Michael Barone

Mike Huckabee has a four-word slogan and a YouTube link. Duncan Hunter discusses border security, trade and the war on terrorism. Joe Biden has a few paragraphs on 10 issues (with Afghanistan and Darfur treated as one issue). Chris Dodd identifies six issues but has single paragraphs on only four so far. Jim Gilmore reports on his record as governor of Virginia. John Cox, a Chicago-area accountant who ran for the Senate in 2004, wants lower spending, calls global warming "overblown" and stresses his opposition to abortion.

Some offer more. Bill Richardson invites you to sign a petition for diplomacy with Iran and has one-paragraph takes on seven issues. Dennis Kucinich's front page is mostly about Iraq but has links to long comments on 10 issues, from healthcare to the Patriot Act. Mike Gravel highlights his opposition to the Iraq war and his proposals for national initiative elections. Sam Brownback mentions issues he's taken the lead on (human rights, Darfur) and calls for a $5,000 tax credit for rural first-time homebuyers. Tom Tancredo starts with immigration, his signature issue, but provides some detail on 10 others (he's for a flat tax or national sales tax).

Yes, it's early yet. The candidates haven't had time to get issue shops up and running. Clinton and Bush got started much later in the 1992 and 2000 cycles. But so far, candidates have told us very little about where they think the world is headed and what we should do about it. And they've shown us little to indicate that they've thought seriously about governance and long-term problems like Social Security and Medicare.

Let's hope they do better as they make their way through Iowa's 99 counties and New Hampshire's 234 cities and towns.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM