1. Everyone agrees that we need to end the war in Iraq. That is not the issue. The issue is how to end the war in Iraq without the reputation of the United States being so damaged, that our influence in the world will be adversely affected for years to come. Only the Democrats, who are not identified with the Bush-Cheney policies have any chance of doing this. McCain may try to separate himself from Bush, and may have adopted for himself the mantra of change, but the difference is too subtle for the rest of the world to understand. A victory of McCain will look to the rest of the world as if the U.S. is still supporting the Bush Cheney policies. I believe it will be a disaster.
2. Recent polls show that people abroad are highly in favor of an Obama victory. This should not be discounted. What people abroad think is very important considering the legacy which Bush is leaving. This goes beyond the war; it is a pervasive issue.
3. Republican economic policies have shown themselves time and time again not to work. Republicans turn out to be the big spenders. Republicans turn out to be unable to administer a government that collects sufficient revenues. Republicans increase and increase and increase the national debt. It’s a fact.
4. Republicans do favor the wealthy. That’s another fact. That is why we have such a continuing growing disparity between rich and poor. To the extent Republicans truly believe that benefits given to the rich will trickle down, they have proven to be wrong.
5. Surveys have recently shown that Republicans do best in homogeneous areas, and Democrats do best in heterogeneous areas. That should not be surprising. If everyone was wealthy, white, Christian and Anglo-Saxons, maybe Republicans would be the appropriate leaders. In a country with growing diversity, they are not. Because Republicans are the party of homogeneity, they can look like the best organized party; but America is based on ‘e pluribus’, and a little chaos is a necessary concomitant of a country comprised of so many different types of people.
6. Republicans will not protect civil liberties, and it is civil liberties which sets this country apart from most others. We know they will not protect civil liberties. We have seen it in the structure and implementation of the Patriots Act, we have seen it in secret interrogations, secret renditions, secret prisons, secret wiretapping, secret dossiers, and so much more. This will not stop.
7. The Republicans are for torture, as a legitimate interrogation method in certain circumstances. They overlook both the moral issues involved, and the political repercussions, as well as the dubious advantages.
8. The Republicans are clearly the anti-choice policy. Choice is favored by most Americans; and even were it not so favored, it is a matter of civil liberties.
9. Not only are the Republicans the ‘pro-life’ party, they are also the ‘anti-life’ policy, taking strong stands in favor of capital punishment, and in support of the gun lobby and gun interests.
10. The Republicans are against giving citizens of the District of Columbia Congressional representation.
11. The Republicans give less credence to alternative energy, and the development of non-fossil fuels. The Democrats are much more likey to support wind and solar power, and to end so much reliance on important petroleum products. The Republicans have too many ties with Big Oil.
12 The Republicans are anti-science. They show this by the way that they have treated R & D funding. They show it by opposition to stem-cell research (a ridiculous position, making a mountain out of the smallest of molehills). They show this by their attacks on evolution and their focus on intelligent design.
13. The Republicans are the party of the fundamentalists (Christian and, unfortunately, Jewish as well). I disagree with the fundamentalist mind-set and therefore do not trust decisions made by persons who let their religion influence their thinking in these ways; therefore I am concerned about future decisions to be made by Republican administrations.
14. I am in favor of free trade only to a point. The point is where it takes too many American jobs. I believe that the Democratic policies on trade are more realistic and more supportive of the American economy and the America worker than the Republican. I don’t think that either party is perfect.
15. The Republicans still seem to believe that the investment of social security funds in private accounts is a good policy. Look at where we are today, with the large drops in the stock markets. I think that private investment of social security accounts would be a disaster.
16. All of these issues increase in importance when you take into account judicial appointments to be made to the Supreme Court. I do not think we can handle more Republican judicial appointments.
17. Republican positions on gun ownership is untenable. Crime does not increase when weapons decrease.
18. The most important issue, other than the war, is the American economy. The Republicans got us into this mess. They believe that their policies were/are correct. They will not get us out. We will all suffer.
Now, there are some issues on which I don’t really have a position. For example, I don’t really have a position on whether we should be drilling for oil either offshore, or in the north of Alaska. Perhaps we should; perhaps we shouldn’t. At this point, this issue does not enter into my political decision making.
Similarly, I am of mixed mind about increasing nuclear facilities. I understand the potential; I understand the risk of safe storage of waste products. Again, this issue is not now entering into my political thinking.
I am totally confused about the issue of illegal aliens, and even about what the specific provisions of the two parties are, so for now this issue is not paramount in my mind as a political issue, although I believe that it must be addressed with speed and fairness.
I think that universal health care is a must. It appears that both parties now agree. I can not parse through the competing plans sufficiently to know which I favor. None of the plans do what I would like them to do. I would like to see the Canadian model which, in my opinion, has been extremely successful, with some few tinkers based on the Canadian experience. Neither party favors this.
I am not sure which party has the best education policy. The Bush policy has been a disaster, and it was supported bi-partisanly. Because this is a domestic issue, however, I don’t think that a future Republican administration will necessarily be tagged by past mistakes.
None of this has to do with the individuals. I don’t deny that all candidates have the interests of the country at heart. I do think that Obama’s communication skills are much better than McCain’s, and that this is important. Neither Obama nor McCain nor Biden have executive experience; Palin’s executive experience is there, but minimal. But Palin has absolutely no federal government experience; the other candidates all do. Palin has no foreign policy experience and has hardly ever left the country; the others obviously have. This is very important.
So, as they say, this election should be a no-brainer. If the Republicans win, it will be because the Democrats, although right on most of the issues, are not in touch with a sufficient percentage of the American populace. This is a two-sided problem. One side is the shortcoming of the Democrats in national campaigns; the other side is the provincialism and lack of understanding of so many Americans. How we deal with this is a completely separate question.