We asked Slate’sstaff and contributors to tell us whom they’re voting for on Election Day and why. These are their responses. Click here to read Editor David Plotz’s explanation for why we share this information with you.
Michael Agger, Senior Editor: Obama
Holly Allen, Web Designer: Obama
I’m excited to cast my vote on Election Day for Barack Obama. His views match up better with my own.
Anne Applebaum, “Foreigners” Columnist: Not McCain
This weekend, while reading the latest polling data on John McCain, Sarah Palin, and their appeal—or growing lack of it—among “independent women voters,” it suddenly dawned on me: I am, in fact, one of these elusive independent woman voters, and I have the credentials to prove it. For the last couple of decades, I’ve sometimes voted Democratic, sometimes Republican. I’m even a registered independent, though I did think of switching to the Republican Party to vote for John McCain in 2000. But because the last political party I truly felt comfortable with was Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party (I lived in England in the 1980s and ‘90s), I didn’t actually do it.
Click here to read the rest of Applebaum’s entry.
Karim Bardeesy, Editorial Assistant, The Big Money: Not Voting
I’m Canadian, so I can’t vote here. But I want Barack Obama to win. His campaign has touched more people, entrusting them to carry a story to their friends and neighbors about the positive role government can play. It’s an example for all who care about public life—the turnout here on Nov. 4 might even exceed the 59 percent turnout in Canada’s Oct. 14 election. And the world’s embrace of Obama, combined with the inclusiveness he brings to international affairs, will be transformative.
Emily Bazelon, Senior Editor: Obama
I am voting for Barack Obama because I agree with his tax policy, and I like his health and energy plans fine. I think he’ll help restore our bruised image abroad. And I know he is about 1,000 times more likely than John McCain to choose Supreme Court justices who will resist rather than further the push to the right by Bush’s picks, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. So for me, it’s an easy call. But even if I were less sure of Obama on those fronts, I think I would vote out the Republicans as a matter of stewardship. They led us to a war of hugely questionable value, gave us an overweening theory of presidential power, and have now left us with a scary financial crisis. John McCain isn’t George Bush, but his plans and promises are too much like the standard Republican fare that has gotten us into trouble. And won’t get us out of it. Enough. Please, please, it’s time for new faces.
Christopher Beam,Staff Writer: Obama
Because I’d rather have a president who is intellectually curious, shrewd, even-keeled, eloquent, and analytical than one whose chief campaign selling point is being unpredictable. Because I’d like to keep the number of Alitos on the bench to one. Because I think Obama will be more cautious about withdrawal from Iraq than people think. Because world opinion does matter, and the United States needs rebranding. Because I don’t care about health care choice, I just want to see an affordable doctor. Because I don’t want the Clean Air Act to be a misnomer anymore. Because the thought of Sarah Palin in the Oval Office makes me want to drink.
Oh, who am I kidding, demographics are destiny. will.i.am for SecDef!
Torie Bosch, Copy Editor: Obama
I didn’t vote in the Virginia primary because I couldn’t choose between Obama and Hillary Clinton—neither candidate much appealed to me. But I’ll be voting for Obama because I’m a Democrat. He may not have the experience I’d like to see in a presidential candidate, but I agree with his stances on issues like the war in Iraq, abortion, and health care. I also admire the idealism and hope he’s inspired in the party—and I’d like to keep Tina Fey here on Earth.
Emily Calderone, Video Producer, Slate V: Obama
In my opinion, voting for Obama is a no-brainer. While I don’t think he’s going to magically cure all of America’s ills, I do think he’s a big step in the right direction. What I admire most about Obama is his lack of cynicism (a quality the McCain campaign has in spades). How delightful. How helpful. How forward thinking. He’s calm, collected, and surprisingly lacking in ego. These qualities spell success in my book. What’s most important to me? Women’s rights. That’s where Obama scores a big fat “F” for feminism.
Abby Callard,Intern: Obama
I will be voting—in the swing state of Virginia, more importantly—for Barack Obama.
1. I don’t want Roe v. Wade overturned: my body, my decision.
2. Biden (Violence Against Women Act and foreign-policy experience) vs. Palin (anti-abortion and aerial hunting).
3. Gun control: I probably support more gun control than could ever be reasonably expected to stand up in court, but Obama’s views are closer to my own.
