Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Comparing the Candidates 2008

For the 2004 campaign I put together a comparison of the two candidates on the issues which both offered opinions of via their websites. Almost oddly, those already seem like simpler times. We were at war, we were hunting terrorists abroad, and that was about it. Now we have banks failing, the middle class heading towards poverty, most experts predicting a recession at best, still at war, still fighting terrorists, nuclear Iran, resurging Russia, and unemployment in reality probably over 10%.

For me, and I know some of you may disagree, the #1 issue is the Supreme Court. The next president will likely replace three Supreme Court justices, defining the lay of the legal land for decades to come. This isn’t just about Roe v. Wade, although for some that is the defining decision, it is about big business favors regarding regulation, the environment, bankruptcy laws and other things that we don’t even know about yet.

Many Christians think that American law should match that of the Bible. I disagree. Should that come to pass we would be not far different from the Sunni, Shia and Kurds of Iraq. I’d fall into the “Sunni” camp, believing in God and accepting the responsibility of grace. More fundamentalist Christians would fall into the “Shia” camp, using the legal system to require all citizens to follow Christian law. The “Kurds” are the secularists.

Very simply, I accept God’s law for myself but don’t feel it should be imparted to others unless they have come to faith and to that conclusion through faith. For those of you that disagree with the concept of a fair number of fundamentalist Christians being similar to the Shia, you either don’t know any, or are one.

The economy is the hot button issue of the moment and likely to remain that way for a while. An economic mess awaits whichever party wins this election and frankly, it could get ugly for the middle class and those below as measured by income. This bailout is a Bandaid without Neosporin – it might work, but it won’t be quick, and we’ve got to hope it isn’t infected under there.

Both candidates have plans for the economy, with Barack’s being more fully thought through. McCain’s has been changing weekly if not daily. McCain will surround himself with advisors as economics aren’t really his thing. He’ll take their opinion and add his 2¢, then let them hammer out the details. Barack wants tax cuts for 95% of earning Americans and investments in energy as “the next great thing.”

McCain wants to offer relief at the pump (and I kid you not, I pulled this from his website just now under the heading of “Immediate Relief for American Families") “the United States will be telling oil producing countries and oil speculators that our dependence on foreign oil will come to an end - and the impact will be lower prices at the pump.”

I am amazed to say that isn’t some item dragged out from a corner of the website, but the FIRST item in his plan to offer families relief. Yeah, that’ll work.

Energy is a huge issue, some would say the cornerstone to both our current fiscal situation as well as our recovery, and I see that as true. We all know the $700 billion number for what we’re sending to the Middle East to drive as we do, but the solution to the energy crisis is our next moon shot, our next Internet, our next television.

America invents great stuff that the world buys. Unfortunately, America doesn’t make much of it anymore but we do license the right to make our inventions pretty nicely. That’s what we need to do with the next great energy source. We don’t know what it will be and yes, we need to use current technology to get away from oil, but we also need to invent the next great thing in energy production.

If someone had told us in 1975 that the Internet would be what it is today, most would have laughed. Same for television in 1940. Or walking on the moon in 1950. Barack’s plan of investing $150 billion per year for ten years serves two purposes – it creates jobs and will hopefully invent a new energy source. America can do that.

The last issue I’ll touch on here is national security. With the economy at front of mind those nasty terrorists have been moved to page 6 but they are still out there. Important to realize is that our sheepdogs, those that keep us sheep safe, will continue to do their job regardless of who is elected. There are many on the ground here in America and more throughout the world. Soldiers in common clothes, well armed and well informed. Silent hits from snipers and Predator drones. This war goes on regardless and I fully support it.

Diplomacy is key to fighting this war, too. Is there a comparison between the two candidates on diplomatic ability? One speaks reason and lays the possibilities on the table up front. The other carries the big stick but won’t admit he’ll use it. One is a charismatic person, well educated and fully informed. The other an honorable war hero seen often as angry. And then there’s Sarah Palin, the pit bull in lipstick, who might wink and shout out to Israel while ignoring Iran because, like her boss, she can’t pronounce their names.

But that’s another issue and I said national security was the last one.

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