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.)