Tag Archive | "Presidential Election"

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Was your vote counted?

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Joseph Schuster

As many people went out to vote yesterday, some people voted on a paper ballot, others used a touch screen computer and others sent in their absentee ballots. But just because you voted does not mean that your vote was actually counted, especially for those people using computers.

In fact, as people began early voting, it was discovered in West Virginia, that the machines were flipping votes to other candidates. These machines must be calibrated correctly in order to function properly. But if someone were to hit the top person, and the machine picks a candidate three or four down from that person, that is not a calibration problem; this is a problem with the actual software designed to count the votes.

In Davidson County, Tennessee, Patricia Earnhardt continually tried hitting the “Obama” button on the machine, but it would not register. After a while she said she had the poll worker help her, who tried hitting it a couple times, and it lit up Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney. The poll worker cancelled the vote, but Patricia continued to have trouble with the machine, and left the voter booth very uncertain of how her vote turned out.

It is amazing how much faith people place into the voting machines and voting process. It seems like it would be very simple for these machines to be tampered with in one way or another to determine an election. There are people who claim to know the secret of how to hack these machines. In fact, only one machine needs to be hacked: the one that tallies up the votes from all other machines. Simply tell that machine what numbers you are looking for and you are all set.

People barely trust each other, yet when someone walks away from that voting booth, they are convinced that they have cast a ballot for candidate A or candidate B. Perhaps that was not the case. Perhaps, these things are already decided for us. Forget about democracy being taken away if you vote for the wrong person.

Perhaps your vote doesn’t even matter, and democracy was already taken away, or at the very least, tampered with. As many Marquette students went and voted yesterday, one can only wonder what happened to the vote once you left the voting booth.

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Yes We Can…Move Forward As One Nation

Posted on 05 November 2008 by Emily Krueger

What a long and strange race it has been.

The past year we have watched a wide array of candidates vie for the chance to be our forty-fourth president until it finally came down to the two major contenders for the office, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. Both ran aggressive and well-funded campaigns, with the candidates together raising over $1 billion for the first time in history. Furthermore, a huge percentage of Obama’s funds were donated by individuals, with a significant number of small contributions coming from people who were giving to a political campaign for the first time.

Obama’s success overall can be to a great extent attributed to the huge number of first-time voters, contributors and volunteers that came out in support. Americans were inspired and moved to action more than ever before.

Election Day itself seemed to go smoothly, certainly more so than the tempestuous races of recent years. Across the entire country voters cast their ballots yesterday, electing Barack Obama by margins unseen by a Democratic candidate in decades.

Jason Rae, Chair of Wisconsin College Democrats, remarked, “I think we saw Americans wanting change, wanting to believe again in their government and in their country. Tonight’s result showed that the American people believe Senator Obama and his vision for America.”

But what does this vision entail? President-Elect Barack Obama has laid out extensive plans for his administration, which include tackling the current economic crisis as well as taking on key issues which require widespread reform. Addressing the present state of the economy will clearly be top priority for the president elect. Obama has stated he will attend to the housing crisis as one of his first acts, providing incentives for banks to refinance or buy outstanding mortgages. He also plans to change bankruptcy laws to empower judges to modify families’ mortgages, allowing more Americans to remain in their homes.

To jumpstart the economy overall, Obama has pledged to pursue another goal of his, creating a large number of new jobs in the alternative energy sector. Additionally, he has proposed a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, which will allow Congress to sell permits for burning fossil fuels. The money from this endeavor will then go to tax credits for green companies, energy research grants, and loans for improving the efficiency of plaguing industries such as car manufacturing.

Other major goals for the Obama administration include the improvement of our health care and education systems. As often discussed throughout the campaign, Obama plans to require employers to cover their employees’ health insurance and will lower costs to each family by $2500. He further will work to require health insurance for all children, with the eventual goal of universal coverage.

Great importance has also been placed on education reform and retooling No Child Left Behind to reduce its emphasis on testing and the penalizing of underperforming schools. Opposed to school vouchers, Obama instead supports increased funding allocated to charter schools and an expansion of early-childhood programs. Ultimately, Obama’s goal is to make a college education a realistic possibility for all.

