Your Political Exercise For Today

Just for the hell of it, here’s what I’d like you guys to try:

1. Tell us something you don’t like about your preferred presidential candidate


2. Tell us something you do like about the other guy (or guys, if you want to pitch in minor candidates).

Only respond to a question if you can answer it; don’t say “There’s nothing good about McCain/Obama because [insert talking points here]” or some such. Dig down deep, people.

I’m really interesting in seeing the answers here.

127 Comments on “Your Political Exercise For Today”

  1. I know some people are knocking this as a political stunt, or a case of “too little, too late”, but the recent words of McCain remind me that he is fundamentally a guy with honor.

    For him to go and say he “respects” Obama at this point in the campaign, that people shouldn’t be scared of his presidency, well… It’s very honorable. I still want McCain to lose badly, but I would much rather he lost with his honor intact than have him go down in infamy.

    So that’s my contribution: McCain seems to me like he has a conscience, which I don’t see often in the GOP.

  2. 1) I don’t like that Obama hasn’t really addressed what will happen to the programs/initiatives that he’s campaigned on and now likely won’t have the money to pursue (if elected).

    2) I do like that McCain is capable of running away from the Republican base, and think this will be more evident in the future (if elected).

  3. I don’t like that John McCain has spent his entire life working for the government.

    I do like that Barack Obama has a plan for leadership in space.

  4. I don’t like that Obama voted for the FISA travesty. It was a pointless capitulation, far too representative of Democrats in Congress.

  5. 1) I don’t like that Barack Obama has trouble outlining what he’ll have to cut from the budget. Because there will either be serious cuts or there will be a serious deficit, and the latter would be terrible.

    2) I like that John McCain… Umm…
    I LIKED John Mccain… In 2002! Hey, I liked him a lot! See? Positive!

  6. I’m planning on voting for Obama, for starters. However, I think he could be more strident in promoting gay rights and defending Roe vs. Wade. Not a big complaint, though.

    On the other hand, I think McCain is kind of being victimized by his supporters. Once, months and months ago, when the opening act of whatever rally at which he was speaking went out of his way to keep saying “Barack Hussein Obama”, McCain came right out and condemned it. His attempt to calm things down yesterday at Ohio is also quite admirable.

    I still hope he loses big time, but now he won’t end his career as the Alpha in a pack of frothing lunatics. Not to me, at least. He deserves better than that.

  7. I don’t like that Obama is squishy on LGBT rights. He’s likely fine with same-sex marriage but he sure isn’t going to say so during the race; it’s politically inconvenient.

    I do like that McCain is strongly in favor of Second Amendment rights.

  8. I dislike McCain’s solution to the mortgage crisis.

    I like Obama’s 1st speech about racism. I think that my grandchildren will still read that speech along with MLK’s speech.

  9. I don’t like that Obama is so aggressively pro-union.

    I do like that McCain is not only moderate, but is emphatically not a member of the religious right.

  10. I dont like Obama Because he voted for the Patriot act, has pretty vague polices and threatens Pakistan.

    I like Mc Cain because At one point he was straight talking, opposed to bush, knew what it was like to be torchured and wants smaller government (which as an ideal is no bad thing). Trouble is the new Mc Cain aint anything like the old Mc Cain

  11. I dislike the fact that Obama is so for gun controls. But I’m not going to let the NRA decide my vote either, I’m a rater eclectic voter in being conservative on some things and liberal on others.

    I like that McCain in the past has elected to not go along with the usual Republican overlords. I’m not so sure about that now.

  12. Dislike Obama’s support for “clean coal”. And his voting for FISA when he said he would not.

    I like that McCain sometimes resists some of his party’s less good ideas, unfortunately he hasn’t been doing that so much recently. Some of the ideas he appears to throw out at random are actually good, such as the temporary suspension of minimum required distributions from retirement accounts he suggested this week.

  13. Sometimes I have to question Obama’s judgment. Hey, who grows up in Hawaii and settles in Chicago?

    As for McCain, he understands that climate change could be a problem, which is something that many republicans don’t acknowledge.

  14. Obama: I don’t like that he hasn’t called out the corrupt Democratic politicians here in Illinois. We could use his help.

    McCain: I like that he said that the first thing he’d do as President is to close Gitmo.

  15. 1. He is not liberal or progressive enough for me. I want him to support same-sex marriage. I want him to have said “No!” to the federal wiretapping bs.

    2. While I think it is “too little too late”, that McCain is trying to calm his masses down, I do appreciate his efforts.

    Mainly I think the both of them are crazy for wanting this thankless job.

  16. I don’t like that Obama voted for the FISA bill, the one that absolved the telecoms of liability if the warrantless wiretap requests were eventually conclusively determined to be illegal. I think he should have stood up against it, like he once said he would, rather than voting for it just to avoid any political friction in an election year.

    I like that McCain favors amnesty where Latin American immigrants are concerned and hasn’t let the xenophobia of his party as a whole infect his position on this issue. However, he’s said some questionable stuff about his reasons for supporting this viewpoint, like the “none of you would pick lettuce for $50 an hour” comment, so even on this issue I’m not fully behind him.

  17. I don’t like that Obama’s plans seem idealistic… they’re almost too good to be true!

    I like that McCain had a son in Iraq while he was campaigning and didn’t make it into a media circus. (Is he still there? I don’t even know…)

  18. I intensely dislike that Obama will not show outright support for true marriage equality. I think “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, but civil unions are a civil right” is horseshit, a copout. It bothers me a lot. I dislike that he isn’t more adamant in his support of choice.

    But it’s not a dealbreaker. I suspect that he’s keeping it toned down so as not to cause too much of a fuss.

    I like that McCain…um…is trying to reign in the wingnuts?

    I suppose it doesn’t matter. I already voted. YAY early voting in Ohio!

  19. Problems with Obama:

    He’s not willing to stand up and say that gay couples should have the exact same standing as breeders. The insistence on drawing a line between hetero marriage and gay “civil unions” smells a little too much like “separate but equal.”

    He voted to give the NSA the power to listen in on private phone calls without warrant or oversight.

    He won’t come out and say that the current economic mess will require either higher taxes or less government assistance.

    He supports the “drug war.”

    He supports gun control. (oh, the loneliness of the left wing gun nut…)

    His campaign ads lie about John McCain as much as McCain’s lie about him.

