Category Archives: Politics

Vote 2012: How well does your candidate really match your values?

Boy, we get ourselves into a frenzy every four years, don’t we? By “we” I mean Americans and by “frenzy” I’m talking about the our shared and increasingly destructive quadrennial experience that turns friends into foes, normally pleasant people into rabid haters (or at least Facebook de-frienders), and polarizes our country to the point that we struggle to talk about the candidates civilly, let alone the issues.

During the last presidential election season, I asked my readers to back up from the battle over candidates and examine instead their values around certain issues. And then match those values to what a range of candidates say about and how they have voted on such issues. has configured a way to compare your values with those of various candidates (wider than the handful we are now down to).

(Let me take a moment to thank those of you who answered my four values questions last week. I enjoyed learning what you believe and why you believe it. I have finally added my own response.

Your turn to take the vote match quiz

Go ahead. There are 20 quick questions over four broad topics: Individual Rights, Domestic Issues, Economic Issues and Defense/International Issues. It shouldn’t take you longer than a minute or two.

For each issue, you can click to get clarification, as I did when I needed to know what was meant by “family values” being taught in public schools. Sometimes we throw terms around without having a common understanding of them. I mean, I want my family’s values taught in schools, but maybe not that family’s. For this question I clicked and found that it meant “Strongly Support means you believe: Judeo-Christian values are American values” and “Strongly Oppose means you believe: Separation of church and state precludes allowing school prayer.” I could also see the points in between the two stronglies and select where I most closely fit.

My top two matches and a few surprises

As in 2008, there were some surprises on how my VoteMatch test turned out. My guiding principle is freedom, both personal an economic, so there was no surprise in my top-matching candidates — Gary Johnson (60% match) and Ron Paul — except perhaps in the order they turned up. But I was surprised that Hilary Clinton matched me 2 percentage points better than Mitt Romney (mostly due to social issues) and that Barack Obama and Paul Ryan were tied at a 35% match to my values (though if economic issues were weighted more, Ryan would have had a higher score with me). And guess what? Sarah Palin was at the bottom of my list (18%). Not what you’d necessarily expect from someone who is still a registered Republican.

(And no, I don’t identify any better with the Democratic party. Neither major party seems to value or protect our economic and personal freedoms.)

So, who are your top two candidates and what surprises came up in your results?

If you’re a political junkie, you can also plot yourself on the Nolan Chart. Where do you fall?

Where are your values on the political spectrum / grid?Relationships of political terms

Vote 2012: Before we talk Obama vs Romney, let’s explore our core beliefs

We the PeopleObama vs Romney. McCain vs Obama. Bush vs Kerry. Gore vs Bush. Is the polarization of the candidates due to our being easily swayed by smears, minutiae, and manipulation? Or is it because we have fundamental disagreements on what our political and economic systems should look like?

I’d like to explore the latter.

I’m talking about how we organize as a group of 314 million individuals, the grand experiment in self-government that was launched 236 years ago and will hopefully extend through future generations.

So let’s take a break from the campaign crud and think beyond the relative temporariness of the faces we’ve grown to love and/or hate.

It’s more difficult to examine your core beliefs than to “go with your gut” on a candidate, and I hope you’ll indulge me in this — just four questions about what your core beliefs are on human nature (how much oversight is needed?) and the role of government (what should one set of people do to correct for the failings of another set?).

Answer the following questions  by  posting on your own blog  or by leaving  a comment. I’d like to reach beyond my own readers to see others’ ideas of utopia. I don’t even need to say that we should stay respectful, right?

Whether you are in or outside of the US, I am interested in hearing from you.


A. Overall,1 do you believe people are basically bad (1) or good (100)? Try to put a number on it.

B. Overall, do you think the better economic system would reward people based on what they need or on what they deserve (meaning what people will pay for one’s skills/talents/expertise, according to its value to them)? Again, put a number on it, with (1) favoring need and (100) favoring deserve.

Note: admittedly we could have a whole other discussion about what someone “needs” and “deserves.”

C. What do you think are the main functions of government (say, 3-5 of them)? You could do one list for Federal and another for State & Local. If you need inspiration, you can check the preamble  of the US Constitution.

D. In an ideal society, what percentage of the wealth created by citizens should go to fund government?2 In other words, what portion of the fruits of your labor should be spent at the discretion of you and your family, and what portion should fund the functions of government you list in Question C?

That’s it! Not that difficult, right? Visit the posts of others to learn about viewpoints besides your own.

Tune in next week for a follow up post on values clarification.

1 Yes, in all these rating questions there will be “it depends” and “in some cases” and innumerable qualifiers. I am asking you to think overall.
2 As a benchmark, all three levels of government consumed 40.6% in 2011 (data from Economic Report of the President, February, 2012.)

This post was resurrected and reworked from one I did during the 2008 election.