Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Some Non-Economic (“Values”) Questions for the Debate

The relentless focus on the economy during the debates has been appropriate. But with this being the last debate I do hope they’ll spend at least a few moments on non-economic questions. Here are a few values-oriented questions I’d ask:
Sen. McCain you’ve said you oppose Roe v. Wade because you’re pro-life and you think abortion should be left to the states. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and Congress passed a ban on most abortions, would you sign it (because you’re pro-life) or veto it (because you think it should be left to the states)?
Sen. Obama, you’ve said you want to reduce the number of abortions. If that’s the case, why do you support federal funding through Medicaid of abortion? And why do you support the Freedom of Choice Act which goes well beyond preserving Roe v. Wade and actually wipes out existing state laws restricting abortion?
According to the CIA, America now ranks 42nd in infant mortality – the percentage of babies who die in the first year of life. Among the countries that have a better infant mortality rate than the U.S.: Singapore, Slovenia, Malta and Cuba. Why do you think this is and what are you going to do about it?
You’ve both said you’re against gay marriage and would support civil unions for gay couples. But the big question for the federal government is whether states that don’t believe in gay marriage should be required to honor the marriages of those states that do perform gay marriages. What do you think?
Everyone agrees that it’s primarily the parents responsibility to protect their kids from violence and sex on the internet. But what is the government’s role?
Do you believe affirmative action should be based only on race or also on class, the economic circumstances of a person?
Do you believe more sex education and birth control availability would lead to fewer abortions or more abortions?
What’s the biggest moral problem in America today?
You’ve both talked about the importance of healthy families. What should the government do to reduce the number of divorces?
Sen. McCain you said “the Constitution established America as a Christian nation.” What did you mean?
Sen. Obama, you support government funding of faith based groups. But your initial plan proposed not allowing faith-based organizations to prefer people of their own faith when hiring. That would reverse the policies not only of the Bush administration but of Bill Clinton. If you want more faith-based action how can you endorse a proposal that would so restrict their involvement?
Readers, what questions would you ask?

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Charles Cosimano

posted October 15, 2008 at 11:17 pm

The obvious answer to the infant mortality question is that the US is a lot bigger than the places that you mention and the bulk of infant mortality cases are simply the result of parental neglect or incompetance, something the state cannot remedy.

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posted October 16, 2008 at 1:10 am

McCain changed his wording again about abortion, moving further away
“SCHIEFFER: All right. Let’s stop there and go to another question. And this one goes to Senator McCain. Senator McCain, you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Senator Obama, you believe it shouldn’t.
Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue? Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: I would never and have never in all the years I’ve been there imposed a litmus test on any nominee to the court. That’s not appropriate to do.
SCHIEFFER: But you don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned?
MCCAIN: I thought it was a bad decision. I think there were a lot of decisions that were bad. I think that decisions should rest in the hands of the states. I’m a federalist. And I believe strongly that we should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their qualifications rather than any litmus test. (long attack on Obama and Democrats, state decisions)
SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone — even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?
MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.”
“Do you believe affirmative action should be based only on race or also on class, the economic circumstances of a person?”
Obama has already answered the above question at least two times. He said it should be the economic circumstances of the person. He said something about how time has changed thing so that race should no longer be a primary factor.
“Obama, you support government funding of faith based groups. But your initial plan proposed not allowing faith-based organizations to prefer people of their own faith when hiring.”
Obama said the hiring regardless of faith would only be required for the government funded programs. It would be a difficult situation to control.

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posted October 16, 2008 at 8:14 am

Charles, I do believe that the infant mortality “rate” figures takes into consideration the population of the countries. The numbers are percents of a whole not total number. I think the point is that in order to be consistent, prolife advocates must be moved to protect life at any stage, not just before birth. This would mean being just as adamant about making sure all people have available affordable and quality healthcare as stopping abortions.

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