    What I like about McCain:

    He has dedicated most of his life to public service.

  20. Obama is my guy, but I don’t like how far he’s run to the center — his reversal on FISA for example. I think this election could have been won cleanly from the left (where “left” is an extremely relative term), since the right has so abjectly failed on both the calculus of ideas and the reality of implementation.

    I can’t stand this John McCain for a host of reasons, but I still retaib some admiration for the man he used to be. That’s probably the best I can do given the tenor of his campaign since the RNC. Before then I would have been kinder about his history of service to the United States.

  21. I dislike about Obama: His support for faith based initiative programs. I feel that if a church wants federal funding, they have to make a nonprofit and keep its books open, like any other group. Other issues for me: gay marriage (and his lack of vocal support), and I wish his health care plan was a bit more comprehensive. Not only that, although I do like some of his plans, I’m not sure we can pay for all of them after the holy mess Bush left. I wish he would focus on the budget first, then work on the other stuff.

    I like about Mccain: His immigration policies. You can tell he comes from a state with a high immigrant population, and he’s had experience there.

    I like about Nader: He’s been a consumer advocate his whole life. Whether or not his plans would actually work, he really does have the good of the world forefront on his mind

    I like about Bob Barr: His opposition to the war on drugs, in general. Some little details to differ on, but overall, I feel it’s a waste, as he does.

  22. Preferred Candidate: Obama

    I don’t like Obama’s position on trade/blaming problems on of shoring. I have a feeling this is just blatant pandering given the economists who are advising him. In this regard I like McCain’s positions.

  23. Obama: Don’t like how he caved on FISA.
    McCain: I like how he once called out the religious right. He’s made nice since then, but hey, at least he did it.

    McCain was my first (political donation) in 2000.

  24. I dislike Obama’s vilification of anything related to free trade, like NAFTA.

    I thought McCain’s stance on immigration was right on, but I haven’t heard anything about it from him in a while.

  25. I do not like that John McCain selected a hilariously unqualified person for his running mate.

    I like that Barack Obama has a straight forward sensible plan to help dent the cost of higher education for those who are most likely to be able to not easily afford it.

  26. I don’t care for the way Obama voted for increasing the SCHIP insurance plan on the back of smokers.

    I like the way John McCain torpedoed his own campaign.

  27. I’m a moderate Republican, voting for Obama, despite the fact that he has completely failed to play to what I feel is one of his strengths – he shares the values that used to be at the core of the Republican party – fiscal conservativism and civil liberties. When the (R)s come out with that made-up “most liberal Senator in history” crap, I think he needs to hit back with all of the classical Republican party planks he has, and not just the massive spending increases and the massive erosion of civil liberties of the last eight years.

    I like McCain because his strength is something that ideologues on both sides see as a fault: he can compromise. Hardliners on both sides see McCain-Feingold as selling out; I see it as an honest attempt to get some useful shit done.

  28. I dislike that Obama voted for that FISA travesty.

    I do like that McCain has made an effort to tamper down the more radical elements of the Republican Party that his selection of Palin has loosed.

  29. As others have noted, I didn’t like that Obama voted for FISA. I was VERY disappointed when that immunity thing snuck through. Also, I wish he and Biden would step up on gay marriage and equal rights.

    I liked McCain once, waaaaay back when we thought he was working with Dems on a non-partisan effort to get torture at Guantanamo investigated.

  30. Well, I was in the gray area for a while on who to vote for until Palin showed up, so I’m voting for Obama now.

    Don’t Like About Obama:
    I have concerns over some of his relationships with people I don’t agree with (Ayers and the Reverend fellow). I really don’t like that he has the sorts of associations with people who clearly hate this country that he does.

    Like About McCain:
    I’ll be honest in saying that I like that he has had actual military experience and that he displays a true love for the men and women, and their families, in our armed forces. That speaks to me because I believe we don’t give our troops the respect they deserve when they come home from battle.

  31. I have two favored candidates:

    I disapprove of Obama’s FISA cave-in, and his anti-trade stances.

    I disapprove of Bob Barr’s actions as a member of the Republican party, and am a little suspicious of his sudden conversion.

    I approve of, like Rob Wright said, the way McCain has made an effort to cool down some of his crazypants supporters.

  32. 1. I dislike Obama’s vote on FISA, and his and Biden’s stance on marriage v. civil unions. They may be parsing terms and trying to separating out the state’s recognition of unions v religious marriage undertaken in religious institutions, but I don’t like that they both come out and say they don’t support gay marriage.

    2. Both McCain’s sons (I believe) have served in Iraq, and McCain has never used that as a talking point.

  33. 1. I do like that Obama has been active in trying to bring transparency into government spending so that taxpayer know what their money is buying, and worked across party lines to do so.

    2. I do not like McCain’s travesty of a “campaign finance” reform bill, which was not only an insult to the First Amendment but did nothing to make campaigns any “cleaner.”

  34. 1. I don’t like that Obama doesn’t support gay marriage, and instead supports ‘equal civil unions’. He has also said that the decision regarding gay marriage should be left to the states. At a time when Proposition 8 in California and Proposition 102 in Arizona are threatening to put anti-gay clauses in state constitutions, we need a President who will firmly support gay marriage. That way, we could work towards gay marriage being legal on a federal level, as a matter of civil rights.

    2. Like President Bush, McCain is a nice guy. However, he’s been thrust into the midst of a mudslinging Republican political machine that’s ruined his reputation. I think McCain’s integrity showed when he called Obama a ‘decent family man’ at one of his recent rallies.

  35. 1. I’m concerned about Obama’s plan for getting out of Iraq, and ending the war overall on both fronts. I don’t think he’s been clear or concise enough – and it’s costing him. More military folks would be willing to vote for him, if he made it clear that his solution is NOT to just cut and run (believe me I understand this is not what he’s saying, but he hasn’t done enough to dispel this perception). Both Robert Gates and Richard Danzig have been floated as possibles for Obama’s SecDef – and I’d really like to know who he’s going to be listening to when it comes to military matters and the war in particular – and so would a lot of Veterans and Active Duty military. And don’t get me started on FISA, as a former intelligence officer I find that entire deal revolting and unconstitutional, but then again they didn’t ask me for advice.

