Saturday, January 26, 2008

The issues

For the next few posts I’ll be looking over a few of the top candidates for the office of President from both parties. I have a few areas that I’d like to focus on, and I’m mostly going to contain myself from going off about how dirty they’re playing in the campaign front. I’d like to say that I’m considering all the candidates from a purely issues-point-of-view, but I’d be lying. How a candidate conducts him or herself on the campaign trail, in my mind, reflects on what type of person they are. In the end, it’s only a part of my evaluation of the candidate. There are probably many things that go on during a campaign, and not all of them are under the direct control of the candidate themselves.

Take for instance an article I read about the primary in Florida. Both Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton have taken jabs for campaigning there when there was a general agreement between the two parties not to do so because the Democratic Party is trying to punish states that selfishly pushed their primary up to elevate its own self-importance. The reality there is that the campaigning on both sides is being driven by the local groups in charge of both campaigns, and the candidates haven’t been able to reign that in (or perhaps they could but are looking the other way purposefully).

I’ll divide this post into 5 categories, Foreign policy, which includes the current conflict, domestic economics, immigration, since it’s such a hotbed issue, social stuff and Constitutional issues. Foreign policy is anything that has an outward looking focus. The war on terror, or rather national security is part of that, as well as international trade, foreign aid, treaties and our participation in international bodies.

Domestic economics includes all this economic, including the budget in general. It includes things like social security, health care, education, facilities and infrastructure and a whole host of other things the government probably shouldn’t be doing. In this I also want to see what candidates say in regards to stimulating the economy. There’s not a lot that our government can and should do to manage the economy. This is as pure a capitalist system as there ever was one, and our economy, the number of jobs available and the flow of capital keeping things moving, growth and the like, is mostly driven by market forces. As we all know, market forces are driven be perception. And so the market sways this way and that with the political tides because the federal government is too powerful a force not to affect it. Truly, the economy should largely be left alone. For instance the latest tumble and scare on Wall Street happened because of the mania surrounding the housing market. The forces there should have taken care of themselves, and today largely are. However, you’d never know it from the candidates for President and the national news.

Immigration is this election cycle’s big hot potato. Many of us were not alive the last time we had this serious an issue in immigration. Earlier in the 20th century we still had immigration issues that surrounded racism and melting pot fear. It encompassed many decades and several ethnic groups (Poles, Slavs, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, etc…). Right now the issue is Mexicans. And really it’s not about Mexicans, it’s about people who are here without passing through the border in an official capacity. They’re here illegally, and that applies to any ethnic group really, but the media focuses on the Latin American contingent as it’s the largest, making it seem like an ethnic issue, and the powers that be just allow that rhetoric to breed unabated.

Social issues are how the government deals with things like marriage, abortion, euthanasia, personal privacy and the like. Constitutional issues are those that have to do with how the government is structured and run and most importantly the naming and function of Supreme Court justices.

So here we go. Are you ready?

1 comment:

Willie said...

I'm looking forward to your analysis!