Obama or McCain - Difference?

I’m thinking no matter who gets elected…

  • The troops are staying in Iraq/Afghanistan for 4 more years
  • The price of gas will go up by about $1 a year
  • People will continue to argue about whether Global Warming is happening. Which isn’t to say it is, or is not happening, but it is to say nothing will be done.
  • The housing crisis will get worse and then finally start to recover in a few years.

So, what of importance will be different based on who is elected?

-Dan

Hahahahahaha. Only $1? That’s a good one.

While the President of the United States is not a god, as you seem to want to be able to elect, it’s quite easy to see significant differences in the candidates.
In foreign policy, McCain and the Republicans have had the “bad nations are PURE EVIL and can not be negotiated with (unless we pretend they’re nice, according to, for example, the oil-for-morals program)” while Obama and the Democratic Party, while sometimes a bit fast to be caught up in the rhetoric of right-wingers, does not have as black-and-white a view of the world. This does not mean they can change the world overnight, but if you think cooperation and mutual understanding is a good value in foreign policy, then I’d go with Obama.

Domestically, I don’t see how you can really ask “what’s the difference.” The Democrats have traditionally been more fiscally responsible, often promote social programs to attempt to alleviate inequality, are not as much in the pocket of big business, they are generally more in favour of unions and government regulation of environmental and social problems that arise from predatory business practices. With Obama in the White House and a majority in Congress, there will be a strong push to reforming the health care system.
The Republican track record of messing with government for their own purposes is well known, see for instance http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=12663

In the next four to eight years, we will probably see some retirements from the Supreme Court. Now, the thing that usually gets attention is the argument over abortion rights, maybe not the complete overturning of Roe v. Wade, but there are the baby steps in that direction to consider, if you care. Though there are certainly other cases going up to the Supreme Court all the time, shouldn’t be that difficult to look up. If you live on the coasts, the abortion thing probably won’t affect you or the women you know, though.
On the other hand, it’s not necessarily that bad, 7 of the 9 were appointed by Republicans already, after all, and it’s not like the Republican party has been high-jacked by hardcore social conservatives.
The social issue is also pertinent in other ways. I mean, you can either have an anti-gay, anti-abortion candidate who cavalierly dismisses inequalities based on identity, or you can pick Barack Obama. Now, the president does not have supreme power over these issues, certainly, but let’s not pretend that that means it doesn’t matter.

Basically, I’d say that politics affect most aspects of our lives. That it doesn’t manifest itself in presidential storm troopers showing up outside your door forcing you to gay marry or a glorious leader making an appearance on television declaring that a crisis has been solved by him personally, doesn’t mean that the position of president is incredibly powerful, and that you have an enlightened self-interest in having someone who would promote policies you agree (or disagree the least) with in that position.

Also, there’s the theory of political responsiveness to consider. Basically, if we imagine a simple left-right scale, if you vote for the left party, in a two-party system, the left party will move a bit to the left in response, as will the right party. Though admittedly, I should read up on that again, since I can’t remember the reservations of the theory, or how strong it was.

If McCain could get the oil drilled in the Alaskan coastal plain, I’d be tempted to vote for him just for that.

Supreme Court nominations. Those are more important, and have more impact on you as a person, than just about anything else the President does.

Why? That oil will be more valuable 20 years from now.

It sounds like you’re just looking for excuses to vote for him. Everything I’ve heard has suggested that drilling for that oil isn’t a magical solution that will lower prices and any effect it has if it was opened today would be 2-3 years down the road and minimally impact the overall situation.

Unfortunately, we just let the worst president in some time put two people on the supreme court, which will lead to Bush having been more influential in the long run than many presidents that should have had a more lasting impact. Sad.

As for the original post, the question of troops in Iraq becomes ‘do you also want to see a surge to move against Iran?’. Cos all signs point toward that being something that the Bushies want to do and McCain seems to support.

I’m betting Dan could make an awesome game out of a second Iran-Iraq war though, so there’s always an upside.

I think you’ll see far more movement to remove troops from Iraq under Obama than McCain. Obama will start removing troops immediately - whether he draws them down entirely in 16 months is debatable, but the process of disengagement starts on day one under Obama, and possibly never under McCain.

If you care about foreign policy, and how our country is perceived around the world (and if you don’t, you should), then there is absolutely no comparison between a McCain presidency and an Obama presidency. Obama provides an opportunity to reboot our foreign policy after the debacle of the last 8 years - McCain provides no such opportunity. He’s just yet another tired old Bush supporter (even if you believe otherwise, that’s how he’s perceived externally, and his foreign policy is certainly indistinguishable from Bush’s).