    2. I’d like to say that I admire McCain for finally behaving in an honorable manner consistent with the code we Naval officers are sworn to live by – i.e. slapping his batshit crazy supporters down in public. But the truth of the matter is that he didn’t do it out of a sense of honor, or right and wrong – he did it because it was costing him public opinion. I don’t think he’s the anti-Christ, but I do think he’d sell his soul to be President. I do like his stance on immigration, and I admire the man he used to be.

  36. I plan on voting for Obama.

    I dislike, intensely, his vote on FISA. That took the wind out of my sails, enthusiasm-wise. This may sound naive, but it wasn’t until then that I had the thought, “Dude’s a politician.”

    I like, most recently about McCain, that he has stepped up to tell people at his rallies, “Don’t be crazy. Obama’s not a Muslim terrorist, and you don’t need to be afraid.”

    Really, I just want this election to be over, so I can resume being angry at my government for less-evil-than-torture shit, like in the 90s.

  37. Dislike about Obama: His support for “clean coal” and corn ethanol as energy sources.

    Like about McCain: He agrees that anthropogenic global warming exists.

  38. Obama supporter here.

    1. Obama’s position on same-sex marriage sucks.

    2. I do appreciate that McCain served in a war himself; he’s no chickenhawk, and I respect him for that.

  39. I don’t like that Obama voted for the FISA bill. (But was extremely pleased that Biden voted against it!)

    I like that McCain seems to be making an attempt to be a bit nicer when regarding Obama now.

  40. I don’t like Obama’s refusal to advocate for single-payer health care.

    I like that McCain co-sponsored McCain-Feingold.

  41. 1. I love that Obama turned around and supported FISA. It was reassuring to see that he was able to make a hard decision and take the heat from left wing supporters. I worry less that he won’t be able to take the necessary steps to protect the nation.

    2. I hate how McCain has turned negative since the RNC. I have had tremendous respect for him over the years, and he has lost much of it in just a short couple of months.

  42. I’m an Obama supporter, but I found I could come up with lots more things I dislike about him than I like about McCain. I guess that makes me a curmudgeon, but here goes:
    1. I don’t like that Obama has had so little experience governing at the federal level.

    2. I do like McCain’s support of stem cell research.

  43. My vote’s going to Obama despite that, in the past few weeks, he seems more restrained, less sincere/real, and too focused on playing the game. I get why he’s done it, and why he’s skewed more to the center (that’s where the undecided voters are, and that’s whom he’s playing to), but I always thought he was at his best when he was at his most candid and most sincere. When he spoke from his heart and his gut, and with the exception of his noting his mother’s death in his closing statement to the most recent debate, he hasn’t seemed to do that. He seems to ramble on about policies, and I feel like he rambles on because he’s not so comfortable when he’s not speaking from the heart.

    As for McCain, the exercise would have been easier 8 years ago, when I truly supported him. Positive? I wish the past 8 years had been a McCain administration, rather than a Bush administration. There’s a moment during The American President when Michael Douglas’ president asks his Martin Sheen advisor whether the latter believed Douglas would have won the presidency if he had needed to engage in a character debate during the election process, and Martin Sheen says “I don’t know, but I would have liked to see that. If my friend Andy Shepard had shown up, I would have liked it very much.”

    I don’t know how the past 8 years would have been different, but I would have liked to have seen a John McCain administration very much.

    Now? What I like most about him is his daughter, as it seems he raised a confident, vivacious woman. Were I him, I think at this point I’d hope to be most remembered for my children, and not this election cycle.

  44. Obama is the first candidate I’ve ever given money to, and I hadn’t ever voted for a Democrat until 2006.

    His union ties worry me. The early lip-service to trade protectionism concerns me.

    Biden’s drug stance worries me. I’m hopeful that Obama will dismantle the war on (some) drugs. Biden’s RAVE act stupidity worries me, big time.

    It worries me that neither guy seems to want to temper expectations for his Administration by highlighting the fact we just had to replace the National Debt Clock in NYC because it had too few digits. I understand spending may be necessary to dig out, but… Ugh.

    I will also say I like that McCain stood up to the more vile smears at his rally the other day. That’s real leadership.

    That’s what we need from both parties at this time. It’s been a whole lot of finger pointing and bullshit, because everyone was fat and happy. I don’t mean to sound like I welcome a crisis that’s almost cut my net worth in half, but… I see this as an opportunity for serious leaders to emerge from both parties. And I would love it if the Libertarians were able to attract some new talent.

    I love that McCain loves to play craps. All the lefty bloggers are snarking on it, but it’s one of two casino games where the house edge is minimal. It’s one of the smarter bets, if you know what you’re doing.

    I’ll end it by saying I hope Barr is sincere when he says he’s re-thought the war on (some) drugs.

  45. What I don’t like about Obama: FISA, weakness on gay rights, anti-trade pandering

    What I like about McCain: he at least tried campaign finance reform; he reined in his own lunatic supporters; he’s an improvement on the Republican standard bearers of the last 8 years

  46. I dislike the fact that McCain has taken a very negative stand in the election, deciding to focus more on how Obama is wrong than on what he has to offer.

    I really like the way Obama talked about energy in the last presidential debate, and I think he does a much better job than McCain of presenting himself.

  47. Things I dislike about Obama: Whussed out on FISA when it was an easily-defensible point of differentiation between himself and the president. Is flat-out-lying about whether it will be possible to push forward with tax cuts given recent economic developments.

    Things I like about McCain: He’s willing to propose stuff that pisses off his base. For better or worse, that’s rare. Seconding another poster who noted that McCain has totally avoided his sons’ service in Iraq as a talking point. In this climate it would be REALLY easy to flog that.

  48. I don’t like how Obama has been campaigning for the last two years. I also don’t like how absent he has been from the Senate. But that goes for everyone who has been involved I suppose.

    I do like how McCain has shown a repeated willingness to reach across the aisle and work with Dems. I also like how he has, in the past, stood up for what he believed, regardless of what his party wanted. I also like that he has a tradition of military service in his family.

  49. I’d like to start by thanking John for this thread. I think it’s useful.

    There’s a long list of things I don’t like about McCain, especially BCRA. They all come down to one thing, though. He’s either a Statist himself, or he’s willing to lay down with them.

    Barack Obama is a very good public speaker. I think he could effectively advocate for the need to transport ice cubes to Anchorage.

