Letters to the Editor
Feedback from our viewers
Views on the Candidates
Views on the issues
Issues2000 headquarters, 1770 Massachusetts Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140.
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Your website is great and can really help voters make better informed decisions. However, I do think you should add another category to your list of issues. That category should be "The Constitution". People like myself want to know how the candidates stand on constitutional issues such as gun control, censorship, separation of church and state, and other issues related to the Constitution, particularly those related to the Bill of Rights.
-- Viewer in Japan, Sept. 2000
Generally, the candidates don't speak much about constitional issues per se; they only address them as they relate to current policy issues. To that extent, we DO cover all the constitutional issues you mention. See:
- gun control is covered at http://www.issues2000.org/Gun_Control.htm
- censorship is covered at http://www.issues2000.org/Technology.htm (related to Internet censorship) and http://www.issues2000.org/Juvenile_Crime.htm and http://www.issues2000.org/Families_&_Children.htm (related to children's censorship.But the candidates never call it censorship, so look for headlines about "V-chip", "morality", etc.
- separation of church and state is covered at http://www.issues2000.org/Education.htm with regards to teh "school prayer" issue, and under http://www.issues2000.org/Principles_&_Values.htm for religion in general.
- Bill of Rights issues are covered at http://www.issues2000.org/Civil_Rights.htm
I just wanted to drop a line to say how much I appreciate your site! It's easy to navigate and has comprehensive information. I especially liked being able to view the various Q&A interviews when I was looking for more than a one-line quote.
I will be sending a donation to help support your efforts.
Keep up the great work!
-- Jennifer, AOL.com, Sept. 2000
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Aimee Fontaine and I work for Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. The University is involved with the Democracy Compact, a national organization dedicated to registering voters and motivating them to vote. The University is heavily promoting voter registration among our students. I would like the students to have some information on the candidates and your web pages are, by far, the best on the Internet. I would like to take your information verbatim and put it into a grid form to hand out to students as they register to vote. I will not add to your info, except to indicate where the info in my grid came from and that students can go to your site for the most comprehensive look at the issues of this election. Could someone please let me know if this is acceptable? Of course, time is of the essence due to the short period of time we have to register our out of state students. Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and thank you for the wonderful and informative web site.
-- Aimee, Rhode Island, Sept. 2000
Yes, feel free to reproduce our material,as long as our web site is cited ("issues2000.org").
You may want to use the existing grid page at http://issues2000.org/Candidate_Grid.htm
Good Day! What an excellent site. I was undecided until I got to your site. I searched the web for this site and I am glad I found it. I needed a site to compare the two major candidates. Your site did this. I will send this site information to my work associates who ask and to my friends. Superb job. Thanks, SMSgt, United States Air Force
I am writing a mass communication textbook for Houghton Mifflin entitled "The New Mass Media." The textbook is scheduled to be released July 2001 at a list price of $36. As part of that textbook, I would like to seek permission to use a screen shot of your Web site about Steve Forbes. Could you please provide me with information on how I can obtain that permission? Thank you.
Chris, Ithaca College, NY, Sept. 2000
Ok, you've got permission, as long as the URL is shown or issues2000.org is given credit in some way.
I'll put your e-mail on our "letters to the editor" page to plug your book and I'll look for it in a year.
I am a 20 year old male who has never had the opportunity to take part in a presidential election. I struggled to find an unbiased source of information which accurately and fairly depicted the candidates of the upcoming election. I would simply like to thank you for providing a site that informs and educates the voters on the critical issues of our time and where these men stand. I am grateful for your contribution to my decision.
Sincerely, AAM, att.net, Aug. 8, 2000
The "author" is almost always the candidate himself.
If the citation is from a book, you can find publication details on our "Book archive" page at http://www.issues2000.org/Archive.htm . (Perhaps we'll add some further bibliographical information on the book pages, if you promise to have all of your classmates use our web site too!).
If the citation is from a debate or a speech, then the usual bibliographic information doesn't really apply -- you just cite the date and place of the debate or speech, as we do. The "Archive" page contains a few more details about the location of each debate.
