New York, Oct 24 : After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States, The New York Times has said.
Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment.
At the same time, Obama's rival Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism.
His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress, the paper said.
Given the particularly ugly nature of McCain's campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound.
In his convention speech in Denver, Obama said, "Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology."
Since the financial crisis, he has correctly identified the abject failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the brink of collapse.
Obama is clear that the nation's tax structure must be changed to make it fairer. That means the well-off Americans who have benefited disproportionately from Bush's tax cuts will have to pay some more.
Working Americans, who have seen their standard of living fall and their children's options narrow, will benefit. Obama wants to raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, restore a climate in which workers are able to organize unions if they wish and expand educational opportunities.
McCain, who once opposed President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy as fiscally irresponsible, now wants to make them permanent. And while he talks about keeping taxes low for everyone, his proposed cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the top 1 percent of Americans while digging the country into a deeper fiscal hole.
Obama would have a learning curve on foreign affairs, but he has already showed sounder judgment than his opponent on critical issues. His choice of Senator Joseph Biden - who has deep foreign-policy expertise - as his running mate is another sign of that sound judgment.
McCain's long interest in foreign policy and the many dangers this country now faces make his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska more irresponsible.
Both presidential candidates talk about strengthening alliances in Europe and Asia, including NATO, and strongly support Israel.
Both candidates talk about repairing America's image in the world. But it seems clear to us that Obama is far more likely to do that - and not just because the first black president would present a new American face to the world.