On Feb. 5, I am voting for John Edwards. My voice is but one and does not represent this paper.
This is not based on “star power” or “winnability” or because Hillary and Barack are acting like children, but on facts and documents available to every citizen through all of the candidates’ Web sites.
It is based on former Sen. Bill Bradley’s 2008 “The New American Story” and his test, nine questions to ask every presidential candidate.
It is based on my personal philosophy about leadership, which stems from Robert Townsend, former CEO of Avis and author of “Up the Organization,” that our new leader must have a plan, a real working plan and not just words.
Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” provided insight to decision making. General Tzu stressed if you are 80 percent sure of your choice, take action. If you wait until you are 100 percent certain, you will lose the battle and, eventually, the war. I understand that I will never agree 100 percent with any candidate.
I am not a single-issue voter. I am interested in the issues each candidate deemed important and how their philosophies matched with mine. For me, I wanted to see, in order, comprehensive plans concerning health care, education (K-12 and post-secondary), energy and international relations.
I was impressed by Sen. Edwards in 2004, with his ability to create coalitions, to develop plans and to energize the people who supported him, initially and later as the Democratic vice presidential candidate. His ability to speak directly to the citizens of this country and to the issues that deeply concern our national well-being is his strength. He has met the Bradley test.
Edwards and Clinton list health care as a top priority. Both have comprehensive plans, and both understand the economics of insurance in our society. I personally like Dennis Kucinich’s “single payer” plan, but that would be too much to ask. For the Republicans, health care seems to carry no importance.
Ralston Saul suggested in his 1995 book, “The Unconscious Civilization,” that education, as with health care, must be an asset, not a liability. Edwards endorses this position. Education is a top-tier issue, and Edwards has a comprehensive plan to elevate public education to a level that we must sustain to remain a world leader. Clinton makes you search for her education policy. Obama sees education near the bottom of the list.
Energy is a top tier priority for Edwards, Clinton, Obama and Huckabee, yet it seems to be missing from the Romney pages. We need a comprehensive energy plan, and we need one today. I like what Obama has to say but like what Edwards wants to do.
International relations is more than the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism and the war on AIDS. It is re-establishing the United States as a trusted ally and leader in economics, education, science, technology and world peace. The Republicans see foreign policy as a liability, the Democrats as an asset. Clinton has the experience, followed closely by Edwards and Romney. The best, Gov. Bill Richardson, is no longer in the race.
I will always find disagreement in policy and action, but I believe the best path is one of creation – creation of a healthy and highly educated society that leads the planet in the democratic and republican principles of government. If the United States is a healthy, well-educated country, achieving international cooperation and allies, our economy will grow. I believe John Edwards achieved the highest grade on the Bradley test and, in my mind, is the person who is most qualified.
I urge you to review the Bradley questions and then apply your own test. Do not vote for someone because he or she can win. Do not vote based on a single issue. Do not vote based on looks or star power. Do not vote because someone else told you to. Vote for someone because he or she can lead this nation back to greatness. I am voting for John Edwards.