Compare and Contrast Two Successful Political Leaders

Who are McCain and Obama? Discussing their differences will not make a lot of sense and meaning before we know their histories who they are and why they are being compared together. Therefore, as a start, we briefly look at the historical background of these two men to help us better understand their current similarities and differences. In this light, according to Weisberg J (2008), Barack Obama, was born in 1961 in Honolulu Hawaii. His father, also named Barack Obama, belonged to the Luo tribe of Kenya while his mother Ann Dunham was originally from Kansas.

Obama is a democratic member of the United States Senate from Illinois and was the nominated the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election. According to Weisberg J (2008), John McCain was born in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone and into a family with a long history of military service. His father and grandfather were well-known navy admirals and Republican members of the United States Senate from Arizona. McCain attended the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1958. He served the U.

S. military under the U. S Navy from 1958 to 1981. He also served in the Vietnam War (1959-1975), during which he was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years. After returning from Vietnam, McCain attended the National War College from 1973 to 1974 before serving as a Senate Navy liaison from 1977 to 1981. McCain moved to Arizona in 1981 and was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1982. In 1986 McCain was elected to the Senate. He was nominated the Presidential candidate for the Republican Party in the 2008 U. S presidential elections.

Similarities 1. They have Similar Views on Foreign Policies Fullilove (2008), states that both Barack Obama and John McCain have many similar views on issues to do with foreign policies. Their views are similar when it comes to the crisis faced by America in handling foreign matters such as keeping Israel as primary allies in the Middle East. Also, both agree that the troops in Iraq will have to be reduced and that Guantanamo bay needed to be closed at one point. They also tend to have similar solutions to the way these foreign policies should be solved.

However it is good to note that the two politicians have a difference in opinion as to the way the solutions to these problems are approached. The problem thus is in the approach that would be used and not on the method. 2. They Both Have a passion For writing It is a matter of fact that the two share a talent and passion for writing books. In his first campaign, McCain's wrote his book entitled, ‘Faith of My Fathers’ while Obama also wrote two books entitled, ‘The Audacity of Hope’ and ‘Dreams From My Father’ during his campaign period.

These books are similar in that they tell their life stories and their struggles through the life even though McCain’s book talks about how his years in captivity in Vietnam were while Obama’s is about coming to terms with his mixed racial identity and his inspirational African father. (Foster, 2008) adds that their two books allow us have an insight into their personal lives and how these lives influence other people away from politics. 3. They both support The Revamping of the energy Sector According to Lowry (2008), both men agreed on the domestic level to cut on emissions from green houses and develop alternative sources of energy.

They reasoned out that climate change needs to be addressed urgently. They are also both against the drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and both support scientific research into more energy sources. It is good to note that Both Obama and McCain understand the need for new energy policies for at because of the ever rising cost of fuel that has made it a very expensive source of power and because of the effect of global warming on climate change. 4. They were Both Presidential Hopefuls

It will be Unwise if it was not stated that this is one of their main similarities. Despite their wide disparities on matters pertaining to economic, political and social issues, they both had an ambition of getting to the white house as the elected US president. Differences 1. Age According to Weisberg J (2008), Obama is twenty five years younger than McCain. This disparity in age has been to some extent the cause of several other disparities between the two. It also made McCain to see Obama as young and inexperienced while Obama viewed McCain as too old to rule.

Obama’s age won him the support of the young people while McCain’s age made him the favorite of the old people. 2. Policies The Iraq War According to Weisberg (2008), the two differ sharply when it comes to matters of the Iraq war. Whereas Obama has always been against the war and the permanent establishment US base in the country since 2002 and has always campaigned for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. McCain has fully supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U. S and further proposed the stay of US troops for 100 more years. McCain also assumes a no surrender approach to the issue.

It is also important to note that Obama supports meeting with Iran without preconditions and thinks president Ahmadinejad will be moved to allow transparency in regard to its nuclear program while McCain believes that only military action and economic sanctions are the only ways to change the way things are run in Iran and rejects the notion that any president of the United States should meet and dialogue with rogue nations like Iran. International Trade When it comes to matters to do with international trade, Obama does not support the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

However, McCain supports it and says that it is an important tool in free trade and has helped America in the Middle East (Daily Telegraph, June 04, 2008). Housing Crisis On the housing crisis, Obama proposes a fund to ward of foreclosures and engage the federal governments in helping individuals secure loans and also supports redistributing income among citizens than increasing their earnings and creating jobs. However, McCain believes that Obama's redistributionist plan is dangerous to economic growth and raises a proposal to raise the capital gains and dividend tax rates will lower the creation of wealth and capital (Weisberg, 2008)

Middle East In the Middle, Obama reiterates that US commitment to Israel is non negotiable though he criticizes Israeli occupation of some Palestinian territories and calls for the moderate Palestinians interested in peace to follow democratic means and avoid association with militant Islamic groups such as Hezbollah. McCain however, supports the Israeli occupation of some Palestinian territories and its aggressive war of invasion on Syria and Lebanon and suggests that both Hamas Hezbollah and Syria should be politically and economically isolated (Daily Telegraph, June 04, 2008). Immigration

According to Madderazzo (2008), While Obama proposes reforms that offer more than 12 million illegal immigrants legality and places the authority on a better control platform, McCain is a staunch supporter of strict sealing of the US border and tougher penalties for illegal immigrants before any reforms are to be carried out having been one of the movers in the 2006 legislation to regularize immigrants Health Care Obama has proposed that every American should have universal health care insurance which is voluntary for adults but compulsory that children are insured by their parents.

According to Obama, this plan will be based on cost cuts and incentives. However, McCain believes that making health care more accessible will make the more than 45 million Americans to lack medical coverage and instead proposes a better supervision of pharmaceutical and insurance companies to avoid exploitation of the public Tax According to Everding (2008), Obama rejects the tax subsidies given to oil companies which McCain supports.

Obama also promises to cut taxes for working classes and low-income homes that are earning less than 75,000 dollars a year while raising taxes for high income homes earning more than 250,000 dollars per year. However, McCain supports the maintenance of the tax cuts placed by the former regime and is against the freezing of non-military federal spending brought about by the congressional earmarks. McCain is also against public borrowing that Obama supports and instead, McCain proposes that the state on the issues of housing crisis should guarantee for mortgages and students loans.

According to (Foster, 2008), the McCain plan would be better for economic growth because it would lower tax rates while the Obama plan would raise tax rates. Conclusion In conclusion, I would like to state that even though the two politicians demonstrated a clear difference in policy between them, their foreign policies will be similar in many ways. Such similarities, as (Fullilove, 2008) states, include the fall in the number of US troops in Iraq, and the rise in the number of U. S troops in Afghanistan will rise, the maintenance of America's traditional alliances, The closure of the Guantanamo Bay and Dealing with climate change issues. I would also like to state that through a sound tax policy, both McCain's and Obama's tax plans would create a more complicated code even though McCain's plan has important advantages since it focuses on keeping tax rates low unlike Obama’s that raises payroll taxes, income tax rates thus increasing tax system’s use in redistribution of income to low tax payers. Irregardless of their similarities and differences, these two men remain great leaders in the United States as portrayed by the work they have done for the good of all citizens.


  • Daily telegraph June 04, 2008 how Obama and McCain compare on policies, Accessed on 21 April 2009 http://www. news. com. au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23809082-5017257,00. html
  • Everding G (2008) McCain, Obama similarities on oil, gas, energy only go so far, expert suggests. Accessed on 21 April 2009 http://www. news-info. wustl. edu/tips/page/normal/11944. html