Essay: Conservapedia Questions for the 2008 Presidential Candidates

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This essay is a proposed project for Conservapedia to allow the community of its contributors to ask questions of the McCain and Obama campaigns. A core mission of Conservapedia is to inform, and this project presents an opportunity for this community to ask the candidates the questions that are on their minds, instead of the reporters' and pundits'.

The idea is that this list of questions will be open for editing between now and September 30, at which time I'll request it to be protected by a Sysop. At that point, identical copies of these questions will be sent to the McCain and Obama campaigns, with a request to have at least a partial set of answers returned by October 15. The unedited responses will be posted on this page and protected, and provide a new voter resource.

Here are the proposed guidelines for questions:

  • They should be clear and concise
  • They should be phrased in a manner that allows them to be answered concisely as well - we are looking for answers, not essays, in response
  • They should be of general interest to the greatest number of readers
  • They should address controversial topics in a non-judgmental way - the goal is to learn what the candidates' position on a controversy is, and leave judgment of the response to the reader
  • They are to be asked of both campaigns, so they must be applicable to both
  • They need to focus on the issues, not the candidates' personal lives or families
  • They should fit into one of the categories below, or meaningful categories added
  • Questions are not to be removed unless insulting or similarly inappropriate
  • No edit wars - discuss on the Talk Page before changing someone else's contribution
  • Since these questions are intended to be "on behalf of the Conservapedia Community", the final list of questions must be approved by Andrew Schlafly before submission

Foreign Policy

  1. Who do you see as the next leader of North Korea if Kim Jong-Il is incapacitated permanently?
  2. Would your administration engage Cuba any differently than today, and if so, how?

Military Policy

  1. To what extent would your administration rely on contractors to supplement troops compared to the current one?

Budget Policy

  1. Name 3 federal programs whose budget you would cut, and why
  2. Name 3 federal programs whose budget you would increase, and why
  3. What specific changes, if any, are you planning to make regarding entitlement programs like social security?
  4. Will you pledge to veto spending bills with unreasonable earmarks attached? If so, what is your criteria for defining what is "reasonable"?
  5. What specific steps will your administration take to improve the visibility of how the budget is allocated, and whether taxpayers are getting what they paid for in terms of overspending, waste or fraud?

Energy Policy

  1. What is your specific plan for addressing the problem of nuclear-waste storage?
  2. Is the government doing enough to encourage energy conservation? If not, what would you change?
  3. Do you view supporting ethanol as a priority compared to other uses for the land/grain?


  1. To what extent should catastrophic/flood insurance from the government be available to people who choose to live in high-risk areas?
  2. Should FEMA remain a part of Homeland Security, or be restored as a standalone agency?

National Security

  1. Which (if any) of the following current Bush administration policies would you pledge to change, and how:
  • Warrantless wiretapping
  • Definition of torture
  • Extraordinary rendition of suspects
  • Military tribunals for enemy combatants


  1. Do you plan to change current U.S. policy on imported prescription drugs? Does the source (Canada vs. China, for example) make a difference?
  2. Should government regulate what health insurers can & can't cover?
  3. Where do you stand between trying to rein in high medical costs while offering the greatest # of covered options to patients?

Innovation and Competitiveness

  1. What specific changes if any would your administration make to the patent system, if any?
  2. What specific changes if any would your administration make to the copyright system, if any?


  1. Should internet sales be taxable, and if so, to what extent?
  2. Do the markets that trade in commodities like oil need more regulation, or are free-market principles working as they should?
  3. What are the key metrics you would use to determine if the fundamentals of the economy are strong or not, and where they are trending?


  1. What specific changes, if any, should be made to No Child Left Behind?
  2. To what extent should prayer be allowed in public schools - none, group-led, moment-of-silence, etc.?
  3. Should the government only fund abstinence-only programs, or comprehensive sex education, including information on birth control as well?
  4. What is your position on school vouchers?
  5. Do you consider Intelligent Design to be valid science, and if so, should it be taught alongside evolution?

Social Issues

  1. Should we keep or remove "In God we trust" from our currency, and the phrase "One Nation Under God" from the pledge of Allegiance?
  2. To what extent should the federal government be involved in cases like Terri Schiavo's?
  3. Are there any gun-control regulations you pledge to enact? Are there any you pledge to undo?
  4. Are there any types of weapons, like machine guns or assault rifles, that should be illegal while still respecting the intent of the Second Amendment?
  5. Are we doing enough to encourage adoption? If not, what would you change?
  6. Do you agree with "Three strikes and you're out" sentencing? If so, for what types of crimes?
  7. Do you believe that capital punishment is an effective deterrent? For what crimes, if any, should it be legal?


  1. What level of greenhouse gas reduction, if any, would you be willing to commit the USA to by treaty, and over what time period?
  2. To what extent if any should states like California be able to enact stricter pollution-control regulations?

Executive Branch Policy

  1. What is your opinion on the use of presidential signing statements when approving legislation from Congress, particularly in the way they've been used by the Bush administration? Do you plan to change that policy, and if so, how?
  2. What specific approach would you use as president to get Congress to move past procedural gamesmanship and enact legislative change efficiently?
  3. Please list any of your agenda items for the first 100 days of your administration

Miscellaneous / To-Be-Categorized

  1. What changes would you make, if any, to the in-service and post-service benefits of people serving in the military?
  2. Would you continue, scale up or scale back the current plans for manned space exploration vs. unmanned, and why?
  3. How do you feel about the current regulations on tobacco given its obvious health consequences? Are the taxes and jobs it generates worth the health and medical-expense consequences? What regulations, if any, would your administration plan on changing?
  4. Is it more important for key members of the current administration to be held accountable for any objectively provable wrongdoing, or is it more important for the nation to move on and deal with present & future issues?
  5. Would you support giving social security credits to women who stay out of the workforce to raise young children?

Personal/Human interest

  1. Name the person who you'd say you disagree with the most on policy and perspective, but whose views you respect and seek out because they represent the views of Americans who differ with yours
  2. What are the three books that have most influenced you growing up?
  3. How directly do you engage your spouse for advice on decisions in governing?
  4. Who are the individuals you hold up as role models for your children/grandchildren?

Questions for the VP Candidates

  1. If you had to assume the presidency mid-term, are there any areas of policy where people should not expect you to strictly adhere to the policies of the Presidential candidate you're running with?
  2. Dick Cheney has set a new standard for the engagement of the VP in defining and guiding policy for the administration. Are there any areas, like energy, foreign policy, national security, where you see yourself taking a similar leadership role within your ticket's administration?