Supporters reflect on their candidates and election
Obama supporter looks forward to president-elect addressing economy; McCain supporter worries about future
Donald Strickland’s yard sign supporting Barack Obama is on its way to Arkansas.
The Bonner Springs resident and retired TWA worker sent the sign to a friend’s daughter who plans to keep it as a memento. While Strickland himself didn’t mind giving up the memorabilia, he is no less excited with the way the 2008 presidential election turned out.
“I think the biggest thing for me, is that I believed what (Obama) was telling me,” Strickland said about why he voted the way he did. “He has a sincerity for the people. I knew he wouldn’t be strong-headed and would listen, which is the problem we had with our present president.”
While the election may have gone in Strickland’s and millions of other Americans’ favor, another group of people aren’t as happy with the results.
Bonner Springs resident Norma Laing was a John McCain supporter, and now, with the election of Obama, Laing said she has several fears as Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. One of those biggest fears is Obama’s stance on abortion.
“We’re pro-life,” Laing said, “and that’s part of how we choose who to vote for.”
As supporters of both sides look back on the long election, many politics watchers are trying to figure out what went so wrong for McCain and what went so right for Obama.
Strickland said that he thinks the three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate played a bigger role in this election than in the past. He said McCain didn’t come off as well as Obama because he wouldn’t answer a question directly and started talking about a separate topic.
Strickland also said that Obama’s attitude is what got him into the White House. In Strickland’s eyes, McCain could come across arrogant at times, which he believes is a bad trait for the American president to have.
“One person cannot do this job alone. I don’t care what a great person he is,” Strickland said of what he described as Obama’s attitude. “Roosevelt, Truman, Clinton; those were all good leaders because they listened to others.”
Strickland also attributed McCain’s loss to the choice of his vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, saying that she all-too-often “put her foot in her mouth.”
Laing, however, disagrees with that sentiment.
“I was supportive of McCain’s choice of Palin. She has good family values,” Laing said, adding that the way Palin cared for her newborn son who has Down syndrome and her choice not to abort showed a side of Palin that Laing feels deeply about.
Instead, Laing said it was a biased media that led to her candidate’s downfall.
“I felt it was almost impossible for a Republican to win this election because of such a biased media,” she said. “All media is liberal.”
But putting the blame game aside, Laing said she has serious concerns with her soon-to-be new president.
“I think he will be very bad for the economy. He doesn’t do anything for the small businesses and small businesses are the heart of our economy,” she said.
She also feels that McCain had more experience than Obama, especially when it came to the military and war.
“It troubles me a lot to think about what (Obama) is going to do about the war,” she said. “I’m afraid he’ll be too soft on terrorism. It’s scary to think what will happen with the safety of our country. I love (President George) Bush because he kept us safe and that is so disregarded by people.”
On the other hand, for Strickland, it was McCain’s similarities to Bush that had him most worried. He said he was scared McCain would be identical to Bush with his “it’s my way or the highway” stance.
As a former blue collar worker, Strickland said he looks forward to Obama spreading the wealth around.
He said that he’s lived through a recession before and watched as his father took jobs for $1 a day.
As Inauguration Day nears, Strickland said he is hopeful that help is on its way for the hurting economy.
“I think that if Obama sticks to what he said he’s going to do, he will bring us out of this,” Strickland said.