Voters have been rallying behind their candidates as the 2012 presidential election season is in full swing; however, some voters still remain undecided, and others would just like to learn more about the other candidates on the ballot. The Macaulay Messenger’s guide to the 2012 presidential election breaks down the beliefs of each candidate on several issues. Featured candidates include Democratic President Barack Obama, Republican Governor Mitt Romney, Rep. Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party.
Obama — President Obama supports both the bank and auto bailouts, and raising the debt ceiling to avoid default; he is also pro-union. Obama is against NAFTA, arguing that the deal “puts special interests over workers’ interests.” He is also against subsidies for big oil companies and outsourcing jobs to other countries.
Romney — Governor Romney supports the bank bailouts, but not the auto bailouts. He was against raising the debt ceiling to avoid default. He believes most unions do not benefit American workers. Romney supports NAFTA, citing, “Economists estimate that the agreements have led to the creation of 5.4 million new American jobs and support a total of nearly 18 million jobs. Looking beyond just our FTA partners, our total exports support nearly 10 million American jobs.” He supports providing subsidies for big oil companies. As of now, he is not clearly for or against on outsourcing jobs to other countries.
Goode — Rep. Goode is against the bank and auto bailouts and opposed raising the debt ceiling to avoid default. He does not believe most unions are beneficial to American workers. Goode is against NAFTA, subsidies to big oil companies, and outsourcing jobs to other countries. Additionally, he supports the United States returning to a gold standard.
Johnson — Governor Johnson opposes the bank and auto bailouts, raising the debt ceiling to avoid default, subsidies for big oil companies, and outsourcing jobs to other countries. It is unclear as to if he is for or against on unions or NAFTA.
Stein — Dr. Stein is against the bank bailouts, but supports the auto bailouts. She is against NAFTA, arguing, “People have come here who have lost their jobs, who can no longer support their families, particularly as we have destroyed the economy in South America by dumping agricultural products, as developed by NAFTA. That’s where the real solution lies – renegotiating these treaties which have been harmful to American workers as much as they’ve been harmful to workers in other countries.” She is against subsidies for big oil companies and outsourcing jobs to other countries.
Obama — President Obama believes that lower taxes give employers incentive to hire more workers. He also supports increasing federal income taxes, specifically for the wealthiest 1% of Americans. “[T]he plan calls for the Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform that…observes the Buffett Rule — that people making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay…this plan lives up to a simple idea: as a Nation, we can live within our means while still making the investments we need to prosper. It follows a balanced approach: asking everyone to do their part, so no one has to bear all the burden. And it says that everyone — including millionaires and billionaires — has to pay their fair share,” said Obama.
Romney — Governor Romney believes that lower taxes give employers incentive to hire more workers. He is against raising federal taxes and does not believe the wealthiest 1% of Americans should be taxed more heavily.
Goode — Rep. Goode believes that lower taxes give employers incentive to hire more workers. He is against increasing any federal income taxes. He is not clearly for or against a heavier tax for the wealthiest Americans.
Johnson — Governor Johnson believes that lower taxes give employers incentive to hire more workers. He is against increasing any federal income taxes. He is not clearly for or against a heavier tax for the wealthiest Americans.
Stein Dr. Stein is unclear on her stance regarding lower taxes giving employers incentive to hire more workers. She supports raising federal income taxes, detailing, “a financial transaction tax, which would bring hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy; an offshore tax haven tax; and a progressive tax on millionaires and billionaires.” She believes in heavier taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
Obama — President Obama is pro-choice, stating he is also in support of “policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.”
Romney — Governor Romney is pro-life. Romney has said that the “the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade” and that he believes life begins at conception. He previously held a pro-choice stance, but has since revised his position.
Goode — Rep. Goode is pro-life; the National Right to Life Political Action Committee acknowledged his commitment against legislation supporting abortion. “As President I would continue to oppose abortion and would submit a budget to Congress with zero funding for planned parenthood and any other similar entities,” said Goode.
Johnson — Governor Johnson is pro-choice. He supports “parental notification” in cases of pregnant minors, as well as preventing public funds from going towards abortions, but said, “…I don’t want for a second to pretend that I have a better idea of how a woman should choose when it comes to this situation. Fundamentally this is a choice that a woman should have.”
