February 16th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Battle lines drawn for US Presidential race

EDITORIAL: Mitsubishi closure a blow to our manufacturing

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Will Rudd summit achieve anything?

BIOFUELS: Sugar industry - execution by policy madness

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: EI inquiry hears of more quarantine failures

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: The lessons of the past we so quickly forget

STRAWS IN THE WIND: A new Bunyip intelligentsia? / Paddy McGuinness dies / The homeless

ASIA: Re-shaping Asia: The Great Game Mark II

INDONESIA: More good than bad: Suharto (1921-2008)

FATHERHOOD: Making men redundant (and harming our children)

FAMILY POLICY: Family-friendly policies at risk

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Melbourne doctor's bid to decriminalise abortion

UNITED STATES: America's wrong course

LEADERSHIP: Five keys to democratic statesmanship

Demise of The Bulletin (letter)

Re-opening of South Gippsland rail? (letter)

Foreign intervention (letter)

The "more committees" fetish (letter)


BOOKS: CLASSICS: 62 Great Books from the Iliad to Midnight's Children, by Jane Gleeson-White

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Battle lines drawn for US Presidential race

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, February 16, 2008
What do each of the White House contenders stand for?

With results from the America's Super Tuesday Primaries coming in as News Weekly goes to press, it seems that John McCain will win the Republican Party's nomination for President, while the Democrats remain deeply divided between the left-liberal Afro-American, Barack Obama, and the radical feminist, Hillary Clinton.

The main Democratic Party candidates are:

Barack Obama, an Afro-American who may be the first such candidate from one of the major parties to contest the Presidency. Obama's political positions are left-liberal on social issues, and he has been repeatedly endorsed by Planned Parenthood for his stand on abortion.

He has opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment (to define marriage as between a man and a woman), and supports civil unions. He supports federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research.

Senator Obama supports a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, but continued military engagement in Afghanistan.

Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, is also a left-liberal, and she has a strong support base among radical feminists who identify strongly with her.

She has been a strong supporter of the right of women to abortion, and opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion. She supports moves to curb global warming.

Hillary Clinton has expressed opposition to same-sex marriage while affirming her support for civil unions for homosexual couples. She also supports federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research.

As Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are running neck-and-neck, the Super Tuesday primaries, held in 24 states, will not be decisive in determining the Democratic Party presidential candidate.

The front-running Republican candidate is now John McCain, after his decisive win in the Republican primary in Florida, pushing him further ahead of other Republican candidates.

McCain is a former US Senator and former war hero, having been captured during the Vietnam War and imprisoned in the notorious Hanoi Hilton.

McCain has publicly and consistently supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the US decision to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime; a continued and increased military presence in Iraq; and most of President George W. Bush's foreign policies.

John McCain is a confirmed Christian, and has said: "Since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who has a grounding in my faith." McCain also stated his agreement with the belief that the US is a "Christian nation", and has one of the strongest pro-life records in the US Senate.

An issue on which he has attracted a lot of criticism in the US is immigration. McCain has promoted legislation to legalise and eventually grant citizenship to the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States and to create an additional guest-worker program with an option for permanent immigration.

On economic policy, his stand is mixed. He has been a strong opponent of industry-support programs, which he describes as "pork-barrelling", but has also supported tax increases to meet the soaring US government deficit.

Mitt Romney, John McCain's main rival, is a former governor of Massachusetts and businessman. He is credited with having rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City from bankruptcy.

During his run for president, Romney has declared that he thinks abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. However, when he was governor of Massachusetts, he did not interfere with the state's pro-abortion laws.

He said later that every decision he made as governor, "in a very liberal state, has been on the side of favouring life; I am firmly pro-life".

Mitt Romney has said that strong families are one of his three pillars, along with the military and the economy, for a strong America. His campaign website has featured his quote, "America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home."

Romney has stated his opposition to both same-sex marriage and civil unions. He has also said that research using human embryos created during fertility treatments is ethical but opposes using federal funds to support it.

Consequences for the world

If either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is elected, the US will move immediately to abandon the Bush Administration's strong pro-life stand in international forums, and move towards an anti-life position pursued during the Clinton period. There will be a withdrawal from Iraq and the immediate collapse of the Iraqi government, and a return to isolationism at home.

If John McCain wins, there will be a high level of continuity with the Bush Administration. Paradoxically, despite the widespread disenchantment in America with the Iraq war, it is more likely than not that a candidate who strongly supports the Iraq operation will end up being elected US President.

- Peter Westmore

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