Monday, October 20, 2008

Election issues 2008 - part 1

Since I introduced this series, I have added a couple issues I forgot about. It was foolish of me because I think they're some of the most important issues. Torture, Rendition, Habeas Corpus, Posse Comitatus.

I think I will rate each issue on a scale of 1 to 5. When a candidate supports my position, I will add the number to their column, if they oppose my position I will subtract the number. If there is no information or they are neutral, they will get a zero.

I will list only Presidential candidates for now, and I will compile a list of the legislative offices later with just scores. I don't know if I will necessarily vote for the candidate with the highest score, but it will at least point to someone who more closely matches the majority of the issues I care about. (Note: The order of the candidates is the same order found in my absentee ballot.)

Habeas Corpus (5)
Habeas Corpus is one of the basic rights upon which liberty is built. It gives everyone the right to a fair trial; a chance to prove they are innocent. The current Bush administration has removed this right, violating the Constitution of the United States of America which specifically states, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." This suspension is a temporary measure, but those detained would be given this right back when the suspension was removed. The Bush administration basically sustains this suspension indefinitely. This is a huge issue because without habeas corpus, our entire liberties are at stake.

So who on the ballot supports Habeas Corpus, and who support's the Bush opinion?

Former Representative Cynthia McKinney voted to restore the writ. +5

Former Ambassador to the UN Alan Keyes is against suspending habeas corpus, as far as I can tell. +5

Ralph Nader opposed suspension of the writ. +5

Senator Barack Obama supports the writ, and has supported it in the Senate. +5

Former Congressman Bob Barr supports restoring the writ. +5

Senator John McCain voted against restoring habeas corpus. -5

Abortion (4)
This is a huge topic, and I have posted previously on the issue, so I'll get right to it. I'm against abortion, but I want to take practical steps to reduce the number of abortions. The "pro-life" side wants to make abortion illegal, with no regard to the life of the mother, or the facts that the legal status of abortion doesn't do anything to reduce the instances of procedures. This issue is difficult to judge because each candidate takes a middle-of-the-road stance. So how do I judge if a candidate? The office of the President is not a legislative office, they don't create legislation or vote on legislation. They do have veto power, however, so they can prevent laws from passing that would expand the number of abortions. This would basically be laws that might pay for abortions overseas, for example.

Former Representative Cynthia McKinney has supported abortion in all its forms, including partial-birth abortion and funding overseas abortions. She even supports transporting minors across state lines to receive abortions (even though transporting a minor between states is illegal without parental consent anyway - stupid legislation). However, she does support social issues which could lead to lower instances of abortion, including single-payer healthcare, funding for child-care, etc. Purely conjecture, but ss President she would surely oppose efforts to restrict abortions, and would probably seek to fund more abortions. -4

Former Ambassador to the UN Alan Keyes is very strong against abortion, claiming the Constitution guarantees rights to "posterity" he is opposed to government funding of education and healthcare though, which can lead to more abortions. He basically wants to evangelize everyone, make them all believe his Christian beliefs, and if they all think like he does they would not have abortions - problem solved. +0

Ralph Nader supports the National Organization of Women (NOW) agenda. This means he's equivalent to McKinney. He doesn't have a voting record. He is for single-payer healthcare, and other programs that would help lead to lower instances of abortion, but doesn't make it a goal. -4

Senator Barack Obama is opposed to partial-birth abortion, though he voted against a measure which didn't give an exception for the mother's life. He inserted into the Democratic National Convention platform the goal to reduce the instances of abortion (to the chagrin of NOW). He wants to leave reproductive decisions to the states. He doesn't support single-payer healthcare (at least he isn't pushing for it), but does support programs that target women to help them get prenatal care, postnatal care, child support, and supports offering adoption as an option. He is the only candidate who has expressed his desire to work with both sides to actually reduce the instances of abortion, but does want to make sure abortion is still legal. +0

Former Congressman Bob Barr voted against funding abortions abroad, partial-birth abortions, and minor transportation. He opposed Roe. v Wade and supports banning abortion nationwide. He opposes funding programs which may reduce abortions. +0

