‘Student’ endorsement misses mark on Obama

It was with great disappointment that I read The Miami Student editorial board’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president this past Tuesday (“The Miami Student endorses Barack Obama for president,” Oct. 28, 2008). While I disagree with many of his policies, I have nothing but respect for Obama. He has run an amazing campaign and he has a tremendous life story that embodies our American dream.

However, the endorsement in The Student didn’t shed any convincing, thoughtful arguments for voting Obama as our next president. I know that Obama has been accused of being an “empty suit;” students on this campus should regard that editorial as an “empty endorsement.”

How could anybody be convinced of voting for Obama after reading that endorsement? Under foreign policy, it was mentioned that Sen. Joe Biden’s (D-Del.) foreign experience is a strong boon. While I know that Biden is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, what exactly has he done to qualify himself as proficient in foreign policy? Anybody would be hard-pressed to think of a convincing argument. Let’s see, he voted against the Gulf War, voted for Iraq and voted against the surge in Iraq. It would be foolish of me to say that these three decisions were incredibly wise. In addition, anyone who researched what Biden said during the vice presidential debate about his foreign policy experience would find out that most of what he said was a complete lie. Biden has said that he has forgotten more foreign policy knowledge than his colleagues know. Unfortunately for us, he also forgot to retain any of it.

A second, more pressing issue that I saw in the endorsement came at the end of the piece. “Despite concerns about his lack of experience, we feel he will surround himself with intelligent and capable advisers.” I read this statement with a feeling of confusion. Is the editorial board implying that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will surround himself with first-graders (ones who probably say and do fewer foolish things than Biden does)? Heck, if I promised I would surround myself with intelligent and capable advisers, should I get the endorsement of The Student too?

When it comes down to any important situation involving our nation, the final decision has to be made by the top dog. Nowhere in this article could I find information regarding the judgment of Obama and how that will help him make the right decisions that affect our country. Of course, seeing the many fathomable individuals and organizations he has affiliated himself with over the years, I guess judgment isn’t Obama’s specialty. Most of Obama’s plans will probably never see the light of day. However, should he be elected president, we will have to deal with his judgment. Unfortunately for us, the situations that will arise will not be above his pay grade, nor does he have the option of voting “present.” McCain has an extensive history of stellar judgment, great character and honorable service. His experience clearly blows Obama’s experience out of the water. McCain has shown he can, and will, reach across the aisle to better our country. Obama has not. McCain was one of the first to cry out against the way the war in Iraq was handled, about the need for a surge and about the dangers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This excellent judgment has not yet been shown by Obama. Apparently, these characteristics are not important when deciding our next president.

Jason Persingerpersinjm@muohio.edu

Ensure your right to vote by knowing where help is

Your country needs you. On Nov. 4 millions of students like you will help choose the next president of the United States. In this historic election, students have registered in unprecedented numbers. The youth vote will have a huge impact. Our voices will be heard. But you need to make sure your vote counts.

Miami University’s Democracy Matters is a non-partisan student organization that is part of the national “Protect the Student Vote” campaign. Our goal is to make sure every student knows his/her voting rights, that on Election Day all student votes are cast and counted. Take a minute now to protect your vote.

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to confirm your registration, find out where you need to go to vote, make sure you have the correct ID-having improper ID is the most common reason students are denied the right to vote-or if you think there is illegal activity. Do not leave the polling place without casting a ballot. If there is a problem, ask for a provisional ballot.

Fifth, make sure to sustain your political engagement after Election Day. The power of our vote is strengthened when we hold our elected leaders accountable. Change will not happen in Washington unless we unite and organize to stand up for the causes we believe in. Continue to make your voice heard.

Patrick J. Otto Campus CoordinatorMiami University’s Democracy Matters513-291-0022 ottopj@muohio.edu

Media exaggerates Boehner’s remarks

The recent article about Rep. John Boehner’s (R-Oh.) visit to Miami University demonstrates an incredible trend in the Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) campaign that clearly highlights his best political skill: he is immune to any criticism whatsoever. Despite Boehner’s attempt to highlight critical flaws in an Obama presidency, it seems that the modern populace prefers to ignore and write off any criticism leveled against Obama as an “attack” or “smear.” This trend has followed from an intellectual laziness that stems from Facebook.com groups or chain e-mails that falsely claim that “Obama was sworn in on the Quran” or that “Obama will not salute a flag.” I assert that these types of attacks are obviously false and clearly not needed in today’s political climate, but it is of the utmost prudence that we seriously scrutinize any man or a woman who hopes to attain our highest political office. To criticize someone for “spending more time slamming his party’s opponent than promoting himself,” seems to contradict everything that a proper democratic system promotes. We should be able to highlight reasonable problems with politicians and speak out about them, and the day when we cannot criticize a politician is a day when we will lose a cherished liberty: our freedom of speech. Some “old politics” are discourageable, but the freedom of speech most certainly is not and the comments issued by Boehner prove to be an example of how effective our governmental system is, not an argument of why it isn’t. Furthermore, to be upset about the use of the word “sh*t” seems to be begging to find a flaw with a politician. Chris Rock argues this point more eloquently in the film Head of State, where he plays the first African-American to run for president, when he comments, “You show me a grown man that’s never said sh*t and I’ll show you somebody that’s full of sh*t!”

Despite Obama’s ability to release commercials that repeatedly link Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to lobbyists and President George W. Bush, regardless of his constant history of standing up to his own party, the “attacks” Boehner leveled on Obama are easily dismissed, in spite of their serious repercussions. After all, as the Rothenberg Political Report states, “We aren’t talking about a ‘present’ vote on whether to name a state office building after a deceased state official, but rather about votes that reflect an officeholder’s core values.” Some of these issues include prosecuting students as adults if they fire guns on school grounds, and everyone’s favorite subject: partial-birth abortion. I would think that conservatives and liberals alike would like to know Obama’s stance on these issues. Do you know his stance?

By the time this perspective is published, most of its readers will have already cast their ballot. Yet, I urge all citizens to constantly question our political body, and to comprehend accurate and relevant concerns directed against our politicians. Instead of assuming that
the e-mail you got about Obama must be true, or what Bill O’Reilly said on his show must be false, take a proactive stance in realizing what you should legitimately be concerned about. Obama does not want to replace the National Anthem with a Coca-Cola jingle (a chain e-mail I actually received). However, he did get his opponent, Alice Palmer, thrown off the 1996 ballot in his State Senate race so that he could run unopposed. You may think this is irrelevant or an obscure point that. Yet, this example (and many more) highlight that Obama, just like his Republican colleagues, will resort to “old politics” when necessary and may not be as different as you think.

Daniel BirnbaumSummer InternMinority Leader John Boehnerbirnbadr@muohio.edu