Candidate for the Presidency of
these United States of America
PO Box 304
Tucson, Arizona. 85702-0304.
Cathi Herrod, Esq.,
The Center for Arizona Policy
7227 North 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020
11 January 2008
Dear Cathy and Jennifer,
I received your 2008 Survey Questions given to the 2008 Presidential Candidates (which was postmarked on 01/08/2008, by the way). After reading through the questionnaire, I felt that it was necessary to qualify and/or expand on some of my answers to your survey questions, given the leading phrasings of most of the questions.
Therefore, I am submitting my full text answers to all of your survey questions, since I believe they are deserving of answers more descriptive than a simple scale of “support” to “oppose”. I will also be posting my answers on my own website (http://2008.MichaelOatman.com/) so that there is no confusion as to exactly how these questions were answered by myself. When you “inform citizens of [my] positions on key issues”, I would consider it to be deceptive to those citizens if you do not include the full text of my responses which are given in this letter (and fax).
My answers are as follows to the survey questions, as numbered in your survey:
1. School Choice.
Parents should be able to earmark money from their taxes owed to the federal government to enhance the quality of their local public schools (in their district). If parents wish to home school, or send their children to a private school, that would be their independent choice. I would support a tax write-off for parents buying books and other school supplies when their children do not attend a public school. I believe it is beyond the scope of the responsibilities of the federal government to support private and particularly parochial/religious schools beyond the bounds of the current level of support.
2. Stem Cell Research.
With the advent of stem cell development using blastomeres (see NY Times, 23 August 2006, Science Section) it is no longer necessary to use embryonic cells to develop stem cells. Therefore, since using the embryonic method destroys the embryo, which I *DO NOT SUPPORT* doing, and the blastomere method does not destroy the embryo, I do support using *ONLY* the blastomere method of stem cell harvesting.
I am a strict constitutionalist and would not support adding an amendment to the constitution which involves an area in which the federal government has no business involving itself. Exactly how marriage is defined is up to the church, and not to the state.
In the words of Donna Edna Shalala, a person whom I do admire, “abortion should be safe, legal and rare”. I do not believe it is necessary to perform abortions at all (except in the cases of incest or rape, and in cases where it may severely adversely affect the health of the mother), particularly with proper and freely available family planning methods. Once these resources are in place and available for all women of child bearing age to receive, I would like to see an end to the procedure of abortion (above noted excepted), but moreover, I would like to see the federal government place much more of a priority on pre- and post-natal care, including allowed leaves of absence for pregnancy.
5. Abstinence Education.
Abstinence-Only programs have been shown time and again not to work, and in fact, to tend to have the opposite effect on teens’ behavior patterns. I would support any program which has a proven track record of preventing teenage pregnancies, particularly until marriage, and I would have those programs receive federal funds, provided they are not entwined in a religious program (I would also provide federal funds if the religious nature could be ambiguated from the pregnancy prevention nature).
I would support replacing the national tax code, as it is voluntary unless you are a federal employee. I do not think that taxing the poor does anyone any good, and therefore I would not support a flat or national sales tax (unless the flat tax was 0% below US$200K/year + COLA and something like 40% above the same). I believe there are better ways for the federal government to raise the money it needs, including spending less.
7. Gay Rights.
All citizens of these United States of America should share and enjoy the same rights. Period. No exceptions. No discrimination should exist, lest there be legal charges brought against any offending party.
8. Border Security.
Building walls on our borders (don’t forget Canada) is impractical (not to mention physically passable) at best and an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen at worst. I would support placing sensors along all of our borders, much like is done on Nellis Air Force Range’s S4 and S5 regions, but only in the short term. In order to secure our nation, we must improve upon our foreign policy, and particularly become an active participant in the economic development of the nation of Mexico and other Central American nations, so as to prevent the need for the mass migration which is presently and has been occurring. Without the millions of immigrants passing across our borders who only want jobs and a brighter future, it will make spotting those who wish to do us any harm much simpler. Then again, pulling our bases out of Mecca and Medina will also accomplish much in the way of reducing the number of people in the world who wish to do us harm.
