Freedom of Choice

The 2008 Presidential Campaign has undoubtedly been one of the most widely publicized and controversial campaigns in history. After a series of presidential and vice-presidential debates, many Americans feel that they are well informed on the issues of each candidate. In fact, polls indicate that most voters have decided whom they will be casting their ballots for on Nov. 4. For individuals who have yet to place their faith in one particular candidate, or for those citizens who hope to learn more about the potential leaders of the United States, we at The Pulse have decided to create a voter’s guide that focuses on some of the key issues of all eight candidates who will appear on the Tennessee presidential ballot.

Charles Baldwin (Constitution) has a master’s degree in Theology from Liberty University. He is an author, a founder/minister of Crossroad Baptist Church, a newspaper columnist and a radio talk show host. Baldwin believes the war in Iraq is, and always has been, unnecessary. While he supports the modernization of U.S armed forces, he supports U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, where he believes a war is being fought illegally.

As president, Baldwin says he will implement the “Baldwin/Castle Doctrine” which states that no foreign government, not even an ally or neighbor of the U.S., is allowed to own any portion of U.S. roads, airports, lands, waters, etc.

Baldwin says he will support a tariff on foreign imports and believes this would help protect American jobs and raise revenue for the government. He avidly supports the elimination of the Food and Drug Administration, saying that it is an agency responsible for “prohibiting beneficial products, treatments and technologies here in the Unites States that are freely available in much of the rest of the civilized world.”

Bob Barr (Libertarian) represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives (1995 – 2003). He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 – 1990. He currently practices law with the Law Offices of Edwin Marger. He occupied the 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union from 2003 – 2008. He is currently a Board Member of the National Rifle Association.

Barr strongly opposes the war in Iraq, claiming the Iraqi government has become too dependent upon U.S. forces and taxpayers. He supports withdrawal but says he will not propose a definite timetable for the removal of troops.

He calls for control of government spending and the elimination of wasteful programs to reduce the burden on American taxpayers. Barr believes Americans pay too much in taxes and proposes eliminating the estate tax and capital gains tax.

Charles Jay (Boston Tea Party) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Miami. He is a former member of the U.S. Libertarian Party.

As president, Jay would take measures to eliminate the federal income tax, replacing it with “user fees” which would result from the purchase of goods and services. According to his campaign Web site, Jay’s proposed solution to ending the war in Iraq is “Get the current administration out of there.”

John McCain (Republican) is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy from 1958-1981. He was a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1967-1973. He has served in the U.S. Congress since 1991.

McCain has continued to be an avid supporter of the war in Iraq, stating that the withdrawal of troops would be extremely harmful to the security of the United States. McCain says that if he becomes president, he will continue to pursue victory in Iraq.

On issues of national security and foreign policy, McCain says his top three objectives are “defeating radical Islamic extremists,” breaking America’s dependence on foreign oil, and pushing to instate what he calls a “League of Democracies.” In effect, he hopes to bring countries around the world together to achieve more democratic principles, which he hopes will advance opportunities for struggling countries.

Regarding the economic condition of the U.S., McCain says that he plans to keep income taxes low by making President Bush’s tax cuts permanent. He claims he will repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. He has also stated, “I seek permanent reform of the estate tax, and I support raising the exemption from taxation on estates up to $10 million, while cutting the tax rate to 15 percent.”

Cynthia McKinney (Green Party) served in the House of Representatives from 1993 – 2003 as a representative of Georgia’s 11th Congressional District and from 2005 – 2007 representing Georgia’s 4th Congressional District. She is the first African American woman to have represented the state in the House.

As president, McKinney would call for the end of the occupation in Iraq, a presence she believes is illegal and immoral. She believes in the role of government in providing employment to U.S. citizens.

McKinney is an advocate of reparations, believing the government should pay descendants of former slaves, citing the poverty levels of African Americans as justification for these payouts. McKinney will also work to repeal the Bush Administration tax cuts to “regain control over our monetary system.” She will also take steps to create a Department of Peace, which will be designed to promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world.

Brian Moore (Socialist) graduated from Arizona State University with a master’s degree in public administration and worked for 25 years for health maintenance organizations. He was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer for eight years, working in Latin America and South America in public health programs. Moore believes in the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and ending the war immediately.

As president, he says he would initiate a guaranteed income for all American families, even those whose members do not work. He would call for $35,000 per year per adult.

Moore plans to “phase out” all nuclear power plants and shut down waste incinerators, landfills and open-pit mining. He would call for unconditional disarmament by the U.S. and would cut the military budget by 50 percent. He plans to call for a treaty that will outlaw weapons of mass destruction.

Ralph Nader (Independent) was born in Winsted, Conn., to Lebanese immigrants and later attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He began practicing law in Hartford, Conn., in 1959 and lectured on history and government at the University of Hartford from 1961-1963. He has been a consumer advocate involved in many causes, including automobile safety, genetic and chemical manipulation of food, the quality of air and water and government corruption, and he helped found numerous political and social organizations.

Nader’s campaign focuses heavily on social reform and equal rights for all Americans. He is an advocate of marijuana legalization, ending racial profiling, reforming the procedures of the Department of Justice, and conducting “Congressional hearings on post 9-11 rules and procedures enacted by the Bush Administration in order to examine their impact on security and civil liberties.” Nader says that as president he will tax any corporation that pollutes the environment. This includes industries manufacturing addictive products. He claims he will also work to close corporate tax loopholes.

Barack Obama (Democrat) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and graduated from Harvard Law School, where he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He is serving his first term in the Senate.

Throughout his campaign, he has been vocal about his opposition to the war in Iraq and has said that as president he will begin immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Obama says his top national security objectives will be ending the war in Iraq, halting the use of weapons of mass destruction, and dissuading countries from joining the “nuclear club.”

Obama has also said that addressing the issue of global warming and other environmental issues will be a top priority during his presidency and supports calls for sustainable energy sources. He has said he will start the E-5 (Energy Efficiency, Environmental Education and Employment) Disconnected Youth Service Corps, a program that will engage disadvantaged youths in environmental service and preservation opportunities.

Economically, Sen. Obama supports a pay-as-you-go plan, which he says will keep the country from going further into debt. He supports tax cuts for the middle class but claims he will repeal tax cuts for oil companies and the wealthiest Americans.


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