  50. Former Clinton supporter who wound up voting for Obama in the PA primary after Clinton’s campaign went Republican…err, very negative.

    I don’t like Obama’s stands on FISA and equal rights for gays. I also suspect his call for expanded medical care is unrealistic given the Wall Street bailout, but he’s not willing to say so yet.

    Honestly, if McCain hadn’t in the last day or so said something nice about Obama in public, I would have said the last thing McCain did that I liked the principle of was the McCain-Feingold act, even though it’s had a number of unintended, negative consequences. I respected McCain quite a bit in 2000, but not at all in recent years due to his decision to pander far-right.

  51. 1. I don’t like that Obama/Biden support civil unions, but are against legalizing same-sex marriage. It’s a gutless, wishy-washy position that is purely political. Not the change I was looking for.

    2. I like that McCain/Palin do have a history of standing up to their party, and are willing to make waves. I just wish they would do it more often.

  52. Hi, John. I asked a question similar to this one on my own LiveJournal a couple weeks ago. I came up with a list of things I liked about John McCain, including:

    5. His name is very similar to that of the hero from Die Hard

    3. In 2006, John McCain voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment. He does not support constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Also, he pointed out that creating a federal ban on something was “anti-Republican”.

    2. Regard an interracial dating ban, McCain has said, “Look, what you’re doing, in this ban on interracial dating, is stupid, it’s idiotic and it is incredibly cruel to many people.”

    1. He summed up my opinion on the environment which is, we gotta do something now because, even if the direness of the situation may be exaggerated, we cannot play Russian Roulette with the planet. Quote. “Suppose that climate change is not real, and we do adopt green technologies, which our economy and technology are capable of. Then all we’ve done is given our kids a cleaner world. But suppose that climate change is real and we’ve done nothing. What kind of a planet are we going to pass on to the next generation? We’ve got to address it with technology, with cap-and- trade, with capitalist and free enterprise motivation. We can pass on to our children and grandchildren a cleaner, better world.” — Des Moines Register Republican Debate Dec 12, 200

  53. McCain supporter, in that “I’d rather have leprosy than ebola” sort of way. Would be a Libertarian if I didn’t think so much of their platform was totally unrealistic.

    I don’t like about McCain: The thrice-damned McCain-Feingold Act, which doesn’t seem to have done a damned thing it was intended to and has created a lovely little tool in the toolbox for politicians that would rather threaten their critics with the Justice Department than answer them. “Rather have cleaner government than freer speech”? Which one is in the Bill of Rights, and how exactly did that make anything cleaner?

    This populist class-warfare bent he’s picked up. It is not actually a crime to be successful and wealthy in America unless you, you know, commit crimes to get that way. And beating on “us” versus “them” isn’t that helpful when They tend to be the ones signing a large percentage of Our paychecks.

    The way he’s not actually as supportive of second-amendment rights as he’d like me to think. I still remember what you wanted to do to gun shows, Johnny.

    Supported Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (I think it’s a really swell idea to have a military policy that requires brothers in arms to lie to each other)… and supported various anti-flag-burning legislation, which I view as incredibly stupid.

    Don’t like about Bob Barr: Four words: Defense of Marriage Act, which he authored. Oh, what the heck, how about a few more… supports required school prayer, supported a Constitutional AMENDMENT for school prayer, voted against more immigrant visas for skilled workers, I could go on. If he’s a libertarian then I am Princess Anastasia.

    I like about Obama: That he really is a good speaker, which I think is a valuable skill in a President. I just happen to disagree with the substance of nearly everything he says, save some environmental issues on which we’re in agreement.

  54. I don’t like that Obama utterly ignored the Bush administration’s attempt to do an executive end-run declaring birth-control, Plan B, and IUD’s abortive.

    I appreciate that McCain doesn’t conflate biblical morality with workable US law.

  55. On Obama: I dislike his universal health care plan. I think it’s economically and administratively unsound, and that it will sadly be likely to lower the quality of health care, which I think is a poor trade off to get more people insured. Great, more people can get health care – but it’s lousy health care. I can’t see the win there.

    On McCain: I like that I can continue to believe this is a man who has allowed his campaign to get away from him. There is clearly a group of people behind the scenes there telling him the only way he can save the world is by becoming president, and the only way to do that is through these underhanded tactics. McCain’s a better man than that, and his obvious discomfort at some of his more recent rallies makes me know that the good guy is still in there. He really wants to help America. I disagree with his policies, but I’ve never doubted his intentions. That’s a man who wants to do well by us all. Unfortunate that his campaign advised him that the best way to do that was to do ill by his opponent.

    I like MCCAIN, I really do. I like the man. I wish he’d come back.

  56. I’m an Obama supporter and campaign donor. I don’t care for Obama’s association with Rev. Wright, or for his stance on gay marriage.

    Things I like about McCain: his history of not being blindly partisan, his military experience, the fact that he’s actually been to some of the world’s trouble spots.

  57. I think all the previous commenters have listed many of the specific acts and positions which I wish Obama had not supported. FISA really is the most important of these.

    I would like to touch on the third rail which most of us Obama supporters refuse to touch – his inexperience. I said from the beginning of his campaign that I wish he had served a term as Governor of Illinois. While I recognize that he brings intelligence, strong character and composure, none of these have been tested in a management crucible. Every executive has to make difficult choices throughout her career. These run from canceling projects after millions have been spent to firing or laying off people. To the best of my knowledge, Obama has not been through this exercise.

    I strongly admire McCain’s service, both military and political. I also admire his willingness to stand up to some of the crazies in his audience. Up until 2004, I deeply admired McCain, even while disagreeing with all of his positions. 2004 was the year that McCain’s ambition overcame his sense of honor. I won’t list all the things he has done since.

    Thanks for this question Mr. Scalzi, it was well worth asking.

    Rick York

  58. I’m a comitted Obama girl but I’m not very happy with his stance on gay marriage. I’m happy that he does support it in a reduce way but I think he’s pussyfooting around, trying to pander to both sides with this.

    As for McCain, I do appreciate the story about how he supposedly turned down the offer from his captors to free him, when they found out he was the son of a major general, because that went against the rules for the release of POWs (others had been there longer than him and they should have been release first).

  59. I dislike Obama becuase he panders to the religious

    I used to like McCain becuase I thought he was at least genuine. I’m not sure anymore though.

