The Change Election
John McCain in Defiance, Ohio, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

John McCain in Defiance, Ohio, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

What a campaign year. David Broder, dean of political reporters, calls it the best he’s ever seen. Better than Nixon-Kennedy in 1960.

And the election tomorrow? Maybe transformative, the pundits say. As big as 1860, 1932, 1968. The page-one newspaper language out there: “epochal,” “historic,” “once-in-a-lifetime.”

And at the heart of both candidates’ core promises: change. How big? How much? In what direction?

The country faces enormous challenges. Eighty-six percent of Americans think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. This hour, on the last day before the vote, we sit down with two big thinkers — one liberal, one conservative — to look at the candidates’ promises of change, and what they could mean for resetting the national direction.

You can join the conversation. Broad stroke, big theme, what’s the change you’d like to see? If you’re in the 86 percent who say we’re on the wrong course, how would you turn the wheel?


Joining us from Princeton, New Jersey, is Robert George, conservative philosopher and professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University. He is director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is a member of President Bush’s Bioethics Council, and he formerly sat on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is author of “Embryo: A Defense of Human Life” and “The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis.”

And joining us from New York City is Alan Brinkley, professor and provost at Columbia University and a preeminent historian of American liberalism. He has won the National Book Award and authored two widely used college textbooks on American history. He’s also author of “Liberalism and Its Discontents” and “The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War.”

More Links:

Each candidate makes his case for change in side-by-side opinion pieces in today’s Wall Street Journal. See “What We’re Fighting For” by John McCain and “The Change We Need” by Barack Obama.

David von Drehle’s new piece in Time, “How They Would Lead,” explores how promises of change might translate into policy and governance.

For a sense of how McCain’s temperament and leadership style might guide his potential presidency, check out David Kirkpatrick’s profile in The New York Times.

And for a sense of the complications of an Obama victory, The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman gives an inside account of Democratic factions already jockeying to control the agenda.

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