One of the good things that can be said about President Bush's tenure in the White House is that it's almost over.
Many of Bush's policies have not been successful, and the federal budget needs to be balanced to restore order not just in the nation's economy but also world financial circles.
The war in Iraq must be brought to a successful end. We can't keep spending billions of dollars monthly with no end in sight. The war in Afghanistan needs a stronger U.S. commitment and plan for success.
New leadership is needed in the White House. On that, The Times editorial board is unanimous.
Deciding who that leader should be is more difficult. Each promises to be an agent of change.
Democrat Barack Obama is a great orator and has paid close attention to Northwest Indiana, coming here as recently as Friday for a rally in Highland. His 30-minute infomercial Wednesday drew higher Nielsen ratings than the regular programming it pre-empted.
His message of hope and change is inspirational.
Republican John McCain has been to Indianapolis, but not Northwest Indiana. He isn't an inspiring speaker, which is one reason his running mate, Sarah Palin, seems to draw more attention than McCain himself.
But being president is about more than inspiring Americans. It's about leadership.
The choice between McCain and Obama comes down to one of experience.
Obama says electing McCain is akin to re-electing Bush, a damning accusation. But what is electing Obama like?
Obama hasn't had much time in either the Illinois Senate or the U.S. Senate. He has no record of accomplishments on which to make that judgment. He lacks the experience to show he can do what he promises.
His linkage with convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko and other individuals of similar character is also troublesome.
McCain has worked across the aisle to accomplish his goals in Congress, first in the House and then the Senate. McCain has not been a party loyalist, although he has somewhat assumed that role to gain Republican voter support.
But he has truly been a maverick, often voting with Democrats and against his own party. He has a proven record of success -- campaign finance, homeland security and much more. He fully understands the military and the need to be vigilant in an unsettled world.
But he also recognizes the urgent need to address the needs of Main Street, to bring help to our economy and American families.
Where Obama is sound over substance, McCain is confident based on experience and a broad understanding of leadership. In short, he's been tested. Obama has not.
This choice was as difficult for The Times editorial board as it is for the nation, but we have weighed the pros and cons of each man and settled on a candidate.
We endorse Republican John McCain. He has the necessary experience and broad vision to lead the nation and its people successfully for a bright future.