  60. I will vote for Obama.

    However, I dislike his position on (and most of these have been mentioned already): gay marriage, clean coal, and FISA telecom immunity, among other things.

    And I know this is against the spirit of this question, but I honestly can’t think of a single thing I admire about John McCain. His willingness to vote against his party? Ridiculously exaggerated. His personal honor? Maybe at times, but it’s deserted him on more than a few key occasions. He doesn’t deserve points for telling off the more idiotic and violent members of his audience at least a week late. He should have responded the first time it happened, not when the media got wind of what was happening.

  61. McCain: Straight Talk Express, 2000 – not just the RV, but what he said during that time. Please read David Foster Wallace’s article about his time with him in ‘Consider the Lobster’.

    Obama: not as much of a coalition builder as I’d like. I think this is related to time in office – hasn’t had the time to build those strong, meaningful relationships across the aisle.

  62. 1) I don’t like that Obama has basically said, when issues of personal freedom have come up, that “I voted for it because it won’t do as much harm once we’re in office.” I’m not sure I trust the Democrats with blank checks for privacy violation any less than the Republicans, and what if they lose?

    2) I like that McCain had the balls to stand up to some of his supporters that were associating Obama with terrorism. I wish that the Democrats would be more willing to call out their own when they’re wrong.

  63. I don’t like that Barack Obama is a coward when it comes to the gay marriage issue.

    I do like that John McCain is so into Nuclear Energy.

  64. I’m an Obama Supporter…so:

    I like that John McCain can be self-deprecating in his humor, and does a good job of making jokes and having fun in some situations when it’s called for (like being on talk shows.)

    I dislike that Obama is so religious. I am a very passionate atheist and yearn for a day when we can enjoy a world where we rely on what IS to make the world a better place, not what MIGHT BE. Imaginary friends aren’t good to have in the policy-making world.

  65. Obama supporter here.

    Don’t like the Reverend Wright association. Would rather he went further in support of gay marriage. Not thrilled about his tax plan.

    Like that McCain is opposed to the U.S. torturing people. Like his “maverickness” is not pandering to the religious right. Like that he would repeal (ok, eventually) the AMT. Like that he went on “The Daily Show” a lot. Like that he is at least trying to run an honorable campaign.

    (Personally, I’m fairly conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social ones — especially those that don’t cost anything. Haven’t seen a viable candidate that feels the same way, so my vote is just a matter of which is more important to me.)

  66. I don’t like Obama’s FISA vote, or that he’s opposed to gay marriage (or that he’s an avowed Christian, but I’m used to being a downtrodden atheist minority in this country, and at least he’s not a fundamentalist). Those factors transformed me from being excited about Obama to being resigned to, once again, voting for the least noxious option.

  67. Justin@2: I agree. That is what I planned to say, then decided maybe I should read the other comments first.

    In addition to that, I am tired of Obama’s vague reassurances of “change we can believe in.” I want to see something specific. I still plan to vote for him, but my determination is waning.

  68. Rulebreaker here….

    I appreciate two events that happened during this campaign.

    1. Joint Sept 11 ceremony. (I heard about it before, so if it didn’t come off, don’t tell me…I want to keep living in my fantasy world).

    2. The joint letter re: the original $700B deal. (ditto if it didn’t happen)

    I’m guessing there is some relationship from the Senate that plays into this and the recent “Hey, the other guy isn’t evil” from both candidates. Guess that last part is a third “event” I appreciate.

  69. McCain supporter:

    I like Barack Obama’s consideration of space as an important issue.

    I dislike John McCain’s sponsorship of the McCain-Fiengold campaign finance bill.

  70. Like others I dislike Obama’s stance on gay marriage, or rather his lack thereof. I cringed when Joe Biden spoke about gay marriage during the VP debate. (And then I changed the channel to the Canadian Leaders’ Debate. Hey, Canadians: vote on Tuesday. Please.)

    I like the man McCain used to be — McCain 1.0 who appeared on The Daily Show and had a sense of humour and was still capable of fielding a question. The Vista-like “upgrade” that’s replaced him has sub-Turing moments when asked about birth control.

  71. What I like about McCain (the Other Side): He works across the aisle. He’s capable of bi-partisan activity that actually works.

    What I don’t like about Obama (My Guy): I’d like him to respond with a great deal more fire. The Cool Customer approach is, I’m afraid, lost on a great portion of the American Public.

  72. Obama: he voted for retroactive telecom immunity and any number of other asinine measures heading us closer to the panopticon totalitarian state.

  73. I’m with everyone else on admiring McCain for literally pulling the mic away from his supporters and pointing out that the extremist hate they’re spewing isn’t ok. I would have thought (wrongly, clearly) that he would just let them go and say the things his people won’t say outright.

    I don’t like a few things about Obama. He’s wishywashy on the whole gay rights thing, his health plan isn’t what I’d like it to be (though I’m happily in the Go Modified Socialism! camp, so Universal healthcare as opposed to Socialized medicine isn’t really my thing, and yes, there is a pretty damn big difference between the two).
    I’m not sure he has realistic goals and feel that he might be promising more than he can really deliver. I realize a lot of this is necessitated by being a politician at all in today’s climate, and that I’m far more progressive/leftie than many voters. But hey, you asked!

    Mostly I desire real, fundamental change. The kind that would cause things to likely get a lot worse before they got better. I’m not sure either candidate can facilitate that sort of progress. Which is why I keep ‘plan Canada or Ireland’ on the table at all times.

  74. Dislike about Obama:
    Instead of being against having wars in the Middle East, he has been taking the approach that Iraq is the wrong war but Afghanistan is the right war. Because a democrat is a sissy if he is not for some war. This is dangerous pandering to get elected that will cost many lives if ti even gets partially implemented. If he actually strongly believes in war as a solution, it is even more disturbing.
    His caving in on energy/environment issues: He is now for clean coal which I have to think he knows is not a real solution just an incredibly expensive method that is not yet successful of cleaning up after coal. He is also now for drilling.
    His stance on gay marriage.
    He did not participate in public financing.
    Like about McCain:
    That he once called out the religious right (who he has now embraced)
    His recent comments that people shouldn’t be scared of an Obama presidency (though his campaign has been trying to make people feel scared)

  75. I early voted for Obama in Ohio.

    Things I dislike about Obama:
    1. Sticking with Reverend Wright was a stupid, stupid thing to do. Maybe he thought he could get away with calling the man his crazy uncle or whatever phrase we use to excuse the bigots in our midst, but it was still pretty dumb. If he had left Wright ten years ago, he would be winning in a landslide because all the other personal attacks against him would have no currency.
    2. Although he eliminated lobbyist contributions to the DNC, he could have showed some serious leadership chops by taking on the DNCC and the DSCC and taking on old pols like Pelosi and Chuck Chumer to make them reject lobbyist contributions.
    3. That FISA vote was an act of cowardly capitulation.

