Main issues 2004 election

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IRAQ

Bush: He argued during the election campaign that the war in Iraq made the world a safer place
and may act as a lead to other nations in the Middle East to strive for a democratic
government. He also argued that Iraq had the potential to make WMD and could have
informed terrorist organisations on how to do likewise.

Kerry: Kerry argued that the invasion of Iraq was a “colossal failure of judgment”. He argued
the money and manpower would have been better spent on attacking known terrorist
organisations. Kerry stated that he would bring back home American troops within four
years and replace them with a US-led NATO force.

Nader: He called for a complete US withdrawal from Iraq referring to the conflict as a “quagmire”.
Nader also claimed that forces within the USA wanted to control the economic might of
Iraq. He wanted Arab/Muslim peacekeepers to take over the American role in Iraq.

 

WAR ON TERROR

Bush: Bush created the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 with Tom Ridge at its head.
He has also tripled the nation’s spending on security and he supports more powers for the
government to monitor citizens’ lives and to detain terrorist suspects.  

Kerry: Kerry claimed that he would put the National Guard at the head of domestic security. He
wanted a diluted version of the Patriot Act which would give more rights to detainees.
Kerry wanted America to re-focus on Afghanistan in an effort to attack terrorism head on. 

Nader: Nader claimed that the war on terror was eating too much into the freedom of citizens and
the due process of law. Nader wanted to repeal the Patriot Act and to end military
tribunals for civilians.

 

DEFENCE

Bush: Since 9/11, defence spending has increased to more than at any time since the Korean
War. Bush pledged to spend even more. He has stated that he wants the first stage of
a missile defence system ready by the end of 2004.

Kerry: Kerry wants more soldiers recruited and to attract them he would improve the salaries on
offer. Kerry would also invest in better equipment but was not specific about any
sizeable increase in the military budget. He was opposed to the missile defence
programme. 

Nader: Nader was critical of the money being currently spent on defence claiming it was
redundant and wasteful. He wanted to use the money saved for spending on society.

GAY MARRIAGE

Bush: Bush wanted Congress to amend the Constitution so that marriage is defined as a union
between a man and a woman thus outlawing same-sex marriages. However, Bush was
supportive of states that passed legislation allowing for same-sex civil unions – but not
same-sex marriage.

Kerry: Kerry was opposed to any change in the Constitution that outlawed same sex marriages,
but is opposed to same-sex marriage as an entity. However, he does believe that state
governments should have the power to decide whether same sex marriages should exist
in their state or not.

Nader: Nader believes that gays should have equal rights under the law as anybody else.
Therefore he supports same-sex marriages. He is opposed to any change in the
Constitution that would outlaw same-sex marriages.

ABORTION

Bush: Bush opposed abortion except in cases of rape, incest or where a woman’s life is in
danger should a pregnancy proceed. Bush has already signed into law a ban on
partial-birth abortion.

Kerry: Kerry supports a woman’s right to decide, though he was not supportive of late-term
abortions except in cases where a woman’s health was endangered if the pregnancy
continued. 

Nader: He supports a woman’s right to have access to a safe and legal abortion. He is opposed
to the use of the law or the Constitution to introduce restrictions on a woman’s right to
have an abortion.

EDUCATION

Bush: Bush favoured testing schools to measure how successful they were. His already
introduced act, the No Child Left Behind Act, tied federal school funding to a school’s
test results. Bush is in favour of using federal money in the form of vouchers to help those
parents who want to, to send their child to a private school but can’t afford to do so.

Kerry: Kerry believes that the No Child Left Behind Act is not properly funded. He claimed he
would provide $27 billion to correct this. He would recruit more teachers and pay the
best ones higher salaries. He is opposed to a voucher system that would allow parents
to use the private school system.

Nader: He believes that there is too much testing in schools and that test results are the sole
driving force in a school to the detriment of a whole-learning environment. Nader would
introduce pre-school education for all children.

 

ENVIRONMENT

Bush: Bush did not sign the Kyoto agreement but wants America to put more emphasis on
hydrogen fuel technology. He remains a supporter of ‘environmentally friendly’ oil
exploration in Alaska.

Kerry: He would not sign the Kyoto agreement but would fund more research into
hydrogen-based energy technology and other clean and renewable power sources.

Nader: Nader warned that society itself was in danger of massive and irreversible
environmental damage unless something was done by one of the world’s major
polluters. He wants more research into renewable technology and to make energy
use more efficient.

HEALTH

Bush: Bush wants to introduce tax credits for low earners who take out health insurance. Bush
also supports the purchase of cheaper drugs from Canada and has already introduced a
prescription drugs benefit for the elderly.

Kerry: Wants to make available to all people in America, the health care programme that exists
for federal government employees. He would also give federal money to states to ensure
that there was a reduction in the number of uninsured children.

Nader: Nader wants a universal government-financed healthcare programme. This would be
delivered by non-profit making companies. he would abolish the health insurance industry
and ban any company that seeks to make a profit from the health care sector.

BUDGET / TAXES

Bush: Bush announced that he would halve the nation’s budget deficit by 2010. However, he
also wants to make permanent his tax cuts from 2001 to 2003 that primarily benefited the
higher earners.

Kerry: Kerry announced that he would repeal the tax cuts of Bush for high earners and cut federal
spending increases to the rate of inflation. The only areas that would not come under this
would be defence, education and homeland security.

Nader: Would introduce higher taxes for the rich and businesses. Those businesses that were
deemed to be ‘anti-social’ (gambling, tobacco and alcohol industries) would be taxed
more.

  JOBS / TRADE

Bush: Bush promised to enforce trade agreements so that American industry competed on a
level playing field with other nations. Bush wants to spend more on colleges and schools
that teach vocational skills.

Kerry: He promised to create 10 million jobs by 2009. In his first 120 days in office, he would
review all trade agreements so that any nation trading with America would have
acceptable labour and environmental standards.       

Nader: He wanted an expansion of the public infrastructure to create jobs. Nader wanted to
promote better standards of trade that promoted better working conditions and
environmental standards abroad.

GUN CONTROL

Bush: Wants to introduce legislation protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits brought on by
victims of gun crime. He is against extending a ban on assault weapons that ended in
September 2004. Bush still sees people as the problem , not guns.

Kerry: Wants the compulsory introduction of child safety locks. Also wants legislation introduced
to bring in checks on those people who buy guns at shows.

Nader: Wants trigger locks introduced and more general gun control legislation – especially
to stop guns falling into the hands of criminals. Wants weapons such as assault weapons
banned.

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