Domestically, the Democrats are going to own solid majorities in the legislature for the next 8 years and possibly beyond. McCain + a Democratic majority = deadlock. Obama + a Democratic majority = a real chance at change. Domestically, McCain has no real health care initiative - Obama’s would cover every child in the US, and most adults.

But, yeah, there are some things the President can’t fix in 4 years. Our dependence on foreign oil. Global Warming. Poverty. The education system. All you can do is take steps in the right direction, and so far McCain hasn’t shown enough willingness to break from the tired Bush policies, so I can’t believe a rational man can truly consider voting for him.

Oh, yeah, and you’ve gotta like the way Obama hits the boards. You don’t see that from many guards.

I’ve seen quite a few news items as of late regarding Obama’s “evolving” view on Iraq. All of which point toward him keeping troops in Iraq.

If anyone had a good solution for Iraq, I think they would have mentioned it by now. If some accountant in Wyoming had stood up a year ago and said, “Hey, I know how to solve this whole Iraq issue and make everyone happy. All we have to do is…” He’d be the front-runner right now.

I think the answer that both candidates know, but neither wants to say (for good reason) is that we’re going to have troops in Iraq for the next 20 years. The troops will be there until the current Iraqi generation leaves power and the next generation, who has grown up in a democracy, takes power.

Are you deluded enough to believe that you me or any other US citizen that doesn’t own oil company stock will see any of that money?

It’s all bullshit. Obama’s position for the last year now has been that he’ll try to get all troops out in 16 months, subject to events.

Actually, I was just venting frustration over gas prices. I would never let one issue sway me to that degree. I’m not sure how many barrels of oil could be produced in that region, to be honest.

I’m really torn on this election, though. Obama is more liberal than I like, and his recent centrist statements don’t help in that because it just confuses me. What does he really think? What will he really do? McCain, OTOH, still smells of Bush.

Centrist Statements…

Candidates have a tough job. During the primaries they need to appeal to the centers of their own parties. These centers are a fair distance from the country’s overall center.

Once they win their party’s nomination, they then need to shift or “evolve” their platforms to appeal to the other party’s voters, without alienating too many of their own.

The Electoral College also adds a complication to the whole mess. The candidate who gets the majority of the votes in a state, gets all of that state’s Electoral Votes. This means candidates need to carefully balance which of their own voters they are willing to alienate in order to gain selected opposing voters.

Example, California is a very liberal state. Obama could alienate 200,000 California voters and he’d still win the state with no problem. If he could trade those 200,000 votes for 200,000 Republican votes in key “battleground” states, he could pick up an extra couple dozen Electoral Votes and swing the election in his favor.

The point of all this? Doesn’t matter what Obama said yesterday when he was running for the Democratic nomination.

But what he said during about Iraq the primary is the same as what he’s saying today:

None of that is new. Despite what McCain is saying, Obama’s 16-month timetable hasn’t changed. Neither has his willingness to take advice from the military regarding the safest way to redeploy.

Yet for some reason, the media is fascinated by Obama’s plan to use his upcoming Iraq trip to listen to commanders. This only comes as a surprise to those who weren’t paying attention. Hence, the following statement:

I gotta disagree. Here’s 2 Obama quotes from yesterday…

“I am going to do a thorough assessment when I’m there,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have more information and continue to refine my policy.”

“I have said throughout this campaign that this war was ill-conceived, that it was a strategic blunder and that it needs to come to an end,” he said. “I have also said I would be deliberate and careful about how we get out. That position has not changed.”

Has he come out and said he’s not going to pull the troops out? No, but he’s hedging in that direction.

If Obama is elected, the troops will stay. One of his first speeches addressing the issue will be along the lines of … “The situation in Iraq has dramatically changed from what it was a year ago and I would be remise in my duty as President to ignore this fact…”

You’re free, of course, to gaze into your crystal ball. You’re also free to believe that Obama is insincere.

However, you can’t claim his public position on Iraq has changed. That’s simply false.

Your two quotations don’t change that. They are consistent with what he has been saying all along. If they are not as incautious as the media would like, that’s the media’s problem.

Personally, I think it would be political suicide for President Obama to renege on his withdrawal promise, and he would end up sharing Lieberman’s imminent fate in 2012. There’s little upside in prolonging an unpopular war, as LBJ and GWB have demonstrated.