If the citation is from the candidate's web site, then the date indicates the date we downloaded the information, and the citation gives a hint as to the location within the web site. I myself am pretty confused about how to cite web pages in a bibliography, so if there are any established rules, let me know!
Finally, if the citation is from a newspaper or magazine, we site either the page or the author, depending on the preference of our editors. That, in conjunction with the date,is sufficient to find the reference, since all of our sources are "newspapers of record."
You'll find, if you continue to write papers on political topics and especially from government sources, that you have to be considerably more creative in citing sources than in a typical academic subject, because so much of the source material is "primary sources" without formal publication information. We prefer primary sources (speeches, candidate books, and candidate web sites) to secondary sources (newspapers and magazines) -- the ratio on the web site is about 70% primary to 30% secondary.
I hope that helps -- Ed.
Since you don't say what opinion bias you think we have, I can't say whether we're biased that way or not! I'm the person who wrote most of the "background" material, if that's where you're seeing bias -- and yes, of course I'm biased, like every human being is. I actively try to report material in a non-biased way, acknowledging the inherent bias of any editor. My method there is to have staff members who review the material, and report any bias that they find. I assure you, our staff do NOT share any one political persuasion!>> This is misleading and suggests an ulterior motive. Who are you supporting in the current presidential election and who is sponsoring and paying for this website?
And, we regularly correct our background information based on viewer feedback. For example, I am currently working with a woman who runs a children's organization, who disagreed with some of my figures on the "School Choice" page -- we're researching her figures and mine together to reconcile the differences.
On who we're "supporting" in this election, I'm not sure if the term"you" is singular or plural. If it's plural, I don't ask my staff who they support -- but I can read the bumper stickers on their cars, and I see that they disagree with my choices. If it's singular, I'll tell you who I plan to vote for, and who I've voted for in the past, after you tell me who you think I'm biased towards.>> Would you please send me all of your financial information? As a "not for profit organization," you should have no qualms about sending information on who is supporting and paying for your site.
If you think that the web site itself is inherently biased towards any particular candidate, and that publishing our staff's choices will make that bias less "ulterior" (and you can convince me of that), then I'll publish all of our staff's choices on the web site.
As to who is paying for the web site, we get a lot of support from viewers like you. We also have a number of different sources of advertising revenue, which you can see by looking at the ads on the web site. In general, we don't select the particular ads (since we are members of a series of advertising networks), so an advertisement's appearance on our site doesn't imply support or endorsement. The only individual companies we have advertising contracts with are Amazon.com and E-News, a magazine subscription service.
In general, our organization benefits from having a hot race. That's because our advertising revenue is dependent on viewership, and viewership is heavily dependent on interest, and interest is dependent on a hot race. Hence, organizationally, we support keeping the race hot -- that's the only financial interest we have.>> I look forward to more information from your "organization."
There you have it - still cynical?
My father has never voted, my husband has voted irregularly, and this will only be my 3rd time voting. We all believe very strongly in making an educated and well-researched vote. Many people, just like us, do not vote because we are so busy living life and are against voting the popular vote or the "eeny, meeny, minny, moe" vote. Sites like this one allow us to get involved with the information. Sites like this allow us to be stimulated to research more sites, read more papers, watch more press releases, and to do more "soul-searching."
I am curious as to who is putting this site together, and the motives behind it. How is it funded, and will you continue with an unbiased political page after the election?
Thank you. -- C.B., IBM.net, Feb. 10, 2000
Our motivation is to present the candidates' views on the issues in a way that viewers can read them. That's in opposition to what we see in the media as a bias toward "news reporting" on political strategy, poll results, and reports on fundraising.
We are funded by viewers like you, in part, and by ad revenue. Clicking on our ad banners keeps our advertisers happy!
We will keep the site operational after the election, but we won't update the presidential quotes. Our current plans are to have a Senate & Congress quote section, a series of "Policy Calculators" like the VoteMatch quiz, and some coverage of the President.
