Top 10 Policy Mistakes

The presidential campaign has begun to heat up following the Democratic and Republican Party conventions.  Recent polls place McCain ahead of Obama for the first time in the head-to-head race.  Reflecting the closeness of the race, each candidate is promising to move away from politics as usual.  But their proposals have important implications for global politics.  In part, the relative size and power of the United States in the world makes this necessarily the case.  As the world’s largest oil consumer, U.S. oil policy directly affects world prices, thereby affecting the lives of millions of people in the developing world through higher or lower energy prices, for example.

Demonstrating sound judgment is therefore vital.  This concern has been at the heart of both candidate’s critique of the other side.  McCain’s criticism of Obama, for example, had until recently centered on the concern that he was too inexperienced to understand international relations.  Obama’s critique of McCain has been that he is part of the Republican majority in Washington DC for years, and that the policies adopted by that majority have not been good for the country.

This week, Foreign Policy magazine published its top 10 bad policy ideas for both parties’ presidential candidates, arguing that each candidate has made some important mistakes in their political platforms. 

For McCain’s mistakes, it listed

1. Creating a League of Democracies
2. Calling for a Gas-Tax Holiday
3. Requiring a Three-Fifths Majority to Raise Taxes
4. Flip-flopping on Immigration
5. Drilling Our Way Out of the Oil Crisis
6. Balancing the Budget through Victory in the War on Terror
7. Making the Bush Tax Cuts Permanent
8. Supporting Abstinence-Only Education and the Global Gag Rule
9. Calling for 45 New Nuclear Power Plants
10. Backing Cap-and-Trade Without a 100 Percent Auction.

Obama’s mistakes:

1. Renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement
2. Opposing the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
3. Talking Openly About Bombing Pakistan
4. Sitting Down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
5. Pushing the Patriot Employer Act
6. Promoting Coal-to-Liquid Fuels
7. Eliminating Income Taxes for Seniors Making Under $50,000
8. Boosting Ethanol Subsidies
9. Taxing Oil Companies Extra
10. Opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

I’ll leave it to you to decide which candidates’ mistakes are more forgivable.

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