Test Your Presidential Passion | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Test Your Presidential Passion

Starting a new relationship can be exciting, but confusing as well. Is she or he the right one for you? You agree on things like paying for college and the war in Iraq -- but what about No Child Left Behind?

If you still can't give your heart to the Democrats battling it out for the party's nomination, City Paper's Presidential Passion Quiz may be just the thing for you. Not only will it tell you whom you really support, but it will allow you to gauge the depth of that support ... so that you can start preparing for any crushing disappointments that lay in your future.

(If you're interested in coverage of other April 22 primary contests, click the following links:
US Congressional District 18
State House District 19
State House District 21
State House District 24 
State House District 27)

To take the test, answer the questions in each section below, and then score your answers by comparing them to each of the Democrats in the race, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

SECTION I: The Issues

Values matter -- even to family-hating Democrats. In the section below, select the position that best matches your philosophies on the following issues.


1. The Housing Crisis

A. Place a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures; freeze adjustable-rate mortgages for five years until homeowners can refinance loans at affordable costs.

B. Create a "universal mortgage credit" to provide an average of $500 to homeowners annually in mortgage aid. Prosecute subprime lenders who engage in mortgage fraud; create a fund to help people refinance their mortgages and provide comprehensive supports to homeowners funded partially by increased penalties on lenders who commit fraud; eliminate the provision that prevents bankruptcy courts from modifying an individual's mortgage payments.


2. Health Care

A. Cover all Americans by making insurance mandatory and providing coverage through Medicare or by allowing individuals to keep their existing coverage. Reduce costs by stressing prevention and focusing on efficiency and modernization. Provide a tax credit to help pay for coverage. End discrimination based on pre-existing conditions

B. Coverage is not mandatory, except for children. However, health care will be made available to all Americans, who can't be turned down for any reason. Provide tax credits for those who need help to pay for insurance. Require employers that don't offer health care to employees to pay into the national system.


3. Immigration

A. Enhance security along borders and at ports. Increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and to provide workers for jobs employers cannot fill. Crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Allow undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the "back of the line" to become citizens.

B. Illegal immigrants should be given a path to citizenship that includes paying a fine and learning English. Deport immigrants who commit crimes, and establish sanctions for employers who hire undocumented aliens. Work with Mexico to find solutions to help it employ its own citizens.


4. The War in Iraq

A. Draw up a plan for troop withdrawal in the first 60 days of presidency; support the appointment of a high-level U.N. representative to help broker peace among the parties in Iraq. Organize a multibillion-dollar international effort to address the needs of Iraqi refugees.

B. Begin immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, assuming the best way to get Iraqis to take responsibility for their future is to make it clear that we are leaving. Remove one or two combat brigades per month, completing the pull-out in 16 months; no building of permanent bases in Iraq. Provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries.


5. Foreign Policy

A. Support direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions, and meetings with leaders of all nations, whether friend or foe. Double amount of money spent fighting global poverty; extend talks in Asia beyond bilateral agreements and beyond direct talk only with allies. Stop production of new nuclear weapons; work to decrease the U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons; focus military on the war in Afghanistan.

B. Work toward a Palestinian state and declaration by insisting that Palestine recognize Israel's right to exist. Develop a comprehensive strategy focusing on education, intelligence and law enforcement to counter terrorists and their financial backers. Offer incentives to Iran to halt nuclear-weapons program, but use force if necessary. Reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. Provide $10 billion over five years to build schools abroad.


6. Education

A. Massively reform No Child Left Behind by providing additional funding and improving the assessments used to track student progress. Provide grants to pay for educating children up to 5 years old. Fund middle-school intervention programs for students who could become dropout risks in high schools; double funding for after-school programs. Offer "Teacher Service Scholarships" to cover higher education expenses; offer $4,000 tax credits for college and a streamlined financial-aid process.

B. End No Child Left Behind outright, and double the number of children in after-school programs. Invest $100 million in public/private internships for students; create a $3,500 tax credit for parents of college students; invest $500 million in community colleges. Increase AmeriCorps scholarship to $10,000 annually; increase the maximum Pell Grant; waive student-loan debt for graduates who work in public service.


SCORING: Put 1 point in the "Clinton" column for each of the following answers:


1) A 2) A 3) B 4) A 5) B 6) B





Put 1 point in the "Obama" column for each of the following answers you gave:


1) B 2) B 3) A 4) B 5)A 6) A





SECTION II: The Tactics

What a person believes is only half the story. The real question is: How does she or he act? How will they treat you? On the questions below, choose the behaviors you think would be easiest to live with.


1. Which legislative action bothers you more?

A. Voting to support Dick Cheney's energy policy

B. Voting to support Dick Cheney's foreign policy


2. Which embellishment of the truth concerns you more?

A. Falsely claiming to have been shot at by snipers during a visit to Bosnia in 1996

B. Claiming you haven't taken contributions from oil companies, while accepting some $213,000 from people who work for the fossil-fuels industry


3. The federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy

  1. A. Needs to be repealed
  2. B. Was a good "transitional" step


4. Although all candidates originally agreed not to campaign or count delegates received in Michigan and Florida, counting the votes now:

  1. A. Is the only way to insure the right candidate is chosen and the voters have a chance to express their wishes
  2. B. Is unfair to states that played by the rules while voters in Michigan and Florida tried to hold their primaries early.


