With the election under four weeks away I am still undecided. Readers of this blog know that I voted for Obama last time, and that I think peace is the most important pursuit. So here are my three top items and how I think the candidates stack up.
I think Obama has the lead here. It seems that most first term presidents are itching to go to war because it help their re-election chances. Even though it is deplorable to put our citizens in harms way just to improve the president's chances at the polls -- I do think it happens. The fact that Obama has gotten us out of Iraq and has not invaded anyone else (like Iran) is a check mark in his favor. Also, following this line of reasoning, he is going to be less likely to start a war in his second term than any first term president.
Special Interests and Deficit Reduction
This is a tie. And when I say special interests I mostly think of industries getting bail out money, and not so much who is getting payback for campaign contributions. I have it as a tie because I think Obama has proven incapable of stopping the flow of money from the US Treasury to Goldman Sachs (I think oldman Sachs is a good label for all things evil on Wall Street even though I do recognize that there are plenty of bad actors in other firms too). I don't think Romney has any intention of stopping the flow of our money to these bad guys. So incapable vs. uninterested equals a tie. This same thinking also applies to deficit reduction. Obama can't get it done and Romney does not want to.
Managing the Unions
On this one I am undecided. Of course the Democrats have been in the pocket of the unions for all of my lifetime. But Obama has done some good stuff to manage their influence. I am quite involved in education reform and I think the Race to the Top effort was a well crafted plan to reduce the union's efforts to block progress in education reform. The Republicans have always been in an all out war with the unions. Sometimes I think that much antagonism is not going to get us to where we want to go. It could even strenghten the unions. The public union problem is going to be front and center in the next four years as minicipalities try to figure out how to stay solvent in the face of liabilities that have been passed forward for decades.
It will be very intersting to see how the remaining debates illumnate the candidate's approaches to these three issues.