I thought I should probably learn something about the other 50% of each presidential candidate and the stuff they’ll probably talk about tomorrow. I looked up the different positions the candidates have on a variety of issues that most people care about. The debate topics are “foreign and domestic issues”, so really, the topics will depend on the moderator, Ms. Martha Raddatz. So I looked her up too.  Here’s what all I came up with:

Ms. Raddatz is a 59 year old, ABC News reporter from Idaho. She lives a hop, skip and a jump away from Washington D.C. with her husband of , who is a journalist, and has two kids from different relationships. She was a White House Correspondant during the dub-ya administration. She’s done a number of stints in the middle-east, covering major events such as the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006. As you can probably guess from her travels, the bulk of her work is on forgien affairs, defense, and intelligence. She’s won a boat-load of journalism awards and worked for a dozen prestigious institutions. She was formerly married to Julius Genachowski who was a classmate of Obama’s at Harvard Law and whom Obama later appointed to be chair of the Federal Communications Commission (they divorced in 1997). Since Obama had the audacity to attend that wedding, some conservative media outlets question her ability to be objective as a moderator. The oh-so-demure Mr. Limbaugh has suggested that she disclose who she voted for  in 2008 and who she plans to vote for next month, in order to assure there’s no bias. However, recently Raddatz, due to her close connection with covering the U.S. Military and wars over seas, has been criticized by the left as well. That bi-partisan criticism, along with her numerous journalism awards (for which objectivity and truth is heavily weighed) makes me believe that we should feel pretty comfortable with her objectivity.

Joe Biden’s Positions: He’s more conservative than I thought (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing)
As expected, he’s pro-choice, but not pro Government funded abortion. He believes all people should have access to quality healthcare. He is pro gay marriage but opposed to putting the Defense of Marriage Act in the Constitution. Regarding immigration, he supports a path to citizenship, building a wall, and providing guest-worker visas and social security benefits to those already here. He supports campaign finance reform. He supports Capital Punishment, and authored a bill which expanded the number of crimes subject to the death penalty, including drug trafficking. He voted to reduce budgets for prisoner education, increased pro-rehab programs (as opposed to traditional jail time), suggested expanding the definition for “hate crimes” and increasing the punishments for them. He believes drug possession should rarely be a jail-able offense, though he supports increasing penalties for those caught selling drugs near schools (which seems a little inconsistent with his death-penalty view). He’s environmentally left – supporting the most stringent bill regarding climate change that is in the U.S. Senate. He initially supported the Iraq War, but soon after claimed that he supported based on false pretenses and called for a repeal to use force in Iraq. On foreign policy, he’s all about prevention and peace-keeping. He does not support unnecessary militarization and strongly supports providing monetary aid to countries that need it, without any artificial caps on how much that should amount to.

Paul Ryan: Tea-Party, through and through
Ryan is a staunch pro-lifer and extremely conservative with his views on contraception and abortion. He opposes providing any kind of contraception abroad. (As a side note, this actually means Ryan is more conservative than the Vatican, since the Pope stated earlier this year that condoms are acceptable in certain cases – including in male prostitution and in preventing HIV and AIDS). He does not, under any circumstances, support “entitlement spending” – so he supports government programs, if people have to pay into them in advance, but not programs which a person qualifies for simply by their circumstances. Remember this for when we’re talking about healthcare in a minute, please. (Let me point out that “entitlement spending” is a selective term for Mr. Ryan. He believes that embryonic cells are entitled to become babies, which will cost the host organism (otherwise known as the mother) an average of $13,000 a year. He requires that that woman to take on an expense of $13,000/year in the form of a child she doesn’t necessarily want or choose, without doing anything to ensure that that mother is capable or willing to raise a child. So basically Ryan believes in big government when it comes to imposing harmful laws, but opposes big government when it means that government bears responsibility for something). He voted YES for a stimulus for the auto-industry and opposed a stimulus for jobs, infrastructure, and energy. He supports DADT, opposes gay marriage and gay adoption, and believes that crimes against gays are not hate-crimes. Believes in a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as “one man, one woman”. (contrast to Biden who has the opposite position but does NOT support a constitutional amendment – draw your own conclusions about who is trying to enforce their beliefs on whom) He believes that 25% should be the absolute cap on both personal and corporate taxes, and he doesn’t believe share-holders should have a vote or knowledge of CEO compensation and bonuses. However, in a surprising twist, he voted against border control in 2001. As of this year, he does not believe No Child Left Behind has been effective, and he believes that God has a place in schools. He voted no on every possible Green Energy initiative that he was presented with, including: Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution(Jun2009); Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets(Sep 2008); Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation(May 2008);Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy(Feb 2008);Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel(Aug 2007). He voted against four weeks of paid parental leave (Uh… what? For a guy who wants to preserve the integrity of family – hence abstinence-only sex-ed and anti-gay marriage – it seems ludicrous to penalize people – especially mothers who just popped out a kid – for staying at home or in the hospital in the first four weeks of their new child’s life. And no – I don’t think parental leave is something that should go under “vacation” – have you BEEN around a newborn??) He’s voted yes on all pro-gun things. He opposes Obamacare and believes the individual mandate is anti-american (even though the idea of the individual mandate is fundamentally a Republican idea, founded on the conservative concepts of personal responsibility – kind of exactly like Social Security Retirement funds – everyone pays in, everyone takes out, and NOT everyone is going to need it, in the end.) He believes in more funding for veterans. He supports border control and zero amnesty for immigrants.

Sorry for the not-so-subtle commentary. I’m excited to see how both men respond to the moderator, who I feel will probably be a little more firm than Mr. Lehrer. But we’ll see. Enjoy the debate!