Stein — Dr. Stein is pro-choice. She advocates for “informed choice about preventing unintended pregnancy,” by offering reproductive health care and family planning options. “Giving women real choices for education opportunities and good paying jobs will also reduce unintended pregnancies. Abortion is a necessary health care option, but will decline as women’s choices expand upstream of unwanted pregnancy,” said Stein.
Obama — President Obama does not believe most adults have the right to carry a concealed handguns and supports more federal regulations on guns and ammunition. “I’m willing to bet they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas – that we should check someone’s criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn’t be able to buy a gun so easily; that there’s room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety and are fully compatible with a robust Second Amendment,” said Obama.
Romney — Governor Romney’s stance regarding whether most adults have the right to carry a concealed handguns is unclear. He is against more federal regulations; said Romney, “I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all federal approach to gun ownership because people keep and use firearms for different reasons. Law-abiding citizens have a right to protect their homes and their families and as President, I will vigorously defend that right.”
Goode — Rep. Goode believes most adults have the right to carry a concealed handguns and is against more federal regulations on guns and ammunition.
Johnson — Governor Johnson believes most adults have the right to carry a concealed handguns, as an “ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment.” He is against more federal regulations on guns and ammunition.
Stein — Dr. Stein’s positions on gun control are unclear.
Obama — President Obama supports federal healthcare reform laws (colloquially known, and from here on referred to as Obamacare). “This year, tens of thousands of uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions, the parents of children who have a preexisting condition, will finally be able to purchase the coverage they need…This year, insurance companies will no longer be able to drop people’s coverage when they get sick. They won’t be able to place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care they can receive…Once this reform is implemented, health insurance exchanges will be created, a competitive marketplace where uninsured people and small businesses will finally be able to purchase affordable, quality insurance,” said Obama. He believes there should be a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance; during the 2008 campaign, he was against the mandate. Obama also believes Americans have a right to basic healthcare.
Romney — Governor Romney is against Obamacare; said Romney, “We put together a plan that was right for Massachusetts. The president took the power of the people and the states away from them and put in place a one-size-fits-all plan. It‘s bad law. It‘s bad constitutional law. It‘s bad medicine. And if I‘m president of the United States, on my first day, I‘ll direct the secretary of HHS to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states.” He is against a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance; Romney did support a state-level health insurance mandate in 2006, upon explaining his own reforms in Massachusetts. He is unclear regarding whether all Americans have a right to basic healthcare.
Goode — Rep. Goode is against Obamacare and a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance. He is unclear regarding whether all Americans have a right to basic healthcare.
Johnson — Governor Johnson is against Obamacare; said Johnson, “The long-term solution to health care is a free market approach to healthcare.” He is against a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance and does not believe Americans have a basic right to healthcare.
Stein — Dr. Stein is against Obamacare and a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance. “I will replace ACA with improved Medicare for All, which provides quality care while saving money… ACA makes a profit-driven system even more expensive by adding complexity (‘exchanges’) to an already massive bureaucracy,” said Stein. Additionally, she said, “the mandate that every American buy expensive, inadequate health insurance is a scheme developed by Republicans and foisted on the nation by Democrats. The winners are the health insurance companies…” She believes Americans have a basic right to healthcare.
Obama President Obama is not clearly for or against undocumented immigrants having access to social services (i.e., welfare, Medicaid, public education). “”[W]e have to demand responsibility from people living here illegally. They must be required to admit that they broke the law. They should be required to register, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English…We need to provide farms a legal way to hire the workers they rely on, and a path for those workers to earn legal status. And we should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here and earn an education and contribute their talents to build the country where they’ve grown up,” said Obama. One should note his Executive Order, which allows eligible immigrants to apply for work permits and defer deportation for two years. He does not believe state and local law enforcement should be empowered to enforce federal immigration laws. He supports maintaining a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border. He is neither for nor against as to whether undocumented immigrants are a “net gain” to the economy.