Another main point laid out in Obama’s plan for America addresses the current military situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Long holding the position that a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq is necessary, Obama hopes to have half of all U.S. troops out of the country by May of 2010. He further believes that our focus and resources should presently be switching toward Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

In addition to simply increasing troop levels, Obama believes in the necessity of better training Afghan forces and providing assistance to Afghan civilians, giving them alternative means of making a living apart from poppy-farming. Finally, his administration will pursue means of securing Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan and reducing corruption in the area. With a solid Democratic majority, these challenging goals can viably be achieved in the years to come.

While Barack Obama has accomplished a number of impressive feats in the past months, he most notably has managed to inspire a feeling of faith in the direction our country is now headed. He has pledged to make every effort to bring Americans together, no matter their party affiliation, with the goal of improving the quality of life for everyone.

Marecca Vertin, a member of the Marquette Obama team and poll monitor, agreed that “decent health care, a decent education, and general accountability from government are not actually divisive issues for most Americans.” She added, “The huge increase in voter turnout for Obama proves that this campaign made it clear that we can get real work done together without being radically left- or right-wing but by… acting in the generally moderate interests of the American people.”

After a long and hard-hitting campaign from both candidates, cooperation will now be the key to moving forward to achieve the change Americans desire.

Matt Dambach, chair of Students for McCain at Marquette, is of the same opinion. “At the end of the day both Republicans and Democrats have the same goal of doing what is best for our nation,” he says.

Both sides can further agree that with voter turnout at incredible highs this year, the increased political dialogue among American citizens can only have positive results. Dambach commented that “one of the great positives from this election cycle is the involvement of millions of new voters; involvement which will only make our country better in years to come.” Barack Obama, now the face of our country and representative of millions of Americans, will lead this country in a new direction.

That direction is one which will bring supporters of both parties together, moving forward and making this great nation even stronger as we work together for change.

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Barack Obama should be the next president of the United States

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Jason Ardanowski

I’m not going to offer yet another left-secular endorsement of Barack Obama for President. Instead, I offer a far more radical endorsement: Obama is the better choice than John McCain based on the editorial principles of The Warrior.

Obama will do more for Marquette students. He will do more to hold the federal government and the financial sector accountable. He will thoroughly expose George W. Bush’s abuses of executive power. He rose by merit, not family connections like Bush and McCain. His administration will be more transparent and efficient. He understands that free markets are not free when actors with privileged information make a mockery out of equal access. He will be the more fiscally responsible President. He lives by his Christian faith. Most of all, he projects a realistic vision of a great America.

Obama has proposed an annual, fully refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000 for every U.S. student. To receive this credit, students will invest 100 hours of service to our communities. This is laudable for two reasons: first, it helps to show that Obama is not a stereotypical “something for nothing” Democrat. Second, it would get students out of the “MU bubble” and doing something about the real needs existing all around Milwaukee and thousands of other college towns nationwide.

Obama will do better than John McCain to protect Americans at home and our military forces abroad. In the vice-presidential debate, Gwen Ifill asked the candidates whether Iran or Pakistan was the greater threat to U.S. security. Sarah Palin, speaking for McCain, said Iran was the greater threat.

Conversely, Joe Biden, speaking for Obama, said Pakistan was the greater threat because it already has deployed nuclear weapoans, most likely harbors Osama bin Ladin and other senior al-Qaeda leaders and is a new democratic regime in need of our support. These are convincing arguments if we are serious about controlling the spread of nuclear weapons and hunting down al-Qaeda. Focusing on a country that is several years away from obtaining nuclear weapons, is vulnerable to multilateral sanctions, and does not harbor senior al-Qaeda leaders is a preposterous policy.

Obama also supports letting Iraqis determine the destiny of Iraq. He does not support McCain’s policy of leaving an American colonial edifice in Iraq for an indeterminate amount of time.

General David Petraeus, in his September 10, 2008 testimony before members of Congress, underlined the key role of Iraqis in choosing to say no to sectarian violence in their own country: “The tribes and the sheiks decided to say no more to Al Qaeda. They were tired of the indiscriminate violence, tired of the Taliban-like ideology and the other practices. They are Sunni Arabs rising up against a largely Sunni Arab Al Qaeda in Iraq.” Iraqis are a responsible, mature people. They do not need foreign tutelage to defend their lives and property. The billions of dollars that John McCain proposes to spend there are best spent at home.