    Things I like about McCain:
    1. He denounced the “agents of intolerance”. Sure, he went back on his denunciation, but he said it.
    2. He recognized that global warming is real and its causes are manmade.
    3. He supports stem-cell research.
    4. He briefly supported a patient’s bill of rights.

  76. I like that McCain is willing to recognize that there is a loyalty above Party. I like that he is willing to be wrong by doing the right thing, rather than be popular by doing the wrong thing.

    Honestly, I think Obama is running about 4 years to soon. His stand against gay marriage bothers me, heck. If he, on his own principles, were to take a stand against his party or the CW that was perceived as unpopular with the masses (a la McCain with the Surge) I think a great many moderates and independents would be on his side.


  77. I’m an Obama supporter so:

    Obama: Voting for FISA and siding with the neocons over Iran (Does anyone read the IAEA reports on Iran in Washington?).

    McCain: I admire his service during the Vietnam War, his courage and sacrifice.

  78. Ditto with most everyone:

    1. Dislike, intensely, that Obama voted for FISA, thus breaking a promise to filibuster it if it included retroactive immunity.

    2. Like about McCain: I liked McCain2000. Now, not only do I miss that version, I wonder if McCain2000 really existed or was just a demo.

  79. * Obama flipped on FISA and telcom immunity. I’m sorry, but there’s no forgiveness for that.

    * McCain served his country in time of war by putting on a uniform and putting himself in harm’s way.

  80. I don’t like that Obama has to lie about his religious beliefs, or lack thereof. There’s various stories floating around that he is in fact not all that religious, which I can believe about a well educated academic (seeing as how I am one and spend a good deal of time around others. it’s fairly common). But it drives me nuts that, in order to get elected, he has to put on the religious act to win votes from the sort of nimrods who can’t deal with a happy nonbeliever.

    As for John McCain, I like that he has recently become so transparently out of his mind. he’s realized that George W. Bush has cost him the presidency twice now, and purely through being a complete and utter failure. It would drive me over the edge.

  81. 1) I don’t like that despite his promises of “change”, Barack Obama seems very comfortable with the Chicago Machine. I don’t like that he actually is a bit inexperienced for the job of POTUS. I foresee a major policy error comparable to the Bay of Pigs for Kennedy or the Iraq invasion for Bush 2.

    2) For McCain, I have to give him credit for trying to educate his most frothing-at-the-mouth supporters. I also have to give him credit for sticking to his guns on Iraq. He obviously believes in that commitment and is definitely applying the lessons of Viet-nam to that situation. The surge (combined with tactical changes like decentralizing the mission control for the Predator spy-planes used to identify roadside bombers, and political changes like forming coalitions with tribal leaders) actually did work, at least in the short to medium term. We’ll see how that holds up after the election.

  82. FISA. Damn, damn, damn Barack Obama for voting for that piece of crap when he should have stood up and denounced it.

    “We will be respectful.” Better late than never, Senator McCain. That, and I’m down with nuclear power.

  83. Obama supporter here.

    Dislike about Obama: He has bought into using the euphemism “rescue” to describe the recently passed Wall Street bailout plan. (Sen. McCain had told the questioner, who asked what the bailout does for him, said, among other things, that he preferred to call it a “rescue” plan (or bill, or package, or whatever). In his response, Sen. Obama simply referred to it as the “rescue” bill). The bailout bill may have been necessary (reasonable folks can differ on this), but I don’t find it helpful to dress it up with euphemisms.

    Like about McCain: He seems to be one of the few on his side of the aisle to recognize the severity of the environmental problems facing the country and the world. I don’t agree with most of his proposed solutions, but I do give him credit for acknowledging the problem.

  84. I’m not especially fond of McCain’s recent embrace of apparent big-government principles with regards to the recent economic turmoil. I don’t doubt that some government intervention may be necessary, and even beneficial, but the massive scope of it just rubs me in all the wrong ways. While we’re on economic issues, I also don’t like his support of free trade, but that’s a common complaint I have with most Republicans, not just McCain. Its hard to hold to libertarian values these days, I guess.

    I do believe in Obama’s sincerity and integrity; while I disagree with many of his political goals, I do think that he honestly believes that his plans will make the country better. Hard to criticize that sort of belief, whatever his politics may be. I also sincerely hope that, if elected, he does not lose sight of those fundamental principles, though history is not kind in that regard. Exceptions do happen, though, and one can always hope for the best.

  85. I don’t like that Obama is pro-choice. I find Biden boring and uninteresting. I do like that McCain is less of a shill to big business than most Republicans. I really like Palin, and I’m sorry that she was catapulted to national prominence before she was ready.

    None of this changes the fact that I’m voting in the D column this year.

  86. Obama supporter here:

    Everything I dislike about him has already been stated above: FISA, his lack of commitment to marriage equality… but mostly his insistence that there is such a thing as “clean coal.” When you have to lop off mountaintops to get to the coal, and debate where you’re going to BURY the waste biproducts? That’s not clean.

    I had to actually dig down deep to find something that I like about McCain – not just some wishy-washy lipservice for the sake of balance. However, I can honestly say that I do like that he is not, by nature, a fundamentalist tool of the Religious Right. I do not care what your, his, or anyone elses religion is; just keep it out of my politics.

  87. Sen. Obama on occasion makes compromises (FISA, for example) that I don’t like; then again *I* don’t have to say to my constituents, “Hey… I told you I’d get something done.” That, and I think he’s too middle of the road on health care. I’d really like to see him adopt Elizabeth Edwards’ health care objectives.

    I do appreciate Sen. McCain’s wont to be his own man despite the immense efforts of neoconservatives and end-of-days extremists to color his world-view. I believe if McCain had effectively rejected their Good Advice he may well be in contention in this race, too.

