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Issues in the 2008 Presidential Elections Essay

The forthcoming US presidential election has elicited excitement from the public due to its unique characteristics. For the first time in the history of the United States there is a high probability that the next president to take the office will be either the most advanced in age or be from a minority grouping. The core of the election however is not on the superficial characteristic of the two individuals but by on the far reaching policies that affect the Americans. The purpose of this paper is to look at the nature of the policies that each candidate vows to uphold.

It will also offer a persuasive opinion on who between the two candidates has the better policies. A look at the US foreign policy indicates that it revolves around a number of issues key to them being terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons. For John Mc Cain’s, the Republican Presidential candidate, foreign policy adversely focuses on these two issues. McCain links the ongoing Iraq war to the war on terror. To him, a win in the war will be a huge step in the eradication of terrorists especially the Islamic extremists in the Middle East. His policy points out to the need to provide additional forces in Iraq and also in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan requires a surge of NATO forces to get rid of the insurgents that are currently carrying out bomb attacks against civilians and the coalition forces present. McCain’s foreign policy is mostly centralized in the Middle East. He advocates for the closer ties between the US and Pakistanis which is a strategic partner in the war against terror. He notes that America must continue to work with President Perez Musharraf to dismantle the cells and the camps that the Taliban and Al Qaeda maintain in his country (Council of Foreign Relations, 2007)

On nuclear weapons McCain first target is Iran which he accuses to be a chief supporter of terrorism and hence an arch enemy of the US. He proposes the imposition of sanctions to compel Iran to forego its nuclear mission. He also advocates for the solving of the global issues through partnerships with other nations in the world through what he refers to as the “world wide League of Democracies. ” (Council of Foreign Relations, 2007) In Foreign policy, the Democratic Party presidential candidate, Barrack Obama advocates for defensive attacks as opposed to pre emptive attacks.

In the same breath his policy voices its opposition to the war in Iraq. He terms it as having been pre emptive. Obama’s proposal is that it is the high time that the United States began a well laid down policy that addresses pulling out the forces in Iraq. He sees no link between the war in Iraq and terrorism instead believing that Afghanistan should be the centre of attention. He argues that his core strategy will be “getting out of Iraq and on to the right battle field in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Such strategy will be backed by multilateral interactions with other partners and not through unilateral actions (George, 2008).

In contrast to McCain, Obama does not believe that sanctions in Iran should be the first steps but rather he advocates for the initiation of direct diplomatic talks to address the underlying issues. (Nicholas, 2008) On health care, McCain’s core interest is on the cost and the expensive nature of health insurance cover. He notes that it is becoming increasingly costly for both employers and individuals to buy health covers.

Hence, the key concern would be making it cheaper. Universal care to him is not the solution but the solution lies in addressing the factors that push the cost of healthcare. Americans, according to McCain, should be allowed to buy their insurance from any place in the nation where they deem it cheap rather than restricting them to their own states. In this hence, employers will not be compelled to provide insurance cover to their employees making his scheme to be more individual oriented (Catherine, 2008).

Obama’s plan for health care differs from McCain. Whereas McCain is advocating for lesser government role health care, Obama is for increased government participation. Obama refers to his plan as advocating for managed competition where the government sponsors health care provision and also gives room to the provision by private insurers but notes on the importance of their regulation to ensure they do not deny access to some members. Contrary to McCain’s plan, Obama does not propose individual access or intra-state buying of health insurance.

Obama also states that it will not be mandatory upon adults to have an insurance cover but insists that children will have to be covered (Catherine, 2008). The issue of immigration has also been given prominence in the election and it is posing tricky challenges with each candidate hoping to garner the support of over 8 million Latinos and at the same time being cautious not to vex the conservative block in their specific parties. McCain recognizes the urgency in the need to address the issue of immigration. His approach to the problem is to first seal the boarders to prevent illegal immigration then proceed from there.

His policy lacks in clarity and concision especially in the knowledge that he introduced a bill in the house to address comprehensively the issue of immigration. McCain appreciates the fact that immigration is the force behind the wave of crimes that face the United States and believes that the solution lies in deporting criminals and only allowing guest workers from Latin America. He vows to introduce an electronic system that will verify the identification of workers and be able to detect aliens. This will be backed by the need to prosecute those employers that employ illegal immigration (McCain- Palin, 2008).

Obama also recognizes the seriousness of the issue and how it continues to draw heated debates in the public forum. He is in support of the McCain-Edward bill that sought to address the issue and advocates for comprehensive immigration reforms. He promises to address the issue during his first year in office. Both McCain’s and Obama’s immigration policies resemble each other although Obama emphasizes on the need also to fast track the process of legalization for those that are yet to be registered in the United States, while at the same facilitating family immigrations (Farnam, 2008)..

The verdict on the race to the white house indicates that it is a hotly contested election. Both candidates are running neck to neck though some polls favor Obama as having an edge over McCain. A look at the issues presented in this paper and on others in the public court indicates that both candidates have set out concrete plans to drive the nation for the next four years. However, a simple analysis of the core issues that require immediate attention reveals Obama’s policies to be better than McCain’s.

Obama had vehemently voiced his opposition to the war long before his candidacy to 2008 presidential elections had become obvious. McCain on the other hand had voted for the Iraq war and has continued to support an upsurge of the military forces in Iraq. It is plausible to say that the war in Iraq has contributed a lot to the woes facing the United States today. The government has spent billions in a war that meant nothing to Americans in the face of the spiraling economic recession. McCain is vowing to continue with the war, risking more of American soldier’s lives and spending additional billions.

Obama has advocated for a withdrawal vowing instead to concentrate efforts in Afghanistan which is believed to be the cradle of terrorism. This is a sound foreign policy strategy and majority of Americans are siding with him. Most Americans draw parallel between the wars in Iraq and woes facing the economy. With no additional expenditure on the war and with a better plan to revive the economy, Obama indicates he is in touch with the immediate problems facing the United States. This is further evident in his health plan.

While it is clear that both candidates are seeking for the extended health coverage for Americans, Obama’s idea of regulating health insurance companies and emphasis on the increased role of the government emphasizes the importance of the government to directly safeguard the health interests of its citizens. It is indeed clear that with the proposal for a multilateral approach to global problems, the sound health policy and the recognition of immigrants’ labor importance, Obama is the natural choice of the forthcoming presidential elections.


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