4. No Child Left Behind is horribly flawed. While both candidates understand that, I can only see Obama reforming the system in a meaningful way.
5. I’m from Chicago.
When it all comes down to it, I’m just relieved to know that whatever happens Nov. 4, Bush is done.
Matt Dodson, Software Engineer: Obama
I’m going with Obama. I fall into the category of folks who believe America is in dire need of change. Some people suggest that Obama’s ideas for change are far-reaching, idealistic, and naive, but to me, they’re simply common-sense solutions to the problems we’re facing today.
Daniel Engber, Associate Editor: Obama
I could spin some story about the relative merits of John McCain and Barack Obama, but let’s be honest: I would have voted for any Democrat who competed in the primaries over any Republican who might have been nominated. Why? Because I side with the Democrats on the things that matter most right now: foreign policy, economic policy, and health care. Those issues on which I’m most likely to diverge from the party line—e.g., the environment, the death penalty—don’t seem nearly as important.
Jim Festante, Web Designer: Obama
I’m so tired of the partisanship that has been a staple of the Bush presidency and the McCain-Palin ticket. To infer (and to do so in such an overt, unapologetic manner) that somehow small-town America is the “real” America, the America with good values and moral judgment, is such an insult, especially when it’s convenient for them to use New York City and Sept. 11 as political props.
Sophie Gilbert, Intern: Not Voting
I’m English, so unfortunately I don’t have a vote. However, if I did, like Gordon Brown, Boris Johnson, and around 80 percent of my fellow countrymen, I’d be voting for Obama. He’s more thoughtful and less irascible, and his economic plan makes way more sense.
Nathan Heller, Copy Editor: Obama
Liberals of a certain ilk—the kind who know the market price of organic chard—have a reputation for condescension. Liberals of this sort, their discontents suggest, believe that people vote Republican only because they don’t know better. But the Republican Party has developed the worse habit of patronizing its own supporters.
Click here to read the rest of Heller’s entry.
Melinda Henneberger, Contributor: Obama
You want me to count the reasons? Nah, you don’t have that kind of time.
Christopher Hitchens, “Fighting Words” Columnist: Obama
From Hitchens’ recent column endorsing Obama: “The Republican Party has invited not just defeat but discredit this year, and … both its nominees for the highest offices in the land should be decisively repudiated, along with any senators, congressmen, and governors who endorse them.”
Jennifer Huang, Intern: Obama
Because I trust that he will be competent.
Fred Kaplan, “War Stories” Columnist: Obama
I’m voting for Barack Obama because he has the right intellect, temperament, shrewdness, and curiosity. When he questions specialists, he always asks the central questions. I like the fact that he’s “cool”—better that than a hothead. Though this wouldn’t be a good reason to support him if it were the only reason, his victory would go a long way toward repairing our image in the world (though, of course, he’ll have six months to form policies that justify the redemption). Finally, a McCain-Palin defeat would help redeem our own politics by demonstrating that mendacity and cynicism don’t always succeed.
Mickey Kaus, “Kausfiles” blogger: Obama
Michael Kinsley, Founding Editor: Obama, of course
1. I believe in voting the party, not the man or woman. Democrats generally reflect my views better than Republicans.
2. It’s important not to ratify failure, and the current Republican administration is a failure.
3. Historically, as I demonstrated in Slate a few weeks ago, Democratic presidents have a better economic record, EVEN BY REPUBLICAN STANDARDS (lower government spending; higher GDP, ignoring distribution questions, etc.). Republican irresponsibility about tax cuts without spending cuts has bankrupted this country. Twice.
Click here to read the rest of Kinsley’s entry.
Juliet Lapidos, Assistant Editor: Obama
I’m a big-government liberal who wants universal health care and a sustainable energy policy. So, naturally, I’m backing the Democratic ticket. I don’t dislike John McCain, but ever since he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, I’ve questioned his judgment. He’s old, and she’s not qualified. While I’m not smitten with Barack Obama, I’m confident he won’t damage our standing in the world and think he might even improve it.