Those billions are better spent on affordable health care for every American. In the second presidential debate, McCain spoke of health care as a responsibility; Obama spoke of it as a fundamental right. The teachings of the Catholic Church are on Obama’s side. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship states, “Affordable and accessible health care is an essential safe- guard of human life and a fundamental human right.” Insurers are only too willing to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, leaving me to reluctantly conclude that only national health care can overcome the problem of moral hazard – the systematic pattern where the healthy can readily find insurance and the sick struggle to get basic coverage. Unequal access to health care shows unequal regard for human life.

Many Catholics, Christians and voters of goodwill support McCain for his alleged “pro-life” platform. Leaving aside the self-evident truth that warfare and healthcare are life issues, let’s look at abortion and stem-cell research. I am quoting a posting that I made on an external website devoted to Catholic issues:

Abortion is abhorrent and repulsive. At the same time, we have a systematic breakdown in family life and sexual morality in this country. Would making abortions illegal, right now, universally in the U.S., change this? Would it not enable wealthy mothers to travel abroad and poor mothers to risk death? Would an abortion ban keep schools from failing? Would it keep fathers from abdicating their Godly calling to familial leadership? Would an abortion ban bring blue-collar jobs back into America’s cities from Bangladesh and Mexico and enable one parent to stay home with their children? Would it keep teens from absorbing and internalizing the message of their DVDs, TV series, iPods and websites that casual sex is fun, feels great and has no lasting, eternal consequences?

Which candidate is married and faithful to one wife? Which one stands before God in adultery, according to the teachings of the Church? Which vice-presidential candidate rebounded from great tragedy to rebuild his family and take time out of a busy official schedule to be present for his children? Which one cannot discipline her children from having unsafe sex, and then obliges her daughter to marry the father for political cover? Think about whose values Catholics should applaud.

Embryos are discarded en masse every day, so why not use them for stem-cell research? Do you want to pretend that embryos are never being discarded, or should an unwanted embryo preserve the life of another intrinsically valuable human being? Or are you neo-Gnostics who care only about the soul and deny the body?

Senator Obama stands for rebuilding America’s reputation abroad, reconstructing America’s broken domestic economy to bring prosperity back to our parents and our own pocketbooks, rethinking our mixed record in the Middle East and renewing the American belief in a better life through hard work. He deserves your vote on Election Day.

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John McCain should be the next president of the United States

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Austin Wozniak

This November, as the fall temperatures drop, Americans will head to the polls in as critical an election as has been seen in recent memory. The two candidates, I believe, are honorable men and I do not for a moment accept the partisan rancor that members of political parties seem to hold for the opposing candidate. As a member of neither party, I have examined the records and promises of both candidates in determining which I will support this coming November.

Both candidates will bring to Washington different policies than that of the Bush administration. However, I believe Senator John McCain will bring appropriate changes to the District of Columbia and set our nation on the correct course.

The economic crisis in this country is the primary concern of most voters, and justifiably so. Both candidates agree that Wall Street needs more oversight and both parties have been guilty of deregulating Wall Street over the past fifteen years. The last time regulations were stiffened followed the Savings and Loan fiasco of the late eighties and early nineties. Under Clinton in 1999 and under Bush, the regulations on Wall Street have been loosened considerably. Since both candidates have pledged to attack the Wall Street issue in much the same manner, the biggest points of difference will come in the form of taxes.

