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10.29.2008

dr. samuel lin endorses barack obama

Here's one fellow Asian American, Dr. Samuel Lin—a longtime Republican who served as Assistant Surgeon General and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush—on why he is voting in this election for Barack Obama for President:
Samuel Lin, MD, PhD, MBA, MPA, MS
Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General (Retired), USPHS
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Retired), USDHHS

As a longtime Asian American Republican, it is after careful deliberation that I have made my decision to support Senator Barack Obama for President.

It was not easy to separate from my party's nominee for president. Nor is it an easy decision for me, as I have had the great honor of serving in appointed senior positions under two Republican presidents: Assistant Surgeon General and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. But I have concluded that it is necessary for me to openly state my support for the Presidential candidate of the opposing party.

I have become very dissatisfied and distrustful of our reigning national Republican leadership these past eight years because of its continued missteps. Having retired from Federal service after twenty years, I have some idea of what makes a good leader of the Federal Executive Branch. And for a time, beginning at the age of 36, I was the most senior-ranked Asian Pacific American career official in the Executive Branch. But today, my hope for a better America cannot be predicated simply on blind party loyalty to support either a status quo or a very bad parody.

Over the past eight years, very experienced senior persons in this administration have allowed us to fall into an economic morass, partly due to the home mortgage debacle and partly due to the incredulous expenditures for a mistaken war in Iraq. This war, as we finally learned, was declared for causes misled, misdirected and misguided by my Republican leadership who misread Iraq's people and politics and who now have misshackled America with an unnecessary legacy of nearly 5000 lost lives of her next greatest generation. And let's not forget the thousands of young Americans who will now live permanently disabled because of these needless battlefields. So, missteps and mistakes have lead me to conclude, "Enough, I want real change."

I want a president who is truly committed to the good of this country. And that is one who shows this commitment through the selection of his best qualified successor in the event of his demise or incapacitation. I cannot believe one has the welfare of the country in mind by selecting anyone less than this highest standard. Of the two potential successor nominees, "best qualified" goes hands down to Senator Joe Biden.

I want a president who seeks my vote by telling how he will equitably approach and creatively solve domestic and international problems and how America will regain her esteem in the world. On the other hand, I abhor a candidate who tries to gain my vote by constantly bashing the other candidate and perhaps even unconsciously plies subliminal denigrations of race or persona. Senator Obama is the epitome of the smart thinker and the diplomatic gentleman.

I want someone who looks presidential, acts presidential, thinks presidentially, speaks presidentially and leads presidentially. The rest of THE job will follow through because of this kind of a person and the quality of the people he draws upon as his counsel. Senator Obama again wins all around here.

I want a president who believes primary healthcare is a fundamental right for all persons and seeks to meet the healthcare needs of all Americans, including the 47 million uninsured persons. I want a president who believes those with pre-existing health conditions should be treated equitably in their health coverage and not penalized for their God-given challenges. I want a president who understands that employees are the lifeblood of small businesses and will ensure their health-based tax benefits, including catastrophic coverage.

I want a president who is committed to public and preventive health services, to improving access and quality care and to promoting electronic medical records and electronic prescribing as means to saving lives early, to reducing healthcare costs, to reducing medical errors and to raising the quality of life and well-being for all Americans. I want a president who believes that comprehensive family planning programs reduce unwanted pregnancies and controversial sequelae. Senator Obama believes these matters are at the heart of advancing healthcare for all and has committed to transforming these ideas into realities for all Americans.

Lastly, I want a president whose accomplishments and the respect of colleagues are premised upon a consistency of person and temper, a consideration of community totality, a cooperative reflex to negotiate first, a compromise in procedure but not principle and, always, a clarity of mind, vision and speech. Senator Obama has all these attributes.

I say, give America a President who unequivocally emulates these qualities and this country will come together and will work together with him. I challenge you – Republican, Democrat or Independent - to quietly search your heart and see to whom you would entrust the lifeblood of this country. I have searched my heart and find it more trusting of Senator Barack Obama.

God Bless America.

Samuel Lin
Washington, D.C.
October 2008
Wise words from an individual who was once, at a time, the most senior-ranked Asian Pacific American career official in the Executive Branch of the United States. Now here he is, coming over to the other side, as is well-known conservative Francis Fukuyama. Join us. This Tuesday, November 4, vote for change that's not just a slogan.