5. Which plan shows a greater commitment to advancing new fuels technology?

A. A $50 billion one-time payment.

B. $150 billion over 10 years.


6. What is more important for Americans?

A. Mandatory health insurance.

B. Mandatory retirement pensions.


7. Which is more beneficial?

A. Getting money from Richard Mellon Scaife's ex-wife.

B. Having Richard Mellon Scaife tout your "political and personal courage."


8. Which is more crucial to winning the presidency?

A. More delegates and more primary victories.

B. Primary wins in larger, so-called swing states.


9. Which Senate vote is more harmful?

A. Voting against energy bill that would have established an ethanol mandate for refineries.

B. Supporting an energy bill with that would double ethanol production, but also includes oil-industry incentives.


10. Paying for college can be tough, which is why the candidates offer radically different tax incentives. Which will make a drastic difference?

A. $4,000 tax incentive

B. $3,500 tax incentive



SCORING: Put 1 point in the "Clinton" column for each of the following answers:


1)B 2)A 3)B 4)A 5)A 6)A 7)B 8)B 9)A 10)B





Put 1 point in the "Obama" column for each of the following answers you gave:


1)A 2)B 3)A 4)B 5)B 6)B 7)A 8)A 9)B 10)A




The Supporters

Still having a hard time picking your match? Sometimes it helps to see who else has been attracted to a candidate. Answer the questions below about the company you'd prefer to keep.


1.) Who would you rather have lunch with?

A. Franco Harris

B. Dan Onorato


2.) If you wanted to book a speaker on tolerance and equality, whom would you hire?

A. Geraldine Ferarro

B. Rev. Jeremiah White


3.) Which local public official's judgment do you trust more?

A. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl

B. City Controller Michael Lamb


4.) Which actor would you rather watch up on screen?

A. Samuel L. Jackson

B. Jack Nicholson


5.) Which politician's private life troubles you less?

A. Former President Bill Clinton

B. Sen. Ted Kennedy


6.) My favorite Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 1994 was ...

A. Bob Casey

B. Ed Rendell


7.) You want to organize your fellow employees; who are you going to call?

A. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

B. Service Employees International Union

C. United Transportation Union

D. International Brotherhood of Teamsters


8.) You're casting a new movie about the private lives and passions of Pittsburgh's political leaders. Whom do you cast as Sophie Masloff?

A. Jennifer Anniston

B. Eva Longoria

C. Sally Fields

D. Gene Wilder


9.) Who plays Richard Caliguiri?

A. Ben Affleck

B. Chevy Chase

C. Will Smith

D. Paulie Shore


10.) You're stuck on a desert island, and your iPod has music by only one major recording artist. Who would you rather listen to?

A. Barbara Streisand

B. Lionel Richie

C. Randy Newman

D. Herb Alpert


Total your scores for this section. For each of the following answers you gave, put one point in the Clinton score.


1) B 2) A 3) A 4) B 5) A 6) B 7) A or C 8) B or C 9) B or D 10) A or D




Now add one point to the Obama score for each of the following answers you matched:


1) A 2) B 3) B 4) A 5) B 6) A 7) B or D 8) A or D 9) A or C 10) B or C





Total up your scores for Clinton and Obama from each of the three tests above.




Whoever scores the highest is your champion, obviously. But the real test is ... just how deep does your political passion run?

To find out, subtract the loser's point total from the winner's, and consult the following chart.


20 points or more: Rabid devotee

You've finally found the kind of candidate you thought existed only in history books. Good for you. Unfortunately, there's a good chance that in doing so, you've acquired one of those 1,000-yard stares we're used to seeing only from Nader supporters. Plus, studies show that if your candidate loses the party nomination, you're at an elevated risk for backing John McCain in November. It might be wise to avoid door-knocking in the weeks ahead: You may end up making things worse. But hey -- those spam e-mails aren't going to send themselves!


12-19 points: Committed partisan

You have strong convictions, but are willing to demonstrate a bit of ideological flexibility. Good for you. For one thing, it means you're less likely to accuse your opponent of being a "whore," or to insinuate that he only got where he is because he's black. For another, it means that if your candidate wins in November, you'll be prepared for the compromises that will almost inevitably be made on the very issues you're so excited about today. Enjoy!


3-11 points: Lukewarm supporter

On the upside, you'll probably be reasonably content about the outcome of the April 22 primary, no matter what happens. On the downside, your contentment will likely leave you unprepared for when the right-wingers come crawling out of the woodwork a couple months from now. That's the way it's always worked before, anyway.


Less than 2 points: Somebody get Al Gore to stop this nightmare

If you find yourself in this category, there are two possibilities. One is that all the campaigning has left you feeling ambivalent about both candidates. Then again, you may have realized that, against all odds and despite all the rhetoric, Democrats have somehow managed to get two pretty decent candidates.

click to enlarge Hillary Clinton at the South Side's IBEW Hall, April 2 - RENEE ROSENSTEEL
Hillary Clinton at the South Side's IBEW Hall, April 2
click to enlarge Barack Obama at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, March 28 - LARRY RIPPEL
Larry Rippel
Barack Obama at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, March 28

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