Thursday, November 29, 2007

Presidential Candidates

A coworker sent me to Glassbooth, one of no doubt numerous sites that helps you choose between presidential candidates. I enjoyed this one because it includes the step where you indicate what your actual priorities are.

It's helpful to distinguish between different meanings of "priorities." I think the Iraq War is really important, but it's not something I'm likely to distinguish very much between candidates on. What I want the next president to do is to see what the actual situation is and respond appropriately. I care that their general attitude is not "we can solve our problems only by attacking everyone" (hello, Giuliani), and I don't think immediately withdrawing all of our troops is sensible (or even possible), but this is an issue where I'd be judging between candidates based on their credibility rather than their stated positions.

Civil liberties and domestic security, on the other hand, is a real issue of concern for me right now.

At any rate, these were my results, from best to worst.

Bill Richardson 79%
Barrack Obama 78% [my actual top choice]
Christopher Dodd 77%
Mike Gravel 74%
John Edwards 72%
Dennis Kucinich 72%
Joe Biden 72%
Hillary Clinton 69% [my actual 2nd choice]

Ron Paul 59%
John McCain 59%
Mike Huckabee 54%
Fred Thompson 54%
Rudy Giuliani 52% [my very least favorite candidate]
Mitt Romney 49%
Duncan Hunter 43% [who?]
Tom Tancredo 39% [I HATE this guy]

It's interesting that all of the Dems fell within a 10-point range for me, there is then a 10-point gap between them and Republicans, and then the Republicans cover a 20-point range of their own.

I didn't totally follow my own advice about priorities, or at least it wasn't possible to in all cases. One of my disagreements with Obama was on gay marriage, but IMO there are only two viable political positions for a presidential candidate: I'm against it, or I'm against it but civil unions are a good idea. I don't hold it against Obama that he takes the civil unions position. I think his stance on gay rights is actually peachy.

My breakdown on Obama is as follows:

Abortion: 100%
Medical Marijuana and Drug Policy: 100%
Environment and Energy: 100%
Health Care: 100%
Civil Liberties and Domestic Security: 88%
Trade and Economics: 75% [I’m less protectionist]
Immigration: 75%
Taxes and Budget: 75%
Iraq and Foreign Policy: 50%
Social Security: 50%
Gay Rights: 25% [I am in favor of gay marriage]

All of these types of quizzes have major limitations, of course. I think the 10-point gap between Obama and Clinton, and the fact that Kucinich came up higher than Clinton, makes me look a bit more liberal than I really am. I disagree with Obama on trade and economics more than this quiz thinks (because I think it only had one or two questions about it). And stated policy positions are only part of the picture.


Sally said...

My highest match was John McCain at 71%.

rvman said...

I got Thompson (69%), Paul (68%), McCain (68%). The rest of the Republicans strung down to 60% (Romney). Then the Democrats appear, led by Richardson (56%), Dodd (54%), stringing on down to Biden at 41%.

This actually fits my thinking on the Democratic side - I've supported Richardson as the most qualified Democrat for a while.

On the Republican side, I can see where the quiz is coming from, but no, on non-policy grounds. (Thompson isn't really qualified, Paul isn't tempermentally qualified, and McCain is a gasbag and too old - he'll be 72 before the election.) (I really haven't liked any of the R's as Presidential timber since Tommy Thompson dropped out.) Huckabee is a theocrat, Hunter is a 'who?', Giuliani is a fascist, Tancredo a racist, and Romney has no steady political compass other than 'whatever the electorate wants'.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this illuminating post. I will have to visit the site you reference. My first choice is Kucinich and my second choice Obama. (You know now who this is, but I am remaining anonymous for reasons that will become clear in a moment.) Richardson is my third, but only because he is now a "native son." Some of the lawyers here love Richardson and some detest him; he has appointed judges that the DAs absolutely loathe. I am moderately surprised that Sally's highest match would be McCain -- but I agree he is the most qualified Republican.

Anonymous said...

Having just gone to Glassbooth, I am told that Mike Gravel rather than Barack Obama should be my second choice, but other than that, my top 3 square with what I told you earlier. Gravel and Kucinich are almost clones of each other anyway, except that Gravel is older, Unitarian, and more excitable.