Rachael Larimore, Deputy Managing Editor and Copy Chief: McCain
This is a difficult election for me. But voting for John McCain is an easy choice. He’s a man I admire, I agree with many of his policy positions, and, since I am a moderate but loyal Republican, I feel a kind of kinship with him. Barack Obama is an exciting candidate, and I wish I could share the enthusiasm so many Americans feel for him, but I feel like his worldview is Carter-esque, and I fear his economic policies will be, too.
However, I also think an Obama presidency can be a boon for Republicans, and not just because of the havoc a Democratic White House and a Democratic Congress could wreak. I don’t hate President Bush like so many do, but even I can say his presidency has been a disappointment. And the Republican-led Congress was a disaster, as McCain pointed out, not in so many words, in his convention speech. I’m hopeful that an Obama victory would be a wakeup call as well as an opportunity—an opportunity for those who believe in limited government, individual freedoms, and free markets (yes, even in this crisis) to regain their influence, to take back the party from the religious right and social conservatives that have gained so much influence. So regardless of what happens on Nov. 4, I won’t be too upset. But neither will I be too excited.
James Ledbetter, Editor: The Big Money: Obama
My voting rationale is not strictly economic, but this is what I do for a living, so: The general-election debate over economic policy at times has been substantive, but it has rarely been honest. There was a telling moment in the first debate, when neither candidate was willing to specify which of his economic programs would have to be jettisoned because of the current economic crisis. That, alas, is the noise-to-signal ratios that you get in presidential politics, and so you have to do your own analysis.
Click here to read the rest of Ledbetter’s entry.
For all the talk of a divided electorate, it’s a bit shocking to be at a point where 80 percent or so of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. Barack Obama’s policies, advisers, and style of leadership seem far more likely to offer a decisive shift from the last eight years. As for John McCain, if—with a recession looming, a financial crisis unfolding, and seven-plus years of stagnant income growth on the books—your first instinct is to blame earmarks, that’s a problem.
Josh Levin, Associate Editor: Obama
I’m too cynical to believe that Barack Obama is a different kind of politician or that he’s any kind of silver bullet for America’s problems. (I do, however, like to think of America’s problems as a gigantic werewolf. Scary!) But after eight years of George W. Bush, I am heartened by the fact that he seems to be a thoughtful person—someone who will rely on his brain rather than his gut, and someone who will surround himself with smart people and give weight to their opinions. John McCain, by comparison, has a tendency both to act impulsively and to surround himself with the kind of people who insist that he tap Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee. That’s my campaign slogan: Obama in ‘08—He Didn’t Pick Palin.
Dahlia Lithwick,Supreme Court Correspondent: Not Voting
I will not vote. I am still Canadian. If I could, I would vote for Barack Obama because I am raggedy from the politics of division. I can’t really blame John McCain for dipping into it in recent weeks, but I wish Sarah Palin would have relished it a bit less. We can’t fight global terror, repair the economy, or do much of anything in America if we’re too busy plotting how to firebomb the neighbors.
Chad Lorenz, Copy Editor: Obama
America cannot return to leading the global community without restoring the legitimacy it had before the war in Iraq and the shameful human rights abuses it has perpetrated since Sept. 11. In addition to successfully ending the war, the next president needs to regain the confidence of our allies, cautiously engage our enemies, and acutely detect emerging international threats. Barack Obama’s foreign-policy ideals are rooted in nuanced diplomacy and open-minded reasoning, not arrogance and heavy-handed ultimatums. Coping with the world’s latest economic and environmental challenges will require a multilateral approach, and Obama’s background shows every sign of respecting that method. He’s the candidate I trust far more than anyone to erase the mistakes of the past eight years and reconstitute America’s role as a responsible, trustworthy, cooperative global citizen.
Noreen Malone, Executive Assistant: Obama
David Sedaris framed the choice with this metaphor: “Can I interest you in the chicken?” … “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?” I definitely want the chicken.
Farhad Manjoo, “Technology” Columnist: Obama
This is the third presidential election in which I’ll cast a ballot, but only the first time that I’ll be voting for someone: The last two times, I was voting against Bush. I’m choosing Obama for one main reason: He’s the smarter candidate. I don’t just mean he’s got smarter policies, though he does. I mean he seems to have the higher IQ. His books and speeches suggest deep intellectual curiosity—a calm, analytical, rational mind of the sort we haven’t seen in the White House in years.