  88. Coming down on Obama’s side for this one.

    My main problem with Obama is that I do not believe the US should be intervening with other nations as if we were still in a cold war world. Both Obama and McCain seem interested in keeping the US as the dominant political power in the world, which is something I have no interest in seeing this country do. I think the US needed to completely revamp its foreign policy following the collapse of the USSR, and that both the Democrats (though Bush II makes them look good by comparison) and Republicans have had a rather dismal record of actually adapting to a world with only one superpower.

    As for McCain. Up until the Conventions, I thought that I might actually sit this one out and put a protest vote in for whichever third party looked most likely to hit a 5% popular vote. If this was the McCain of 2000, I can say that I would certainly be doing that. The man seems fundamentally honourable in nature, something that I think is reflected in his attempts to cut the anger in the republican crowds. If the campaign against Obama had not gone so negative and if he had picked a VP that I could live with, then I would have been perfectly happy to see either candidate win.

  89. Obama supporter here (you in the corner, I know you’re not suprised, don’t try to fake it):

    Not happy about the FISA vote and his stance on faith based theft-for-prostlitizing but I can see the temporising on non-straight issues. He’s got one set of bigots to deal with already. I expect his next campaign to run a better plank on these issues though.

    Like the recent foamy-bashing from McCain but am paranoid enough to wonder if it will last or stay strong. Hope it can.

  90. Dislike Obama’s unwillingness to really support gay marriage, and the other things most of the people in this thread have mentioned (FISA, war in Afghanistan)

    Like (and can’t believe more people haven’t mentioned this) McCain admitting that ABBA is awesome. Because seriously, ABBA is awesome. I just came home from seeing Mamma Mia, the sing along version. I like to think that John McCain will have an ABBA sing along in the White House if he wins this election. Mind you, I still really want Obama to win, but if he should lose, well… I hope the sing along is televised. I hope it’s in the Oval Office. I hope other world leaders come. I especially hope they all wear sparkly outfits.

  91. I really don’t like the fact that Obama, my choice, supports spying on Americans. If I wasn’t trying to do my small part to fight voter fraud, I’d write in Ron Paul’s name instead.

  92. In my quick scan of comments so far, I’ve only seen this once. I strongly disagree with Obama’s stance on the office of faith based initiatives. Any, repeat, ANY government sponsored faith based organization will inevitably lead to institutionalized proselytizing and bigotry, because some religious people think that they are ordered to do so because some nice Jewish men wrote it in a book a few thousand years ago.
    This is much on my mind lately, as I saw this:
    As you can tell by the title, a young Jewish man joined the army, got called brutal ugly names that I won’t repeat here, was ordered by his drill sergeant to remove his yarmulke, and got the crap beaten out of him because he’s Jewish. After he recovered from the beating, the army sent him back to the same base.
    And this is the army. The United States Army is supposed to be the most egalitarian organization ever. I don’t need to tell you that the integration of the armed forces was one of the beginnings of the civil rights movement. If the army is full of evangelical Christians who fell free to beat a private senseless just because he is Jewish, it will happen with other organizations, I don’t care how well intentioned it is to begin with.

    As for what I like about McCain? I’m sorry, I got nothin’. I won’t disparage the man and I honor his service to the country, but policy wise and temperament wise, I don’t trust him as far as I could throw him. What do you want? I’m a partisan Democrat. I didn’t like anything about Reagan either.

  93. I don’t like that Obama and/or his staff have occasionally distorted McCain’s record. That shouldn’t be necessary, and cheapens his rhetoric.

    I do like that McCain actually reassured voters yesterday that Obama isn’t an “Arab” that they must fear.

  94. I don’t like that Obama voted for the bailout bill. I don’t like that he voted for the FISA deal either. I’m not happy with Biden’s stances on internet file sharing and privacy.

  95. I don’t like Obama’s position on copyright protections and the RIAA (at least as far as I understand them).

    I like that McCain tried to calm his supporters. (Unfortunately, that was too little, too late.)

  96. Ron Paul was my candidate. I’ll be, reluctantly, voting for McCain.

    I am unhappy that McCain sees government as the solution to far too much. He sneers at business. He seems to believe that “service” to government is of more value than getting and keeping a business going.

    I am glad that Obama has not been the “angry black man” and is not blaming whites for everything. It would be political suicide to do so but my impression is that he is being honest about this.

  97. I am uncomfortable with the gap between what Obama actually says and what many of his supporters hear. I think that if he’s elected there will be a lot of disappointment and some backlash, both because he can’t work miracles and because he is, fundamentally, not very left-wing.

    I admire the effort that McCain has put in to deal with the destructive force of anger, both his and others’. I have a strong temper, and I know that it’s a long and difficult battle to control it. He’s clearly fought all his life to keep his in check. And I think he was startled and a little horrified to see the wrath of his supporters. I appreciate what he’s done to try to damp it back down.

  98. I want to add my voice to the chorus that wishes Obama were more open about his support for rights and protection for GLBT people. There was a short piece posted in one of the mybarackobama blogs back in June, where he was quoted as voicing support for some form of ENDA, but it was never reported in the mainstream media, and not acknowledged in any of Obama’s subsequent comms.

    On the other hand, I admire McCain for his Navy service in Vietnam and elsewhere. Given the opportunity, I would shake his hand and thank him for his service, then ask him to kindly step aside for the next generation.

  99. I like that McCain has been extremely devoted to his country in the ways that seemed best to him. I think he is, overall, a positive example of his generation.

    I don’t like that Obama bet his daughter $5 she’d freak out upon meeting one of the Jonas Brothers while she asserted she’d be calm and collected. (It’s on a video on the Obama website, and the campaign emailed the link to me). It probably seems petty for me to say it…and I’m sure it was meant as a joke…but I hope he more consistently builds his daughters up instead of teasing them in a ‘don’t think you’re all that’ sort of way.

  100. I agree with the people above on Obama’s gay marriage stance and McCain’s ability to admit that he makes mistakes has been incredibly unpolitician like in the past.

    The thing that impresses me the most is that there are 100 people in this thread who can cite examples for both of the questions that Scalzi asked. It doesn’t seem to be easy to disagree with your candidate or say something nice about the other guy but people here have managed it.

    Yay Whatever visitors! You guys rock!

