Evaluating the candidates

Looks like we'll get to vote this November.  Living in Oklahoma, a fat lot of good that'll do!  But that is no reason to not go about it systematically. 

Let's get the easy decisions out of the way:
  1. I'm voting for Tom Cole, Republican congressman representing a district that includes Norman.  This has nothing to do with his policies. His office provided excellent "constituent" help when I needed to budge some government bureaucracy several years ago.  Even though, as non-citizens at the time, we were not technically his constituents.  So, he gets my vote as long as he is in office.
  2. I'm voting against Jim Inhofe.  This is the fellow who is proud of his position that global warming is a hoax (being skeptical is one thing; but being proud of your ignorance?). Currently, the leading contender against him is Andy Rice.
I have more research to do on the state-level elections.     Drew Edmondson has been doing some great stuff cleaning up the Arkansas River, so I'm leaning towards him.

Between Obama and McCain, I'm still undecided.  On a couple of issues, I have enough information to evaluate:

  1. Torture:   Obama and McCain have both said they'd shutdown the torture chambers at Guantanamo.  McCain, having been tortured, is a bit more credible on this issue.  However, since the Republicans instituted the policy in the first place, his party is not.   I'm afraid that Obama, when push comes to shove, will start to start to dilute his position to pick up bipartisan support.    This issue is huge for me -- probably the only moral issue in this election -- so if they make new statements about this, I'll update the scores.  But for now, based on their statements so far:     Obama (+8),   McCain (+9)
  2. Taxes:    Obama keeps the tax rates constant for families that make less than $250K, so there's no impact on us of his increasing the top-level tax rate from 15% to 20%.  The middle-class tax credits and increased taxes on dividends don't affect us.  McCain is going to keep Bush's tax cuts in place.  So, it appears to be a wash as far as taxes are concerned. However, both fellows have sneaky ways of increasing my taxes.  McCain will drop the tax benefit for health insurance premiums.  The health insurance premium for our family for four is $14000/year.  So, McCain's tax proposals will result in a tax increase for us of about $6000, once you take fed+ss+medicare+state taxes into account.    Obama will drop the cap on Social Security and charge 2% for income above the cap (now $102,000/individual).  For every $50,000 in income above the cap, we'll end up paying $1000 more in taxes.  This is not bad, if it means that Social Security will remain solvent longer. Besides, the increase is dwarfed by the $6000 sneaky tax increase that McCain has in store.        So, on taxes:  Obama (0),   McCain (-2).

Other issues as they come up ... I'll keep updating the count over time, with appropriate weights to different issues.  For now, the score is:  Obama (8), McCain(7)

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