<%@ Language=JavaScript %> Obama Vs. McCain


Reflections on a House Divided

Different Americas:
Sen Obama vs. Sen McCain

 A matrix identifying and examining issues on which Senators McCain and Obama differ significantly

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Much of this piece was  originally published this past April under the title On McCain. In addition to the matrix mentioned above, that article included an amount of additional commentary which this version does not. Where that piece was an editorial, this one is intended to serve as an informational resource - one largely aimed at those who already support Sen McCain and are seeking to convince wavering conservatives to support him as well. It is therefore naturally inclined towards  a conservative perspective - one that the author largely shares. Anyone then who is interested in the details of what that perspective might look like in regards to a possible match-up between these two candidates may well find it of use.

More comment on the purpose of the article and perspective of its author can be found

Welfare and Poverty
Social Security
Second Amendment


Sen. McCain Sen. Obama
Missile Defence John McCain strongly supports the development and deployment of theatre and national missile defences.
A Strong Military in a Dangerous World
 Will cut "unproven" systems [however  he may define them as such].
Obama Pledges Cuts in Missile Defense, Space, and Nuclear Weapons Programs

Voted for amendment that would have transferred funds from missile defence to
non-proliferation programs
CLW Senate Voting Record pdf
Modernization Modernizing American armed forces involves procuring advanced weapons systems that will help rapidly and decisively defeat any adversary and protect American lives.
A Strong Military in a Dangerous World
Will slow our development of future combat systems.
Obama Pledges Cuts in Missile Defense, Space, and Nuclear Weapons Programs
 Effort in Iraq   "The surge is working and we have to rally the American people... But I want them home for the right reasons. I want our troops home with honor. Otherwise, we will face catastrophe and genocide in the region."
John McCain on Iraq War
Has long been apposed to the efforts of our troops in Iraq and has advocated/voted for withdrawal
Barak Obama on War and Peace

Obama calls for immediate withdrawal from Iraq 
Crime/Courts   `
Death Penalty More death penalty; stricter sentencing. (Jan 2000
Pro-death penalty; more prisons; increased penalties. (Jul 1998)
Voted YES on limiting death penalty appeals. (Apr 1996)
Voted YES on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals. (May 1994)
John McCain on Crime
Some heinous crimes justify the ultimate punishment. Oct 2006)
Battles legislatively against the death penalty. (Jul 2004)
Barak Obama on Crime
 [voting against the death penalty before speaking for it?]
Punishment Generally Rated 29% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes. (Dec 2000)
Rated 85% by the NCJA, indicating a "tough-on-crime" stance. (Dec 2005)
Establish an FBI registry of sexual offenders. (Oct 1996)
John McCain on Crime
[Focus seems to be on circumstances of defendant and convict rather than of victim. That in spite the fact that  percentage of minorities who are victims of homicides is vastly disproportionate to their numbers in the populations a whole .

Why are minorities as "preps" so much more interesting and worthy of concern than minorities as crime victims?]

Ban racial profiling & eliminate disparities in sentencing. (Feb 2008)
[might "disparities" have something to do with seriousness of crimes committed, the truly devastating effects that  sale and use of crack cocaine has had on minority communities, number of convictions of individuals, their resistance to arrest, membership in organized crime groups and  the
disproportionate and devastating effects of crime-in-general on poor minority communities? again, why are minorities as "perps" so much more interesting and worthy of concern than minorities as victims of crime?]

Have a civil rights division enforce laws fairly and justly. (Jan 2008)
[racial preferences/quotas in regards to convictions and incarcerations?' "we got our allotted number of Hispanics/Swedes/Dwarves this week, better arrest someone else"]

GovWatch: No, more young black men in college than in prison. (Jan 2008)
[would he let thugs out of prison to terrorizes their black neighbours and other working  people? put them - Black convicts - in college, in lieu of "down-time?]

No extra penalty for gang association. (Oct 2007)
[perhaps this is a significant reason for "disparities in sentencing" mentioned above - as gang activity is a major source of violence and crime-in-general in minority communities - and gang membership is higher in minority neighbourhoods; doesn't he know/care?  would he want the same exceptions for "made-guys" like the late Mr. Gotti?

Need justice that is not just us, but is everybody. (Jun 2007)
Supports alternative sentencing and rehabilitation. (Jul 1998)
[rehab - for violent/professional/habitual/gang-affiliated - criminals, would be very good if it was clear that it worked more often than not, and if it is arranged such as not to make incarceration seem like a "doorway to a better life;" and, to what extent  might increases in "alternative sentencing" in such cases correlate with recent increases in violent crime? and, to what extent is it a front for the movement to abolish incarceration altogether
 - here, here  ?]

Rated 75% by the NCJA, indicating a mixed record on criminal justice. (Dec 2005)

Barak Obama on Crime

Courts and Judges On primacy of strict construction

Judges have limited scope under the Constitution. (Nov 2006)
John McCain on Crime

"We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."
[knowledge of the law? clarity of thought and expression? impartiality? ability to apply law as intended even when one does not want to?]

 When the nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court came up in the Senate in 2005, Sen. Barack Obama argued that the role of a justice is to favor the "weak" over the "strong."