Romney — Governor Romney is not clearly for or against undocumented immigrants having access to social services. “The question began by saying how do we attract Latino voters. And the answer is by telling them what they know in their heart, which is they or their ancestors did not come here for a handout. If they came here for a handout, they’d be voting for Democrats. They came here for opportunity and freedom. And that’s what we represent. And that’s why we’ll win collecting support from Latinos across the country. With regards to illegal immigration, of course we build a fence and of course we do not give instate tuition credits to people who come here illegally. That only attracts people to come here and take advantage of America’s great beneficence,” said Romney. He thinks state and local law enforcement should be empowered to enforce federal immigration laws and supports a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border. He does not believe undocumented immigrants are a “net gain” to the economy.
Goode — Rep. Goode is against undocumented immigrants having access to social services. He thinks state and local law enforcement should be empowered to enforce federal immigration laws and supports a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border.He does not believe undocumented immigrants are a “net gain” to the economy.
Johnson — Governor Johnson is not clearly for or against undocumented immigrants having access to social services. “Reform immigration to make it easy for individuals to come over here, be documented, pay taxes – immigration reform is needed to state that it’s about work, it’s not about welfare… Set up a grace period where they can get a work permit… social security card so that they can pay income tax, social security, Medicare,” said Johnson. He supports state and local law enforcement enforcing federal immigration laws, but is against a physical barrier along the border. Said Johnson, “The notion of building a fence across two thousand miles of border, the notion of putting the National Guard arm in arm across two thousand miles of border in my opinion would be a whole lot of money spent with very little if any benefit whatsoever.” He does not believe undocumented immigrants are a “net gain” to the economy.
Stein — Dr. Stein is not clearly for or against undocumented immigrants having access to social services. Said Stein, “Grant undocumented immigrants who are already residing and working in the United States a legal status which includes the chance to become U.S. citizens.” She does not believe state and local law enforcement should be empowered to enforce federal immigration laws. Stein has no position on record regarding a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border. She believes undocumented immigrants are a “net gain” to the economy.
Obama — President Obama is not clearly pro or con regarding No Child Left Behind; he was previously against the legislation. Said Obama, “Higher standards are the right goal. Accountability is the right goal. Closing the achievement gap is the right goal. And we’ve got to stay focused on those goals. But experience has taught us that, in it’s implementation, No Child Left Behind had some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them.” He is also unclear regarding the use of federally mandated standardized tests, stating that while a good “baseline,” schools should not be teaching to a test. He does not offer a firm stance as to whether K-12 teachers should get tenure; “If a teacher is given a chance or two chances or three chances but still does not improve, there’s no excuse for that person to continue teaching. I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences,” said Obama.
Romney — Governor Romney is in favor of No Child Left Behind; said Romney, “Former president George W. Bush was right to champion the No Child Left Behind legislation, which requires states to test student progress and to evaluate school performance – it was the only way to ensure that critical information reached the public. Only the federal government had the clout to force testing through the barricade mounted by the national teachers’ unions.” He is also in favor of federally mandated standardized tests. He is neither for or against K-12 teachers getting tenure; ““Removing the least effective teachers from the classroom is also an important way to improve overall teacher quality… If we truly want better public schools, we will have to insist on contract provisions that allow for removing the few teachers who should not be working with children…Teachers’ unions do their very best to secure these insulations from performance for their members, and the results are lack of accountability, rising pay as a simple function of years on the job, and near-absolute job security. These have a deadening impact on student achievement,” said Romney.
Goode — Rep. Goode does not believe No Child Left Behind has improved public education, stating that, “Washington should not be running our local school systems. We need to leave local education decisions to the states and localities.” He is against federally mandated standardized testing and “mostly” against K-12 teachers getting tenure.
Johnson — Governor Johnson does not believe No Child Left Behind has improved public education. “I think the best thing the federal government could do when it comes to education nationwide would be to abolish the Federal Department of Education… Washington top down doesn’t work. No Child Left Behind, everything it is that the federal government mandates ends up giving us this mediocre education system. And it’s not a mediocre education system. It’s terrible,” said Johnson. He is against federally mandated standardized tests and tenure for K-12 teachers.
