Aug. 13, 2008 12:00

Give it to me straight

I was born andraised as a God-fearing, Southern-gentleman Republican. Like Senator Barack Obama said, this could be the most important election of our time, so I need to figure out where I do stand. I have been sold on Obama’s charming smile and call for change. We do need change; there is no doubt about that. But am I in support of Obama because I see Senator John McCain as another George Bush? And does the rest of America see it the same way? I am going to start over and see if I really have gone over to the dark...er, blue side.

Like most Americans, I know little of candidates’ concrete plans of action but I do know what I want. So I begin by creating a small and simplistic scorecard, best out of five. This way I am not being sold on a particular candidate; I am making them sell themselves to me.

The information on the candidates is taken from their websites. Ideally they do what they say; honestly they probably won’t. But for the sake of clarity, length and time, the information is from their mouths, not a third party. The five issues are the same five on both of their websites: energy plan, economy, education, healthcare and Iraq. First my un-influenced thought, then both of theirs.

Economy:

People are losing jobs left and right. Over the summer I work part time alongside my father at an automotive restoration shop. This is my second summer returning. The antique auto market is not affected by the economy. The older wealthy guys who dreamed of owning the Dodge Challenger from Vanishing Point, can now afford it and will pay top dollar to have it. This is fueling the economy. These wealthy men are providing people like my father and I with jobs. Also, there is a large separation between the rich and the poor and it seems to be widening. America needs jobs, not just a break here or there. Not a bunch of relief money in different funds to help or a raise on the minimum wage (we do it need it, just having a minimum-wage job is better than not having a job at all).

Obama; I cheated a little bit on this one. I knew their policies before I started writing. This is a huge determining factor because they differ greatly. They show their true colors on this issue. He wants more government and money set up to help people in financial trouble. Obama wants to level the playing field between the rich and poor by taxing the rich and punishing large corporations. While I don’t like the separation between the rich and poor I don’t think it is a president’s duty to be Robin Hood. He wants to chop the wealthy at the knees to bring them to our level. If there were no rich guys with the love of speed my father and I would be out of jobs.

McCain wants to work through the system we have and scratch corporations’ backs. He wants less tax on corporations. If the corporations are encouraged to come to and stay in America, due to low taxes, they keep their jobs here. Keeping corporations happy keeps jobs available. Even if you dump a lot of money into the problem and set up task forces to keep corporations in check, it does no good if Americans don’t have jobs in the first place. I believe McCain’s plans are better to get the nation jobs. Edge: McCain.

Healthcare:

I am pushing for free fake Canadian ID cards so whenever you get sick run up to Canada to get checked out. That was actually an old Dave Chappell bit from his TV show, but more seriously healthcare is an issue I am somewhat unclear on. Basically I know it sucks and needs to change. We need it but how can we pay for it?

McCain has a few good ideas, with a $5,000 refundable tax credit to help families purchase the needed healthcare for themselves. He wants the cost to go down through competition and choice. It makes sense. He pushes for lower prices but nothing really concrete on how to get those lower prices.

Obama’s campaign is very ambitious, but it is spelled out and is logical. He wants a national health care program. With flexibility in state plans, mandatory coverage of children and a combination of support; the plan is big but possible. And that gives Obama one point.

Education:

I know that Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act came under some criticism but I know little of the subject. My girlfriend went to a private high school even though her mother could not afford it; she was adamant about her daughter getting a private education. While she was a senior in high school she was teaching me, a public school grad, college level calculus. I believe in incentives to help families’ wish to get private educations for their children but we also need to improve our own public schools by treating our teachers better, encouraging more and better teachers.

McCain wants to build off of No Child Left Behind Act but does not notice any real fault in it. He has plans on how to reform the education system but again no specific ways of making it better, just a recognition that it needs to get better, and I’m pretty sure most all of us know that.

Obama wants to correct the No Child Left Behind Act, which he says was a good idea but not implemented the right way. In addition he has a “zero to five” plan to help support students up to five years old and their parents. Because of this plan Obama get another point.

Energy plan:

We need a plan for our current technologies to get us through the next few years. More importantly we need to invest in green technology and take it seriously. It has happened before. Oil prices get high, we get mad and look for other opportunities. Then oil prices go back down and we suddenly don’t care anymore. We are vulnerable, and green technologies can provide jobs. Hydrogen and fuel cells are a joke and just a distraction. Their technologies are far off compared to other systems. There are reasonable green technologies out there that need to be taken seriously. Green technology could be our generation’s New Deal to help pull ourselves out of this slump.

McCain has an all-of-the-above solution for the problem spelled out in his Lexington Project. He believes the nation will receive energy independence by 2025. He wants to expand the search for domestic oil while at the same time investing in green technologies. He wants tax breaks and other financial incentives to help steer the market in the direction of cleaner energy.

Obama wants an even bigger tax break to families investing in cleaner cars, $7,000 compared to McCain’s, $5,000. Both talk about jobs but Obama is a little more specific on how he is going to get them. They agree on almost every issue but one: drilling for oil. Obama wants to get more oil from our oil preserves to help lower the cost now. That is the determining factor that gives McCain the point, leaving the score dead even going into the last round.

Iraq:

We are knee deep in quicksand and if we rush and scramble to pull out all at once, we’ll sink faster. Patience and a concrete plan with set dates are needed. One of Bush’s biggest faults at the beginning of the war was going against some of his military advisors, who requested more troops for a shorter stay, than Bush allowed for. So instead of getting a large and quick war we received a small and long war that now has our troops staying longer than they should be.

It’s simple: Do you want to see it through to the end or get out (not entirely) now. Once in office he will set a date to end the war; he wants troops out, but to leave some there to fight terrorism. I really like this but I want to see what McCain wants before Obama gets the point.

McCain says he wants to see it through to the end. McCain makes good points and cites what he supported in 2006 that helped the US to gain control once again. I want to see America out of there but I want to see something good come from it. If we leave too early, will it all be for nothing?

So I will, for now, leave it at a tie because it comes down to more than just the war. This is what they say they will do. Who do you believe more?


To comment on this story, e-mail Jesse Kiser at  jesse@yesweekly.com.

Tags: opinion

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