  101. I don’t like Obama’s FISA vote, and I believe is stance on equal marriage rights splits unnecessary hairs.

    At one time, McCain stood up against both parties for campaign finance reform. I respect that.

  102. I dislike Obama’s vote on FISA (which seems to be a not uncommon position). And I’m not 100% sure I like his position on the bailout.

    I like the fact that McCain has finally started telling his audiences that Obama is a decent man of whom they should NOT be afraid. I just wish he’d said it sooner.

  103. re: Obama
    I don’t like that Obama caved on the FISA issue, I thought it was a crucial standon issues and he went for political expediency

    re: McCain
    I like that McCain is against earmarks that are pork barrel spending.

  104. Obama voted in favor of both the FISA bill and the idiotic bank bailout. I’m voting for him anyway, but with, shall we say, significantly diminished enthusiasm compared to before those two abominations passed.

    McCain, much to my surprise, risked a fair amount of political capital by voting against the medicaid prescription benefit bill, which surprised the hell out of me when I looked it up.

  105. I dislike Obama’s stance on GLBT rights as it has been stated. Too wishy-washy.

    I like how McCain hasn’t been using his children as political currency.

  106. One concern – while many of us who read/post here are Obama-supporters, nearly half of the people who said nice things about McCain were saying things that haven’t been true in well over two years years. McCain2000 does not equal McCain2008, as a few posters have pointed out. He’s done nothing but try to curry favor with the right, most notably by asking Palin to be his running mate.

    Yeah, Obama has shifted right too. Yeah, my skin crawls when he starts talking about “faith-based initiatives.” But, he’s a member of the United Church of Christ, which means he probably hasn’t checked his ability to think critically about religious issues at the door (this is a liberal Protestant denomination (even though Wright comes off as a “blood and thunder” preacher)). Unlike Republicans, he understands about the need for the separation of church and state.

  107. re: Obama

    I don’t like his FISA vote. (Really don’t like). I also don’t like his record on gun control or abortion or his support for the Byrne program.

    re: McCain

    I prefer his stance on guns. His distaste for Earmarks – although in excess of the problem they cause – could have a useful effect in forcing congress to stay on topic on its bills rather than adding on random crap (see wooden arrows, bailout bill), but that’s not certain.

  108. Oh, Lord. What don’t I like about John McCain? That’s actually a rather lengthy list. Just to pick an example off the top of my head, his cosponsorship of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, aka the Incumbent Protection Act, aka the “F**k the First Amendment” act. We’ve already seen attempts to use it as a weapon against political bloggers, among other things.

    And what good can I say about Barack Obama? Well, it’s apparent the man knows how to work an audience. He’s quite good at it, and quite charismatic. That actually scares me a bit. Remember the lines in Living Colour’s song “Cult of Personality”: “Like Mussolini and Kennedy…Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi…” Great charisma is a powerful political tool, and, as we’ve seen from history, it can be used for both good and ill. If Obama’s elected, only time will tell which it is in his case.

  109. 1) I don’t like that Obama has not made a position statement on the concept of the Unitary Presidency.

    2) I like that character, courage, and duty matter enough to John McCain that he has written several books concerning those topics.

  110. The things I don’t like about Obama are things that have already been mentioned many times: his positions on gay rights and faith-based initiatives, the FISA vote. I also don’t much like the pretense that Obama is some grand figure who would never stoop to petty politics. He’s obviously a skilled politician, and that means he isn’t pure as the driven snow.

    Things I like about McCain: His position on stem-cell research, which to my knowledge he has not disavowed. The absence of anti-immigrant rhetoric from this campaign. McCain has disavowed his previous position on immigration, but he doesn’t go around demonizing immigrants in his speeches, and for that I am grateful.

  111. McCain could use a little more spine.

    Obama supports the death penalty.

    (See Harry [#112], one man’s negative can be another’s positive.)

  112. I respect both candidates desire to improve the country. That is the best thing I can say about any politician. I think both candidates are arrogant and neither one has demonstrated clear values that they stick by regardless of the political outcome. I hope that whoever wins the presidency the opposite party wins the legislative branch and we can go 4 years without expanding the scope of government powers and programs along with our national debt.

  113. I don’t like it at all that Obama voted for FISA. He really deserved a smack upside his head with the Clue Stick® for that one…

    And as mythago mentioned way above, he’s “squishy” on civil rights for LGBT citizens.

  114. 1) I like that Obama does seem to be a decent upstanding person with strong contections to family and friends.

    2) I dislike that McCain is essentially an old white guy in a long train of old white guys that run the government.

  115. Just found this blog, and it’s great so far.

    I was a huge supporter of McCain in prior elections, but will be voting for Obama in this one.

    Obama: I dislike he voted for FISA and I dislike the amount of new programs he wants to institute.

    McCain: I like that McCain opposed Gitmo…definitely honorable. I like that McCain says he will balance the budget.

    I could do a big list of positives and negatives for both. I will say that even with the hate spewing from both extremes (not so much the candidates), we have better candidates on both sides than we had in the last two elections. Maybe there is hope.

  116. McCain: I do like and respect his service to this country. He is a hero for surviving what happened to him in Vietnam and believing in his country.

    Obama: I have a fundamental disagreement with him on partial-birth abortions.

  117. 1. Don’t like about Obama: that he seems to still think America has the capacity & competence to play God with the rest of the world. I’d be a sucker for GW Bush’s promised “humble foreign policy” if I believed I’d get it.

    2. Admire McCain for helping to thaw American relations with Vietnam.

  118. I dislike: Obama has just announced that he would allow people to withdraw some money from their 401K without penalty. Is he off his nut? Our saving rate is horrible and he is actually telling people it’s okay to pull stuff out of their retirement accounts and spend it on hookers and beer? Gaaaaaahhhh. I’m not a fan of FISA either.

    I like: McCain’s stance against torture. I also like that he’s spoken directly and positively about nuclear power.

  119. I’m voting for McCain, but I don’t much trust the guy on anything. I deplore his speech-rationing view of campaign finance.

  120. Obama has an annoying smug, lips-together look when he’s waiting for applause after the appropriate beat in a speech. It shits me to tears.

    McCain obviously hates all these dipshits at his rallies who go off at Obama, and I am sorry that he has to remain diplomatic for the good of the campaign. You can tell he’s itching to hit them with the mike, or just lose it and start going all old-man angry at them.

%d bloggers like this: