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21st Century Problems Call for 21st Century Leadership. (Hint: That’s Not McCain)

One of my Facebook friends, someone I’ve known since our days as classmates at Gregory Elementary School in Long Branch, N.J., posted a note on his profile asking what Sen. Barack Obama has done for anyone during his political career. My response to him? The more important question is not what have Obama and Sen. John McCain done, but what are they likely to do? McCain would clearly continue the policies of the current administration, which by every measure has been a dismal failure. McCain represents the past; Obama is best qualified for the problems of today and our future and that of our children.


All you have to do is visit their respective web sites to compare their records. While Obama does have the shorter political career (after all, he was an undergraduate student at Columbia University when McCain was elected to Congress in 1982), he has done in the past five years at least as much as McCain has done for anyone in the past 25-plus years in politics. (As an aside, McCain is experienced with crisis in the financial services industry. However, you will probably not find anything about McCain’s role in the corruption and collapse of the savings and loan industry 20 years ago, a story I covered extensively as a newly hired associate editor at Black Enterprise, on his campaign web site.)


How anyone can justify electing a 20th century candidate to lead in a complex, rapidly changing early 21st century world is beyond me. McCain’s grasp of foreign policy was formed and shaped by the Cold War, not global terrorism. He does not even remotely understand the economy (his explanation of how the subprime mortgage crisis came about was horrifyingly inaccurate). The reason why the experience argument does not hold water in this election is that every major problem our nation and world faces is new–terrorism, technology and Internet security, China and India as new economic forces, environmental and energy issues, etc. No one, least of all McCain, has much experience dealing with them.


McCain is a lot like my 75-year-old father (who I am sure is voting for him), a retired military veteran and prostate cancer survivor who’s lived in Arizona for the past 30 years. He actually has a lot in common with McCain. He knows virtually nothing about e-mail and the Internet and has a dubious track record as a husband, although he is happily married to wife number four. Might he be a good source of advice and even wisdom? Okay, I’ll go with that. Should he be running anything, much less be the leader of the free world, at this stage of his life? Absolutely not.


To solve the problems of this century, you need a president who actually understands what’s going on NOW. That is Obama, not McCain.


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