Sunday, December 16, 2007

Obama on the Issues--A Reality Check

Let's check how BHO's issue positions line up with my own.

The following are the Issue Headings, in reverse order listed, from I've taken the liberty of adding some notes (in italics) summarizing some of the key policies he advocates.

Assuming the order of topics represents something like Obama's priorities (though I note it's somewhat different on the homepage), I've numbered them that way, but omitting 6 of the last 9 listed. I found all those six to be a bit too apple-pie stuff, not too substantive, designed to reassure the moderates if they get that far down the page. We're left with my "Unofficial Obama's 10-point program".

Finally, on the issue listed first--"Strengthening America Overseas"--I give verbatim the five-point program he has under that most-important issue.

Obama's Issues (Reverse Order)
Reconciling Faith and Politics
Strengthening Families and Communities
Cleaning up Washington’s Culture of Corruption
Honoring our Veterans
10. Protecting Our Right to Vote
9. Immigration—Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Homeland Security—9/11 Measures
8. Improving our Schools—more Funding for Poor School Districts
Fulfilling our Covenant with Seniors--protect Social Security and Medicare
7. Technology and Innovation for a New Generation—Broadband for all
6. Energy—CAFE, Renewable Fuels, and Clean Coal
5. Environment—Global Warming Plan
4. Fighting Poverty—Job Programs, and see Education (BHO's #8), Healthcare (his #3); Rebuild New Orleans
3. Healthcare—Govt offered Insurance—no mandate
2. Plan to End the Iraq War—1-2 Brigades per month; history of being right. Short on prescription for Iraq, beyond new convention with UN support. Doesn’t mention future bases.
1. Strengthening America Overseas First, we will bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq and refocus on the critical challenges in the broader region. Second, we will rebuild and transform the military to meet 21st-century threats. Third, we will marshal a global effort to secure, destroy, and stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Fourth, we will renew the alliances and partnerships necessary to meet common challenges, such as terrorism and climate change. And fifth, we will strengthen impoverished, weak and ungoverned countries that have become the most fertile breeding grounds for transnational threats like terror and pandemic disease and the smuggling of deadly weapons.

Now, the point-by-point comparison with my own 10-pointer, with reference to Obama's where applicable.

1.. Get control of climate-changing gases. Yes; #5
2. Preserve our biosphere. Not really, beyond the energy plan. Brings up enforcement of existing law; preservation of federally-protected status where applicable—way down the page!
3. Rebuild our relations with the world. Yes; #1
4. Visualize our children’s / grandchildren’s society, and the implications of that vision. Somewhat; see #9 and #7. Generally very future-oriented.
5. Reform the UN Charter. No such luck.
6. Get control of armaments. Yes; see #1
7. Establish clearly the political dimensions of privacy and of permissible government intrusions into it. Nope.
8. Provide health care to our people. See #3; some doubt whether his plan would solve the problem if people don’t sign up. One good idea was to extend parental coverage of children up to age 25—this would help cover an age group with low health cost (to get the benefit for others) that generally isn’t covered today.
9. Electoral reform. #11 is mostly about removing obstacles to voting, which is half the problem. The other is how they’re counted (and applied).
10. End the "War on Drugs" (or at least give it some focus on the more harmful ones). Mention of the topic is conspicuously absent anywhere on the website. Off the website, he has a fairly responsible position today and shows more honesty than most, so I do not see him having much problem with it once this hoo-ha with Clinton campaign intriguers passes.

I'll give him 4 A's (on green house gases, vision for the future, general foreign relations, and arms reduction), 2 B's (electoral reform and healthcare), and 2 C's (environment and Drug Wars). The topic of the UN gets an Incomplete--Grade TBD. On protecting civil liberties, though, he gets a failing grade by failing to address a major issue.

Most importantly, Obama's implicit priorities recognize the fact that the primary duties of our President--though not the ones most American voters would cite as most important to them--are in the areas of foreign affairs and military policy. Here, he's not as strong as Biden or Richardson, perhaps, but he blows away someone like Huckabee or Romney.

In Dem Prez Endorsement--Pt 4, we'll take a look at HRC's 10-pointer and how it rates--for me--compared to Obama's.

1 comment:

Chin Shih Tang said...

Obama did come out in support of Dodd's recent filibuster against the new FISA authorization of near-warrantless wiretaps and granting of immunity to Traitorous Phone Companies. ("The President's Analyst", anyone?) That at least puts him in the game on civil liberties.