Senator John McCain is hard to determine because he has changed his mind a few times. He said he wouldn't overturn Roe v Wade, but wanted to make it irrelevant. But then he said he would overturn it, as long as rape and incest were exemptions. He wants to support adoptions. He is opposed to funding abortions, partial-birth abortions. He is concerned that women would seek illegal, unsafe abortions, but said he would prosecute doctors, not mothers. He's all over the place on his position. The Republican party this year removed language to "work together to reduce the incidence of abortion," while this may not be McCain's choice, he is the de facto leader of that party right now. His healthcare plans are sketchy of if they would work or not, so there I can't tell if they would help women or not. +0

I suppose this is long enough for now. I'll get to more issues later.

Update: I reduced Obama on the abortion issue to a +0. After thinking about it, I can't say he would necessarily do anything, he's only promised to do something. I know this puts every score into question because they're all based on promises, but I'll just have to trust my own gut on each of those as if the candidate has the ability to actually follow through (weighing in their past performance).

2 comments:

Jim said...

"Ralph Nader supports the National Organization of Women (NOW) agenda. This means he's equivalent to McKinney. He doesn't have a voting record. He is for single-payer healthcare, and other programs that would help lead to lower instances of abortion, but doesn't make it a goal. -4"

Please. How does Nader, who has ideas but no record, score lower than Obama, who has no ideas, but a voting record for the most gross kind of savagery?

You care about breast cancer? Obama cares more about abortion rights, since he has stated that his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law.

You care about the withdrawing our soldiers from Iraq?
Obama cares more about abortion rights, since he has stated that his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law.

You care about addressing poverty?
Obama cares more about abortion rights, since he has stated that his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law.

You care about homelessness?
Obama cares more about abortion rights, since he has stated that his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law.

You care about getting third world debt reduction and relief?
Obama cares more about abortion rights, since he has stated that his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law.

Why is it, that a man who has made the promise that his first act in office will be to sign FOCA into law, gets a +4?

Wait, I recognize you, you're a professional sports umpire, right?


Senator Barack Obama is opposed to partial-birth abortion, though he voted against a measure which didn't give an exception for the mother's life. He inserted into the Democratic National Convention platform the goal to reduce the instances of abortion (to the chagrin of NOW). He wants to leave reproductive decisions to the states. He doesn't support single-payer healthcare (at least he isn't pushing for it), but does support programs that target women to help them get prenatal care, postnatal care, child support, and supports offering adoption as an option. He is the only candidate who has expressed his desire to work with both sides to actually reduce the instances of abortion, but does want to make sure abortion is still legal. +4

Former Congressman Bob Barr voted against funding abortions abroad, partial-birth abortions, and minor transportation. He opposed Roe. v Wade and supports banning abortion nationwide. He opposes funding programs which may reduce abortions. +0

Senator John McCain is hard to determine because he has changed his mind a few times. He said he wouldn't overturn Roe v Wade, but wanted to make it irrelevant. But then he said he would overturn it, as long as rape and incest were exemptions. He wants to support adoptions. He is opposed to funding abortions, partial-birth abortions. He is concerned that women would seek illegal, unsafe abortions, but said he would prosecute doctors, not mothers. He's all over the place on his position. The Republican party this year removed language to "work together to reduce the incidence of abortion," while this may not be McCain's choice, he is the de facto leader of that party right now. His healthcare plans are sketchy of if they would work or not, so there I can't tell if they would help women or not. +0

Steven Kippel said...

The reasons for these scores were clearly spelled out. Obama does support FOCA, but he is still the only candidate with a plan to reduce the number of abortions.

Have you read what FOCA is? "Moral" pro-lifers lie about it saying it removes any limits to abortion. The bill clearly allows limits to abortion in its very wording.

A government may not (1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose – (A) to bear a child; (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

But as I have already written about, the President has no control over the legality of abortion. He can only help support bills which might reduce abortions. I say again, Obama is the only candidate who has pledged to focus on reducing the number of abortions.

You asked how Nader gets a negative where Obama does not. NOW opposed the language in the Democratic platform (which Obama inserted) aimed at reducing abortion. If Nader agrees with NOW, he will be judged appropriately.