Monday, September 29

To Be Or Not To Be... Specific?

Have you ever compared the campaign websites of John McCain and Barack Obama? Not the style or setup, but the issues pages. I have both opened right now because I thought it would be good to put some comparative position details out there. However, I have come across something rather fascinating: McCain does not mention specific details. No numbers or time frames or even positions really. A lot is mentioned about what he has voted on in the past and past legislation and current views on issues, but not actual plans for the future. It's actually quite stunning. For example:

John McCain's Higher Education Policy:Simplify Higher Education Tax Benefits The existing tax benefits are too complicated, and many eligible families don’t claim them. By simplifying the existing benefits, I can ensure that a greater number of families have a lower tax burden when they are helping to send their children to college.

Barack Obama's Higher Education Policy:Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama and Biden will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of community service.

Notice the difference? To be fair, McCain has a whole page to the specific topic of higher education with six subsections. However, not a single subsection has details or even a single number. Here's another example in education regarding teachers:

McCain:Quality Instruction
A primary objective is to ensure that every instructor in an early learning or care program has strong preparation with an emphasis on performance and outcomes as measured by student development. To attract quality instructors, efforts must be made to bring income parity to qualified instructors in these programs and their counterpart’s elementary school system. As President, Senator McCain will promote the replication of professional development programs with a proven record of preparing our children for kindergarten and encourage more research to determine what skills and training make the most difference for young children.As President, John McCain will require all federally supported preschool programs to offer a comprehensive approach to learning that covers all significant areas of school readiness, notably literacy/language development, as well as math readiness and key motor and social skills.

Obama:America's Teachers
Recruit Teachers: Obama and Biden will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location.
Prepare Teachers: Obama and Biden will require all schools of education to be accredited. Obama and Biden will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively. Obama and Biden will also create Teacher Residency Programs that will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools.

Is McCain afraid to commit to specifics? Or, does he just not have any? I know it's always easier to be generic, but this is ridiculous.

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