Presidential Debates

The Debatable Debates | csmonitor.com

Voters need as full an understanding of the candidates’ positions on issues as possible to make an informed choice. Presidential debates should better reflect that notion.

I’d argue that if a full understanding of the candidate’s positions is the reason for the debates then they are obsolete. If people want a full understanding of the candidate’s positions and the candidates want the people to understand their positions, 30 second debate soundbites are not the solution. There is a simple solution – use the power of the internet to share your plan with the people.

George Bush has done this. For anyone wanting a full understanding of George W. Bush’s positions, the Agenda for America (link at right) provides is specific and thorough.

Unfortunately John Kerry’s website is much less specific. It’s as if he expects us to simply trust that a wave of the John Kerry magic wand will solve problems. Perhaps Kerry doesn’t really have any specifics, easy enough to believe from a 19 year Senator who never passed a piece of legislation. Or perhaps Kerry is afraid that if he is specific about what he wants to do people won’t like it.

For example, when it comes to our dependence on Mid-east oil, John Kerry promises to fix the problem and that’s about it.

Kerry would “Free America From Its Dangerous Dependence On Mideast Oil.
To secure our full independence and freedom, we must free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil. By tapping American ingenuity, we can achieve that goal while growing our economy and protecting our environment.”

George Bush on the other hand gives several specific policies he will pursue or is already pursuing to achieve this goal:

Meeting Our Energy Needs and Lessening Our Energy Dependence

In his first year in office, President Bush made a comprehensive, long-term energy policy a top priority. His goal was clear and far-sighted: to promote affordable, reliable, and secure energy supplies by increasing conservation, investing in new technologies, and exploring for new domestic sources of energy. That plan included over 100 specific recommendations – nearly half of which addressed conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

President Bush has also provided substantial funding to increase energy efficiency in Government buildings and American homes and improve fuel economy for automobiles. And last year, President Bush launched a groundbreaking initiative to develop technologies to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel-cell vehicles, electricity generation, and other applications. In his second term, President Bush will build on these important steps to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. At the same time, he will continue to make clear to foreign oil producers our mutual interest in maintaining adequate and secure supplies of foreign oil to meet our energy needs and to ensure the continuation of global economic growth. To achieve these goals, President Bush will:

Increase Domestic Energy Exploration and Production

* Initiate Environmentally Safe Exploration – President Bush will seek to promote environmentally sound domestic oil production in just one percent of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which could provide up to 1 million barrels of oil a day for nearly 20 years.
* Promote Natural Gas Production – President Bush will provide incentives to develop natural gas production from deep formations in shallow waters in the Gulf of Mexico, but not off the coast of Florida.
* Build an Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline – President Bush will work to ensure construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline to increase domestic natural gas supplies.
* Promote Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) – President Bush will facilitate construction of LNG terminals to meet growing demands for natural gas.
* Continue Energy Partnerships – President will continue to develop a North American energy partnership to develop closer energy integration with Canada and Mexico.
* Help Build Refineries – President Bush will remove unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles to help build new refineries to increase domestic capacity.
* Utilize Nuclear Power – President Bush will ensure a future for nuclear power as a viable and emissions free energy source.
…and…
Promote Conservation

* Support Energy Technologies – The President’s plan will provide $4 billion in tax incentives to spur the use of energy technologies.
* Help in the Construction of Energy-Efficient Homes – President Bush will fulfill his commitment to provide $1.4 billion over ten years to make homes more energy-efficient.
* Improve Vehicle Fuel Economy – President Bush will advance a broad strategy to foster development of new technologies, provide a $4,000 tax credit to purchase hybrid gasoline-electric and other highly fuel efficient vehicles, and improve the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program to increase fuel economy in a way that saves lives and American jobs. …
and…
Increasing Alternative and Renewable Energy

* Expand Use of Ethanol and Biodiesel – President Bush will work to secure passage of a renewable fuel standard requiring five billion gallons of ethanol or biodiesel in motor fuels by 2012.
* Encourage Renewable Energy – President Bush will work to extend the tax credit for production of electricity from renewable resources including wind, solar, and biomass.
* Develop Hydrogen Technology – President Bush will continue his $1.7 billion, five-year initiative to development for hydrogen technologies, including automobiles, homes, and businesses powered by hydrogen fuel cells with virtually no pollution.
* Support Energy R&D – President Bush will dedicate research and development funding to increase America’s energy security, including advancing and promoting clean energy resources from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower and developing the next generation of energy-efficient technologies such as high temperature super-conducting wires.

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