Saturday, September 13, 2008

Straight Talk

Between the hysterical babbling press, the partisan commen-tators, and both presidential candidates walking on eggshells every time they speak, there’s a lot of noise, a lot of emotion, and a positive dearth of clarity. Someone should write a brief, plain-talk, objective, executive summary of the essential policy differences between the presidential candidates. Nobody asked me, but I’d like to take a shot – no revelations, just the basics.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party believe that government should play an active, positive role in citizens’ lives, providing certain assurances, rights, privileges and benefits that people can count on for the necessities of a decent life. They believe eight years of George W. Bush have nearly destroyed this country. John McCain and the Republican Party believe that government should play a small and limited role in people’s lives and instead allow personal initiative and the activity of a free market in all things to determine what people have. As exemplified by the Republican Convention, McCain and The Republicans say little or nothing about Bush, who is the head of their party as well as the nation.

Obama’s position on the Iraq War is that it has been a dreadful mistake, devastating for this country in its human and financial toll and degraded perceptions of the US around the world. He would seek the soonest-possible responsible exit strategy and literally reinvent US military policy to reflect the new circumstances, alliances and dangers of the 21st century. John McCain believes that the decision to embark on the Iraq War was necessary because he thinks we went there to get the people who attacked us on September 11th. He feels any attempt to end the war without a classic military victory would be a disgrace to America. He believes The Surge has been successful and we should see the war through to its military conclusion, however long it takes and whatever the cost. He thinks anyone opposing his view of the war is being a quitter, unpatriotic, and dishonoring the troops.

Both candidates call for the maintenance of competent, efficient, and productive government operations in all areas, as free as possible from undo bureaucracy, mismanagement, fraud, partisanship, and deference to special interests. The Democrats see this as a prelude to better service to the American public through improved entitlement programs and other initiatives, while the Republicans champion greater government efficiency as the path to fewer government services and benefits, and less regulation of business and industry.

Obama has been outspoken and specific about his support of the protection and enforcement of individual liberties, most especially personal privacy; free speech; freedom from discrimination and harassment; religious freedom balanced by secular governance; just and humane treatment in criminal matters; autonomous reproductive decisions; and the right to bear arms within reasonable limits to avoid the incidence and increase of gun-related crime. McCain approves limits on personal privacy through government surveillance at will, sees benefits in far less separation of church and state, justifies torture, opposes reproductive freedom, and believes the right to bear arms should be unfettered.

Both Obama and McCain call for fair taxation. Obama wants to decrease taxes for the vast majority of people, increase taxes on the wealthiest 5% and on American corporations, especially those that have benefitted from outsourcing and downsizing. McCain believes in as little taxation of any kind as possible and is particularly concerned about business being burdened with taxes that they claim will hinder their growth, profitability, and ability to provide jobs for Americans.

Obama advocates an energy policy that is active, innovative, impartial, cooperative, and focused on achieving energy independence, options, and fair prices through the development of alternative energy sources. He believes energy needs must be balanced with environmental concerns. He accepts the scientific reality of global climate change and its damaging impact. McCain proposes an energy policy that focuses on the development of new oil resources throughout the US, including the environmentally controversial drilling in the arctic. Cheaper gas prices a.s.a.p. is a key goal. He remains skeptical about the cause and scope of global warming.

Obama wants to craft an economic policy that also is active, innovative, impartial, and cooperative, focused on expanding business and industry, and both increasing and ensuring full and fair employment. He supports unions and collective bargaining. McCain advocates an economic policy that relies on the expertise of American business and the wisdom of the free market. He thinks it is necessary and reasonable for businesses to outsource many of their functions to other countries where labor is cheaper than here. He believes protecting business and banks is the best way to revitalize economic growth and that unions are a hindrance to this end. He still advocates the classic "Trickle Down" theory.

Obama wants to undertake a detailed reexamination and revamp of major government policies, particularly those related to poverty, immigration, national security, and foreign affairs, in order to come up with creative new initiatives and fair solutions. McCain believes that cutting government costs and responsibilities, as well as enforcing existing prohibitions, is largely sufficient to address these national problems.

Obama proposes comprehensive, government-funded health care – physical, mental, dental, elder/special needs, experimental, catastrophic, long-term and hospice. McCain calls this socialized medicine and advocates maintaining the privately-owned, profit-oriented health care industry while providing modest tax cuts to better enable Americans to provide their own health insurance and treatment.

Obama believes in practical access to life-long quality education and training, and proposes a fair exchange of government funding of higher education for a stint of public service. McCain believes in personal initiative substantial enough to warrant privately-funded scholarships, and endorses vouchers for K-12 education rather than a major investment in the overhaul of public education.

Obama guarantees the sanctity, protection, and improvement of Social Security. The same goes for Medicare and Medicaid, unless and until such time as new health care policies and programs render them obsolete. McCain makes no such promises.

Barack Obama’s running mate has decades of leadership, legislative, and executive decision-making experience, a thorough understanding of domestic and foreign policy, and a proven track record of working effectively with disparate constituencies. John McCain’s running mate does not.

Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He and John McCain are both practicing Christians.

Bone up. There will be a test in November.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been clipping articles, marking up books, to do just what you've done. List the pros and cons which clearly show the differences and the dangers. You have done this. I need to take time to THINK now that I've gathered all of this info. Every reasonable person who loves this country needs to do that. We're smeared with propaganda and need to take your example and list the claims, clarify the lies, list the advantages (?) and disadvantages of each platform and decide for ourselves or we're going to wake up in 3 years and find tape across our lips and our hands and feet in shackles while being forced to listen to Blackwater-supplied TV's which blast at us all day. Exaggeration? maybe. Possibility? You bet. Thank you Miz B for your clarity of thought and your example.