It is both justifiable and equitable that the wealthier pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do the poor. However, this is already the case – today, those earning more than $250,000 pay much more in taxes than most people earn in a year – and raising their taxes even more will not increase tax revenue. By raising their taxes, the biggest losers will be small businesses owners, who are taxed on their business’s profits as their own income decreases under Senator Barack Obama’s proposed tax increases. This has a proven and noticeably negative effect on the creation of new jobs and economic growth, and any tax plan that would check growth even a little bit – as Obama’s would – is something the U.S. cannot afford at this time. There is also much I disagree with in Obama’s proposed tax credits for lower income Americans. When the Obama campaign says tax credit, what they really mean is a handout, because the plan makes these ‘tax credits’ ‘refundable’ meaning you can get one even if you have ZERO income tax liability in the first place. That is to say, you can pay zero dollars in taxes and still receive theses ‘credits.’ Here are a few proposed by Obama (Source: Wall Street Journal, Review and Outlook 10/13/08): a $500 dollar tax credit for those making less than $75000 dollars. A ‘savings’ tax credit of up to $1000 or 50%. A $555 ‘earned income tax credit’ for single workers. A child care credit of up to $6000. The problem with this, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that under Obama’s plan, 63,000,000 Americans (44% of all taxpayers), would pay NOTHING in income taxes and the vast majority of these would receive the afore mentioned credits, the cost of which would be more than $1.05 Trillion dollars over the next ten years. (Source: WSJ, Review and Outlook, 10/13/08). In a time of exploding debt and economic difficulties, taxing the people who drive economic growth more and then handing their money to people who pay no taxes would place severe hardship on the economy, stunt economic growth and borders on socialism, rather than the free market capitalism that created America’s wealth in the first place.

McCain also has a clear edge on Obama in the area of foreign policy. The Bush Administration made their latest foreign policy “whoopsie” – State Department lingo for a major screwup – by removing North Korea from the state sponsor of terror list without demanding access to possible nuclear sites that have been reactivated in the last few weeks – essentially reaching an agreement to delist North Korea in exchange for permission to stroll the countryside near Pyongyang where there are no weapons. In the coming years, the U.S. is sure to face challenges from Iran, Russia and probably Venezuela. Kowtowing to North Korean demands in exchange for nothing makes the tasks to come that much more difficult. McCain has shown resolve in foreign affairs while taking a firm stand on the use of force being a last resort. His extensive foreign experience is necessary as new threats to world peace emerge (Venezuela, Iran)and old ones resurface (Russia).

Obama has no military experience, no foreign policy experience and has repeatedly hedged and fudged on his positions. He gave two separate speeches containing conflicting stances when traveling between the Israelis and Palestinians and waited a significant period of time before finally deciding that it was, in fact, not acceptable for Russia to invade Georgia. This approach to foreign policy creates an inability for other nations to understand what the US stands for and encourages others to test the limits of U.S. power.

Ever since the dubious vote, approved by the majority of both parties, to invade Iraq in 2003, McCain has been consistently right in his criticism of the Bush Administration. Obama voted against the surge that has worked ‘beyond his wildest dreams’ and has advocated pulling out all U.S. combat troops in 16 months. Obama’s claim to foreign policy expertise is that he was against the war in 2003, but in 2003 Obama was an Illinois state senator who saw no intelligence briefings, received no counsel from the U.S. military and, in short, knew as much as you and I did. Those who actually were in the know were overwhelmingly in favor of the war. Since then, McCain has advocated what the Bush administration has, finally, come to do: use the successful strategies of Generals Petraeus and Mattis to put more troops on the ground. That having finally been done, the U.S. is closer than ever to achieving its mission, and will likely be able to withdraw in a few short years for good, leaving behind a functioning Iraq.

Another major advantage to a McCain administration would be health care. The U.S. has the best health care system in the world. Other countries, such as Great Britain and France, that have followed proposals similar to Obama’s now face multi-month waits to get surgeries and are advocating a return to private medicine. McCain’s plan, to use tax incentives of up to $5000 to insurance companies, would create a huge increase in the number of insured, improving health care’s availability while avoiding the pitfalls of socialized medicine.

There are dozens of other pressing issues facing the candidates in this election. McCain presents a legacy of resolve, courage and experience, as well as a rejection of the status quo partisanship in Washington. Partisanship is a good thing; it ensures the minority opinion is not trampled. As a lifelong holder of some minority opinions, I am grateful, but partisanship should never impede productivity as it has the last ten years. McCain has vowed to place Democrats and Republicans alike in his cabinet, and has worked in D.C. with both sides successfully. Sending McCain to Washington will set America on a positive track, correcting recent mistakes, encouraging economic growth and, God willing, will help keep America in its position as a beacon of freedom.
No matter which candidate you support, take a moment to make an informed decision and then use your hard won freedom to vote for whichever candidate you see fit. Happy Voting!

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Catholic voters and the abortion factor

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Robert Christensen

I truly believe that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain will have a significant impact on many of the major issues facing this country.

