Personal tools

Debate: McCain vs. Obama

From Debatepedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Who is the better candidate, John McCain or Barack Obama?


Background and Context of Debate:

All content from the Wikipedia article of the candidates or the election. Used under the GFDL, which debatepedia uses

John McCain:

John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from Arizona and presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in the upcoming 2008 election.

Both McCain's grandfather and father were admirals in the United States Navy. McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he nearly lost his life in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. Later that year while on a bombing mission over North Vietnam, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese. He was held from 1967 to 1973, experiencing episodes of torture and refusing an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer; his war wounds would leave him with lifelong physical limitations.

He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and, moving to Arizona, entered politics. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. After serving two terms, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, winning re-election easily in 1992, 1998, and 2004. While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain has gained a media reputation as a "maverick" for disagreeing with his party on several key issues. Surviving the Keating Five scandal of the 1980s, he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, which eventually led to the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002. He is also known for his work towards restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, and for his belief that the Iraq War should be fought to a successful conclusion in the 2000s. McCain has chaired the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, and has been a leader in seeking to rein in both pork barrel spending as well as Senate filibusters of judicial nominations.

McCain lost the Republican nomination in the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. He ran again for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, and gained enough delegates to become the party's presumptive nominee in March 2008.

Barack Obama:

Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk hʊˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the junior United States Senator from Illinois. He is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election, and the first African American to be a major party's presumptive nominee for President of the United States.

A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer and practiced as a civil rights attorney before serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. From 1992 to 2004, he also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in January 2003. After winning a landslide primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote.

As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, he cosponsored legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the current 110th Congress, he has sponsored legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel. Since announcing his presidential campaign in February 2007, Obama has emphasized ending the war in Iraq, increasing energy independence, decreasing the influence of lobbyists, and promoting universal health care as top national priorities.

Experience: Does McCain have more experience than Obama for being president?

McCain is better

  • McCain has been in office for around 25 years. John McCain has been in office for 25 years. Barack Obama has only beeen in government for nearly 10 years so John McCain has significantly more experience to run America.
  • McCain has a lot of experience within the military. McCain has a lot of experience within the military so he will do better at helping resolve situations relating to the military. And the military looks after some of the world's biggest issues like the Iraq war.

Obama is better

  • Obama's time spent abroad is valuable. Obama spent three years in Indonesia as a boy. He regularly cites this as having a formative effect on him, providing him with a powerful perspective on distant, different cultures. This is very valuable. Clinton never lived abroad for this length of time, and she lacks the perspective.

  • Obama's diverse global background is valuable. Obama was born to a father of Kenyan descent, has a white mother, lived in Indonesia in his youth, and has traveled to Kenya to visit his grandmother. He certainly is a diverse person with a diverse background. This is valuable in many ways to how he thinks about the world. Generally, it is likely to give him a more holistic view of the world.

  • Obama would be a fresh, uncorrupted face in the White House While experience can be seen as a virtue, it can also be viewed as a liability, in the sense that experience within the Washington Beltway, which Clinton has, can have a corrupting influence. Obama, conversely, is a fresh face on the American political scene. As such he embodies the fundamental change that Washington, DC so desperately needs. He has not been stuck in the Washington, DC "beltway", which has kept him clear of much of the corruption and influence that can occur as a result of this.

  • Obama has a strong record of legislative achievement Obama has a very strong legislative history as a US Senator. The Daily Kos lists 19 legislative successes for Obama during his Senate career while only 13 legislative successes for Clinton. It is argued that Obama's record of successes is, in large part, due to his ability to convince other Senators to support his legislation. Clinton, with a more divisive history, does not appear to have this same capacity.

Inspiration: How do the candidates compare as far as their inspirational capacity?

McCain is better

  • McCain has a lot of military experience. As a result he will have learnt how to inspire people to support his ideas.

Obama is better

  • Obama inspires people to become better citizens. Obama's oratory abilities are very high. People often call him "poetic" in this way. This oratory ability has been a defining feature of the best presidents and leaders in American and world history. The reason is very straight forward; it causes people to have pride in their leaders, trust in the direction their leaders are taking the country, and hope in the future ahead. This often leads individuals to act more ethically, work harder, and generally hold themselves to a higher ethical standard. In short, inspiration matters, and the main vehicle for inspiration is inspirational oratory.
  • Obama can inspire people to follow him and take action. Obama is in a unique position to inspire and influence people to take action. Youth and potential activists listen intently to him, and would respond to requests he makes for citizens to take action. Obama could say, as John F. Kennedy first did, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for you country", and people would respond.
  • Obama is leading a movement for change, not just a campaign. Obama has stirred up so much energy and excitement among his followers that his campaign and its supporters have been described as a "movement". This "movement" can and should be harnessed for positive social change.
  • Obama is a natural leader and mobilizer. One of the most important qualities of a leader is the ability to bring people together to get things done. Obama has both a Senate legislative record of this, and an impressive campaign-mobilizing record.
  • Obama's ability to change attitudes is essential in bringing about change. Making bold changes in America requires first that people's attitudes be changed. Changing attitudes is not easy at all, and requires profound persuasion. Obama, more than Clinton, has the ability to persuade in this way.

Iraq War policy: Whose policy is better?

McCain's is better

Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here

Obama's is better

Click on the pencil icon and research and write arguments here


Related pages on Debatepedia:

External links and resources:

Problem with the site? 

Tweet a bug on bugtwits