Obama vs. McCain: Why Their Families Are An Issue

September 5, 2008

The size of the families of the candidates is a relevant issue that should be factored into voters’ decisions. I know that this may sound preposterous. Pundits seem unanimous in declaring candidates’ families off-limits. But please hear me out.

If, like me, you arrive at the conclusion that worsening overpopulation is a serious issue or even the dominant issue of our time, then you have to ask yourself several questions about the candidates:

  1. What are their positions on the issues that may relate to population growth.
  2. Although they may not yet recognize overpopulation as a problem, what is the likelihood that they will be willing to consider it?
  3. Once overpopulation becomes an issue, will they be credible in a leadership role in addressing the issue?

Now let’s consider Obama and McCain. Neither candidate recognizes overpopulation as an issue. (If they have, they haven’t admitted it publicly.) But I believe that it is the dominant issue of our time. The whole point of my book is that it is the root cause behind the steady deterioration of our economy. Beyond that, it’s also a major contributing factor to global warming and to our dependence on foreign oil, just to name a couple of issues. Addressing overpopulation should be a national priority right now, but it isn’t.  I believe that within the next forty years, by the year 2050, there is a nearly 100% chance that it will be. At some point, hopefully sooner rather that later, something will precipitate this issue’s rise to national attention.

When that happens, it is critically important that we have the people in office who are most likely to be receptive to the idea and most likely to be a credible force in dealing with it. On these two points, will McCain be more likely to fill this role or Obama? I think that the size of their families is a good indicator. With seven children, is McCain likely to be receptive to the idea of overpopulation and the need to implement policies aimed at stabilizing our population? With two of those children being foreign adoptions, will he be receptive to the idea that our rate of immigration needs to be scaled back by 95%? If you were a McCain advisor, would you even raise the issue with him or would you remain silent out of fear of losing your job? In the unlikely event that an advisor broached the subject with McCain and he bought into it, what kind of credibility would he have in trying to explain to the nation new policies and programs designed to influence family planning decisions more toward choosing smaller families? Won’t peoples’ responses be predictable? “Oh, I see! It’s OK for you to have a big family, but not us! It’s OK for you to adopt two kids from foreign countries, but now you want to take that away from us!”

Or, with only two children, will Obama be more receptive to the concept of overpopulation and the need to address it? Will he have more credibility than McCain in trying to lead the nation toward an understanding of the issue? If there was only a small difference between the two candidates, then it wouldn’t be a factor. But seven children vs. two children is a significant difference. Throw in their running mates and the difference is even more dramatic: twelve children vs. five.

I have steadfastly maintained that we should not be judgmental of people regarding the decisions they’ve made about the size of their families, especially when those decisions were made without any understanding of the overpopulation problem. Who cares how many children any one family has? It’s only the overall fertility rate / birth rate that matters. Some may choose ten children; some none. As long as the overall rate is reduced slightly to the level needed to attain population stability (or even a slow decline), then the size of any one family is irrelevant.

However, when a person submits him or herself for judgment of their fitness to lead our nation and make the difficult decisions that will shape our future, then the size of their family is a relevant factor in judging whether or not they will be receptive to the concept of overpopulation and whether they would have any credibility in a leadership role on that issue. And there is no issue more critical to determining our future quality of life. Obama is the clear choice on this issue, not that he even recognizes it, but because the decision that he and his wife have made about the size of their family may be an indication that they are receptive to the concept of overpopulation, and it surely puts him in a better position to address it with the American people.

McCain’s Choice of Sarah Palin

August 30, 2008


I’d like to weigh in with some preliminary thoughts about McCain’s VP pick, governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  But, first of all, I’ve included a link above to a blog written by an Alaskan that contains some good information about Mrs. Palin.  The blogger seems to be biased toward the Democrats but it’s still interesting to hear his/her perspective.  It details an ongoing “scandal” that she’s embroiled in.  When I read the details of the “scandal” I had to laugh.  It pales in comparison to what’s happening here in southeast Michigan.  If that’s the worst someone can come up with on Palin, don’t bother me with it.

With that said, here’s how I see it.  I evaluate McCain’s choice on three issues:

  1. If she had to take over from McCain, what would her position be on population management, especially immigration?  It’s impossible to know at this point.  I doubt that the subject comes up much in Alaska politics.  But, being the governor of the least densely populated state in the nation, she’s probably clueless about the challenges presented by overpopulation and legal and illegal immigration.  A good indication is the fact that she doesn’t believe in global warming, a huge strike against her.  Even McCain has accepted that we need to act on this issue.  Why would he pick someone so out-of-touch on one of the most critical issues of our time, one that is exacerbated every day by further rampant population growth? 
  2. If she had to take over from McCain, what would be her position on trade and the trade deficit?  Again, it seems impossible to know.  I imagine that, for an Alaskan, the subject of the economy boils down to three things:  oil, oil and oil.  In that regard, I give her high marks for raising taxes on the oil companies to generate revenue for her state and to balance her budget, much to their chagrin.  Score one for fiscal responsibility and toughness.  But her husband is an oil company employee.  That will raise serious conflict of interest questions in any energy policy matters.  Also, I don’t like the fact that she favors drilling in ANWR.  I’ve come out in support of offshore drilling, but drilling in ANWR is where I draw the line.  The environmental risks are too great.  But, back to the original question, there’s no evidence yet to suggest what her attitudes are toward our trade deficit. 
  3. In general, is she ready to take over the presidency?  Some are saying that, even though she’s only been a governor for two years, she already has more “executive” experience that either Obama or Biden.  While technically true, I suppose, it’s ludicrous to suggest that such experience would prove more valuable than experience gained in the Senate.  Looking back at recent previous presidents, most had gubernatorial experiences.  Some were highly successful:  Reagan and Clinton (though I think Clinton was simply in the right place at the right time, at the dawn of the explosion in PC, internet and cell phone technology).  Some were abysmal failures:  Carter and George W. Bush.  So what makes a successful president vs. a failure?  I think it comes down primarily to intelligence, judgment, leadership and core values. 

So what does McCain’s choice say about him in this regard?  First of all, Palin was chosen for political reasons first, giving lower priority to what would be the best interest of the nation if something were to happen to McCain.  I don’t see her as ready to take the reins of the presidency and the free world.  This choice was obviously made in a play for disaffected Hillary voters and to shore up McCain’s shaky standing with the right wing of the party, especially pro-lifers and guns rights advocates.  But if McCain really wanted to attract the female vote, especially disaffected Hillary voters, why not choose another woman who’s more qualified, like Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the senator from Texas?  I think this play will backfire, insulting Hillary supporters with the thinking that they’ll vote for anything wearing a skirt (or a pantsuit).  If it’s pro-lifers and gun rights advocates he’s after, there are plenty of choices much more qualified to lead the nation.  And what will happen when Palin is stood up next to Biden in a debate? 

This just seems like a really weird pick and calls into question McCain’s judgment, one of the key character traits that should be factored into our choice for president.  I am reminded of Ross Perot’s choice of admiral what’s-his-name (the name escapes me) as his running mate.  It completely destroyed whatever credibility Perot had.  The admiral’s performance in the VP debate was one of the most embarrassing moments in modern political history.  Perhaps Palin will prove me wrong.  Perhaps she has the makings of an incredible leader.  But that’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.