With the 2008 Presidential Primaries in full swing, and a wee bit of free time on my hands, I decided to look deeper into the 3 candidates I find myself most drawn to in the upcoming election. I will not address my thoughts on each candidate, this is merely an investigation as to what kind of answers they have given over their political careers. Enjoy?
Barack Obama -
2002 - "I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics."
2004 - "The [Bush] Administration's failure to be consistently involved in helping Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians has been both wrong for our friendship with Israel, as well as badly damaging to our standing in the Arab world. I do not pretend to have all the answers to this vexing problem, and untangling the issues involved is an appropriate topic for a separate speech. What I can say is this: not only must we be consistent, but we will not succeed unless we have the cooperation of the European Union and the Arab States in pressing for reforms within the Palestinian community."
2004 - "In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? I'm not talking about blind optimism here... No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!"
2004 - "That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted-or at least, most of the time."
2007 - " We've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We are distracted from our real failures and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants, and as people have looked away in frustration and disillusionment, we know who has filled the void. The cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests, who've turned government into only a game they can afford to play. They write the checks while you get stuck with the bill. They get access while you get to write a letter."
Ron Paul -
2004 - "America was founded by men who understood that the threat of domestic tyranny is as great as any threat from abroad. If we want to be worthy of their legacy, we must resist the rush toward ever-increasing state control of our society. Otherwise, our own government will become a greater threat to our freedoms than any foreign terrorist."
2007 - "Liberty once again must become more important to us than the desire for security and material comfort. Personal safety and economic prosperity can only come as the consequence of liberty. They cannot be provided by an authoritarian government... The foundation for a police state has been put in place, and it's urgent we mobilize resistance before it's too late... Central planning is intellectually bankrupt – and it has bankrupted our country and undermined our moral principles. Respect for individual liberty and dignity is the only answer to government force, force that serves the politically and economically powerful. Our planners and rulers are not geniuses, but rather demagogues and would-be dictators -- always performing their tasks with a cover of humanitarian rhetoric... The collapse of the Soviet system came swiftly and dramatically, without a bloody conflict... It came as no surprise, however, to the devotees of freedom who have understood for decades that socialism was doomed to fail... And so too will the welfare/warfare state fail... A free society is based on the key principle that the government, the president, the Congress, the courts, and the bureaucrats are incapable of knowing what is best for each and every one of us... A government as a referee is proper, but a government that uses arbitrary force to direct every aspect of society threatens freedom... The time has come for a modern approach to achieving those values that all civilized societies seek. Only in a free society do individuals have the best chance to seek virtue, strive for excellence, improve their economic well-being, and achieve personal happiness... The worthy goals of civilization can only be achieved by freedom loving individuals. When government uses force, liberty is sacrificed and the goals are lost. It is freedom that is the source of all creative energy. If I am to be your president, these are the goals I would seek. I reject the notion that we need a president to run our lives, plan the economy, or police the world... It is much more important to protect individual liberty and privacy than to make government even more secretive and powerful."
1987 - "The moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people."
1987 - "It's a mistake to think that poor people get the benefit from the welfare system. It's a total fraud. Most welfare go to the rich of this country: the military-industrial complex, the bankers, the foreign dictators, it's totally out of control. [...] This idea that the government has services or goods that they can pass on is a complete farce. Governments have nothing. They can't create anything, they never have. All they can do is steal from one group and give it to another at the destruction of the principles of freedom, and we ought to challenge that concept."
2007 - "One day I walked into an operating room, to just be an observant, which we would do generally, as a medical resident. They were performing this hysterectomy, which was a caesarean section. And they lifted out a fetus that weighted approximately 2 pounds, and it was breathing and crying. And it was put in a bucket and set in the corner of the room, and everybody in the room just pretended that they didn't hear it. And the baby died. And I walked out of that room a different person... Roe v. Wade is a reflection of the moral climate of the country, because the law was being defied, and then the law was changed, the law sort of caught up with the culture. So even though we work in the legal area, and work politically, ultimately I believe it's an issue of personal morality, and is a reflection of the country, more so than just the lack of laws. Just changing the laws won't be enough, we will ultimately have to have a society that's moral enough, where the fetus deserves legal protection."
Hillary Clinton -
2006 - "The lost opportunities of the years since September 11 are the stuff of tragedy. Remember the people rallying in sympathy on the streets of Teheran, the famous headline — "we are all Americans now." Five years later much of the world wonders what America is now. As we face this landscape of failure and disorder, nothing is more urgent than for us to begin again to rebuild a bipartisan consensus to ensure our interests, increase our security and advance our values. It could well start with what our founders had in mind when they pledged "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind" in the Declaration of Independence. I think it's fair to say we are now all internationalists and we are all realists. This Administration's choices were false choices. Internationalism versus unilateralism. Realism versus idealism. Is there really any argument that America must remain a preeminent leader for peace and freedom, and yet we must be more willing to work in concert with other nations and international institutions to reach common goals? The American character is both idealistic and realistic: why can't our government reflect both?"
2007 - "...freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation... in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down... I have never lost faith in America's essential goodness and greatness... I have 35 years of experience, fighting for real change... the American people and our American military cannot want freedom and stability for the Iraqis more than they want it for themselves... we should have stayed focused on wiping out the Taliban and finding, killing, capturing bin Laden and his chief lieutenants... I also made a full commitment to martial American power, resources and values in the global fight against these terrorists. That begins with ensuring that America does have the world's strongest and smartest military force. We've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar province, it's working... We can't be fighting the last war. We have to be preparing to fight the new war... We've got to be prepared to maintain the best fighting force in the world. I propose increasing the size of our Army by 80,000 soldiers, balancing the legacy systems with newer programs to help us keep our technological edge... I'm fighting for a Cold War medal for everyone who served our country during the Cold War, because you were on the front lines of battling communism. Well, now we're on the front lines of battling terrorism, extremism, and we have to win. Our commitment to freedom, to tolerance, to economic opportunity has inspired people around the world... American values are not just about America, but they speak to the human dignity, the God-given spark that resides in each and every person across the world... We are a good and great nation."
1997 - "We are here to advance the cause of women and to advance the cause of democracy and to make it absolutely clear that the two are inseparable. There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives."
Believe it or not, I'm having the most trouble finding actual quotes from Hillary. Obama and Paul have numerous quotes listed on wikiquote.org, but Hillary's section is scant at best. Google searches for Hillary quotes went poorly. I did not expect that.