- War. This was the one reason I considered supporting Obama after Ron Paul dropped out. I figured a strong anti-war stance was the most important issue to me. Since then I've discovered: Obama has voted repeatedly to fund the war in Iraq. He wants to put more troops in Afghanistan, and "do something" about Darfur. And he's an imperialist---nowhere in his platform does he discuss any substantive foreign policy changes, such as withdrawing troops from Germany, Japan, Korea, or anywhere else around the world (we have 700ish bases, I think). In fact, he only seems to differ from the Republicans in small details about where to put troops, and rhetoric about diplomacy.
- Economy. Have the Republicans got any better position on that? Let's see, there's some disagreement over taxation: one party says the highest bracket should be 34%, and the other 38%. Real big difference there! As far as big bailouts and the fed, both sides seem pretty much the same there---pro-bailouts, pro-fed. Looking at the voting record of both candidates, there's little hope for any reduction in spending.
- Freedom. Well, civil liberties in particular. Since 9-11, these have been getting flushed down the toilet disturbingly quickly. We've seen the suspension of Habeus Corpus, illegal search & seizure, and freedom of speech trodden all over (remember the "freedom of speech zones?"). How do the two candidates measure up here? There's not much point in looking at differences: both support the Patriot act, both supported the FISA bill. Neither even mentions civil liberties on their website's list of "issues". Yet many of the people I talk to identify this as one of their greatest concerns.
- Energy. Both stand by the ridiculous notion that the government is going to somehow buy our way out of our energy woes, by spending a bunch of money on some particular technology. They differ greatly of course: McCain is for expanding domestic oil production, and Obama's for "clean coal". How's that for choices.
The media has managed, as they usually do, to turn this thing into a horse race where "differences" between the candidates are magnified until we lose sight of what a real choice would look like. And somehow people have been fooled into holding their nose and voting for the least-bad candidate out of fear of "wasting their vote". I think that's rather backwards: wasting your vote is voting for one of the two major party candidates.