When the nomination of Sam Alito came up in January 2006, he made the same argument.
Obama's Class-War Court
[perhaps Rev Wright neglected to tell the senator that the Bible commands judges NOT to take the economic status of parties to a dispute into account when rendering judgment]
 Home Schooling Choice and competition is the key to success in education in America That means charter schools, that means home schooling, it means vouchers. Have so far found no mention on official web site - not an encouraging sign

Nor on sites devoted to laying out candidates positions - such as this one

 His supporters look for hints tucked away un -trumpeted in his other writings
Vouchers "Choice and competition is the key to success in education in America That means charter schools, that means home schooling, it means vouchers."  First a maybe, then an equivocation


Welfare and Poverty Require 40 hours work per week from welfare recipients. (Nov 2004)
Supports block grants, welfare-to-work, state control. (Jan 2000)
Anti-poverty shared by govít & faith-based orgs. (Jan 2000)
List unoccupied HUD-owned homes, & give them away. (Feb 1999)
Use tax code to address unemployment & working conditions. (Jul 1998)
John McCain on Welfare and Poverty
Develop a strategy to eliminate extreme global poverty.
[the surest way to do that is the one he and his party is least likely to encourage - development of free markets, the habits and attitudes that go with them, along with a robust and active network of faith-based and secular charitable and self-help institutions locally and on a national level]

Ownership Society is another term for "Social Darwinism"
Establish 20 Promise Neighborhoods
Ensure Community-Based Investment Resources in Every Urban Community
Barak Obama on Welfare and Poverty
Social Security Looming challenges of entitlements need personal accounts. (Feb 2008)
We need personal savings accounts. (Oct 2007)
Option to invest 20% of payroll taxes in private accounts. (Jan 2000)
Option to invest 20% of payroll taxes in private accounts. (Jan 2000)
John McCain on Social Security
Stop any efforts to privatize Social Security. (Feb 2008)
Privatization puts retirement at whim of stock market. (Sep 2007)
Stop any efforts to privatize Social Security. (Aug 2007)
No privatization; but consider earning cap over $97,500. (Jul 2007)
Stock market risk is ok, but not for Social Security. (Oct 2006)
Barak Obama on Social Security
  Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
# Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
# Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
Supports repealing Roe v. Wade. (May 2007)
Overturn Roe v. Wade, but keep incest & rape exceptions. (Jan 2000)
John McCain on Abortion
Rated 100% by NARAL on pro-choice votes in 2005, 2006 & 2007. (Jan 2008)
Voted against banning partial birth abortion. (Oct 2007)
Barak Obama on Abortion
  Veto any tax increase; worst thing now is to raise taxes. (Feb 2008)
# Require a 3/5 majority vote in Congress to raise taxes. (Feb 2008)
Opposed Bush tax cuts, but must extend them now. (May 2007)
FactCheck: Against Bush tax cuts in 2003; for them in 2006. (Jan 2008)
Replace employer-provided benefits with a tax cut. (Jan 2000)
Supports flat tax; stop complexity by special interests. (Oct 1999)

Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007)
Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006)
Voted YES on permanently repealing the `death tax`. (Jun 2006) Cut marriage tax, inheritance tax, & earnings test. (Sep 1999)
Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Feb 2006)
Voted YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. (Nov 2005)
I'm not bashful about it: wealthy will pay more taxes. (Jan 2008)
Last thing we need now is a permanent tax cut. (Jan 2008
Restore progressive tax; close loopholes; relief to seniors. (Oct 2007)
Reduce Bush tax cuts to pay for health care & other programs. (Jun 2007)






Estate tax only affects the wealthiest 1/2 of 1%. (Oct 2006)
Voted NO on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007)
Voted NO on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006)
Voted NO on permanently repealing the `death tax`. (Jun 2006)







  Voted YES on requiring super-majority for raising taxes. (Apr 1998)
Rated 72% by NTU, indicating "Satisfactory" on tax votes. (Dec 2003)

Voted YES on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Mar 2007)
John McCain on Taxes


Voted NO on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Mar 2007)
Barak Obama on Taxes
Second Amendment/Self-Defence NRA rating = C+


NRA rating = F




Perspective and intent:
The matrix and information contained therein does not represent a general survey of the candidate's views on selected issues, but, is intended instead as a means by which the areas in which they differ - in significant ways, either by kind or degree -  might  be  illustrated and brought to the fore. Please note also - this is an opinion piece - I do not claim to be a neutral observer on these matters. And, on some of these issues, I have added comments which make my own leanings clear. But, I have also endeavoured to do so in ways which clearly distinguish my own opinions from both the factual statements made by informational sources - such as  OnTheIssues
,in order to expressed the candidate's positions - and, the opinions of other commentators.

Priority of strict construction
WALLACE: New question: Will you appoint conservative Supreme Court justices even if you have reason to believe that they might vote to overturn McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform?

MCCAIN: I was very aware of the opinion of Justices Roberts and Alito, and I was one who fought hard for the confirmation of both of them.

First of all, I wouldn't impose any litmus test. That would be totally inappropriate.

But second of all, I will appoint justices such as the ones I've strongly supported and gotten through the Senate, with the help of many others or help along with others, only those who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench. And I have a clear record of that, too.

WALLACE: And even if they might vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade and also McCain-Feingold.

MCCAIN: Look, you cannot impose litmus tests. If you have justices that have a clear conservative ó a clear, strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, then you don't have to worry about what their decisions will be, because it's pretty obvious that people who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States are worthy of our confidence.

And by the way, I think the voters ought to consider that when they decide who they want to be president of the United States
Transcript: John McCain on 'FOX News Sunday' Sunday, February 03, 2008


19,15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favour the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Leviticus Chapter 19


(C) David Aronin 2008