Tax law reform, economic reform and foreign policy reform (see answer #8) also have to happen before true border security can be accomplished. If so many people per annum wish to become peoples of these United States of America, we ought to recognize this and eliminate the 18-or-so-year waiting list by allowing all of the current and the would-be entrants a legal path to citizenship.
10. Iraq War.
We need to first restore the world’s confidence in this nation in terms of its efforts to fulfill in good faith the policy objectives of all nations. This will take a great deal of legwork, no thanks to the current resident and his band of neoconservative hate-mongering iconoclasts. This will be basically top priority in my administration, since we should have brought the troops home about four years ago, after being in Afghanistan, and never in Iraq to begin. As soon as a diplomatic solution can be reached (read: we will need to force a solution by March 2009 should none be reached sooner), we should remove 100% of our current military forces. Note that I spoke not of our private military (Blackwater, etc.), which may stay at the sole behest of the Iraqi government, and without federal support.
11. Judicial System.
I’m not quite sure why this question is included; federal judges do not use other countries’ current laws to interpret our laws. If you are referring to the Magna Carta, etc., that is already part of the laws of the United States. If you are referring to treaties, there are a few which, for brevity, I do not entirely support (Geneva Conventions is not one of them), but those too are laws of the United States. I support the United States law of the Posse Comitatus Act.
12. Gun Laws.
Of course I support requiring a waiting period for gun purchases, even at gun shows. This question is the only one which I would actually circle “SS” on the form which you have provided, with no caveats. To allow anyone to possibly immediately purchase a gun for use in the heat of anger is a recipe for disaster, and does not impinge upon the Second Amendment. Further restrictions on the use of guns (except requiring that a civilian who carries a gun must be over the age of 21 or be in the immediate presence of a parent/relative/guardian over the age of 21, and either way must have passed a federal gun safety test prior to carrying the gun), are where I would have to give the issue more consideration.
13. Health Care.
This nation should have a single payer system, but it may be possible to incorporate a two tier option into that system. Whichever entity, public or private, produces the most benefit to the users of health care should be the entity which is selected as the single payer. Right now this is looking like the federal government, but with the proper corporation reforms in place, HMOs might not exist solely to make money for their stockholders, and may be able to actually serve the needs of their heals care clients. This is really the crux of the issue, some would say “corporate greed” but it is actually the way corporations are defined within the laws of these United States of America. I would consider it a top priority to reform those laws regarding the behavior of corporations with regard to having the profits of the shareholders being the single motivating factor where all externalities and harm to the people of this nation be damned. This would actually solve quite a few problems, most of which you have not mentioned in your questionnaire, like the mortgage crisis and housing industry, environmental destruction, global outsourcing and job level migration, poor product quality, skyrocketing oil and gas prices, and the lack of development of alternative energies to name just a few.
With Bali and subsequent conferences on Global Warming / Climate Change (which *IS* a reality) obsoleting the Kyoto protocols, it is, as they say, too little and too late to sign on to Kyoto. We must, and I repeat *MUST*, as a nation, curb our insatiable appetite for carbon emitting energies and immediately develop carbon-neutral and better yet, carbon-negative methods of energy production. So far I support only solar, wind, hydrogen fuel cell (*ONLY* when one uses solar powered electrolysis to produce point-of-consumption hydrogen), and wave action energy technologies as viable and carbon-neutral. Short of actual carbon sequestration, I have not found any carbon-neutral technologies which I would endorse. We as a nation of industry must pledge our support to developing more carbon-negative technologies in the immediate future and we must mandate the cessation of use of all carbon-positive technologies by the end of my first three years in office.
Thank you for your interest in printing my responses.
I hope your publication goes well.