The economy will most likely take years to recover regardless of the economic reforms by either candidate. The troops are going to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan for years to come. And as we pull our soldiers out of Iraq we will put more into Afghanistan to battle the increasing violence in the region, we could even end up further involved in the Middle East if we invade Pakistan as Obama has proposed. With more and more money being spent by the government to “fix” the economy and fund military operations little else will be available to allow the future president to implement other reforms. But while neither candidate will have a considerable impact on our country in these areas they both will have a significant impact on abortion.

With four Supreme Court Justices in their seventies and Justice John Paul Stevens approaching 90 years old this president will have the opportunity to shape the future of the Supreme Court for the 21st century. These justices will decide a variety of different cases but their most important decision could possibly be the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Decided in 1972 this case has legalized the murder of approximately 3,700 innocent unborn babies per day making this one of the greatest human atrocities in the history of mankind.

Many Catholics feel torn by this issue. They are pro-life but feel Democrats advocate more policies to help the lower class while Republicans only try to help the rich. Though this is completely untrue, I can understand the struggle Catholics have who feel this way.

However, in this election it is clear to me that those Catholics who are pro-life must make this issue the deciding factor in choosing who to vote for. Obama is staunchly pro-choice and if elected will appoint a pro-choice justice who will set the pro-life movement back 50 to 100 years. JMcCain is pro-life and if elected will have the opportunity to appoint a justice who can finally overturn Roe saving the lives of millions of unborn babies. This election can be the turning point for the pro-life movement and for our country, vote for John McCain.

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Solving the energy crisis: Expanding nuclear energy is a good first step

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Adam Ryback

One of the most hotly contested issues in the political arena is the energy crisis. Since the Carter administration American politicians, economists and scientists have been racking their brains trying to improve America’s energy efficiency. It is common knowledge that gas prices have been soaring over the past few years but they are now steadily dropping below the three dollar barrier.

However, this is only temporary relief. In fact, gas prices are falling not because the economy is getting back to normal but because it is getting worse. When the economy is bad, people can’t afford the luxuries they would like. Consequently, they cut back on everything except their necessities. So people will avoid driving as much as possible. When people don’t drive as much, there is obviously more gas. And then prices drop. Therefore, we still have an energy crisis.

So how should we go about solving this crisis? Barack Obama advocates a policy of proper tire inflation as one of his solutions to solve the greatest energy crisis to ever face America. (He should’ve saved that one for the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner). John McCain advocates just about everything. There is probably not a single energy policy he does not support.

Although there is in fact no clear cut way to determine the best way to solve our crisis, I think we can all agree that until there are better alternatives, we should go with what works. Since the 1970s, nuclear energy has steadily become a serious contender in the American energy market. It cuts down on pollution and energy bills.

Keep in mind that a focus on natural gas and off-shore drilling is still necessary and vital to our country’s economic survival, while solar and wind power have a smaller impact on our energy situation than Tom Tancredo has on the presidential election. For those of you who don’t know, Tom Tancredo is no longer running. For those of you who don’t believe my statements on solar and/or wind power, look up the statistics. It is a fact that nuclear energy is a serious contributor in America’s energy sphere, despite its lack of serious support in Washington.

Now I am not advocating a socialist, TVA-like government program in which the government takes control of the industry. I am merely proposing a plan in which the government takes away restrictions on nuclear power and lets capitalism work its magic. There is actually no magic about it. With an increase in nuclear power production, energy bills for houses can go down. Then when energy costs go down and nuclear energy is made more available, nuclear energy will be obviously be more accessible. And it will be cheap and abundant in our country. Hybrid cars will become a reality, specifically for city commuters. Think of its possible impact on city commuters and on college campuses like Marquette University, which are so deeply tied to the city.
Once these changes are made, our country can finally become truly energy independent. We will produce our own energy and no longer be reliant upon other countries for our survival. And most importantly, foreigners will no longer dictate what we pay for energy.

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Election 2008: Political economics 101

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Jacob Jasperson

With the election drawing near, and many voters still undecided (even here at Marquette) the Warrior thought it would be a good idea to shed some much needed light on the two candidates, particularly their economic policies and the impact it would have on Marquette students. All information and statistics has been taken entirely from the two candidates websites, unless otherwise noted.

