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Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama and McCain on the Issue: Edge to Obama on Stimulus II?

Stan will love this!

Hat tip to Seth Tupper for pointing us toward this handy summary of where Senators Obama and McCain stand on the issues. Stateline.org breaks down the presidential candidates' positions on 15 major issues, with an emphasis on how their proposals would affect states.

Stateline.org highlights the candidate's positions on another round of economic stimulus, a topic that we've had some fun with here. Stateline.org gives Obama the edge on specifics, not to mention cash: they say Obama proposes a second dose of stimulus, consisting of "$25 billion for fiscally ailing states and $25 billion to help states build and fix highways, roads, bridges, airports and rail systems." Stateline.org says Obama contends that stimulus would create two million new jobs—a stretch, it seems, considering that Bush's people said this year's first economic stimulus package would create 500,000 new jobs (update: post-stimulus, the U.S. economy lost 84,000 jobs in August). Of course, stimulus aimed at building infrastructure instead of consumer spending might produce better job results.

Meanwhile, says Stateline.org, McCain "has not talked about the fiscal plight of states" and has rejected an infrastructure-oriented stimulus plan proposed by Governors Schwarzenegger and Rendell. "Instead, McCain so far has stressed a core philosophy of government not unlike Republican candidates dating back to the last Arizonan to seek the presidency, Barry Goldwater in 1964. He wants lower taxes and less government."

There's an example of a broader trend we've seen in the Rove-ishly retooled McCain campaign: Obama leans toward specifics, while McCain's marketing "just words," at least on this issue. As we saw in the vituperative, mendacious speeches at the RNC, McCain et al. focus on trotting out the same old rhetoric about what they'd like us to believe the GOP is about, even though eight years of Bush show that philosophy will hardly see the light of day in how they actually govern (you still think the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and the Department of Homeland Security are examples of limited government? Come on....) Reciting the old "lower taxes, less government" slogans also avoids offering a thoughtful analysis of the actual problems citizens and states are trying to solve.

But hey, make up your own mind. Check out Stateline.org's Obama/McCain summary, see what you like, do a little more reading, and go to the polls in November with something more in your head than slogans.

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