I wrote and voiced a series of twelve commentaries on election 2008 for Townhall.com and the Salem Radio Network. These have been broadcast nationwide over the past few weeks, and are collected here for reference. May God grant each of us wisdom and courage as we face the responsibility of citizenship on Election Day, November 4, 2008.
Electing a President — What’s at Stake? [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. The election of a president is a momentous act for a democracy. In America, the people get that opportunity just every four years. This election is the first in over half a century that does not involve a president or a vice president from a previous administration.
Election 2008 will make history. Americans will elect either the nation’s first African-American president or the first woman vice president. In either case, history will be made.
But history will be made in other ways as well. America will choose a direction this November 4—a path of national destiny. Voters will be choosing between two very different visions of America, even as the nation is at war and the nation faces tremendous challenges at home and abroad.
So choose well—and choose carefully. There is far more at stake than symbolism in this election. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — The Question of Character [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. Americans have learned a great deal over the last few years, and one of the most important lessons of recent American history is the importance of character. We have learned all over again that character counts—and that a lack of character in our leaders is a path to national disaster.
As D. L. Moody once remarked, “character is who you are in the dark.” America must have a president we can trust—whose word can be trusted and whose personal code of ethics is more than window dressing. Far too many leaders have fallen in recent years, and too many others have been impaired in their ability to lead.
In one sense, character is best expressed as our ability to trust our leaders. Keep that question in mind as you decide your presidential vote for 2008. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — To Defend the Nation [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. The American Constitution is an amazing document. The doctrine of the separation of powers is part of the American genius. When it comes to national defense, that responsibility falls directly on the nation’s Commander in Chief – its president.
In one sense, this has always been a matter of national urgency. From the Barbary pirates to the Taliban, America has faced enemies. In just the last few decades, we have fought a war against Nazi tyranny, a “cold war” against world communism, and now a war against forces of international terrorism.
The world is not a safe place, and the role of the president as Commander in Chief is decisive and central. No one else can shoulder that burden, or make those hard calls. Who do you trust as Commander in Chief of the most powerful armed forces in the world? I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — Governing Philosophy [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. Politics often seems more about personalities than about ideas, but elections are always ultimately about ideas. The 2008 presidential election is no exception. Barack Obama and John McCain represent two very different political philosophies and visions of government.
Barack Obama and the Democratic Party see government as an engine for changing the society for the better. He proposes huge programs like universal preschool education—programs that will cost billions of new tax dollars. John McCain and the Republican Party see big government as more of a problem than a solution. There is a huge chasm between these two philosophies of government.
These candidates differ over the role of the individual versus the role of the government, the role of the judiciary and the role of the military. This is not a personality contest. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — National Party Platforms [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. Even as the parties left Denver and St. Paul and the candidates hit the campaign trail, Americans ought to take a closer look at the platforms adopted by the two conventions. These platforms explain just what the candidates believe and what they plan to do, if elected.
The platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties are studies in contrast. The Democrats call for unequivocal support for abortion rights, the Republicans call for an end to abortion on demand. The Republicans want to protect marriage by establishing it as the union of a man and a woman. The Democrats call for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The differences are stark on a whole range of issues, and the differences are there for all to see. Sadly, most voters will not pause long enough to even look. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — The Party in Power [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. Soon, a new presidential administration will take office in Washington. That’s an administration—not just a president.
The Executive Branch of the United States government employs thousands of employees, and the President makes over 2,000 appointments including ambassadors, cabinet members, and a host of others.
The President will move into the White House, but an army of appointees moves into Washington and the Federal power structure. These appointees will head departments, bureaus, agencies, councils and other units of our vast government. Sight unseen, they make policies, devise plans, and administer the government. When Americans elect a president, they elect a party to executive government—and that is hugely important. What party do you want making these decisions and setting direction for your schools, the armed services, and foreign policy? I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — Iraq and Afghanistan [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. The 2008 presidential election comes as American troops are deeply engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both are tough challenges.