Perhaps the focal point of Senator Obama’s economic plan has been tax cuts for the middle class, not the wealthy. In fact, it’s in the first paragraph of his economic plan, along with stagnant wages and rising prices. There are several points to Sen. Obama’s plan; in the interest of time, I chose the three points that I thought most directly pertained to Marquette students:

Windfall profit taxes on big oil
$50 billion to jumpstart the economy
End tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas

The windfall profit tax he proposes would tax excessive profits that oil companies make in order to fund his $1,000 emergency energy credit. This credit would be given to “American families” (though this term is not clearly defined) to help pay for rising energy bills. While the $1,000 may be a nice supplement for families, the tax used to pay for it would drive up the cost of oil, leaving American families with higher bills to pay in the end.
Senator Obama’s $50 billion plan to jumpstart the economy is actually a plan to protect one million American jobs that are in danger of being lost, according to his website. It is broken into two parts; $25 billion for a State Growth Fund, and another $25 billion for a Jobs and Growth Fund.
Senator Obama also mentions later in his website the need to create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment that would be in charge of funding road, bridge, and other infrastructure repairs. Senator Obama plans on allocating $60 billion over three years, which would negate the usefulness of the Jobs and Growth Fund (designed to do the exact same thing, as per his website).

The last point I want to talk about is a little misleading. Senator Obama wants to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. While I agree that we need to encourage producers and manufactures to keep jobs in America, I don’t think we will be successful by taxing them more than is fair. The tax break Sen. Obama is referring to is the difference that companies need to pay when they ship their products from other counties into the United States. If the tax on the country of origin is less than the tax rate in U.S., the company must then pay the difference between the two – but not the whole tax. Ending this practice would in essence be an over taxation, and would discourage trade with the United States. On the other hand, one part of Senator Obama’s plan that makes a lot of sense is his worker retraining program. He wants to increase funding for worker retraining, which will be crucial in this age of globalization.

Much as the focal point of Senator Obama’s plan is middle class tax reform, Senator McCain has preached tax cuts across the board, in conjunction with decreased government spending. This is perhaps the single largest ideological difference between Senators Obama and McCain – big vs. small government. The three main points of Senator McCain’s plan that I want to talk about are:

Government reform
Better Healthcare
Supporting Small Businesses

Government reform has been a hot button topic in the campaign cycle. Senator McCain states on his website that he wants to bring the budget to balance by the year 2013, before the end of his first term in office. He cites several ways of doing this; reasonable economic growth through lower capital gains tax rates and corporate tax rates (to keep jobs here in America), a one year spending freeze on all non defense, non veterans discretionary spending, and fiscal discipline. The one year freeze I find particularly interesting; a good idea perhaps in theory, with question marks on the application side.

Another hot topic in the campaign has been healthcare. Senator McCain seeks a market approach to fixing healthcare; he wants to lower costs through competition and technology improvements. He also specifically cites smoking on his issues page, stating that he wants to increase smoking cessation programs – perhaps an unpopular idea among hard line conservatives, but one I find to be intriguing. He also talks about transparency in healthcare costs. This is something you can appreciate if you’ve ever received a hospital bill.

Finally, Senator McCain talks about supporting small businesses. One of the main points he makes in his small business section is that by lowering the costs of energy, we can eliminate much of the overhead these small businesses pay. He goes into greater detail in his energy section, but does strongly support drilling domestically for oil, along with increased nuclear energy and clean coal. Senator McCain also supports decreasing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, a move he says will help American stay competitive in this global economy. While I agree lower corporate tax rates are essential for growth here in the U.S., it certainly isn’t essential for small business growth, as many of these businesses are organized as a sole proprietorship or LLC. He also takes time to mention free trade in his small business section, which he feels will open the United States up to more business opportunities, rewarding the small business owner looking for that niche.

Senators Obama and McCain have economic plans as different as any I’ve ever seen; both have good points, and both have bad points. We have two very different approaches to solving our economic crisis, and you as the voter get to decide which one is the best. Don’t take that responsibility lightly. Get informed on the issues that matter to you; the economy, trade, labor, social issues, whatever you are passionate about. Apathy in life will only get you so far; to quote an episode of the West Wing, “Decisions are made by those who show up.”

