On The Issues: Comparison of Clinton, Obama, Edwards
Three Doors © 2008 Emily Duffy
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's confused about who I should vote for in the upcoming primary. I've been leaning towards voting for Edwards all along but I also like a lot about Obama and I have to admit I think Hillary is the scrappiest fighter of the three.
I'm certain I won't find clear comparisons of the three candidates from the MSM (mainstream media) and in fact they're doing an excellent job of making my research even more difficult. They're treating this election like a celebrity battle between Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton instead of the crucial decision for our national leader.
So, I've found some info in various places and I'm putting it together for myself, and for you right here. I've focused on issues that are 1) Of great importance to me personally, and 2) Where the candidates differ substantially on their position or previous votes. Please feel free to share this around to your contact list. As I said, I'm certain I'm not the only one who's split on this decision.
Iraq & “War on Terror”
Each candidate’s position on addressing the threat of terrorism in general and their attitude toward specific campaigns, principally the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Additional positions may be found in the National Security section Source.
Words: Obama advocates a slow, scheduled withdrawal from Iraq (which he argues was a strategic blunder) and feels we should have an open dialogue with Syria and Iran. He believes that the focus of the “war on terror” should be on al-Qaeda in Pakistan and the Taliban. “We live in a more dangerous world, partly as a consequence of Bush’s actions, primarily because of this war in Iraq that should have never been authorized or waged. … The US has to reserve all military options in facing an imminent threat - but we have to do it wisely.”
Actions: A long time critic of the invasion of Iraq, Obama voted AGAINST redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007 (2006) but FOR redeploying troops out of Iraq by March 2008 (2007). The Center for Security Policy has given Obama a rating of 21%.
Words: Clinton believes we should redeploy troops out of Iraq accompanied by regional diplomacy; she takes responsibility for her vote to authorize the use of force against Iran, but does not feel it was a mistake, claiming “we are safer than we were, but we’re not yet safe enough”. She further proposed setting a cap on troop levels until they are redeployed. She also feels that we should rule out using nukes on Iran and believes in supporting Israel unequivocally. “There is no question mark next to me - there’s an exclamation point. I am an emphatic, unwavering supporter of Israel’s safety and security.”
Actions: Clinton proposed a measure setting October 11, 2007, as the expiration date of the authorization to use force against Iraq. She voted FOR authorizing the use of force against Iraq (2002), FOR funding military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq (2003), FOR on requiring on-budget funding rather than emergency funding for Iraq (2005), AGAINST redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007 (2006), and FOR redeploying troops out of Iraq by March 2008 (2007). The Center for Security Policy has given her a rating of 21%.
Words: Edwards feels that al-Qaeda should be the target in the “war on terror”, not Iraq, that North Korea’s nuclear program should be shut down, and that our security depends on working with our allies. He voted for the authorization to use force in Iraq, but has since recanted and apologized for that decision. He supports requiring President Bush to seek new authorization for military action. “What this global war on terror bumper sticker-political slogan … was intended to do was for Bush to use it to justify everything he does. The ongoing war in Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, spying on Americans, torture, none of those things are OK.”
Actions: Edwards voted FOR authorizing air strikes in Kosovo (1999) and FOR using all necessary force (1999), FOR authorizing the use of force against Iraq (2002), and AGAINST funding military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq (2003).
Policies in relation to corporate regulation and deregulation, tax incentives, business development, and corruption are all included. Source.
Words: Clinton feels that “to the corporate elite” middle class and working Americans are invisible. She believes there is a “culture of corruption and cronyism” in Washington and that we need to “stop outsourcing critical government functions to private companies, close the revolving door between government and the lobbying shop, and end no-bid contracts”.
Actions: Clinton voted FOR restricting rules on personal bankruptcy (2001) and FOR repealing the tax subsidy for companies that move jobs offshore (2005). The US Chamber of Commerce has given her a rating of 35%.
Words: Edwards argues that we should eliminate tax breaks for all companies outsourcing jobs. He feels we should support organized labor against mistreatment by corporations and that record corporate profits do not benefit the struggling middle class.
Actions: Edwards voted FOR restricting rules on personal bankruptcy (2001). The US Chamber of Commerce has given him a rating of 15%.
Words: Obama believes that corporations should be responsible for work conditions and pensions and that there should be tax incentives for corporate responsibility. He feels we should close tax loopholes for companies that relocate abroad and end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs.
Actions: Obama voted AGAINST reforming bankruptcy to include means testing and restrictions (2005) and FOR repealing the tax subsidy for companies that move jobs offshore (2005).
A variety of health-related issues are included, ranging from universal health care and AIDS research to veteran’s benefits and assisted suicide. The focus is largely directed by what each candidate has chosen to address. Source.
Words: Edwards believes that universal health care can be implemented through a combination of cost containment and a variety of revenue sources. He advocates full funding for AIDS research. “We’re asking everybody to share in the responsibility of making health care work in this country: employers, those who are in the medical insurance business, employees, the American people - everyone will have to contribute in order to make this work.” He proposes requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance by law.
Actions: Edwards voted AGAINST limiting self-employment health deduction (1999), FOR including prescription drugs under Medicare (2000), AGAINST the Republican “prescription drug benefit” bill (2001), FOR allowing patients to sue HMOs (2001), FOR allowing the import of prescription drugs from Canada (2002), and AGAINST a limited Medicare prescription drug benefit (2003). The American Public Health Association has given Edwards a rating of 100%.
Words: Obama believes that the federal government should provide health care for everyone. He also feels that we need to increase competition in the insurance and pharmaceutical markets and advocates better funding for AIDS research and prevention. “Too many hard-working Americans cannot afford their medical bills, and health-related issues are the number one cause for personal bankruptcy. Promoting affordable, accessible, and high-quality health care is a priority.”
Actions: Obama voted FOR negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drugs (2005), FOR increasing the Medicaid rebate for producing generics (2005), FOR expanding the enrollment period for Medicare (2006), and FOR requiring negotiated prescription prices for Medicare (2007). The American Public Health Association has given Obama a rating of 100%.Hillary Clinton
Words: Clinton believes in incremental reforms that will lead to universal health care through insurance premium subsidy, but feels that single-payer health care is unrealistic. She also supports AIDS education and research and advocates expanding eligibility for the SCHIP program, expanding Medicare coverage, and requiring all employers to contribute to the cost of their workers’ health care. She proposes expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act and barring insurers from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions. “We have to lower costs, improve quality and cover everybody.”
Actions: Clinton voted AGAINST the Republican “prescription drug benefit” bill (2001), FOR allowing patients to sue HMOs (2001), FOR allowing the import of prescription drugs from Canada (2002), AGAINST a limited Medicare prescription drug benefit (2003), FOR negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drugs (2005), FOR increasing the Medicaid rebate for producing generics (2005), FOR expanding the enrollment period for Medicare (2006), AGAINST limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000, and FOR requiring negotiated prescription prices for Medicare (2007). The American Public Health Association has given Clinton a rating of 100%.
What About the $$$?
See which groups/industries are donating to which candidates (Republicans included) from Open Secrets category:
Hedge Fund/Private Equity
Oil and Gas
Securities and Investment
You can take THIS QUIZ to figure out which candidate most matches your positions on the issues. (Note: this quiz matches you up with ALL candidates including some who have dropped out of the race.) I was quite surprised by the order in which the top three Dems came up for my own quiz. It's caused me to re-think my vote.