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Are there differ rences between Obama and Clinton on significant issues?
And if they aren’t, would an Obama-Clinton contest largely be determined
by intangibles: image, charisma, and personality?
For my report, being of the Democratic Party myself, I chose to research both sides of the Democratic views for the 2008 Presidential Campaign & Agenda’s of the Top 2 of 3 Democratic Candidates; U.S. Senator Hilary R. Clinton (D-NY) & U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). The 3rd Candidate is Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator from Alaska. However, Mike Gravel cannot win except in the unlikely event of multiple ballots or released delegates. Also, the Democratic Party had a few withdraws as well, which included: John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich & Bill Richardson. I feel this presidential campaign will be one of the most important presidential nominations in U.S. History, due to all the mistakes our current President George W. Bush has made in our economy, energy and common state laws.
The last time a Mr. Bush left the White House, the US Economy had its back to the wall. This time, when another Mr. Bush does so, the Economy might well be on its knees. If history repeats itself, then a Democrat administration should succeed Mr. Bush again. But will it be as effective for the US Economy and the world as the last one?
As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama leave behind Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont in their relentless struggle to collect primary delegates and an eventual presidential nomination, there’s merit in examining their economic agendas. Wherever else they might differ, their positions on economic issues, at least superficially, are strikingly similar. It’s not surprising that they have been uncharitably described by some analysts as “economic twins”. Both candidates show concern for the American middle class - a segment they feel was never featured on President Bush’s priority. Both candidates have voiced pretty much the same concerns on rising healthcare costs, peg identical budgets of $30 billion for avoiding home-loan foreclosures, and are equally eager on extending and expanding unemployment insurance. Their related arrogance reflects efforts to entice the same constituencies—middle-income groups, blue-collared workers and the unemployed. These are traditional Democrat strongholds.
Over the last few months, differences have also narrowed on one of the key economic issues that used to distinguish Clinton and Barack: outsourcing.
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The issue of American jobs getting “exported” to faraway shores, including India, has forced both presidential hopefuls to articulate their positions on trade policies. Obama has struck a sharp note by declaring his unhappiness with the Central American Free Trade Agreement (Cafta) and his intentions of rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). He feels that President Bush, not only “oversold” to Americans, but has also been responsible for shifting jobs out of the US. He tried gathering a few “brownie points” by arguing that Hillary was a supporter of Nafta, which came into force during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Needless to say, this provoked a strong retaliation from Hillary who claimed that she was being falsely accused.
Both Obama and Clinton voted against confirming Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Each voted against an amendment to this year’s Senate immigration bill that would have denied legal status to those who had entered the United States illegally. No Obama vote on war in Iraq. Both senators have voiced criticism of the way President Bush has conducted operations in Iraq. Yet when they were given the chance to act out Senator Russ Feingold’s measure ordering Bush to withdraw most U.S. troops by July 1, 2007, both Clinton and Obama voted "NO."
Obama didn’t take a seat in the Senate until 2005, so he didn’t vote on the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing Bush to use force in Iraq. Clinton did vote for that resolution, as did 28 other Senate Democrats. Obama and Clinton have disagreed on a few issues since the beginning of 2005, such as a mandate forcing automakers to achieve 40 mile-per-gallon average fuel economy by the year 2017. Obama voted for that mandate, Clinton against it, and the Senate rejected it on a vote of 67 to 28. On Congressional Quarterly’s tally of how often senators support Bush’s positions on issues coming before the Senate, in 2005 Clinton earned a 31 out of 100 rating (with 100 meaning totally supportive of Bush) and Obama got a 33. On the National Journal scale of liberal to conservative positions, again based on roll call votes in 2005, Obama rated an 82.5 (meaning he was more liberal than 82.5 percent of his Senate colleagues) and Clinton a 79.8.