I’ve long admired John McCain; I rooted for him in the 2000 primaries, and I might have picked him over Al Gore in the general that year. I also admired his stance against soft-money political donations and the Bush tax cuts. If that John McCain had been on the ballot this year, I might have thought harder about this vote. But over the last four years, that McCain has transmogrified into exactly the kind of divisive agent of intolerance he once decried, and now I’m terrified at the thought of him in charge.
Chadwick Matlin,Staff Writer: The Big Money:Obama
Until I started writing about the economy, I didn’t realize just how bad of a president John McCain would be. Half-baked mortgage plans, a politically motivated silence on the bailout plan, and an obvious lack of understanding about how money works in this country show McCain’s economic understanding is not sound. Obama, meanwhile, has offered little brilliance on the economy, but he has displayed competence. Economic competence, a dogged and (at times) brave devotion to full diplomacy, and an impressively managed campaign are all it takes to swing my vote this year. And so I must fulfill my cliché: a young, white, urban twentysomething voting for Barack Obama.
Natalie Matthews, Designer: Obama
Obama’s campaign has demonstrated an appreciation and understanding of both design and the power of the Internet, two things I deal with on a daily basis. Also, as someone who uses public transportation and sees the value in it environmentally, fiscally, politically, and socially, I also respond to his policy to “strengthen America’s transportation infrastructure.”
Melonyce McAfee, Copy Editor: Obama
I think a Barack Obama presidency would improve America’s international profile. The Bush administration’s proud xenophobia has come to define the U.S. overseas, and McCain and his running mate are perpetuating that wrongheadedness. On the home front, Obama has inspired a return to civic life for many Americans who had given up on the idea that the government could ever represent them and their needs. I hope this spark to mobilization and activism will continue past Election Day. I’m a lifelong Democrat, and many of Obama’s policies jibe with my values, so I won’t pretend that I ever considered voting for McCain, though I did admire him for being a centrist who could get things done in the Senate. But the religious paternalism and faux folksiness that he’s adopted as a last gasp to win the election have killed any respect I ever had for the guy.
Michael Newman, Politics Editor: Obama
If you’re truly an undecided voter, as few people are, this is a golden age: You can read all the news and analysis and commentary you can stand, browse the blogosphere, look at polls, examine position papers, watch the debates and various videos, talk with your friends, check in with your mother, etc. And certainly I’m not going to tell you not to do all that stuff. (Check this page often!) But there’s such a thing as too much information. For me, the most useful reading of this campaign was two unusually honest and well-written political memoirs: Dreams From My Father and Faith of My Fathers. I liked and admired both John McCain and Barack Obama before reading them, and still do after. But I’m more comfortable with Obama’s perspective on politics and life than I am with McCain’s.
Timothy Noah, “Chatterbox” Columnist: Obama
It’s a point of pride that I managed to get through this election without professing shock at John McCain’s supposed defection to the Dark Side. I do not think that McCain, a man of good character who once seemed a plausible candidate for the Democratic ticket, has sold his soul to the devil. Smart liberals like Robert Wright and Josh Marshall say the McCain-Palin ticket has waged the most despicable presidential campaign in modern memory. I doubt they’ll continue to believe that much past Nov. 4. McCain-Palin doesn’t rank even as the most despicable presidential campaign in 2008. (That would be Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign, which is far more susceptible to the accusation that it exploited Obama’s race.)
Click here to read the rest of Noah’s entry.
Meghan O’Rourke, Culture Critic: Obama
For his charisma, his cautiousness, and his cool. In a time of high stakes, we need someone who can sort out the best course of action without bridling in anger. A candidate who actually nods when his opponent makes a powerful counterargument—as Obama did several times during the last debate—is a rare bird. Of course, Obama is untested in many regards. My main concern about him is this: How will he deal with making an unpopular or tough decision? Can he keep his cool then without losing confidence in himself? I believe so, and that’s why he has my vote.
Troy Patterson, “Television” Critic: Obama
The conduct of his campaign, in its rejection of the politics of 50-percent-plus-one, promises a practice of statecraft at least marginally less cynical than America has seen in recent decades (and may nearly have come to believe she deserves).
