Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK recently called the US Presidential race "electrifying." That still qualifies as British understatement.  I've actually had a hard time sleeping a number of mornings because I'm thinking about the race--like today.  Here are a few thoughts:

I'm a political centrist and want the Democrats to win this time.  Most Republicans understand that when you have a company or a team that's not performing, you fire them and clean house. Companies that are flailing and aren't making any money should go out of business.  People need to be responsible for their actions and the track record of the Republicans the past eight years has been bad.

For example, the U.S. is and should continue to be a meritocracy.  But something is seriously out of whack when the richest 5% of the country owns more than the remaining 95%.  Even Ayn Rand might think this is getting out of hand. This income disparity between the rich and the less-well-off is the greatest it's been since the Gilded Age. You do need the Masters of the Universe to arise and create google and run hedge funds.  But these guys don't need tax cuts when we could, for example, pay more money to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As for the economy, it's in large part being kept afloat by big corporations' exports overseas.  Bush let the dollar devalue and this helps us sell products abroad.  But the biggest beneficiaries off this are big corporations rather than the rest of America.

On foreign affairs, this is where Bush has been at his worst (and exactly where I fear Palin would take us through a policy of ignorant muscle-flexing.)  Bush gambled and lost on Iraq and didn't find any WMD.  If things had turned out better or OK he'd also be viewed as an OK President.  But since they did not, he will be rightly viewed as an arrogant and ignorant international bully.

Bush does deserve credit for not allowing another terrorist attack on US soil--this is obviously incredibly important.  But he deserves great blame for destroying America's image, clout and "soft power" abroad.  We need to work with other nations to solve our own--and shared, worldwide--problems and we basically told everyone to shove off if they disagreed with us.

In this current election, Republicans continue to be big on attitude, posturing and fear-mongering and have been devoid of helpful ideas or actual public policy positions. Although I disagree on some of Obama's policies, his approach to politics, leadership and actually thinking deep and hard about issues is almost the opposite of the shallow, ideology-driven, partisan knife-fighting that has characterized the Republicans.

It's hard to tell who will win. For the sake of America--and for the reform of the Republican party itself so that it would no longer rely on polarizing and scaring the country through culture wars--I hope it will be Obama.


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