The Race for President: Barack Obama Analyzed

Next in our series of analytics on presidential hopefuls we have Barack Obama. Please refer to my previous post documenting the criteria on which all the candidates are graded to get more detail on the standard of performance expected in these areas.

About the Candidate: Democrat Barack Obama is the junior Senator from Illinois. He lived for most of his childhood in Hawaii and Jakarta, Indonesia. Obama worked as a university lecturer, and civil rights lawyer (an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill & Galland from 1993 to 1996) before running for public office. He served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997 to 2004, before launching his campaign for U.S. Senate in 2003.

Issue/Voting Criteria Candidate’s Stance Candidate’s Record Grade
1. Strengthening the Family From Obama’s website
“Strong families raise successful children and keep communities together. While Senator Obama does not believe that we can simply legislate healthy families, good parenting skills or economic success, he does believe we can eliminate roadblocks that parents face and provide tools to help them succeed.”
From Obama’s website
“Obama worked with churches, Chicago residents and local government to set up job training programs for the unemployed and after school programs for kids.”
From the Washington Post
-Obama voted against a bill to add an amendment to the Constitution of the United States defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
From Project Vote Smart
-Senator Obama did not vote on a bill that would have prohibited the government from funding organizations that perform abortions
-He voted to authorize additional grants for sexual education programs in schools
-He voted against a bill that criminalizes the transportation of pregnant minors across state lines to get an abortion.
C
1A. Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion From a Speech posted on his website
-“I also think that we should give them (poor girls and boys) the information about contraception that can prevent unwanted pregnancies, lower abortion rates, and help assure that that every child is loved and cherished.”
-Obama does not oppose abortion because he cannot “explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”
D
1B. Pro-Traditional Marriage
From His Website
-“Obama also believes we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act” which mandates that the Federal Government may not recognize same-sex marriages
-“Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman”
F
2. Defending Our Country From Obama’s website
-“Senator Obama has fought to strengthen America’s position in the world.”
-He “
supported efforts to base homeland security spending on risk rather than pork-barrel politics. He has also introduced legislation to strengthen chemical plant and drinking water security and to enhance disaster preparedness.
From Wikipedia.org
Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act,” a bill proposing to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq
From the Washington Post
-Obama supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 which would have provided a path to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens
-Obama was one of 14 Senators that voted
against a bill funding the troops in Iraq in May of 2007 .
-Obama voted for the non-binding resolution (that was ultimately defeated) that would have revised U.S. policy on Iraq and directed the president to begin a phased redeployment (i.e. surrender) of U.S. forces
From Project Vote Smart
-Senator Obama voted to give terrorists detained in Guantanamo Habeus Corpus rights.
-He voted against a bill that would deny legal status to undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies
D
2A. Defeating Terrorists From Obama’s website
-Obama, in theory, opposes “the spread of weapons of mass destruction,” though he “said that [the Iraq War] was wrong in its conception…[and that] Saddam Hussein posed no imminent threat to the United States.”
F
2B. Protecting Our Borders From Obama’s website
-“Barack Obama has played a leading role in crafting comprehensive immigration reform. ”
-He believes the recent immigration debate “has allowed the illegal immigration problem to worsen, with borders that are less secure than ever and an economy that depends on millions of workers living in the shadows.”
F
3. Free Market Economic Policy From Remarks on Tax Fairness
Obama seems to want to eliminate economic risk and have the government guarantee “that if you work hard, your work will be rewarded.”
-“we should be insisting that everyone pays their fair share [of taxes], and when I’m
President, they will.”
From Wikipedia.org
-As a state legislator, Obama sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for child care.
From the Washington Post
-Obama voted against a bill that would have cut nearly $40 billion in waste from the federal budget by imposing substantial changes on welfare, child support and student lending programs.
-He voted against establishing a free trade zone between the United States and several Central American countries
From Project Vote Smart
-Obama voted against repealing the estate tax (or death tax) because, he says, it only benefits the wealthiest Americans
-He voted for the SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) bill which would have provide government health care to children up to age 25 and poor families up to $80,000 in yearly income.
F
3A. Lower Taxes From Remarks on Tax Fairness
-Obama believes that the current tax system “disproportionately benefits the wealthiest
Americans” (even though the wealthier you are the higher tax rate you pay).
-Obama opposes “the Bush tax cuts” because it “gave the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans a tax cut that was twice as large as the middle class.”
-yet he says he would “reward work by providing an income tax cut of up to $500 per person” which sounds awfully similiar to the Bush tax cuts.
-Obama supports “cutting taxes for working people, homeowners, and seniors”
D
3B. Smaller Government From Obama’s website
-Finding a right in the constitution that I have never seen, Obama says “every American has the right to affordable health care,” and proposes a massive “new national health plan.”
-Obama opposes any legislation he considers “threats to Social Security and Medicare.”
From Wikipedia.org
-“I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country.”
F

Now this a bit of a surprise to me, but Barack Obama comes out with a grade point average of 0.56, even lower than Hillary Clinton. It turns out that Barack and Hillary score exactly the same (dismally low) on Strengthening the Family and Economic issues. But Barack’s record on defense and national security issues is far worse than Hillary’s (and her’s is not very good either).

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