The Florida Primaries

Obama’s inexperience offers fresh start

By Amy Mariani, News Editor

America is on the brink of social change that will forever impact our society and progress it toward a community free of degradation, racism and sexism.

The front-runners for the democratic presidential candidacy are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – a black man and a woman, respectively. There have never been candidates that have broken the usual presidential mold and made it so far, nor been so widely accepted. It is most likely that either Obama or Clinton will win the nomination, and either has a very good chance of winning the presidency.

Obama is who I think deserves to be the nominee. I did not make my decision because he’s endorsed by such icons as Oprah and Toni Morisson (author of Beloved), but because what he brings to the political table is what this country needs.

With only two years in Washington, D.C., Obama’s most unappealing attribute is his lack of experience. Many see this as his downfall, but it’s his greatest strength. Since he is young it gives him the opportunity to lead this nation toward greatness and improvement, not just go through the motions as others do. He hasn’t had the chance to be jaded by deals, businesses, or voting for his friends’ bills.

Obama focuses on education, which is extremely important. Although education is usually a state issue, it is time for the federal government to take steps to improve it. Florida, for example, is cutting its budget again for state colleges. That hurts USF. It hurts me and 44,000 other students at this institution. Washington has attempted to help national education with No Child Left Behind, but that isn’t working. Hopefully, a fresh young president will come equipped with fresh new ideas.

Obama’s second-most favorable feature is his stance on healthcare. “My plan begins by covering every American … If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a pre-existing condition or illness,” Obama said on May 29, 2007. Healthcare is intrinsic to living a healthy life, and it isn’t right that people with a lack of insurance or the wrong kind of insurance are turned away. A 10-minute sonogram shouldn’t cost $700. A simple case of mononucleosis shouldn’t cost $3,000. Preventative care is essential to living a healthy life, and every American deserves it.

Clinton has similar stances to Obama in these two subjects. The choice between the two comes down to intuition and experience. I prefer Obama’s so-called lack of experience compared to Clinton’s time as a senator for New York. Clinton has been jaded by politics and cannot be trusted.

Politics aside, Obama’s charisma and skills as an orator will also serve the U.S. well after eight years of being represented internationally by George Bush.

Obama should be the Democratic candidate and he should be the next president. There is still a long way to go. Only six states have voted for their pick, the seventh is Florida with today’s primary, and there is still Super Tuesday: on Feb. 5, 24 states will voice who they want as their presidential candidate for either party.

According to, Obama and Clinton lead the Democratic Party with an estimated 63 and 48 pledged delegates, respectively. These numbers represent the current number of delegates that will – assumably – vote for these candidates at the national convention in August. That convention officially announces the presidential candidate for the party, but based on a candidate’s winnings during primary season, it can be accurately guessed. The “magic number” for a candidate is 2,025 delegates pledged to vote for him or her. Obama and Clinton both have far to go and anything can happen from here, but America would fare the best with Obama as president.

McCain best option for Republicans

By Kevin Smetana, Multimedia Editor

By now you’ve seen their ads on television and heard their views in debates, but how do you know whom the next Republican candidate for the president of the United States should be? Who can you trust and who is most ready to lead the nation?

The answer is John McCain.

McCain, a four-term senator from Arizona and a two-term U.S. representative, has the most experience and the best take on the most important issues.

With the economy upside-down – possibly heading toward a recession – and a war going on that many Americans don’t agree with, the phrases “hope” and “change” are being flung around like crazy.

Americans can hope for change all day long, but the reality is it won’t happen unless there is someone in office who has seen firsthand what goes on in Washington.

As a college student graduating in a few months and entering a workforce with few jobs to be filled, the economy certainly concerns me. But with a brother on his third deployment in Iraq and a baby niece and sister-in-law anxiously waiting for his return, the war on terrorism is the deciding factor for me.

Just as Rudy Giuliani likes to use his time as mayor in New York during Sept. 11 as the foundation of his campaign, McCain has let it be known what he went through during the Vietnam War – and he should.

McCain spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war where he was beaten by the North Vietnamese, denied medical treatment and put in solitary confinement. It was a terrible experience, but it shows his character and perseverance.

What’s even more impressive than his survival as a POW is the loyalty he showed to the military while in the Navy. McCain was preparing for a bombing mission in 1967 when a missile accidentally struck his plane, creating an inferno aboard the USS Forrestal.

The accident, which killed 134 men, gave McCain the chance to return home, but he declined and signed on for 5 1/2 more years. McCain had true devotion to the troops and to the country then, and he still does today.

The Vietnam War is long over and we’re in a much different era, but McCain’s military experiences from the 1960s still make him the most prepared candidate.

McCain criticizes Democrats’ plans of setting a withdrawal date, and he believes we need more troops in Iraq. It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially if we know someone in the war – but it’s true.

The United States liberated the Iraqi people from an evil leader, and to bring home the troops now would be to surrender. The United States must keep its troops in Iraq until al-Qaida is completely dismantled and until the Iraqi people are able to maintain a stable government on their own.

I want my brother to be home with his family more than anyone, but like he told me in an e-mail a few days ago: he’d rather fight the war over there than fight it over here.

Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing – we need someone in office who can give the economy a spark. McCain has the best tax-cut plan to get the job done.

McCain looks out for the middle class – the majority of the people reading this column.

McCain believes in cutting taxes but not if the results of the cuts will benefit only the wealthy. He plans to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would save middle class families nearly $60 billion annually.

Wealthy families don’t need the tax relief. It’s those of us with parents who are struggling to pay their mortgage for the first time that need the help, and that’s what McCain stands for.

At 71, McCain may not have Mitt Romney’s perfect hair or Mike Huckabee’s ability to play the electric guitar, but his age is a mere reflection of the amount experience he has to offer.