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@ Odds | Who should be President?

Barack Obama

By John E. Walsh
November 2, 2008
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BARACK OBAMA should be president because his campaign has shown he will be a great leader for America - and particularly for Massachusetts. His campaign has been built on his confidence in America's future, his commitment to participatory grassroots politics and what it means to our democracy, and his unyielding focus on the need to fundamentally change the direction of our country.

We live in the greatest nation on earth. That greatness has been tested repeatedly. Time and again, our strength and resilience has been reaffirmed because the people actually are in charge. When confronted by challenges, Americans instinctively choose a leader who believes in them and the essential role each citizen plays in the strength of the nation. Americans understand that our prosperity and security require that each of us do our part. In tough times, we demand that our leaders understand that as well and trust us to do so. Obama will be just that kind of president.

Personally (and maybe selfishly), I believe that Obama should be president because Massachusetts is uniquely positioned to benefit from an Obama-Biden administration - particularly one with strengthened Democratic majorities in Congress. Massachusetts' congressional leaders would be well-positioned to provide national leadership and to advocate for Massachusetts interests. Governor Patrick would enjoy a strong personal and professional relationship with the new president.

A President Obama would recognize the need to focus on improving education and increasing access to comprehensive affordable healthcare for all Americans. Massachusetts has enjoyed an advantage historically in these areas and we have not sat on that lead. Rather, our healthcare reform efforts offer a model of success the new administration can look to, and Patrick's Readiness Project is focused on the exact priorities the new national administration would highlight.

A President Obama will bring an economic plan focused on rebuilding our infrastructure and advancing our leadership in life sciences and clean energy. Sound familiar? Massachusetts has been laying the foundations for just such a focus on roads, bridges, and schools while preparing for growth opportunities in these promising fields.

Obama has already proven to be the kind of inspirational leader who recognizes the need for each American to participate and has succeeded in getting us to do so during the campaign. With more than 3 million contributors averaging $86 per donation and rallies growing in size every day, Obama has helped lead us to a reawakening of the American spirit of optimism. He has proven capable of harnessing the energy we'll need to correct our course and to move forward.

Elections are about choices. On Tuesday, voters will participate in what could be the simplest election in any of our memories. We will either choose to fundamentally change the direction of our nation or we will choose four more years just like the last eight. The implications of that choice are stark. "You're on your own" trickle-down or shared prosperity? More record-breaking deficits or fiscal responsibility? "Drill-baby-drill" or a clean-energy future? The politics of attack and distort or the engagement of millions? Fear or hope? More of the same or positive change?

Barack Obama should be president because he promises the better of these choices and he's proven he's capable of leading America toward better days ahead.

John E. Walsh is chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

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