-- Shalom, eudoramail.com, October 06, 1999
However, I was surprised that Question 31on Tax Reform doesn't list the "flat tax" as an option, considering there are three candidates (according to your site) which are supporting it (Bauer, Forbes and Buchanan).
-- CK, usa.net, October 14, 1999
You're right - we have fixed the quiz to add a Flat Tax choice. The Quiz should be ready in 4-6 weeks. Check back then! -- Ed.
This website does damage to open political discussion. I will never return.
-- TF, snet.net, October 16, 1999
We're sorry you disapprove of our web site. Do you have any suggestions for how we may further remove biases? Opening political discussion is indeed our intent -- and this web site is the means by which we are working towards that goal. Do you have any suggestions for how we might further open political discussion? -- Ed.
-- MW, gte.net, October 16, 1999
Are you keeping up with what John Hagelin is doing? I see you have Pat Buchanan up there for the reform, but isn't the candidate now John Hagelin? This is important to me as I have your site on the footer page of my site
-- Mary, Florida, Sept. 2000
Yes, of course we follow Mr. Hagelin -- that's what political junkies like us do!
We've kept Mr. Hagelin under the Natural Law Party for now, until the FEC determines who gets to use the Reform Party banner. As I understand it, Mr. Hagelin will still be affiliated with the Natural Law Party regardless of the results of the FEC case. And regardless of the outcome, we will continue to cover Mr. Hagelin as well.
I attach our latest newsletter below. You can see our most recent quotation from Mr. Hagelin at any time by looking at the URL http://www.issues2000.org/recent.htm#John_Hagelin. You might want to link directly to his page, at http://www.issues2000.org/John_Hagelin.htm, or to his Forum discussion section at http://www.issues2000.org/Forum_John_Hagelin.htm. If you look at my posting of Aug. 28 in the forum, you'll see we're looking for a volunteer to cover Nat Goldhaber, Mr. Hagelin's V.P. choice.
To the editor:
Thank you for your thorough coverage of all the presidential candidates. Particularly, thank you for giving equal treatment to Ralph Nader and Patrick Buchanan.
Thomas, U. Penn, Sept. 2000
Listing Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader as "Candidates," and Harry Browne in a third column under "Third Party Candidates," is a mistake. Despite Buchanan and Nader's superior media presence due to their celebrity status, the Libertarians have more registered voters than the Reform or Green candidates, has more elected officials than all other third parties together, and is the only third party on all the ballets for this election. In fact, the Libertarians have been on all the ballets for the last three elections, and are only the second third party in U.S. history to achieve this, the first being the Republican Party in the 1800's. The Libertarian party has candidates in races for the majority of congressional seats, and depite one one-thousandth the media attention, Harry Browne still polls ahead of Buchanan and Nader.
Please change your site so as not to endorse the widely held falsehood that media attention is a fair representaion of importance or support. Please keep Hary Browne on par with other third parties, or in his rightful place at the head of the pack.
-- Tom, Mac.com, Sept. 2000
Mr. Browne gets considerably better coverage on our web site than in any other media that we know of. We challenge you to find any non-partisan source, on the Internet, in broadcast, or in print, that covers Mr. Browne more thoroughly than we do. Mr. Browne himself said, "I notice that Issues2000 (http://issues2000.org) has an extremely informative website covering issues and candidates. They have an extensive compilation of my views on various issues -- culled from a number of sources, including quotes from 'Why Government Doesn't Work.'" (May 18, "Liberty Wire" newsletter).
We give Mr. Browne the full attention that we give to other candidates, and often more. Besides his main page at http://issues2000.org/Harry_Browne.htm and its 23 related issue pages, we have two complete interviews with his campaign staff available on-line at http://issues2000.org/Browne_Interview.htm and http://issues2000.org/Browne_Interview2.htm. We have extensive excerpts from his book at http://issues2000.org/Why_Government.htm. We include Mr. Browne in our VoteMatch quiz at http://issues2000.org/Quiz.htm and we have a discussion "Forum" dedicated to him at http://issues2000.org/Forum_Harry_Browne.htm.
