(Jefferson? Thoreau? An 1837 editor? Paine? Adams?)
If you've read my blogs over the last few years, you know that I take great pains to differentiate between a conservative and a neo-conservative. Take this January 2006 post, in which I highlight how it was the liberal Supreme Court justices who came out in support of states' rights (in this case, Oregon's assisted suicide law) and the conservatives who wanted the Federal government to run the show. Or this 2005 post, in which I dug deeper and talked about neocons, paleocons, and neopaleocons (and this well before the Ossetians decided that the Russians were good guys after all, much to our horror).
So I figured that I'd take a look at one conservative running for President (the Libertarian Barr) and three neo-conservatives running for President (the Constitution Party candidate Baldwin, the Republican McCain, and the Democratic Obama). I'm skipping McKinney and Nader, but if you want to see a summary of their views, go to the same procon.org page that I'm using for the other four.
This page attempt to identify the candidates' positions on 70 issues. Here are some excerpts:
Is China a threat to the US?
Obama NC ("Not Clearly pro or con")
Should the US continue to support an embargo against Cuba?
Should the federal government bail out failing US private corporations like it did with Bear Stearns or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac at taxpayers expense?
Should the US use military force against Iran if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program?
Obama Now Con
Should Israel continue to receive the current level of military and economic aid from the US?
The next one is interesting, and raises the question of how much a Libertarian Bob Barr is.
Should the US institute a military draft?
The reason that I highlighted this particular question was because back in 1980 (the year of the "Draw Ronnie" contest for Ron Wyden's first Congressional run), the Libertarian Party put some posters up at Reed College. This was around the time that registration for the draft was being re-introduced, and the Libertarian Party wanted college students to know that they opposed draft registration. Sounds like Barr's singing a different tune.
And there's another interesting thing that you see here. I've previously stated that in every presidential election, both the Republican and Democratic candidates loudly declare that this is the most momentous election in U.S. history, and and if the opponent is elected, the world will go to hell in a handbasket. Bearing that in mind, let's look at the portion of the 70 questions in which McCain and Obama are in agreement, and have been in agreement since day one (procon.org tracks position changes). Note that I am only including items for which the candidates' positions are known:
Should the US continue to support an embargo against Cuba? Pro Pro
Should the death penalty remain a legal option in America? Pro Pro
Should the federal government bail out failing US private corporations like it did with Bear Stearns or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac at taxpayers expense? Pro Pro
Is the increasing cost of college and university tuition pricing America's middle class out of higher education? Pro Pro
Should there be restrictions on campaign contributions? Pro Pro
Should the election campaigns of candidates for public office be publicly financed? Pro Pro
Should drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) be allowed? Con Con
(Note, however, that McCain's vice presidential candidate may have a differing view on this matter.)
Should the federal government mandate an increase in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles? Pro Pro
Should Americans be allowed to purchase their prescription drugs from other countries? Pro Pro
Should illegal aliens receive any of the rights or benefits that lawful permanent residents enjoy? Pro Pro
Should Israel continue to receive the current level of military and economic aid from the US? Pro Pro
Should there be a Constitutional amendment or federal law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman? Con Con
Should the federal government stop raids against people for using medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana use is legal? Pro Pro
Should the US institute a military draft? Con Con
Should Turkey be able to enter Iraq or other countries unilaterally in search of its enemies? Con Con
Should the US Constitution and Bill of Rights be altered or updated in any way? Pro Pro
Should interrogation techniques that some consider torture, such as waterboarding, be a legal option? Con Con
Should the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed? Pro Pro
So on 18 of the 70 questions, McBama and McBama are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Strangely enough, it appears that Barr and Baldwin aren't that far away from Tweedledum-dom either.
I'll grant that these surveys and summaries often over-simplify things (especially when they're done by lobbying groups), but I'll keep an eye out for other issue comparisons and post them here when I find them.
Oh, but before I go, let's take a look at all four of the candidates and find the questions for which they are all in agreement, if any.
Should the US impose economic sanctions on China as an incentive to improve its human rights policies? NC NC NC NC
In this case, they're all in agreement that they're going to remain quiet on the question above.
Should the death penalty remain a legal option in America? Pro Pro Pro Pro
In this case, all four agree that Mike Farrell is an idiot. (McKinney and Nader both take the "Con" view on this one.
Should the US allow Hamas to join future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations? NC NC NC ?
Again, "NC" means Not Clearly pro or con. ? means None Found. So in this case, all four candidates are clearly stepping forward and not taking a position on Hamas.
Should there be a Constitutional amendment or federal law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman? Con Con Con Con
This one's interesting, because the candidates may oppose this amendment for different reasons. Some may support gay rights, while others may support states' rights.
Should the unitary executive theory apply to the US President? NC NC NC NC
Now I have to confess that I'm not familiar with the term "unitary executive theory." procon.org drilled down into this issue, and published the responses from candidates:
"It depends on what is meant by the unitary executive theory."
Aug. 11, 2008 Chuck Baldwin
Well, I guess I have to agree with Baldwin on that one. Here's what Obama said:
"As a nation, we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power...We have to find a way to give the President the power he needs to protect us, while making sure he doesn't abuse that power. It is possible to do that. We have done it before, we could do it again."
May 25, 2006 Barack Obama
It should be noted that both McKinney and Nader were strong "Cons" on this particular issue. The other four were in clear agreement that they didn't know what to think here.
More later. Sphere: Related Content