10 September, 2008

The Candidates and Sovereign Rights

This is the thirtieth post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) views on our rights as a sovereign nation.

This is a milestone post, and one I was starting to think I'd never reach. The end is near. After this one, I return to the Bill of Rights, and finally do the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and then a summary post, and we're finally to the end.

Now, on to sovereign rights. This one is a little more nebulous. I don't expect either candidate to come out and say anything like "On my first day in office, I'm going to turn over control of our government to the United Nations." But, you can get indications of how they feel about our sovereignty.

Now first to Obama:

He doesn't start out well.

We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK

He co-sponsored the Global Poverty Act.

A nice-sounding bill called the "Global Poverty Act," sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, is up for a Senate vote on Thursday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.

Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not endorsed either Senator Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But on Thursday, February 14, he is trying to rush Obama's "Global Poverty Act" (S.2433) through his committee. The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

There's actually quite a bit about Obama and this topic, but almost all of it comes down to this bill and his statement about SUVs.

Oh, he does appear to support the "Law of the Sea Treaty" (discussed below in the McCain section)

And now to McCain.

As far as I can tell, he has taken no position on the Global Poverty Act.

He apparently does envision a de-emphasized role of the UN, however, since he has proposed a "League of Democracies"

He's been both for an against the "Law of the Sea Treaty", which

[...] creates an independent source of revenue for the United Nations, is now pending in the Senate, of which McCain is a member. This is not an obscure or irrelevant issue for him. He could have a big impact on the fate of this treaty, which he has described as providing “a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas” and serving “as an umbrella convention under which rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources are established.”

Grades on this one are difficult. It's clear that Obama favors turning over more of our sovereignty to the UN, but it's not clear exactly how much. And for McCain, it's even worse. He's made very conflicting statements about the UN and the U.S's role there.

There's a good article on both of the candidates here, but from a sovereign rights perspective, I have to say that their conclusions are exactly backwards.

Obama: C-. I could argue this one a bit higher, but also a bit lower.

McCain: B-. This grade is more based upon Obama's grade than anything else. While his statements have been conflicting, it's apparent that he doesn't envision the UN having as big a role the U.S. as Obama does.

Sovereign Rights: Advantage McCain

Results so far:
  Obama McCain
First Amendment F D-
Second Amendment D- C-
Third Amendment B B
Fourth Amendment D+ D+
Fifth Amendment D+ B-
Sixth Amendment B B
Seventh Amendment C C
Eighth Amendment C B
Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
Fifteenth Amendment B B
Nineteenth Amendment B B
Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
Taxes D B-
Abortion A+ D
National ID F F
Voter ID A+ F
Card Check F A+
Legalization of Drugs D+ F
Gay Rights A- D
Hate Crime Legislation F C
Growth of Government F A-
Property Rights B- A
Sovereign Rights C- B-

UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.


  1. It would probably do you some good to find out more about the law of the seas. Since it is a tremendous gain for the United States from several perspectives, including the extension of the sovereign rights of the US, you don't appear to have a clue to what it provides or, as important, what it doesn't. Among the latter is that it does not provide any independent source of revenue for the United Nations.

  2. I never said it was a bad thing. I said that it reduces our sovereign rights. And the reason being is that it causes "taxes" to be levied against the United States by the UN.
    Your assertion to the opposite does not appear to have any basis in fact.

    Numerous sites that I visited made the same claim, including the one I quoted. If you have a link to some that say differently, please provide. Until then, I'll keep the post as it is written.