We solicit volunteers regularly to assist with candidate quotations and excerpts. We have had two volunteers working on Mr. Browne's page, as well as our full-time staff who have put in hundreds of hours on his page. If you would like to volunteer, write us and we will send you our volunteer guidelines. When you reach the level of commitment to Mr. Browne that we have, you may participate in our staff meetings and we will consider your suggestion to change our web site.
In the meantime, we welcome your distributing information to the media about our web site. Give any of the URLs above to any of the media who give him "one-thousandth" of the attention that we do. You would be doing Mr. Browne a great service by doing so.
Sincerely, -- Ed.
Dear Issues 2000,
You pretend to offer equal information on the candidates. However, when
I try to read about Al Gore there is a "Transfer is
-- Sept. 2000
If that fails, you can get at the same information via http://issues2000.org/Candidate_Grid.htm#Al_Gore
We assure you that our technical difficulties are non-partisan --Bush's page crashes with the same frequency as Gore's!
-- LH, Mississippi, March 4, 2000
I'm afraid I have to conclude that the two statements represent an inconsistent policy recommendation on the part of Mr. McCain.
The "Chile" quotation is from McCain's speech to the National Press Club on May 20, 1999. The "Fast-track" quotation is from his answers to the 1998 "Vote-Smart" quiz (all of our quotations have a citation in the "source" line at the end of the quote. They are all direct quotes). Note that McCain answered the more recent Vote-Smart quiz (released Jan. 13) with the same answer: that he supports "Fast Track" (under "Trade issues part 3", question 9, on the web page http://www.vote-smart.org/ce/pvsinfo.phtml?id=S0061103&titlehead=Responses+to+National+Political+Awarness+Test&category=NPAT&first=John+S.&last=McCain&checking=¤toffice=US-Senate&nomoney=1).
If you support McCain, you might interpret the two statements as a "qualified" support of Fast Track -- it's good in theory, but Chile isn't sufficient reason for McCain to grant Fast Track authority to Clinton. If you oppose McCain, you can call this an inconsistent policy.
-- The editor
-- Mr. L., Feb. 1, 2000
Mr. L: You can read about Affirmative Action outside of the civil rights context at our "Topics in the News"page: http://issues2000.org/News_Affirmative_Action.htm
Buchanan is cited three times there, none of which are from the Boston Globe.
We don't "mediate" or "paraphrase" the quotations there -- they are direct quotations. In this case, the three quotes are all excerpts from his Web Site. If you feel that our excerpting ni adequately expresses Buchanan's views, we invite you to submit better excerpts from any reliable sources you can find.
We are not fans of any candidate -- we are fans of making the political process more issue-based.
-- The editor
-- Mr. Ruhland's Civics Class, October 07, 1999
-- EJ, Leonia NJ, October 09, 1999
-- CF, toolcity.net, October 10, 1999
-- RM, cjf.org, October 11, 1999
We include all candidates who get press coverage in other media. We collect our information from published sources and hence can only include candidates who are published regularly. Check our citations at the bottom of each quotation for our common sources. - Ed.
I do hope someone finds the time to read this and consider my comment seriously.
I very much appreciate the service your site provides. It's hard to determine the candidate's stances regarding many of the issues you list. Labor issues, for instance, are often complex, and are rarely discussed (and seldom even mentioned) on television news programs.
However, it took me a while to find the "Labor" category on your website. Eventually I found it; however, I was astonished to see that Labor issues, despite inspiring both the Reform and Green party challenges to the two-party system, did not merit a separate heading in your typology.
Even more inexplicable was the decision to lump labor and welfare together. Indeed, this decision makes we wonder about the non-partisan character of this website. Welfare is a program of government handouts to non-workers...Labor is when working men and women seek to bargain collectively for improved working conditions. What's the connection? It's unclear, unless you accept the conservative belief that union members are akin to welfare recipients--a burden on "normal" working people.