Somerset Perry,Intern: Obama
As a young, (almost) college-educated intern at a mainstream-media publication, who grew up within an hour’s drive of San Francisco, I’m not exactly what you would call a swing voter. I’d like to think that, with a little more luck, Somerset the Student would have been just as well-known as Joe the Plumber, but that’s probably wishful thinking. So, yes, I’m voting for Obama. I’m voting for him to support an energy and transportation policy that will focus on creating viable sources of renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions; to support a cautious and multilateral foreign policy that ensures American security with diplomacy, not a cowboy hat; and to support economic policies that benefit all Americans instead of just the wealthy. Of course, maybe that’s just my demographic talking, but it’s what I believe.
Robert Pinsky, Poetry Editor: Obama
Sen. Barack Obama is my choice for reasons that (I hope) reach further than the expectations of my demographic or tribe or herd. I admire Obama’s quality of balance: between attention to details and grasp of ideas; or to put that somewhat differently, between politics and ideals. Beyond that quality of balance, he has demonstrated in action an impressive ability to keep his balance through two challenging, stressful campaigns, for nomination and election. Like many millions of Americans, I have gone from finding Barack Obama inspiring—I might say “merely inspiring”—to feeling that he is reliable. We need a trustworthy president.
David Plotz, Editor of Slate: Obama
Ever since McCain inexplicably went ballistic on me in my first (and last) interview with him a decade ago, I’ve suspected he was too volatile to be president. Nothing that has happened during this campaign has changed my mind. McCain’s veering, swerving campaign, his weak team of advisers, his bizarre behavior during the economic bailout, and his appalling selection of Sarah Palin confirm that he lacks the temperament to be president. By contrast, Obama has shown during this endless campaign that he has a first-class temperament. He also has a stellar collection of advisers, a natural curiosity, and an absolutely ruthless political sense. Those will take him far. President Obama will surely disappoint America—given the expectations, how could he not?—but I’m confident he’ll lead the country more steadily and more effectively than President McCain would.
Dan Pozmanter, Developer: Obama
This will be one of the easiest votes I’ve ever cast. We are faced with a choice of continuing down a path of eroding civil liberties, endless war, and economic instability, or turning around and taking that first step back to a sane world. For me, as a proud supporter of the Accountability Now PAC, it comes down to the core issue of respect for our constitutional rights and the rule of law. The Bush administration has insulted both, and McCain has been right there at his side. I’m voting for Barack Obama to restore respect for our country’s legal foundation and our fundamental rights.
Nina Shen Rastogi, Contributor: Obama
After eight years of Bush, I want to know that my country is being shepherded by a calm, sober, deeply thoughtful person—one who’s committed to repairing our reputation abroad and promoting rational dialogue at home. And if there was any question in my mind, the wildly different tones struck by the Democratic and Republican national conventions absolutely sealed the deal for me.
Bruce Reed, “The Has-Been” Columnist: Obama
I’m voting for Obama because, after the last eight years, our country desperately needs a president who, in Lincoln’s words, will think and act anew—to repair our politics, restore our sense of common purpose, reform our government, and give our people the hope and opportunity to get ahead.
Ron Rosenbaum, “The Spectator” Columnist: Obama
Because, as I suggested nearly a year ago in this column, he is one of the only presidential candidates I’ve seen who has the courage to challenge conventional wisdom—he gives me the feeling he thinks for himself. And because—as I wrote in this column in April—an Obama victory will be a non-negligible landmark in the long history of the civil rights movement. Not the end of racism or redemption from the crime of slavery, but something to celebrate nonetheless. Because having the right to be president is not the same as having won it.
Shmuel Rosner, “Foreigners” Columnist: Not Voting
I would vote if I could, but I can’t. I’m an Israeli, not an American. But whom would I vote for? I can’t answer that. Being a foreign observer doesn’t only mean that I can’t cast a vote; it also means that my priorities are different. All I see is the Israeli interest from an Israeli standpoint. I’m not just a one-issue voter, I’m a one-issue voter with no way of understanding—really understanding—how I’d feel if I had the opportunity to be an American voter.
But let me add this: You have two very impressive candidates.