Stein — Dr. Stein does not believe No Child Left Behind has improved public education, nor does she support federally mandated standardized testing. “[W]e need to reject this facade of No Child Left Behind… which basically commodifies education, commodifies our children, and we need to return to a broad concept of educating for lifelong learning and teaching the whole student,” said Stein. “The goal of education should be to educate the whole student for lifelong learning and success. Educational programs need to be highly flexible in recognition that student skills, needs, and modes of learning vary widely. Forcing all students into a standardized track is harmful to many students. Challenged learners in particular are poorly served by a system that requires extensive drilling and rote memorization.” She has no position on record regarding tenure for K-12 teachers.
Environment and Energy
Obama — President Obama is not clearly in favor or opposition of the Keystone XL pipeline, stating that the State Department was not given adequate time to evaluate the proposal for him to support it. He supports building additional nuclear plants in the United States. He does not believe domestic drilling would lower gas prices and is against off-shore drilling. Obama believes humans are substantially responsible for global climate change; “Global warming is real, is happening now and is the result of human activities. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Glaciers are melting faster; the polar ice caps are shrinking; trees are blooming earlier; oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening marine life; people are dying in heat waves; species are migrating, and eventually many will become extinct. Scientists predict that absent major [green house gas] emission reductions, climate change will worsen famine and drought in some of the poorest places in the world and wreak havoc across the globe.”
Romney — Governor Romney supports the Keystone XL pipeline project; said Romney, “When someone says we want to bring in a pipeline that’s going to create tens of thousands of jobs to bring oil in from Canada, how in the world could you say no?” He also supports the United States building more nuclear plants. He believes an increase in domestic drilling would lower gas prices and supports off-shore drilling. He is unclear on how substantially humans impact global climate change. “I believe that climate change is occurring – the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control,” said Romney.
Goode — Rep. Goode supports authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline. He is unclear on his stance regarding building additional nuclear plants, but says the US “must develop its own resources and alternative fuel sources.” He is not clear as to whether domestic drilling would decrease gas prices, but supports off-shore drilling. When asked if humans are substantially responsible for global climate change, Goode responded, “Mostly no.”
Johnson — Governor Johnson supports the Keystone XL pipeline and states that he would “certainly remove the regulatory hurdles.” He is not clearly for or against the US building more nuclear plants. He agrees that increased domestic drilling for oil would lower gas prices, arguing, “Gas prices should be determined by a marketplace freed from unnecessary government interference, and in the case of domestic oil drilling, that interference comes in the form of effectively keeping millions of acres of land off-limits to drilling – and to the marketplace.” He also advocates for off-shore drilling. Johnson also believes that humans are responsible for climate change. “I accept the fact that there is global warming and I accept the fact that it’s man caused. That said, I am opposed to cap and trade. I’m a free market guy when it comes to the clean environment the number-one factor when it comes to the clean environment is a good economy,” said Johnson.
Stein — Dr. Stein is against the authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline, citing that it is, “a disaster for the planet.” She is against building more nuclear plants in the United States, advocating for safer renewable energy sources. She does not take a clear stance as to whether increased domestic oil drilling will lower gas prices. Stein does believe that humans are responsible for climate change. “People are already dying from climate change. Extreme weather changes have already inflicted tens of billions in damage. This is a mere hint of the far greater impacts we are already on track for. The clear solution to the growing worldwide economic crisis is to invest in a sustainable fossil fuel-free economy,” said Stein.
Obama — President Obama is now in favor of same-sex marriage, after not taking a clear stance on the issue (previously, Obama said his position was “evolving”). “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” said Obama.
Romney — Governor Romney opposes same-sex marriage; ““I believe we should have a federal amendment in the constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad,” said Romney.
Goode — Rep. Goode opposes same-sex marriage; said Goode, “I believe that marriage should be a union between a man and a woman. I am opposed to gay marriages and so-called gay civil unions. I support the federal Marriage Protection Amendment.”
Johnson — Governor Johnson is now in favor of same-sex marriage; he previously took no clear stance. “[G]overnment’s promise should be to insure equal access to those rights to all Americans, gay or straight…Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom. That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally,” said Johnson.
