Back in 2008, I had a difficult time detecting any substantive difference between the top-tier candidates — Barack Obama and John McCain — both of whom had surprisingly similar campaign themes: Regulate industry to control greenhouse gases through a cap-and-trade program; play a decisive role worldwide through aggressive foreign policy and generous foreign aid; institute “comprehensive immigration reform” (aka amnesty); ramp up the already huge amounts of deficit spending by backing such programs as the Troubled Asset Relief Program to boost the economy; and maintain the status quo with social welfare programs or even increase spending, etc.
The only key areas where the two candidates significantly differed were in healthcare (McCain called for tax breaks for healthcare spending, and for cutting healthcare costs by allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines versus what would become ObamaCare) and corporate taxes (McCain wanted them lower, and Obama wanted them higher).
Since I was being promised great “change” from Obama supporters, I decided to consider Obama’s policies with an open mind. And I put together a list of questions for Obama about his policies — the thought being that if Obama, or someone intimately familiar with his positions, could sensibly answer the questions, I’d vote for Obama. No one accepted my challenge, not even Democratic friends and acquaintances who repeatedly sought my vote for their candidate.
It’s time to make the same offer for the 2012 presidential race — with a new set of questions — because I’m told repeatedly that Obama is pushing smart policy, but that his changes will take time to take effect.
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