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Election Analysis: A look at Barack Obama’s revolutionary campaign

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Cathleen Bury

With November 4th drawing closer, campaign and election news has continued to intensify. In their fight for Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes, both major candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, have made frequent trips to the state. Campaign events have intensified right here on Marquette’s campus as well, with both sides reaching out to get the student body informed and involved. With the renewed voter excitement seen in the past few elections, more students than ever have an opinion about the candidates and are concerned with the election’s outcome.

For Marquette students who do not agree wholeheartedly with either candidate’s positions, there is hope. Coincidentally, this hope stems from a man who speaks of the feeling quite frequently: Barack Obama. In previous elections, support from one of the two major parties has been a requirement for a successful campaign. However, Barack Obama’s campaign took a truly revolutionary approach to campaigning, and found it successful. The risks he has taken on and the strategies he has employed have certainly helped him in his bid for presidency, but they have also opened up new corridors for future nontraditional, third-party candidates. By examining the steps Barack Obama takes in this election cycle, future third-party candidates can set themselves up for a successful campaign.

Obama’s historic campaign began with his victory in the Democratic primary. In early 2007, Hillary Clinton announced she would seek the party’s nomination. Although few then would say Clinton had the nomination in the bag, she certainly had many traditional advantages over Barack Obama. With over $100 million in funds for campaigning, Clinton was a well-known political figure and name in both the democratic party and amongst the general public, and at the start of the year, had the support of almost 100 super delegates.

Obama’s campaign centered on building a network of supporters. He realized he lacked many of the Clinton campaign’s resources and would have to build a network from the ground up. Furthermore, not only did he successfully establish this network, he did it cheaply. First, his campaign made sure Obama was freely accessible over the internet, not just via his campaign site, but by posting whole videos of his speeches or messages on sites like YouTube, which allows viewers to leave messages or respond with their own videos, enhancing interaction. Potential voters, who had for so long felt cheated by the minute sound bytes they heard on network broadcasting, could now listen to Barack Obama’s full message to their heart’s content. Obama created a transparency in his message that allowed voters to begin to trust and believe in him by using cheap methods, readily available to all future candidates.
Kathleen Scott, a junior in the College of Communications said, “I don’t think I would get this involved in another campaign. I’m drawn to politics, but I think that this is a really unique election for young voters because he [Obama] is so accessible to us.” Obama has been able to gain the trust and organize support of voters at an unprecedented speed, and their continued support stems from the feelings that they are invested in the campaign’s outcome. “I feel like his accessibility is the basis of his whole campaign; he makes everyone a part of it. Even if you do the smallest thing, making phone calls and such, it gives everyone an empowering part. And that’s one of the key things in his campaign, empowerment and empowering people to feel like they have an actual role,” Scott said.

Certainly, those deeply involved in any candidates campaign feel invested in the outcome of an election, but this sense of investment permeates almost all of Obama’s supporters. This sense of owernship stems from Obama’s fundamental message to voters. His message is not laced with the traditional promises of what Barack Obama is going to do for America. Rather is it full of proclamations about what Americans are going to do for America. His campaign promise is not “Yes, I Barack Obama, Can”, it is “Yes We Can.” Says Elizabeth Bailey, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and Obama volunteer, “The campaign officers are big on the volunteers owning the campaign.”

Obama’s supporters are so deeply involved in his campaign that any attack on Obama seems more of an attack on the whole campaign, on each of it’s collective members. Thus the criticism is distinctly personal, and Obama supporters react accordingly. In both the democratic primary and the general election, this sense of ownership has proven extremely beneficial, allowing him to deflect criticisms which might have otherwise brought down his entire campaign.

Obama has shown future candidates exactly how to overcome all of the so-called advantages that the two major parties bestow on their nominees. In the upcoming elections, candidates able to recognize and employ Obama’s strategies on their own behalf might not need the support of either major party. Marquette students currently disenchanted by both major-party candidates may find themselves with significantly more options in future elections.

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Be the difference: Go vote on Nov. 4th

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Molly Petitjean

In case you missed it, we have a Presidential election on our hand, folks! Around this time, it’s common to hear political and idealist debates going on about who is the best candidate, what party ideal is the best, and ever funny Ralph Nader joke or two. I want to stop all of this craziness for a second and talk about something that is more important than candidates and ideals: voting. Good for you for being politically informed enough to actually form a competent argument for either candidate, but in order for your rhetoric to mean anything, you have to vote.

