If the President of the United States is the "leader of the free world", then why don't the constituents of the free world get a vote?
In a nation where the electoral system is a veritable dog's breakfast, the election of a POTUS is the result of a mish-mash of (to mix animal metaphors) "first-past-the-post" systems. Which means that, unlike Australia, you can't allocate votes for your local POTUS Electoral Collegians on a preferential basis. It's all or nothing for the candidate of your choice.
Being a citizen of the junior part of that "special US-Australian alliance", I can't vote for the head of state of the senior part. But if I could, I'd be casting my vote for Senator Barack H. Obama of the Democrats.
Although I've been an Obama for POTUS supporter since about March, he wasn't my pick when the Democrat primaries began. That honour went to Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. A Hispanic, an experienced member of Bill Clinton's cabinet and an accomplished diplomat, and an opponent of Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL), Richardson appeared to me the pick of the Democrat pack (despite his support for gun ownership and the death penalty). As expected, he didn't last long in the primaries.
Senator Hillary Clinton was never an option in my view, too hawkish on foreign policy, and, frankly, a Clinton... we'd already been there. I was reluctant over Obama at first. Back in 2004 I saw his address to the Democrat convention, and was as convinced as anyone that this was the beginning of a future prospective POTUS, but not before 2012, and I had some misgivings about his grasp on foreign policy. But as he shot to the forefront of the 2008 campaign it was time to take him seriously as The One.
Obama is a brilliant orator, and a charismatic inspirational figure. His personal background makes a heartening sign, if he is elected, that ths USA is maturing a further stage. Will he provide the "Change We Need"? I'm not so sure, but he brings more hope than the alternatives.
John McCain is not the answer. His use-by date is past. He would have been an outstanding candidate for the Republicans in 2000, and possibly a fine president in the years following (though how he would have dealt with 9/11 is an incalculable quantity), until smeared disgracefully by the GWB camp. Today, he is a ditzy 72 year-old who reminds me too scarily of the title character of a TV series from half a century ago. Maverick? no, the Real McCoy - to be more precise, Grandpappy Amos as played by Walter Brennan.
And then there was McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin as vice-presidential running mate - Alaska's answer to Pauline Hanson.
Ralph Nader is not the answer. He didn't cost Al Gore the 2000 election (and I've written on this before), but he comes across now to me as a bitter, negative, visionless 74 year-old. Support for the Green Party has merit in local candidacies across the States, but for Democrat House of Reps member Cynthia McKinney, and her running mate, hip-hop performer Rosa Clemente, represent a wasted vote at the POTUS level. Bob Barr (Libertarian) and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party) fall off the right wing of the dial.
It has to be Obama. I'll write shortly about my expectations from a post-Bush administration, and my concerns about the Obama campaign thus far.