Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Looking for My Candidate: Barack Obama

All right, here we go: the candidate I've saved for last, expecting that he'll score highest against my personal ideal candidate's positions. Does Barack Obama shape up to be anything aside from the one person who can prevent the ascension of Queen Hillary?

WAR: Only partial, gradual withdrawal from Iraq. Opposes war in Iran. Would rebuild and upgrade military. 50%.

SEPARATION OF POWERS: Dismantling of the imperial Presidency. No domestic spying. Transparency in government. Right of Congress to oversee the executive branch upheld. 100%.

HEALTHCARE: Voluntary universal health care plan based on federal employee healthcare plans; employers to be taxed if they do not provide healthcare to employees, small businesses exempt. Individual mandates for children only, with S-CHIP and Medicaid to pick up most of the burden; no individual mandate for adults. Major focus on reducing cost of healthcare, promoting prevention over treatment, greater regulation and enforcement for insurance corporations. 50%.

TAXATION AND BUDGET: Voted to stop additional government borrowing, pay down debt; calls for restoration of PAYGO (pay as you go) budget policy, but does not call for moratorium on borrowing. Supports income tax- would only close loopholes on corporations and end tax shelters and offshoring. Multitude of new tax credits, deductions, etc. proposed. Would retain all Bush tax cuts except uppermost tax bracket and estate tax, which he would restore. Cuts in pork spending, corporate welfare, Medicare waste, private student loan subsidies. Would use tax credits to take between 10 and 100 million people, plus small businesses and the self-employed, off the income tax rolls completely. 50%.

CIVIL LIBERTIES: Voted for McCain-Feingold, "fairness doctrine", other acts to censor political speech. Separation of church and state. Would restore habeas corpus. Supports end to torture, closure of Guantanamo and black sites. 75%.

IMPEACHMENT: Opposes. 0%.

IMMIGRATION: Path to citizenship after paying fines. Improve border security through additional personnel and technology. Favors immigration reform to reunite families, cut red tape and background checks for persons already in USA, expand number of immigrants allowed into USA. Describes raids, roundups, etc. as "ineffective." 100%.

TRADE: Supports NAFTA, GATT, WTO, etc., says their failure is due to lack of enforcement. Calls for "fair trade"; prosecuting violations of trade agreements, seeking protection for workers of other nations, balancing tariffs against foreign subsidy, etc. No special emphasis on China except for currency manipulation. 33%.

ENERGY: Supports mandating renewable-resource energy (25% of all electricity produced by 2025), unspecified fuel efficiency mandate. Corporate welfare handouts to car companies to encourage them to build alt-fuel vehicles. Supports expanding subsidized ethanol and bio-diesel production. Supports clean coal. 20%.

ENVIRONMENT: Supports "cap and trade" system. Supports carbon sequestration. Supports expanding "incentives" to compensate landowners for loss of use of land to environmental regulation. 30%.

TORT REFORM: Former trial lawyer. 0%.



GUNS: Consistent gun-grabber in Illinois state senate. Has begun to back away since, including voting in favor of a bill to prohibit FEMA and other agencies from confiscating firearms during an emergency (a bill Hillary Clinton voted against). However, since this would eliminate all candidates from consideration, and since I can tolerate a gun-grabber more than I can a racist, a terrorist, or a warmonger, I'm going to back off of this vote-kill. (Besides, it's not likely any major gun restriction is going to pass any time soon, not with Republicans united and Democrats divided on the issue.) Backing off guns as a vote-kill brings only Obama and Kucinich back into consideration.

DRAFT: Not quite, but damn close. Calls for major expansion of voluntary public service, but would also offer a $4,000 tax credit for college students to commit to 400 hours of community service... and would make community service a requirement for a high school diploma. Not enough for a vote-kill, but enough to keep an eye on.


Candidates in italics are not in consideration due to vote-killer positions.

Barack Obama - 46.2%
Dennis Kucinich - 40.9%

John Edwards - 33.7%
John McCain - 33.6%
Ron Paul - 28.2%

Rudy Giuliani - 22.3%
Mike Huckabee - 16.9%

Mitt Romney - 14.8%
Duncan Hunter - 11.8%

Fred Thompson - 11.1%
Hillary Clinton - 8.5%

And that's it, unless someone requests I score Mike Gravel or Alan Keyes. I may score the Green nominee when that's decided, or if Ron Paul somehow fails to get the Libertarian and Constitution nods, I might score those nominees too.

The fact that the whole field scores so low, and that I had to back off a vote-kill position to choose one, only emphasizes a fundamental point: I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. Neither party supports me or my views. I'm supporting the Democrats for this election only for lack of any other option to get the criminal Republican hegemony out of Washington and Austin.

Come 2009, though, I'll be attacking the Democrats just as much...

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