It doesn’t matter that your friends or your neighbors know what your political stance is, come November 4th, it matters that you tell the nation your choice.

So often I hear griping about how awful Bush is and how many people hate his politics, but people, he won two elections. Someone out there thought that he was better than the alternative and voted! When I ask if they voted for Kerry (assuming they were of age four years ago), the answer is often no; in fact, they didn’t vote at all.

Stop complaining if you chose not to exercise your civic right to cast a ballot for the President of the United States! If you don’t use the rights this country and its leaders work so hard to protect, why do you feel like you have a right to complain about how things are going? According to the US Census Bureau, in the 2004 Presidential election, only 64% of voting age citizens actually voted, and that was a record turnout. If you want to look at a more relevant number, only 47% of people 18 to 24 who were eligible to vote actually showed up to the polls and only 58% of people 18 to 24 registered.
Less than half of the college age citizens voted in the last presidential election, but college campuses are generally seen as some of the most active political spots within our society. That makes us all talk and no game. I am disappointed in my peers. The one good thing that the statistics from the 2004 Presidential election reveled was that Wisconsin had the second highest voter turnout (behind only Minnesota) and the Midwest overall was the best region.

The apathetic nature of students isn’t just found on the national level, in can also be found within our school. How many people do you think voted for the open residential senate positions? Only 580 student; this is the total including commuters, off campus students, and residence halls. Carpenter Tower senator Taj Sharani received only 15 votes to get into his senate seat. Of course, I am not accusing Taj of anything, his election is just an example of how apathetic and lazy our students really are. Marquette, get up and vote! It takes little time and if you actually voted, then maybe more would get done around campus that you would like to have done.
Get up, go out and vote. Don’t let me down, Marquette.

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Change you can’t afford to believe in

Posted on 13 March 2008 by Robert Fafinski

Wanna know the biggest secret on college campuses? It’s how easily duped college students are. Don’t believe me? Just ask your mom and dad. Most of the Marquette student body comes from very conservative households in Wisconsin or the suburbs of Chicago. We come from families that work hard, pray and don’t like paying taxes. And despite this conservative upbringing, many Marquette students are getting caught up in this Obama–craze, ignoring the fact that he stands against what most of our families stand for. These students are discarding their beliefs and principles in lieu of Obama’s supposed “change.” And it’s pathetic and disheartening. But, in twenty or thirty years, most these students will look back and laugh to think they bought into Obama’s “politics of hope.”

Don’t believe me? Call up that straight-laced, conservative father and mother of yours and ask them how they voted in the 1976 Presidential election. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised to hear that they voted for the Democrat, Jimmy Carter. Didn’t think Rush-Limbaugh-listening Pops had it in him? Well, chances are that you’ll end up just like him, semi-embarrassed that you voted for a man who, according to columnist Ronald Kessler, “skipped 17 percent of the votes and sponsored only one bill that became law. That bill was to promote ‘relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.’”

Recently, I was drinking beers with a bunch of like-minded (see: conservative) friends and Barack Obama came up in our conversation. My friends were angry with young people around the country for being so easily tricked into believing in Obama’s simple-minded message and not seeing him for the liberal that he is. I assured them that it was just a phase that kids our age go though- thinking they can change the world- and that eventually they’d grimace at the thought of voting for such a liberal in the same manner that our parents laugh at the fact they voted for Jimmy Carter.

And you know what? Every kid there confessed that their ultra-conservative parents had voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976. So, my point is this… Go ahead and believe in Obama’s message, fight for “change,” but don’t kid yourself about what we’ll be getting. Obama’s an unabashed liberal.

Last week, Mr. Obama said, “We need to move in a new direction. We’re here because we still believe that change is possible. And so the question I have for you…is, are you really ready for change? The size of our challenges has outstripped the capacity of a broken and divided politics to solve.”

That’s pretty lofty stuff coming from the most partisan Senator- someone who has always towed the line for the Democrats. With the most liberal voting record in the Senate, Barack Obama claiming that he can fix a “broken and divided politics” is tantamount to Barry Bonds saying that steroids have tainted baseball and that he would be the man to end corruption and restore dignity to the game. Let’s be serious.

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