As the nation prepares to have the Republican slate of Presidential candidates become even more confusing with today’s Iowa Caucuses, TSM has found a useful tool for understanding where all the hopefuls stand on eleven key issues. This very useful matching tool presents a simple question (as it might be framed in a debate) and then gives a number of possible answers. After selecting the best match for each topic, the user is presented with a top three match. The candidates included are the seven active Republicans (Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum) and President Obama. This provides one with the opportunity not just to see where the Republicans stand, but to see just how different our President is than those who would compete with him.
As with any tool, this one has its flaws, but they are minor given how clearly it illustrates the intentions of the candidates. TSM’s biggest objection is the heavy focus on things that have cropped up in recent budget battles (taxes, Medicare, Social Security, Defense) at the expense of any mention of job creation and the limited presentation of civil rights (marriage equality, but nothing on reproductive choice (talk about misogyny) or freedom of speech and assembly). Based on the way the tool works, this is probably a result of needing clear statements from all the candidates on any issue presented, but it still leaves some big questions about all eight included hopefuls. The other challenge also arises from the way the answers are provided. In at least three cases, we were unable to pick a single answer that matched our preferred position and had to select “None of the above” (For example, the question on immigration I checked “none of the above” because all of the options were blatantly racist, as none of the options regarding marriage equality were acceptable). This is because the options given are real answers from the candidates. If your answer isn’t there, none of them would be a perfect match. It is easy, however, to highlight each candidate’s stand on each issue for more information.
Come November, we’ll have to choose between President Obama and one of the sailors on the Republican ship of fools. There will be a lot of noise and confusion between now and then. Let’s be careful to remember where the candidates really stand on the important issues.
Click here to take the quiz yourself.