Click here to read the rest of Rosner’s entry.
William Saletan,National Correspondent: Obama
The basic purpose of voting is to get rid of leaders who govern badly. Second, the lesson of Sept. 11 is that you can’t predict which challenges will confront a president, so you’d better pick somebody with the judgment and temperament to handle whatever comes. Both points argue for Obama. My gut says he’ll be the best president we’ve had in a very long time, but my gut has been wrong before. There’s some risk that he’d be pushed around as he seeks consensus and tries to avoid conflict. But there’s a greater risk that McCain would cause unnecessary conflict, create new problems, and fail to solve old ones. I worry about Obama’s executive inexperience, but McCain has the same weakness, and McCain’s most important decision so far, selecting Sarah Palin, shows such poor judgment that I can’t imagine Obama doing worse. I used to think McCain was honest, but his lies about Obama raising taxes, practicing socialism, and palling around with terrorists have made my decision easy.
Mark Salter, Software Engineer: Obama
I am voting for Obama; I want a president—not a beer and barbecue buddy—who can clean up the mess that the current administration has left this country with. I feel that Obama has all of the right qualities that I am looking for in a president.
Jack Shafer, Editor at Large: Bob Barr
I’ve cast a ballot for the Libertarian Party candidate for president in every election since I cast my first, which would be my write-in ballot for John Hospers in 1972. A long line of chowderheads have headed the Libertarian ticket since Hospers (don’t ask about the veep candidates), but I’ve continued to punch Libertarian on my ballot because no other candidate or political party comes close to reflecting my political views of limited government, free markets, civil liberties, and noninterventionist foreign policy.
This year the party put up as its candidate a former Republican House member from Georgia, Bob Barr. As Libertarian candidates go, he’s a chowderhead’s chowderhead.
Click here to read the rest of Shafer’s entry.
Elinor Shields, Deputy Editor, The Big Money: Obama
I am voting for Barack Obama because I’m a British-American who wants the world to see a different side to this country. Plus, I admire him. He brings the poise and openness to lead on the economy, environment, and diplomacy. John McCain, meanwhile, makes me worry. His stance on the financial crisis and his VP pick point to poor judgment and opportunism.
Bill Smee, Executive Producer, Slate V: Obama
I will vote for Obama, and I’ve written a haiku to explain one of the main reasons why:
McCain picked Palin.
Might die in office.
Mike Steinberger, “Drink” Columnist: Obama
I am in favor of sanity, decency, and responsibility, so I will be voting for Obama. Colin Powell, in his very moving endorsement of Obama, said pretty much everything I feel. Assuming (praying) that the polls prove to be accurate, I intend to awaken my 7-year-old son late on election night so that he can witness the moment an African-American man speaks his first words to the nation as president-elect. I am even planning to let James have a sip of the champagne that I’ll be using to clear the lump from my throat.
Dana Stevens, “Movies” Critic: Obama
I wasn’t going to include any reason why—because duh—but then a friend pointed out this line from David Sedaris’ latest New Yorker column: “I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. ‘Can I interest you in the chicken?’ she asks. ‘Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?’ ” So, yes, I’m having the chicken.
Seth Stevenson, Contributing Writer: Obama
I’ll be proudly voting for Barack Obama. (Or, for all you Palinphones: And, too, those who would seek to be desiring of that Obama administration that pro-Americans are wanting so much out there, also, and honoring our great nation so much, you betcha.)
Maureen Sullivan, Copy Editor: Obama It’s been a long time since I’ve been actually excited about a Democratic candidate—not just voting my principles against those of the GOP. (Though with this ticket, there’s almost as much of that this time around as well. I’m frankly sickened by GOP rally participants who yell racial epithets and tell a black cameraman to “sit down, boy,” yet are supposed to represent the “real America.” No wonder world opinion of the United States is so low.) Finally, after an inhumanly stiff Al Gore and a truly uninspiring John Kerry, comes Barack Obama: frighteningly smart, incredibly articulate, insanely cool under pressure. The first time I saw him interviewed during the primaries, I was shocked at his authenticity: no canned lines or delivery—this man spoke like a human being, not an automaton. It was my first glimmer of hope for a Democratic ticket in a long, long time. Click here to read the rest of Sullivan’s entry.
