Saturday, April 5, 2008

Comparing Obama vs. Clinton

There are significant differences. Here are some key ones that made me a supporter (and precinct delegate) of Obama:

On civil liberties. I was incensed that Clinton not only missed the vote on the FISA reauthorization bill that passed the senate, but that she made no attempt to lead against it at all beforehand. Obama, OTOH, did not vote but spoke out against it.

LCV ranks Obama higher on the environment I do wish that he would be more aggressive in some positions, such as pushing for doubling fuel economy standards far sooner than within 18 years as he has pledged. But I know this has been a big issue for the big auto lobbyists, which is why fuel standards haven't changed since the 90s so this is probably a starting point at least for negotiations.

Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton Records on Transparency, Lobbyists, and Ethics For every item considered, Obama either Ties Clinton or comes out on top. Some highlights:

  • Released his tax returns. Clinton has not.

  • Released the names of all campaign contribution bundlers -- regardless of funding level

  • Disclosed congressional earmarks

  • Co-sponsored campaign finance reform legislation

  • Takes no washington lobbyist contributions

Obama's healthcare plan will likely end up insuring more people, even though Clinton's takes a heavy-handed approach of mandatory participation (which I only support if it is a single-payer system). Also see Jonathan Alter's excellent and compelling piece on how Obama's plan is the right one for the times.

Obama on foreign policy. He has made clear that he would meet without preconditions with foreign leaders because he believes, as I do, that talking to your friends and adversaries is how you resolve conflict. Shunning foreign powers or holding out for our conditions, as with North Korea, didn't even last as an approach in the Bush Administration. And for good reason. It's not good policy but that's what Clinton will continue.

Clinton also voted for the Iran amendment that categorized the Iranian guard as a terrorist organization, which also goes against the notion of diplomacy. This vote was opposed by Obama and others.

Clinton voted for the Iraq war and has never apologized for it, although in a later debate came close by admitting it was a mistake.

Obama on technology innovation. Clinton didn't even seem to know that Obama had actually already gotten legislation passed that enabled searching online congressional records when she talked about how great that would be in a speech. And Obama is explicitly pro-net-neutrality. I wish he had put forth a more aggressive (than his pledged $15 billion/year) Manhattan-project-like initiative for alternative energy / energy independence but he is a big supporter of this.

Obama is also explicitly against consolidation of media ownership, which has corrupted the news and information available to Americans.

Other vote differences:
Clinton-Obama differences clear in senate votes
Great blog entry comparing each on various positions

Campaign tactics: Obama has run a very smart campaign. He has not made the mistakes of John Kerry and immediately and strongly addresses false information and false criticisms from the media and opponents.
Clinton must have some really poor advisors since she has resorted to some tactics that are hurting the Democratic party by bolstering the Republican candidate's resume over Obama's.

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