What other pairings might have been possible? "Welfare and corporate subsidies"? "Labor and the Environment"? As one rehearses such possible alternative (and to my mind more sensible) combinations, the political content of issue-paring becomes pretty evident.
I sincerely urge you take the simple step of listing Labor and public aid as separate categories, since both these issues are surely important enough to merit separate consideration, and since separate listings will help your site maintain the non-partisan character which is one of its most impressive features.
-- Mark, AOL.com, Sept. 2000
Since you've written a couple of times, I'll give you a full answer and then post the conversation on out "letters" page.
I'm the content manager and I'm the guy who decided to lump welfare & labor together. Actually, we originally DID have a separate category for Labor, but none of the candidates were discussing anything about it (that was in about February, before Nader became active). We had to make a final decision about categories at about that time, and combined labor into "welfare," as well as immigration into "free trade" and religion into "principles & values."
That decision had to be made then, and had to be permanent, because we were beginning to be "indexed" by numerous search engines then, such as Yahoo and Ask.com. For example, if you go to ask.com and ask "Al Gore's stance on abortion", you'll see our 23 category choices appear there. We can no longer change the categories without causing ask.com to become inoperational.
Were we to pick the categories right now, labor would indeed be separate, as would immigration and religion. And we would not have categories for Kosovo or juvenile crime -- those did not pan out to be campaign issues, although they looked like they would a year ago (and we came close to adding a category for "East Timor" too).
To address the fact that we had to decide on our category issues well before the election, we created a page http://www.issues2000.org/Topics.htm which covers topical issues. (The same list is included on our home page). Labor issues have their own topical page at http://www.issues2000.org/News_Labor_Policy.htm, which is updated regularly without any "welfare" components.
Your letter is the first where I've considered that grouping labor with welfare is inherently conservative. I think you're right -- although I don't call myself a conservative by any means! The connection is my mind is that presidential issues on both those topics typically address the poor and especially inner cities -- like Enterprise Zones and minimum wage. The presidential candidates really don't talk about unionism per se, or about labor per se.
In any case, the only other choice would have been to lump labor with free trade, since labor still doesn't have enough quotes to warrant its own full category page. But as you also point out, lumping "corporate welfare" with "welfare" has liberal overtones, and we DO include that in the same category (Nader is the only candidate who talks about it, of course).
Thanks for your thoughtful letter -- Ed.
First of all, let me complement you on your extremely informative and well put together website. I can only imagine all the hard work it took to complete. I have found it a wonderful resource to turn to where I can find out where a candidate stands on so many issues. I have found that many campaigns are not responsive to requests for issue papers and statements on issue stances by the candidates. By stating the candidates positions in thier own words we can see where they stand.
I did want to inform you of an error on the site. At www.issues2000.org/Gun_Control.htm#Headlines, in the "Background" section, under Background Checks, it is stated that "[t]he 'Gun-Show Loophole' means that there are no background checks when purchasing guns at public shows." This is not correct. There is no exeption to gun licensing and background check requirements for gun shows. Every state and federal gun law apply the same at whether at a gun show or not. I hope you correct this error promptly.
Thank you again for the great site, and I look forward to using it in making my decision easier when at the polls
S.C., Esquire, Jan. 11, 2000
After discussing the gun issue further with you, we've updated our Gun Control background section. Thanks for the help.
-- PJB, Esq., October 07, 1999
-- cyanamid.com, October 07, 1999
-- uswest.net, October 09, 1999
-- BRR, execpc.com, October 10, 1999
-- PM, EGGINC.com, October 11, 1999
We include all issues that the candidates speak out on publicly. If we do not include an issue, it is because we have not found it in a published source, and NOT because we avoid any issues. If our viewers have quotations that address issues that we have missed, we encourage their submission, along with their source and date published, and we will post them. - Ed.
-- NS, YMCAUSA.ORG, October 11, 1999
SS, ca.gov, October 12, 1999
-- KB, wcnet.org, October 13, 1999
-- JF, nasa.gov, October 13, 1999
-- TC, state.ny.us, October 13, 1999
-- DB, yahoo.com, October 15, 1999
Sorry, henever expressed an opinion on the minimum wage.
