With the primaries heating up, I thought it would be a good idea to analyze the remaining Democratic candidates, given that I am a Democrat. I may analyze the Republican field later this week.
Senator Clinton is the obvious establishment candidate on Democratic aisle. She has been involved in politics for all her life and she is clearly an expert in the arena. I like Senator Clinton and I could vote for her in good conscience because she is an effective Democrat, a natural leader, and has lead a life full of political experiences. It seems to be an ignorant trend to whine and promise to "move to Canada" if she is elected, and unfortunately, that ignorance is heard quite a bit. But the bottom line is that we all know she would be a very effective President. She's Pro-Choice, pro-civil unions (believes states should decide on gay marriage), against CAFTA (despite her husband supporting NAFTA), pro-gun control, and claims she is the best to implement a "uniquely American" universal healthcare. In addition she has voted with Democrats 96.7% of the time and, although deeply spiritual, she has a near flawless voting record on supporting the separation of Church and State.
In short, like I said, she is an effective politician and reliable Democrat. However, for years she has been the target of some of the most vicious Right-Wing attacks, I would argue that she has endured the most vile smear campaign against of all recent politicians, so one has to admire her resolve.
My only criticism is that she is, in fact, the Washington Insider. She is the Establishment candidate in an election focused on change, and because of that, I personally cannot endorse or support her, unless she is nominated. And that is because, although the establishment candidate, she is definitely more qualified than ANY of the Republican candidates. I'll get to them later.
LINK: Hillary Clinton on the issues
Senator Obama has run a fantastic campaign that focuses on the theme of change. He claims that he can bring the honesty, integrity, and positive change that Washington so desperately needs. His campaign has focused on reaching out to others, rising above the petty politics of a campaign, and ending the culture of corruption this last administration has allowed and encouraged to flourish.
Although his record in national politics is limited, his campaign articulates that he is very much Pro-Choice, pro-civil unions (although against gay marriage), interested in amending NAFTA, very pro-gun control, supports comprehensive health care reform, and wholeheartedly supports the separation of Church and State.
I was overjoyed to see Obama win Iowa, and I really hope he will get the nomination, for it seems (at least at this point) he is the only Democrat who has a chance at defeating Hillary in the Democratic primary. His message is uplifting, his speeches are inspiring, and his campaign has been run very well. However, I am terribly upset set to see the topic of race being brought up. Clearly this country still has a problem with racism and I am ever disappointed in this part of the American public that still have issues with a black President.
LINK: Barack Obama on the issues
Senator Edwards is my pick for President. The man is intelligent, compassionate, and capable of leading this country. He truly cares about the working class -- there is a reason so many major unions endorsed him early. Alas, the media has decided that the Democrats are in a two-person race and have unfairly counted Edwards out. Because of this, Edwards will probably end up taking the role of "kingmaker" by choosing to either endorse Hillary or Obama.
He is staunchly Pro-Choice, pro-civil unions (he still struggles on the issue of gay marriage), very pro-union, opposes NAFTA, has promised to end the Iraq War within his first year, pro-gun rights, and is for universal healthcare. Martin Luther King III and Ralph Nader have endorsed him, and Michael Moore hinted that he is the best choice on healthcare issues.
People like to crack jokes at Edwards because of the $400 haircut nonsense and the "Breck girl" comment, but the bottom line is that he is a man of integrity who cares deeply for those who are struggling in this country. His message has always been one about standing up for the little guy, and although cliche, I believe he means it. I don't agree with Edwards on everything, but I honestly believe he is the best choice for the Presidency.
LINK: John Edwards on the Issues
I have not followed the Kucinich campaign as closely as perhaps I should have. His candidacy is, unfortunately, not one that is taken seriously (aside from those on the far Left). I saw him speak at the SOA Protest last November and it was very moving. He has a great message, but his attitude perplexes me. He consistently looks for ways to differ from those in his party on issues he should agree with -- from not boycotting a FOX News debate to refusing to sign a "loyalty pledge", Kucinich appears to be antagonistic when it comes to party loyalty. However, some see this as a good thing.
He's right (in my opinion) on all the issues -- Pro-Choice, pro-gay marriage, against NAFTA, he promised to end the War in Iraq immediately, he is pro-gun control, pro-universal healthcare, and is, apparently, deeply spiritual.
Alas, he will get few votes except from his die-hard supporters, which is too bad, because, even if I am not supporting him right now, I agree he deserves much more credit than he is given.
LINK: Dennis Kucinich on the Issues
I did not know much about Mike Gravel at the beginning of the campaign and I still do not. I know he is to the Left on every position, which is good on some issues, but bad on others. Extremism is never good, and I believe Gravel pushes that on some issues.
His campaign is even less serious than Kucinich's. At his highest popularity, Gravel polled at 1%, and now his campaign stops include high schools. In addition, he has been shut out of more debates than he has been invited to.
Personally, I am not much of a fan of Gravel. I like most of his social positions, but his foreign policy seems a bit off, and his personal demeanor strikes me as odd. He seems to be, perhaps delusional.
Whatever the case, Gravel added something to this election and I am glad he still pursues his campaign even though it was over before it began.
LINK: Mike Gravel on the Issues
So that's my late analysis of the remaining Democrats. Like I said earlier, I hope to discuss the Republican field next. Also, please note, all the facts I listed can be verified at OnTheIssues.org.