So I'm starting a new series of posts here where I'll rank the four main Presidential candidates - Obama, McCain, former GA reps Bob Barr (Lib) and Cynthia McKinney (Green) - based on the 10 issues I feel are the most important. The issues will be presented in no particular order, but here's the list in order of importance:
1. Foreign Policy
2. Civil Liberties
3. Terrorism/Security Policy
4. Regulatory Enforcement
5. Subsidies/Government Waste
7. Energy Policy
8. Health Care Policy
9. Education Policy
10. Respect for Congress/Judiciary
A few notes: Most of the issues here are self-explanatory. I've split economic issues up into what I think are the most important for a President to tackle - taxes and budget-balancing, and proposing the elimination of useless subsidies and wasteful, ineffective programs. I recognize that the President can't do much to affect the economy, but these issues are important from a fiscal solvency standpoint. Second, many may wonder why I've separated civil liberties from terrorism/security policy. This is because even without issues like warrantless wiretapping, "enemy combatant" policy, and torture, civil liberties is a really freakin' broad category. I'm including things like free speech, legal gay-bashing (see: Marriage Amendment), respect for Constitutional rights from law enforcement, and support for various nanny-state regulations that aren't particularly onerous but are just plain annoying. Third, the main national policy issues people are discussing are fairly low on the list. That's because Congress, not the President, mostly determines policy direction here. The President proposes and approves legislation, but it's still gotta go through the sausage factory.
Finally, you'll notice two issues (#4 and #10) that most people wouldn't include. Both tackle the Constitutional role of the President - to faithfully execute the laws. If a President isn't trying to enforce regulations passed by Congress, he's not doing his job. And if a President is trying to overpower (or just plain ignore) Congress or the judiciary, that's bad too. I'll work judicial nominees into #10 to some extent - if a President wants to weaken the courts by nominating a bunch of defer-to-the-executive types, I'll mention that.
I'll assign points to each candidate based on their ranking on the issue - you get 5-rank points. I'll then multiply by (11-issue ranking) to properly weight each issue. I'll add these up and whoever gets the most points, wins. Not necessarily wins my vote - I'm not sure I could see myself voting for the stridently anti-Semitic McKinney, even if she gets more points than the others - but wins something.
Anyway, enjoy. I'll post the issues in no particular order, whenever I feel like it.