Stein — Dr. Stein supports same-sex marriage. “I’m proud that I don’t have to change my position to match the polls. I have supported marriage equality since at least 2002, when I ran for governor. And I’m going to continue to work to eliminate this insidious form of discrimination,” said Stein. “The federal government is charged with defending the human rights of all people, no matter which state they live in.”
Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
Obama — President Obama believes that the war in Iraq has made America safer; he previously believed otherwise. He was against the US attacking Iraq in 2003. Obama has implemented a policy to withdraw all troops out of Afghanistan by 2014.
Romney — Governor Romney’s position on whether the war in Iraq has made America safer in unclear. Said Romney, “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.” He believes the troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan when the commanders say it is appropriate.
Goode Rep. Goode mostly does not agree that the Iraq war made America safer and does not believe the United States should have enter Iraq in 2003, in hindsight. He voted in favor of an emergency $78 billion supplemental appropriation for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson — Governor Johnson does not believe America was made safer by the Iraq or the Afghanistan war; said Johnson, “Our security is not being threatened [in either Iraq or Afghanistan. America’s] actions have actually had a reverse impact on our security. We have made enemies out of tens of millions of individuals that maybe we wouldn’t have made otherwise.” He does not believe the US should have entered Iraq, and opposed it in 2003. He believes troops should be pulled out of Afghanistan immediately. “Six months after we engaged in Afghanistan we’d wiped out al-Qaeda effectively–that was 10 years ago. Now we’re building roads, schools, bridges, highways and hospitals–we have those needs here in this country,” said Johnson.
Stein — Dr. Stein does not believe the Iraq war has made America safer and does not believe the United States should have enter Iraq in 2003. She has called both wars “illegal” and unnecessary. “Afghanistan is a symbol: military solutions are not solutions,” said Stein.
Obama — President Obama is in favor of the US using military force if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program. “We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs,” said Obama.
Romney — Governor Romney is in favor of the US using military force if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program. Said Romney, “Well, it’s worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It’s worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we’ve done, there’s nothing else we can do beside mil– take military action, then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”
Goode — Rep. Goode is in favor of the US using military force if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program “if Congress declares war.”
Johnson — Governor Johnson is not clearly pro or con on whether the US should use military force if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program. “I don’t think Iran’s a military threat, though it might prove to be, but we [have the military capacity to] deal with that threat,” said Johnson.
Stein Dr. Stein opposes the US using military force if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program. “A US or Israeli airstrike on Iran would have severe repercussions for the American people. It would produce a global oil supply crisis that would send our entire economy into a tailspin. And it could lead to retaliatory attacks on Israeli and American citizens. We need to take a clear stand against nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, but preemptive attacks, especially for a problem that is not even in evidence, are counterproductive and must not be on the table,” said Stein.
Obama — President Obama supports an independent Palestinian state. “One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves… Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state,” said Obama. He also asserts that the US should commit to a strong relationship with Israel, and supports Israel’s right to self-defense.
Romney — Governor Romney’s position is not clearly for or against an independent Palestinian state. Regarding Israel, “My view is this: We stand with the Israeli people. We link arms with them. If we disagree with them, like this president has time and time again, we don’t do it in public like [Obama’s] done it, we do it in private. And we let the Israeli leadership describe what they believe the right course is going forward.”
Goode — Rep. Goode’s position is not clearly for or against an independent Palestinian state; he would support an independent Palestinian state “if all agree.”
Johnson — Governor Johnson is neither for nor against an independent Palestinian state. “I think it’s a mistake that we [the US] know what’s in Israel’s best interest – they do and they need to be left to decide that and determine that,” said Johnson. He would call for ending all support and aid to Israel, but says that the United States should maintain a strong alliance with the country.
Stein — Dr. Stein’s position is not clearly for or against an independent Palestinian state “…[A] dedicated commitment to justice will further American interests in the region much better than the current policies of supporting abuses and violence by one side against the other. And I believe that this is in the best interests of all people living in Israel and Palestine,” said Stein. She believes the US should continue to support Israel, but not the current regime.
All information was complied from non-partisan organizations, such as ProCon.org, OnTheIssues.org, and FindTheData.org, and Project VoteSmart, and ISideWith.com, as well as each candidate’s respective campaign literature.
Feature image courtesy of FirstPost.