Canidates fickle on the core issues

Christina Moran
October 23, 2008
Filed under Opinion

It’s almost that time of the year, when commercials abound with indecipherable jargon, and the consumer is bombarded with a campaign. While retailers are already hawking Christmas merchandise, Election Day 2008 is only 13 days away, and registered voters are facing a tough decision this year.

The major contender for the Democrats is Illinois Senator Barack Obama, running with Delaware’s Senator Joe Biden. The Republican ticket has Arizona Senator John McCain and his running mate Alaska governor Sarah Palin continue to offer Saturday Night Live plenty of ideas for comedy sketches.

According to http://www.myelectiondescision.org, the core issues of this election are Iraq, immigration, energy, the economy, and health care.

Barack Obama opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, as he felt that there was no imminent threat to the United States, and plans to follow the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group as a means to end the war. However, if Senator Obama objected to the war from the beginning, why would he have voted to help fund the war until 2006?

Unfortunately, some things just don’t add up. Starting in 2004, he voiced his opinion that Saddam Hussein did not own and was not supplying terrorists with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but why continue to vote to approve an unjust and senseless war? Starting in 2007, he began to give a definitive withdrawal time (2013, six years from that date), but made no pledge. Currently, he opposes the Bush Administration’s fruitless troop surge, but has no political solution to reverse it.

Senator McCain admitted as of this month that the troop surge was a “cockamamie idea.” However, he supported the surge as of last month. He says its’ the next presidents decision for when and how to leave Iraq. McCain has no definitive plan yet still wants to “bring our troops home with victory and honor” and plans on a long-term withdrawal plan.

The views aren’t straight with either candidate on the topic of Iraq, but its no wonder. Talking about Iraq delicately is like not mentioning the gigantic pink elephant in the room. It’s almost impossible to put a finger down on the exact plan.

Immigration is a different issue altogether. Obama wants to expand personnel working at all ports of entry at borders and to crack down on individuals hiring illegal immigrants, and create “legal avenues” for non-citizens. He believes that this will help improve American wages and working conditions by “giving immigrant workers legal standing,” particularly by reducing citizenship fees and speeding up the background checks needed.

McCain, however, feels that “there could be terrorists hiding among illegal immigrants,” and thus wants to make citizenship more difficult to obtain. Hello, John McCain, terrorists can be home grown too! He plans on creating a guest worker program and starting a legalization process for those here illegally, but does not plan to give amnesty for the undocumented. If someone’s in the country illegally, wouldn’t that mean they’re undocumented as well? However, he appears to be accepting illegal immigrants, by not requiring English to be the official language, pointing out that “Native Americans use their own languages.”

Energy is a rising crisis in the United States. In fact, the last Chargers game in Buffalo, New York was cancelled due to a power outage. Clean energy is also a rising trend, with solar panel sales spiking and clean burning fuels like methane gas in high demand.

Obama has shown to be wishy-washy in this area, supporting nuclear energy as one part of the energy makeup, opposing Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste storage, and changing his position entirely on nuclear energy, by now supporting it whereas he opposed it in the past. Obama supports offshore drilling, as well as Alaskan oil-gas leases and a new gas pipeline. However, Obama wants to free the US from its dependence on foreign oil within 10 years and wants to build fuel-efficient cars in America rather than overseas.

McCain wants to build 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030, and reckons that “nuclear power is the best way to fix climate change.” His ads on television show that he favors wind and solar power, when in reality he favors nuclear energy in the bills he votes on. In September, McCain voted against new investments in renewable energy.

Health care is becoming more and more important to American voters as insurance premiums continue to rise. John McCain plans on ending all employee- based health care, and place health records on the Internet to reduce the chance of a incorrect diagnosis. However, he plans on the maximum cost to only be $5,000 for an entire family, and he plans to give a $5,000 refundable tax credit to every family.

Obama on the other hand, wants to create a system similar to universal heath care, and will work with drug companies to bring down cost, and even help students who are struggling with the high cost of medical education.

The economy is a can of worms at the moment. With the stock market throwing temper tantrums every few days and banks following suit, the threat of a collapse seems imminent every other day. McCain feels like a $10 trillion debt has been placed on the next generation, and endorses energy independence and tax cuts for all. Yet he doesn’t practice this when voting. As for the financial bailout, he feels that Americans “are victims of Wall Street greed,” yet approved the $300 billion bailout plan of mortgage companies that simply passed the burden to already suffering taxpayers.

Obama notes that when President George W. Bush came into office, there was a surplus in the economy, but now there is a deficit. He believes that the middle class needs tax cuts and a “rescue package” of sorts, much more so than the upper class. On the financial bailout, he feels that fundamentals were “weal before the crisis,” and there needs to be more focus on the middle class, noting that the current crisis on Wall Street “is the worst since the Great Depression.” Obama wants to help out homeowners more than the big cats on Wall Street, which will in turn, reverse the chain of events and help stabilize the economy.

Keeping all this in mind, voters should be aware that this is just a brief overview of candidates and their stands on the core five issues. More information can be found at http://www.myelectiondecision.org; http://www.ontheissues.org; and http://www.votesmart.org. Unregistered voters will have to suffer with whoever gets voted into office, as by press time, the deadline has passed to register to vote. Registered voters who don’t get out there and vote should be ostracized to a leper colony because every vote counts.

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