2008 Presidential Election Thesis

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Presidential Election

Comparison of Candidates Positions


Gun control


Health Care

Social Security



Presidential Nominations

Caucuses and Primaries

Delegates and Superdelegates


Presidential Elections and the Electoral College



Comparison of Candidates' Positions

On the issue of abortion, Barack Obama's supports a woman's right to choose. He stands for the preservation of women's rights under Roe vs. Wade and opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case. Conversely, John McCain supports overturning Roe vs. Wade. He views the decision as being "flawed." His view is to put the issue of abortion rights onto the states. Bob Barr, as a former Republican, has consistently voted against abortion rights (OnTheIssues.org). His website does not outline a specific agenda with regards to abortion, but he has voted in the past to criminalize abortion and those who aid in it, in addition to more typical libertarian measures against the funding of family planning programs.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Thesis on 2008 Presidential Election Assignment

With respect to gun control, Obama respects the 2nd amendment but accepts local gun control measures (OnTheIssues.org). He has stated that Bush erred in not renewing the ban on assault weapons and is in favor of banning semi-automatics and has supported measures to reduce the incidence of guns in inner cities (OnTheIssues.org). John McCain supports the second amendment and has consistently voted against any measure to curtail the sale of any type of weapon or ammunition. Bob Barr opposes any law that would curtail the 2nd Amendment or impose any restrictions on gun use, sale or importation.

Barack Obama advocates removing America from the war in Iraq. To this end, he supports a "responsible and phased" withdrawal of troops. He believes that Iraq's leadership is in a position with their oil revenues to take responsibility for the future of their direction. John McCain does not believe American should leave Iraq until such time as the government of Iraq is able to maintain the security of their country. His view is that this has not yet occurred, and to withdraw now would be dangerous for America. Bob Barr's stance on Iraq advocates immediate withdrawal. He believes the war was a mistake, and is a needless waste of American resources. He feels the Iraqi government is too reliant on America and needs to take control of its own destiny.

Barack Obama's health care plan places more control over patients' destinies with them and their doctors, rather than insurance companies. Among the tenets of his plan are: requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions; a new small business health care tax credit; prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for malpractice insurance; allow importation of medicine from other developed countries; and cover a portion of businesses' health care costs. Some of the tenets of McCain's health care plan are an increased use of generic drugs; a crackdown on Medicare abuse; institute a tax credit that families can give to the insurance company of choice anywhere in the country; discouraging insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions, all with the objective of providing Americans with the same coverage enjoyed by members of Congress.

Barr's health care plan is based on a consumer-oriented model containing the follow key tenets: reduction of controls that restrict competition; opening of insurance across state lines; tax policy reform against employer-sponsored coverage; elimination of regulations that mandate insurance coverage; and avoiding anything that hints at socialized health care.

With respect to social security, Barack Obama is committed to ensuring that social security remains solvent. Obama will not raise the retirement age. He is opposed to privatizing social security as well, and has been outspoken on the subject. John McCain's website does not outline a social security strategy, but he has raised concern over the long-term viability of the social security program. He advocates social security reform and the introduction of personal savings accounts as a method of defraying social security costs (OnTheIssues.org). Bob Barr is against social security benefits on principle, but acknowledges that they exist and he must work with them. He advocates an adjustment of benefits to reflect the demographic shift of the baby boomer generation, and feels that reform should shift the burden of social security to charities.

With respect to immigration, Barack Obama will beef up support for border security and immigration issues, which he feels are underfunded, resulting in an overburdened and inefficient workforce. He believes in reforming the immigration system, citing the multi-year backlog for new citizenship applications. Obama is in favor of cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and allow for current undocumented immigrants to pay a fine and stay. John McCain believes the first priority with regards to immigration is to secure our borders. He will prosecute employers who hire illegal immigrants and institute an Electronic Employment Verification system. He will boost temporary worker programs to help fill this gap. McCain will also move the undocumented on a path to citizenship (behind legal immigrants awaiting green cards) and work to clear up the immigration backlog. Bob Barr believes in increasing border security, ending government benefits and services for illegal immigrants including education and health care. He also would have the U.S. review the policy of birthright citizenship. Policies that discourage assimilation would be ended under Bob Barr.

The economy is one of the biggest issues of this election. Each candidate has a sophisticated plan to deal with economic issues. Barack Obama's plan has ten major points. He would enact a windfall profits tax on oil companies to provide a $1,000 energy rebate to American families. He would commit $50 billion to preserving public works jobs that are under threat from states looking to balance their budgets. His tax strategy would create a tax rebate of $500 for every working American, eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 per year, and simplify the filing process for the middle class. Obama's trade policies include amending NAFTA, backing out of CAFTA, provide transition assistance for workers whose positions have been made obsolete, end tax breaks for companies that send work overseas, and reward companies that create jobs in America. Obama would invest in the manufacturing sector and promote the creation of "green" jobs. He would invest in the sciences as well. Obama would create a national network of incubators and provide tax relief, both strategies to assist the creation of small business. In response to the subprime crisis, he will provide a universal mortgage credit to help people keep their homes and close the bankruptcy loophole for mortgage companies. Obama will also address predatory credit card practices and the work/life balance of the American family.

John McCain's has an equally comprehensive strategy for economic development. McCain believes that energy independence is an important aspect of economic development, but also wishes to provide some relief for Americans. He advocated a summer gas tax holiday, for example. McCain's website claims that "no taxpayer money should bail out real estate speculators or financial market participants who failed to perform due diligence in assessing credit risk." Contradicting this, McCain voted in favor of the $700 billion bailout package. He has a "home plan" to help protect some subprime borrowers from losing their homes. McCain wishes to balance the budget by 2013. He proposes to lower individual tax rates, reduce taxes on dividends and capital gains. A hallmark of his economic plan is to reduce government spending. This strategy includes a one-year spending pause, and taking back of earmark funds. He believes spending growth can be held to 2.4% per year. McCain is in favor of overhauling Medicare and Social Security. He believes in lowering trade barriers and signing more trade agreements. He plans to spur growth in small businesses by reducing their health care burden, cutting corporate taxes and keeping other taxes low.

Bob Barr's economic strategy hinges on a dramatic reduction in government spending. He would reduce spending by cutting all programs not considered "legitimate functions" of government, as laid out in the Constitution. He believes welfare should be eliminated, and entitlement plans restructured. Barr would reduce military spending and eliminate pork barrel spending. He would establish a wall of separation between government and the economy. Barr believes that government intervention in the economy should be limited to protecting property rights, adjudicating disputes and providing a legal framework for voluntary trade. He feels that government needs to stop interfering in free market capitalism.

Presidential Nominations

Each state has its own system for nominating political candidates. One such system is a caucus. This is a set of meeting at which members of a political party meet to vote on a leadership candidate. The Iowa caucus in the most important in the U.S. presidential elections because it is the first one held. There are 1784 caucuses, wherein members elect 99 delegates to the county conventions. At these conventions, more delegates are selected, eventually culminating in a vote for the party leadership. Iowa, Idaho, and Minnesota are some of the states that use the caucus system.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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