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Monday, November 3, 2008

From TPM's Genghis:
Contrary to President Bush's assurance, he is not the Decider. We the People are the Deciders. Mr. Bush is a temporary employee to whom we have granted provisional authority to govern on our behalf. We the People make such Decisions infrequently but regularly--every four years. And now it is again time for us to Decide.

Sometimes the Decision may seem inconsequential, a choice between equals, but the consequences of our Decisions inevitably prove that the differences were starker than we imagined. The authority that we grant to these individuals is of such magnitude that even the small choices that they make--the words they choose, the people they hire, the favors they grant, the priorities that they pursue--have great consequences. However much Mr. Bush seemed like Mr. Gore eight years ago, he has led the nation down a very different path than Mr. Gore would have done. The difference cannot be measured by any single policy or historical event. It consists in the accumulation of policies, priorities, appointments, speeches, favors, initiatives, and other actions that Mr. Bush has executed under the authority that we have twice granted him.

The Decision is always a gamble. We can never know how a person will exercise the authority we grant to him or her. The best candidate may be the worst president. Like poker players, we can only make educated choices based on the hands we've been dealt. A low pair will sometimes win; four aces will sometimes lose. But we can play the odds, and we can maximize our chances. What we must not do, if we value the welfare our nation, is to Decide for the wrong reasons. We are not choosing a policy, a friend, a hero, a judge, or an entertainer. We are choosing to hire someone who will make innumerable decisions on our behalf, someone who will affect the lives of billions of people in our country and around the world.

This year, we must do better. We cannot know for certain whether Mr. Obama will be a more capable leader than Mr. McCain, but we have many reasons to believe so. Over the course of his career and in this campaign, Mr. Obama has demonstrated solid temperament, sound judgment, a deep and nuanced intelligence, strong leadership, and broad appeal. He aims to right the errors produced by Mr. Bush's incompetence: the imprudent war that killed millions, cost trillions, and produced little; the tax cuts for the richest among us that have exploded our deficit and amplified the economic inequalities that divide us; the politicization of our government; and the secrecy meant to hide choices we abhor.

In contrast to Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain has been erratic, often confused, prone to anger, and out of touch. The policies that he has favored committed us to the terrible war, bankrupt our government, and undermined the "fundamentals" of our economy. The people that he has hired, most notably Ms. Palin, have exhibited notable incompetence. He has belied a reputation for integrity and substance with a campaign that has exploited our worst instincts and sought to distract us from matters of importance.

It is time to Decide. We can be guided by our fears and prejudices and bet the weak hand. Or we can place our bet on the man who has given us so many reasons to believe that he will work effectively on our behalf to improve our lives and make our nation greater. We the People are responsible for our future. We are the Deciders.

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