For all of the undecided voters:
This letter is written to provide some food for thought as you decide who to vote for in this most critical election year, especially for president. I am a retired military officer with two tours in Washington, D.C., and 26 years in service to our nation, including a tour in Vietnam. I have seen the president and Congress in action.
First, the issue that is on everyone's mind - the economy. It is important to understand that the president does not control the economy or domestic issues. The president is only one of many who influence the economy. Other major players include Congress, the Federal Reserve, the rest of the world, and finally, us as consumers and what we buy or don't buy. Therefore, basing a vote for president on the economy probably will result in disappointment.
Further, all of the ads about "my program for the economy, health care, education" or other domestic issues should really say, "the program which I will submit to Congress and which they will change will be : ." This is why the race between Sens. Clinton and Obama was so interesting. The minor policy differences between them would have been changed by Congress anyway. Sen. Clinton knew she would have made a better president and was very frustrated when she was not chosen. Even Sen. Biden said she was better prepared.
What does the president directly control? He or she is commander in chief and controls foreign policy. This role is what makes the president of the United States the most powerful person on Earth. Who is president is a critical choice and makes a significant difference in our role in the world. An example: Jimmy Carter was, in my view, the most ineffective president that we have had in my lifetime. He allowed the Iranians to hold our hostages for 444 days without any effective action. The hostages were released as Ronald Regan was being sworn in. The Iranians understood that holding U. S. hostages when Regan was president would not have been acceptable, and they would have faced severe consequences. Unfortunately, Barack Obama reminds me of Jimmy Carter. He believes in talking over action and thinks the world is much like a neighborhood where differences can be worked out. The Iranian leaders hate us and would welcome an inexperienced president they can push around.
None of us know what is coming. I prefer a president who has knowledge, experience, and knows what he can and can not do. If you believe these traits and long service to this nation are important, then I suggest you vote for John McCain. He understands the world and the importance of the presidency. Having a Republican president and a Democratic Congress is not all bad as the parties can balance each other and truly good ideas can survive. Food for thought.