Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Last Debate: Election 2008

Here are some thoughts I have on tonight's Presidential debate.

Personally, I enjoyed the debate. I am glad that we got to see them both spend more time about the issues and less about who did what or who was associated with who, etc...

First, here are a few Obama quotes that I heard toward the beginning of the debate (I apologize that I might be paraphrasing)...
"I don't mind paying a little more [in taxes]..."
I don't either. If that little extra that I am paying is going to actually be useful. I don't care for politicians that increased spending just for the sake of increasing spending and throwing money at an issue where money is not the only issue. However, again, if it is going toward a worthy cause, I do not mind having to pay a little bit more.
"I don't mind being attacked....Americans deserve to hear us talk about what is pressing to them..."
I agree. I am tired of the negative ads and negative talk. I want to hear about the issues.
"To solve our key problems...we must be able to work together....disagree without being disagreeable..."
I think we could all learn to act like this. We all have issues that we disagree on. That does not mean we have to hate each other and that we can't try to find some common ground to bring some solutions. Here is what I have to say about this election. I have said it before, I am tired of hearing the negativity, I want to hear about the issues. Finally, if I think the best person for the job is a Democrat based on my thoughts on his plan for America, I am going to vote for him. If I think the best person for the job is a Republican based on my thoughts on his plan for American, I am going to vote for him. I don't care which side he plays for. I really don't.

One thing I really like that McCain said:
"I'm not George Bush. If you wanted to run against George Bush you should have run 4 years ago...."

I thought this quote was awesome. There has been too much talk that just because McCain is a Republican that he is a Bush clone. I am glad he cleared this up.

Below are some key points to some questions answered by the candidates:

Regarding Energy and Climate Change.

McCain:
1. Wants to eliminate dependence on oil imported from the Middle East and Venezuela but is okay with importing oil from Canada. I am all for cutting oil dependence, but eliminating independence from ALL imported oil.
2. Wants to build more SAFE nuclear power plants. I totally agree.
3. Wants to invest in clean coal technology. Don't know enough about this one but it is worth looking into.
4. Thinks we can eliminate dependence on imported oil within 10 years.

Obama:
1. Agrees we can stop importing oil in 10 years.
2. Wants to expand domestic production and look into more offshore drilling. I don't agree with this one.
3. Thinks we can't drill our way out of the problem, believes we should invest in solar, wind and bio diesel. I agree we should invest in solar and wind technologies but I don't think bio diesel is a good idea at this point in time.
4. We need to help automakers but at the same time make them responsible for making energy efficient cars. I am okay with some sort of tax breaks for research by the auto manufacturers into making energy efficient vehicles.

Regarding Health Care

Obama:
1. If you already have insurance, there is no change except he wants to help with the cost of premiums.
2. If you don't have health insurance, we want to give you the type of health care that politicians do, but at a lower cost.
3. We need to manage chronic preventative diseases, which might cost more at first but in the long run will save money.

I agree that we need to better manage preventable diseases. I also think, however, that a lot of it has to do with personal accountability. That being said, I still think the health care system needs to be reformed somehow.

McCain:
1. Wants to put health care records online. Not sure why this was brought up but I guess that it could save a little money. Not really sure where though.
2. Wants to promote fitness and nutrition programs in schools and have employers reward employees that do things like join a fitness club. I agree. The obesity problem with children is getting out of control and starting in grade school with fitness and nutrition classes is a great start.
3. Wants to give a $5000 tax credit so you can buy your own health care.
The thing I don't understand about this is the actual price of health care. In addition to premiums, which by the way, McCain himself says later that generally cost about $5800 a year, there are other costs involved with health care. Most health plans have deductibles and co-pays and a thing called coinsurance. Besides the $800 a year that we would theoretically still have to come up with to pay the premiums, where is the money for the rest of that stuff going to come from? Just a thought.
4. Wants you to be able to choose your own health plan, not let the government choose it for you.
I can agree with this. I am also for being able to customize your health coverage, much like Mr. Ishmael talked about in our recent interview. For instance, my wife can't have any more kids. I don't want to have to pay for maternity costs, how much less will my premiums be if I exclude this? This is just an example, I am sure there are more. But mainly, I agree that I don't want the government choosing my health plan for me.

The Topic of Abortion Was Brought Up

McCain:
Obama voted against medical treatment for babies that survive failed abortions in the Illinois legislature.
Obama votes against a ban on partial birth abortion.

Obama:
Regarding medical treatment for babies that survive failed abortions, there was already a law on the books, didn't need a new one. In addition, doctors are required by the Hippocratic Oath to give medical attention to everyone, including babies that survive failed abortions.
Regarding partial birth abortion ban, he voted against the ban because it did not include exceptions for when the mother's life is in danger.
Stated that this issues has divided us but we must find common ground and provide other options such as adoption. Nobody is PRO abortion.

To me, it does not matter if there is already a law on the books or not, if you vote against something like this, it shows where you stand on the issue. I oppose partial birth abortions so I pretty much disagree with Obama on this issue.
It is true this issue divides us and will probably always divide us. Because I don't really ever see Roe v Wade being overturned in my lifetime, this is not an issue I spent a great deal of thought on.


Regarding Education

Obama:
1. We must recruit new teachers (especially in science and math) and pay them better salaries.
2. We must make college more affordable.
3. Calls for a $4000 tuition credit per year to students that agree to some sort of community service. I am okay with this idea. I like it. But is $4000/year enough? I don't know, I dropped out of college years ago and I'm not sure what it costs to go to college anymore.
4. Can't do anything without the help of parents. Turn off the television. Turn off the video games. Invest in your own children's education. Totally agree!
5. No Child Left Behind is not properly funded.

McCain:
1. Choice and competition are the key - supports charter schools.
I think charter schools are a good idea but what about people that can't afford them? Wait, do you have to pay for charter schools? Crap, I don't know. Some help here?
2. Reward good teachers - replace bad ones. Works for me.
3. Back to charters, charter provide competition and throwing money at the problem is not the answer. Again, okay with charters but if you want to fix a problem and want to invest in our children's futures, you need to invest more than just words and laws, money is going to be needed at some time.
4. We need to make student loans more available and more able to pay off.
5. No Child Left Behind was a good beginning. It has its flaws and needs to be reformed but spending more money isn't the answer. He is right, Bush's NCLB was a good idea but I agree with Obama that it was not properly funded and like they both say desperately needs reform. It needs to set national standards, not just for students but also for teachers. Teachers need to be qualified to do the job and need to "update" their knowledge every so often.

There was also a lot of talk in the education debate regarding vouchers but I have no opinion because I am not sure I really understand that whole system. I will read about them at a later time and make some comments on what I find out.

So, with all of this in mind, like I said, I did enjoy how the debate turned out. Both did well. Both made good points...

However....I am now more on the fence about who I am going to vote for than I ever have been.

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