voters were satisfied with the last eight years under George W. Bush, if the War in Iraq was “winning” or if people weren’t worried about the economy. I’m not so sure this junior Senator with the different name that no one had ever heard of four years ago would be poised to become the 43rd presidential of the United States.

Of course, McCain turning into a complete and total jerk also helped Obama. Although I fundamentally disagree with just about everything he stands for, I used to at least respect McCain as a straight-shooter, an honest politician who didn’t play politics as usual and who occasionally took on both sides of the aisle. What a let down to discover that he is a mean, nasty, angry man willing to do whatever it takes to win.

I reserved judgment when his vice presidential pick was announced, not knowing anything about Palin and having already gone on record as thinking a female VP would be a smart choice to take on a bit of historic momentum of his own, his own promise of change. But now I can only pray that if somehow they win, that the separation of church and state doctrine is not further eroded (the way our civil liberties have been) and that women are not denied control over their reproductive rights even as that glass ceiling shatters.

I think there will be innumerable reports of voting irregularities and problems with voting equipment across the country. And I think the election might be close, but I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004 where the election hangs on a chad, uncounted provisional ballots, under-allocated voting machines or long lines in poor, student and minority precincts. I managed the recount of the presidential vote in Ohio, and the sheer potential for fraud at every step in the election process is mind numbing and frightening.

But hundreds of thousands of voting integrity activists and lawyers have worked untold hours at trying to close those loopholes (thank you, thank you, thank you) and the Obama campaign will likely have record numbers of volunteers stationed at polls to observe and report problems.

At the end of the day, we all know that Obama is a great campaigner; that Obama can pack a football stadium; that Obama is a great fundraiser and that Obama is a great orator. But are those the skills needed in the White House?

I expect that many people will be disappointed a few years from now, when the change they so desperately sought has not happened, when children still live in poverty across the country, millions have no health care, the climate crisis has reached catastrophic levels and our men and women of the military are still dying in senseless wars overseas.

I hope I’m wrong about an Obama/Biden administration, truly I do. As a progressive, I may not wrap myself in the flag, but the reason so many of us work so hard to reform our broken electoral system is because we still believe in the promise of the United States.

It’s in the promises of candidates that I have a hard time believing.

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