A 2008 Voter's Guide

How do the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates compare?  Here is a brief synopsis of each, in a few different categories.

Age on Jan. 20, 2009

Obama.  47.

Biden.  66.

McCain.  72.

Palin.  44.


Obama.  Columbia University, political science.  Harvard Law.

Biden.  University of Delaware, history and political science.  Syracuse University Law.

McCain.  US Naval Academy.  Attended National War College.

Palin.  University of Idaho, journalism.

Elected Office

Obama.  11 years total.  US Senate for last three years.  Illinois state senator for eight years before that.

Biden.  38 years total.  US Senate for last 36 years.  County councilman in Wilmington for two years before that.

McCain.  26 years total.  US Congress for last 26 years;  four years in the House and 22 years in the Senate.

Palin.  12 years total.  Governor of Alaska for last two years.  Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska for six years.  Wasilla councilwoman for four years.  Also elected as President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.

Political Ratings

Obama.  National Journal 2007 liberal rating was 95.5, or the most liberal Senator in 2007.  American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 7.67, or 18th most liberal in the current Senate. 

Biden.  NJ 2007 rating was 94.2, or 3rd most liberal Senator in 2007.  ACU lifetime rating of 13.04, or 32nd most liberal in the current Senate. 

McCain.  NJ 2007 score not available.  ACU lifetime rating of 82.16, or 35th most conservative in the current Senate.  

Palin.  As of 2007, the most popular governor and the most popular public official in any state, with an approval rating in the 90's .

Executive Experience

Obama.  President of the Harvard Law Review and Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, operating under a grant of $49.2 million.

Biden.  None.

McCain.  US Naval officer up to rank of Captain.  Commanding Officer of a training squadron, winning that unit's first Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Palin.  Governor of Alaska.  Alaska Oil & Gas Commissioner.  Mayor of Wasilla.  President of Alaska Conference of Mayors. 


Obama.  None.

Biden.  None.

McCain.  More than 20 years in US Navy, retiring as Captain.  Fighter pilot.  Prisoner of War.  Honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. 

Palin.  Commander-in-chief of Alaska National Guard, two years.

Career Outside Elected Office

Obama.  Activist, community organizer, attorney specializing in civil rights and neighborhood development, approximately 10 years.  Part-time law school lecturer.  Also author of one autobiography at age 34, and another at age 45.

Biden.  None.

McCain.  US Naval officer, 20 years. 

Palin.  Sports reporter for local TV.  Commercial fishing industry.  Homemaker.

Sports and Hobbies

Obama.  High school cocaine, marijuana and alcohol (per his autobiography).  Pick-up basketball.

Biden.  None known.

McCain.  High school wrestler.  College boxer.

Palin.  High school basketball, point guard and team captain, state champion team.  Sank free-throw that won the game to win the Alaska state championship.  Head of Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school.  Winner of Miss Wasilla beauty pageant and runner-up for Miss Alaska.  Hunting.  Fishing.  Kayaking.  Piloting her own bush plane around Alaska.

Favorite Food

Obama.  Arugula (a leaf vegetable looking like a longer-leaf lettuce).

Biden.  Dunkin Donuts.

McCainDonuts with sprinkles.

Palin.  Moose burgers made from moose she killed herself.

Personal Trials

Obama.  Growing up in Pacific islands, with adolescence in Hawaii.  Racial attitudes at Columbia, Harvard and south Chicago.  "Typical white" grandmother.  High prices at Whole Foods. 

Biden.  Wife and young child killed in car accident.

McCain.  Five and a half years as POW in Vietnam, tortured to point of permanent physical damage.

Palin.  Delivering a baby, five times.  Raising Down Syndrome child.

Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or via his web site, kulak.worldbreak.com