On most issues Obama and Clinton have voted in tandem. So if they are almost the same, why prefer one to the other? One useful dividing line, say some Democrats, is the Iraq war. The opinions of New Hampshire Democrats matter greatly since New Hampshire is the first primary state and often — as in 1992, 2000, and 2004 — its voters decide who the Democratic nominee will be. But the biggest difference between the two appears to be judgment versus experience: Senator Obama's media portrays him as the candidate for change — youthful and charismatic — he even took a page from the Clinton handbook using ‘Hope’ in his book title. However, Senator Clinton is an accomplished senator, master political tactician and invaluable asset to the party.
An Obama-Clinton contest won’t be determined by charisma or persona. New Hampshire loves the Clintons and is intrigued by Obama, but voters are too savvy to vote for personalities. If Clinton and Obama move to the front of the pack it will be because Clinton promises us better days and centrist policies, while Obama advocates a new way forward, devoid of hyper-partisanship and red versus blue states.
A lot fear change and Obama raises question if he can provide such change. The US is seeking leadership. And considering both are fairly new in the Senate, they both haven’t necessarily had opportunities to show leadership. It may just depend on their ability to communicate. Not forgetting that perhaps, attractiveness and eloquence may cause some superficial concern. That’s what some people worry a bit about — the glamour rather than the substance.
I had assumed they were pretty close in how they voted on preliminaries. And to me, they are both not far, far Left. They are mid-to-left. Who would I rather have as a candidate? Probably Clinton. Every Democrat I have talked too, articles I have read online or seen on TV — and even independents — say they really have read a lot about Clinton. A lot of people are thrilled to see another Clinton in office. However, people are pretty excited about Obama and what he has to bring. The essential questions, who can win? Who can bring in more votes? Who is less divisive? It comes down to: who can bring the party together and bring in independents?
When all is said and done, I feel the War in Iraq will be their dividing line. Obama campaigned against the Iraq War when he ran for the Senate, while Senator Clinton pushed the war. Obama, until recently, went largely silent on the war once he got into the Senate, but his recent declaration on the war suggests he still may be able to use the issue to differentiate himself from Clinton.
What differentiates a Republican & a Democrat?
The two most prominent parties in the United States are the Republican and Democrat parties. Republicans are considered conservative while Democrats are labeled as liberal. The most “controversial” issues are listed below with each party's view.
Democrats: It's the woman's right to choose and should therefore be legal
Republicans: It should not be legal and the government should restrict it as such.
Gun Control Laws
Democrats: More gun control laws are needed to address a seemly growing problem with guns
Republicans: Oppose more gun control laws, citing that it's not what the Constitution calls for.
Democrats: It's up to the government to step in and provide a “net” to victims of this practice.
Republicans: Strong anti-discrimination laws are unnecessary. People have morals, as they say, and should be given the benefit of the doubt
Democrats: Prefers a decrease military spending. This party also likes to utilize NATO and the UN; never wanting to truly go in “alone” on world issues.
Republicans: They are known for increasing military spending. They also tend to want to stand alone when dealing with NATO and the United Nations.
Democrats: Usually for gays rights and believe it's apart of their civil rights to be with whom ever they choose.
Republicans: Tend to hold the view that marriage should be between people of the opposite sex, not the same.
Democrats: Favor the workers and always seem to support minimum wage hikes.
Republicans: Don't normally favor minimum wage increases because they say is hurts businesses.
Democrats: Does not agree with taking someone's life as a means of discipline.
Republicans: The death penalty is necessary to curb violent crimes.
Prayer in schools
Democrats: There should be a separation between church and state
Republicans: It's apart of our nation's culture to place prayer in school and keep it that way.
Democrats: Flag burning is acceptable because it falls under freedom of speech
Republicans: Flag burning is unacceptable and is not what the constitution intended.
Democrats: The environment need to be protect and it's the government's job to enforce laws against harming the environment
Republicans: Have some environment laws but don't make them too strong, could do more harm than good.
Democrats: The people with the most money should pay the most taxes, tax increases are mostly good.
Republicans: the entire economy can benefit if taxes remain relatively low, tax cuts are the way to go.