Also, could you include an explanation of who is running the Web site? Basically, a "who we are" page.
Great Web site. Thorough yet unbiased.
-- TS, bisk.com, October 13, 1999
We would love to see the candidates' views on Cuba, space exploration, and encryption too - and as soon as they publicly announce a stance, we will post it here.
We are a volunteer organization whose mission is to focus the presidential campaign on issues rather than polls and politicking. We rely on donations and viewership for support. - Ed.
-- JT, Kingfield.com, October 15, 1999
This chronic underfunding of the VA has led to a dimished quality of care, plus more and more veterans are having to pay out of pocket expenses ... and the faith and trust that many of us once had in our nation is deeply shaken because the budget has been balanced on our backs.
Please make the treatment of veterans in this country a significant issue as a part of your election platform. Please uphold Abraham Lincoln's promise "To care for him who shall have borne the battle."
SAB, West Haven, CT, October 15, 1999
-- DS, prodigy.net, October 16, 1999
Second, I would like to express a concern regarding the Democrats recently acquired poll data stating 44 million Americans, 11 million of them children, are without healthcare. This poll and the timing of its release is obviously done to convince the American people that there is a health crisis in the country and that the only ones willing to help are Democrats. I can hear Clinton now, "Only Bill Bradley & Al Gore have presented any kind of plan. We're talking 11 million children here! Don't the Republicans care?" If history is any indication, the American people will fall for this.
Now perhaps there is a Republican plan out there, but it hasn't received any coverage. If I haven't heard of it, chances are most other Americans haven't either.
PS On that 44 million, has anybody bothered to check how much the number drops if you discount illegal immigrants?
-- DG, Friendswood, TX, October 16, 1999
<< maybe I am slow in negotiatiing it. But I can't seem to find a section for other cabinet members.
where is the voting record or history on all of Bush's appointees? all the various departments. Gail Norton, and the Govenor from New Jersey, her name escapes me. >>
No, you're not slow in navigating; we're slow in researching! Each person takes us a couple of weeks of effort, so we can't keep up ni heavy political seasons like right now. Eventualy we will cover the entire cabinet -- that's scheduled for completion in late Spring -- and we'll have a "CabinetMatch" quiz then.For now, we've only got Powell, Ashcroft, and Abraham (ecy of Energy). Next comes Christie Todd Whitman and Tommy Thompson (they're possible to do because they have lengthy public records as governors). The rest have less on public record, so we have to wait until they say more before we can makea web page for them.
When will the House Match feature be open?
We're shooting for the end of January 2001. There are 40 new members whose data we have collated and will upload in the next week or so. Then the 107th Congress will be fully covered and HouseMatch will be turned on. For now, you can do it "manually" b reading the pages for any of the 395 members who got re-elected from the 106th Congress -- each one has a "HouseMatch" page linked frmo their mani page.
Date: 1/12/2001 uhh.... you have the wrong US Senate candidate listed for the Green party in New York. Al Lewis came in 3rd in the Green primary: Ronnie Dugger came in 2nd, and the nomination went to Mark Dunau (see www.dontsubmit.com). i know it's a little late, but still...
Hmm, ok, we'll replace Lewis. We actually wrote to Lewis asking him to fill in our SenateMatch quiz, with no response; we'd have sent it to Dunau had we heard of him. The "Senate 2000" page will be converted to "history" this week -- it'll still be linked, but the main Senate page will become the new 107th Congress page. You can get a "sneak preview"at www.issues2000.org/Senate2001/. Lewis didn't make it onto that page because he had no SenateMatch data.
If you're a Green partisan in NY and if your candidate is planning to run in the next Senate race, or for the 2002 Congressional races, we invite you to write to us then to fill in their SenateMatch and HouseMatch quizzes -- you'll be assured that their pages are up in a timely manner then!
All material copyright 1999
Reprinting by permission only.
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