John Swansburg, Associate Editor: Obama
Unless I’m mistaken, I am Slate’s only Obamican. Back when the primary season began, I was ambivalent about Obama and Clinton—I thought either would be a formidable general-election candidate. So I decided to register as a Republican and vote in New York’s GOP primary. It wasn’t that there was a Republican whom I liked more than either Democrat—it’s that I really liked the idea of voting against Rudy Giuliani, who scares the living daylights out of me. (His sneering speech at the convention may be the lowlight of my time in the party.) Of course, by the time the primary rolled around, Rudy wasn’t even in danger of winning his home state, and I’d learned a valuable lesson about trying to meddle in the other party’s affairs. (Actually, I’ve sort of enjoyed being a Republican—makes it really easy to avoid the insufferable Obama organizers prowling the streets of New York asking people whether they’re Democrats. Nope!) I ended up voting for John McCain in the primary, but like my comrades Christopher Buckley and Colin Powell, I’m breaking ranks for the general election.
Ellen Tarlin, Copy Editor: Obama
I cannot think of one reason not to vote for Barack Obama: He’s pro-choice; he’s anti-war; he wants to get out of Iraq and finish the job in Afghanistan; he wants to fix health care; he’s pro-gay rights (though won’t go all the way to being pro-gay marriage); he wants to cut taxes for the real middle class; he’s calm, cool, collected, even-handed, unflappable. He seems like an exceptional human being, a good politician, and someone who can begin to repair the damage Bush has done to our relationships with our allies and to our standing in the world. He’s got class. As for the accusation that he doesn’t have enough experience: No one has enough experience. Nothing prepares you for the presidency. Nothing can. But Obama has the temperament and the humility to surround himself with smart people and let them do their jobs.
Click here to read the rest of Tarlin’s entry.
June Thomas, Foreign Editor: Obama
Two words: Supreme Court.
Garry Trudeau, “Doonesbury” Cartoonist: Obama
Julia Turner, Deputy Editor: Obama
I’m voting for Obama. Not because I’m confident he’ll be a great president. He is inexperienced. He faces military and economic calamities. And—as The Best and the Brightest attests—filling the White House with whip-smart technocrats won’t necessarily make for good policy. But I’m confident that he’ll try to protect things I care about, like the Constitution, education, and choice. I also think his marriage to Michelle, which appears to be an equal partnership when it comes to decision-making and child-rearing, demonstrates feminism in practice at least as well as a Clinton presidency (or, certainly, a Palin vice-presidency) would.
Jacob Weisberg, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, The Slate Group: Obama
No surprise here: I’m voting Obama. I’ve been following his career since he was in the Illinois Senate and rooting for him to run for president since the spring of 2006, when I read his first book and interviewed him for a magazine story. I came away from that encounter deeply impressed by Obama’s thoughtfulness, his sensitivity to language, and his unusual degree of self-knowledge. This guy is the antidote to the past eight years. He’s wise where Bush is foolish, calm where Bush is rash, deep where Bush is shallow. My admiration for him has grown steadily over the past 22 months. Unlike McCain, Obama hasn’t allowed running from president to distort his beliefs or his character. His campaign has been true to what he thinks and who he is as a person.
Chris Wilson,Editorial Assistant: Obama
At one point, my plan was not to vote for either McCain or Obama, thinking I could regard the election in a more sobering light when relieved of the burden of choosing a favorite. It was all a mind game; my voting for Barack Obama was a foregone conclusion. I’m a liberal person and I usually vote for Democrats, and while I’m not proud of being a totally predictable voter in this election, I don’t mind admitting it. Any further justification would be post facto reasoning for a decision I made by default a long time ago. Plus, I literally wrote the book on Obamamania.
Tim Wu, Contributing Writer: Obama
Most of all, I like his obvious inner calm. It suggests that his decisions will come from somewhere other than expediency, anger, or fear. It’s like electing Obi-Wan Kenobi as president.
Emily Yoffe, “Dear Prudence” Columnist: Obama
Please, please, Barack, don’t become another Jimmy Carter.
Barack Obama: 55
John McCain: 1
Bob Barr: 1
Not McCain: 1
Noncitizen, can’t vote: 4