John McCain and Barack Obama have very different plans for dealing with this challenge. Barack Obama’s central purpose is to get American troops out of Iraq. John McCain, who saw the need for “the surge” even before others, is determined to see the advances there translated into a victory that will last.
Barack Obama sees the entire effort in Iraq as a mistake and a failure. John McCain sees the challenges, but voted for the operation and intends to make it work, providing an outpost of freedom in a sea of oppression.
As for Afghanistan, there the Taliban have embedded themselves along the border with Pakistan. Will America leave that job undone? I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — The Question of Experience [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. The question of experience looms large in the 2008 presidential race. Barack Obama has served in the U.S. Senate only since 2005. John McCain was elected to Congress in 1982 and to the U.S. Senate in 1986.
Before election to office, Sen. Obama was a community organizer and state legislator. Before his first election to Congress, John McCain had been a fighter pilot in Vietnam, a prisoner of war in the “Hanoi Hilton.”
The V.P. nominees also represent very different patterns of experience. Joe Biden entered the Senate at age 30, and has served in that body since 1973. Sarah Palin served in the PTA, was elected mayor of her Alaska town, and then took on the state’s political establishment, being elected Alaska Governor in 2006, making her the only candidate on either ticket to hold executive experience.
That, we might say, is the long and short of it. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — The Issue of the Family [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. The future of the family is an unavoidable issue in the 2008 presidential race. Just think of what the nation faces as we look to the future.
For the first time in the history of civilization, we see something as basic as marriage up for a vote. Will we redefine our most basic institution by legalizing same-sex marriage? That is already the case in Massachusetts, and California voters will face the question in November.
Sen. John McCain supports the efforts of California citizens to establish marriage as the union of a man and a woman by constitutional amendment. Sen. Barack Obama opposes that effort—and has gone so far as to call for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a Federal law (signed into effect by President Bill Clinton) that simply protects a state from being forced to recognize a same-sex union performed elsewhere.
Thus, nationwide, the family is on the ballot. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — Human Life in the Balance [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. The 2008 presidential election cannot avoid the issue of abortion. With the race in its final phase and the issue of life looming large on the political landscape, the two major political parties could hardly be further apart.
The Democratic Party platform calls for unequivocal support for Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand. The Republican Party platform calls for an end to abortion on demand.
The Republican Party speaks of its concern for the unborn and the sanctity of every single human life, born and unborn. The Democratic platform speaks of a woman’s right to choose either abortion or to give birth to her baby.
John McCain says that a baby should be recognized as having human rights at conception. Barack Obama says that’s above his pay grade.
On the issue of life, Americans face a stark choice in 2008. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — A Matter of Priorities [audio here]
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. Voters face a huge responsibility in the 2008 presidential election. Just consider some of the issues at stake—the economy, foreign policy, the environment and climate change, war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the challenges of a nuclearized Iran and North Korea, a crumbing infrastructure, abortion, marriage, the family—and more.
Many voters are daunted by this challenge. There are so many issues, so many arguments, so many sound bites—what do all these mean?
One good step for every voter is to determine which issues are most important. No voter – and no candidate – can cover all these issues with the same level of priority. For many of us, issues of human dignity and the defense of liberty stand at the top of the list. Other issues are important – just not as important.
What is most important to you? Keep that in mind as you make your vote in 2008. I’m Albert Mohler.
Electing a President — A Fundamental Responsibility
This is Albert Mohler for Townhall.com. Today marks a great exercise of hard-won freedoms. Millions of Americans will be streaming into voting booths today, exercising a right that most human beings have never known—the right to elect those who will govern us.
The stakes are always high, for in a democracy different visions of life and public policy compete for the votes of individual citizens, who are voting, one by one, all over this vast nation.
Have you cast your vote yet? If not, what could possibly be more important—on this one day—than taking your stand with those who defend the right to exercise democracy and fulfill the responsibility of citizens? [clean pause] How can you face your neighbors, or your children, and say that democracy just takes too much of your time.
So go vote. Vote your convictions. Vote for life, liberty, and the cause of what is right. Let your voice be heard. I’m Albert Mohler.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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