Posted by: sean | August 11, 2007

Election choices

Via Ezra, I found a website that lets you select quotes from presidential candidates that you agree with without telling you who they are until the end. You have to check the boxes of issues that interest you, so I tried it out on foreign policy (general), Iraq War, Iran, Israel and Palestine and finally, Health Care.

Since most of the quotes I chose to respond to were about foreign policy, it’s not surprising that I agree the most with Bill Richardson. After him, Mike Gravel (about whom I know next to nothing), Kucinich and Obama were tied for second place. There were six Republican candidates whom I agreed with on one quote, and one Republican (Ron Paul) whom I agreed with more than a Democrat (Biden) by a score of 4 to 3. I’m pretty sure that if I had done the whole test, including the other domestic quotes, that probably would have switched around. Totally absent from the list of people whom I can agree with about a single thing is Guiliani.

Otherwise, it’s interesting to me that on the issue of Israel/Palestine, there weren’t very many quotes I agreed with by any of the candidates. I clicked to agree with some of the fairer sounding two-state comments, although deep down, I don’t believe a two-state solution is viable in the long term. There were exactly zero candidates who came out for cutting funding to Israel or a one-state solution and only one quote, from Gravel, about negotiating with Hamas:

The US must sponsor negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Hamas, with the goal of a two-state solution guaranteeing demilitarized borders, Israel’s right to survive and raising Palestinians economic standards.

Of those who took the test, more than half (52.8%) agreed with this statement.

The two most popular quotes that I agreed with were by Richardson and Kucinich, at 80% and 72.86% respectively:

Richardson: “In recent years, American foreign policy has been guided more by dogma than by facts, more by ideology than by history, more by wishful thinking than by reality.”

Kucinich: “I support normal bilateral trade with Cuba. Farm communities throughout the U.S. are being denied a natural market in Cuba, and Americans are being denied products from Cuba.”

Of course it’s hard to generalize these percentages, because like me, most people probably only responded to quotes in the areas that are the most important to them, and so I can imagine that issue like abortion, for example, were ranked as the most important by more conservative people.

In any case, it’s an interesting exercise nonetheless, and I’ve been able to work out that while I agree with Richardson more than anyone else about the issues that are the most important to me, I agree enough with Obama to back him instead since Richardson has nearly no chance of winning the primaries. (I hope he will accept being a vice presidential candidate or nomination as secretary of state.)


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