Thursday, October 16, 2008

How different are Obama and McCain?

Though Barack Obama and John McCain are projected as polar opposites, I sometimes wonder. It's pretty astonishing on how many issues they actually agree. In some, Obama has taken a traditionally Republican position while in others, McCain has taken a traditionally Democrat position. Here are some examples:

(i) Capital punishment. Both candidates favour the death penalty.
(ii) Foreign affairs. Both candidates are suspicious about the impact of China's economic rise.
(iii) Environment. Both believe global warming is a problem.
(iv) Same-sex issues. Both support same-sex civil unions and both oppose gay marriage.
(v) Foreign affairs again. Both believe in imposing sanctions on Iran.
(vi) Science. Both support embryonic stem cell research.
(vii) Guantanamo. Both support closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Then again, they differ sharply on some issues. McCain opposes universal health care while Obama feels health care is a "right". They differ on gun control, on various aspects of the economy, and on the Iraq war which McCain supports and Obama has consistently opposed. Also Obama supports increasing the minimum wage.

But for me the most striking was not a political but a personal piece of data: their heroes. John McCain lists as his hero Theodore Roosevelt, who may have been a great U.S. President but was also an unabashed racist. To him is due the following quote about Native Americans: "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth." Charming person, this Teddy! (and by the way, teddy bears are named after him, not because he was cute, but because he supposedly refused to shoot a captive bear on a hunting trip).

And who are Obama's heroes? Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Cesar Chavez.

Case closed.


mskittex said...

Interesting thoughts, though there are some other differences - those you mentioned are illustrative of that. I enjoyed reading your blog and will look for it again.


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Mind Without Fear said...

In a slightly lighter vein, one more commonality: when told "I love u" both are equally adept at saying "I love u too"