Who Represents Real Change inthe U.S. Presidential Campaign?

Both candidates have more in common than their followers would like to admit and both have nominated potential vice presidents that complement them, and are going to determine the end result.

“We want to change Washington,” “Change has arrived in Washington.” These phrases belong to the distinct United States presidential standard expressions used by both candidates, who want to position themselves as agents of change with respect to the last eight years of President Bush’s administration.

The phrase is paradoxical for both parties. Not only have the Republicans governed for the last eight years and for six years had a majority in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, but the same presidential candidate, Sen. McCain, has worked in Washington since 1987 as a member of Congress. In the case of the Democrats, they have had a majority in Congress since 2006 and their vice presidential candidate, Joseph Biden, has been a Senator for 35 years.

However, the history of both candidates, and the concern of the public about how to manage Washington reflected in all of the polls, leads one to think that McCain and Obama are going to produce changes with respect to their way of handling politics in the United States. As David Broder, an influential analyst from the Washington Post, pointed out, “either of the two candidates who reach the White House will have a clear mandate to clean Washington of its excess partisanship which has halted decisions in almost all of the relevant cases in the country.”

The conventions in Denver and Minnesota were a wonderful spectacle of this, and helped forecast how the presidential campaigns are going to unfold in these upcoming weeks. The Democrats focused on the areas of politics that need to be transformed, on the errors of the Bush administration that they will rectify if they are in office. Sen. Obama, an extraordinary speaker but with less political experience, raised time and again, with eloquent intellectuality, the specifications and details that need to be changed in Washington.

The Republicans focused on the personality of the candidates, on the character, on the leadership capacity, and the interaction of both ideological spectra. McCain is a war hero, held captive and tortured for five years in Vietnam. He has demonstrated time and again that he can negotiate with both parties; he has worked with Democrats on the approval of the defense budget, of judges and many other cases.

Both candidates have more in common than their followers would like to admit. They have personal stories of success and achievements: McCain, as a war hero who refused to be released if his comrades in captivity were not freed, with a family of generations of navy admirals and Obama, who has made history as the first African-American nominated for the presidency of the United States for one of the two major parties, and for his studies in Harvard and his arrival in Senate, both demonstrate a history of achieved ambitions.

They also show similarities in their lack of executive experience. Both are a product of legislative power leaving it uncertain as to how they are going to bring about the change that they preach in a bureaucracy of more than 2 million workers and a $3 trillion annual budget.

Obama has an exceptional capacity to communicate the changes in public politics, with profound connection with his audience. However, his capacity to negotiate and work with his opponents remains a mystery. McCain, on the other hand, has demonstrated that he is capable, time and again, of going against his party on innumerable occasions to promote reforms. But his has little ability to connect with the public, a connection with the public that has startled more than one follower, and little concern for domestic politics.

The two candidates have elected potential vice presidents that complement them, and are going to be the determinants in the end result of the presidential race. Gov. Sarah Palin has “liberated” McCain from having to continue to court the most conservative base of his party, who have raised many doubts about him, and can seek out independents, where he has always felt more comfortable, and has given him the fame of being a “Maverick.” Senator Joe Biden adds “experience” to Obama, a concept that the population deems to be missing in the Illinois Senator’s profile, and solidity in foreign policy, highlighting the candidacy of McCain as a third term of President Bush’s administration.

It seems that the national polls will continue closely until the end of the campaign, once again holding up the electoral battle in those states which change their minds unpredictably when it comes time to vote, the “swing states,” such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, which are going to determine if the next president of the United States is going to impel Democratic or Republican change.

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