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February 16, 2004

Got questions for Doug? Bring 'em on!

There's been a lot of talk lately on some blogs (especially dailykos.com) about having candidates fill out questionnaires when they seek donations from bloggers. I agree that it's very important that potential donors know something about a candidate who wants their support -- beyond the fact that he or she is running in a targeted district. With that in mind, I invite all of you out there to submit as many questions for me as you'd like, and I'll answer them as quickly as I can here, and then combine all of them and post the results as a comprehensive questionnaire on my website. If I'm going to ask for your money, you deserve to know where I stand on the issues that matter to you. Email your questions to me at doug@hainesforcongress.com, or post them on this thread of our blog. I look forward to getting you acquainted with where I stand.

Doug

February 16, 2004 in Open Thread | Permalink

Comments

It was with interest that I saw your ad on the dailykos, so I decided to pay your site a visit. Furthermore, I was one of the dKos users (under a different moniker) who requested that policy positions of various candidates be provided, so I am very pleased to see this thread and I will get the ball rolling on issues of concern to me:

1. Your position on the death penalty

2. Your position on mandatory sentencing for drug offenders

3. How you would have voted on the Iraq resolution?

4. Would you scale back Bush's most recent tax legislation in whole or in part (i.e., would you leave in the so-called "Middle Class" tax cut)?

5. If elected, other than the enviornment, what issues would you focus on during your term(s) in Congress.

6. Your favorite restuarant in Athens, GA

Thanks in advance for your responses. And thanks again for the thread.

Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at Feb 16, 2004 11:45:00 PM

Best of luck to you sir, and I've got a question and a suggestion

I'd like to know your basic principles and goals on foreign policy and national security. Especially, I'd like to know what you think about national security beyond the issue of Iraq.

The suggestion is to make such information available on your web site. I just glanced there, and while you do have helpful information on your views and experience with the environment, health care, etc., there's not a word about foreign policy, international trade, or defense. The substance of your views on those issues would be useful to know, and more importantly, failing to mention them suggests you don't give them much importance. Lack of national security credibility is a key weakness for Democrats and we don't need to encourage that view.

Posted by: GoDems! at Feb 17, 2004 12:28:20 AM

Just a couple from me:

1. What type of plan would you support to reduce costs for higher education (for students and in general)?

2. What is your position on NASA and government involvement in space exploration in general?

3. Which do you prefer: Mac or PC?

Posted by: Izixs (also for Prez) at Feb 17, 2004 12:29:01 AM

Hey Doug, I hope to see you again at UGA YD's again soon.

-What are your ideas as to how to save Social Security?

-On health care, do you support a single payer or some form of tax credit plan?

-What are your plans for keeping jobs, both manufacturing and service, in this country?

Posted by: Wes Tharpe at Feb 17, 2004 12:33:27 AM

* Why has the Democratic Party declined in power recently?
* Give an example of when you put together a diverse coalition to solve a problem.
* Give an example of when you took a principled stand at risk to your well being.
* How should U.S. foreign policy be updated?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg at Feb 17, 2004 12:35:55 AM

Yeah, I'm interested in hearing if the
candidate thinks that an accomplished, adult (and then some),peaceful, politically-aware, veteran, and grandfather should be considered a criminal, or a deviant, or a danger to society deserving ANY hassle from the law or courts because of enjoying the hell out of good cannabis, or even crappy cannabis. (if you're so inclined) Why should
I give a penny to anyone who considers me a criminal deserving not only extra-constitutional attacks, denigrations, punishments, outright lies and slander and on and on and on.
I don't know what your position on drug policy reform is but, just for your info, you are now in touch with some of the millions of peaceful Americans whose lives are impacted negatively by this dangerous and destructive nonsense.

Posted by: disgusted vet at Feb 17, 2004 12:48:30 AM

Hey, Doug. I'm a poster over on dailykos, and i have considered throwing some cash your way, but I do have one question first.

Do you think that it is appropriate to cut higher education funding during times when we have budget issues? I'm an undergrad in Minnesota, and the state here cut our grants and I'm scared for my federal Pell. Also, I'll be going to law school fairly soon and I'm concerned about how I might fund that.

Posted by: New Left 2004 at Feb 17, 2004 1:02:44 AM

Hi,
Good luck with your campaign.

Q) Do you support instant runoff voting (IRV)?

Posted by: Nathan in MD at Feb 17, 2004 1:04:56 AM

Doug,

Another poster on DailyKos who has some questions for you.

1) What do you propose that we do about the record budget deficit?

2) Where do you stand on gun rights/gun control?

3) Where do you stand on gay marriage/civil unions?

Thanks.

Posted by: maxomai at Feb 17, 2004 1:24:08 AM

Just curious why you went negative on your Democratic opponent so quickly with the kos ad? No one knows who the cartoon is of unless they go to his website. I think you would get your message out better by playing up your "grassroots support" that can win in a Democratic district. I just had trouble taking the ad seriously. At first glance, I thought you were a vanity candidate which doesn't seem to be the case.

Aside from that- what is your position on the PATRIOT Act?

More unsolicited advice:

You're in a Democratic district, you can afford the red meat. It'll mobilize your base as long as you lay off the fellow Dems.

Posted by: Leif Engstrom at Feb 17, 2004 1:26:58 AM

Best of luck to you sir. I don't have a question, rather just a comment:

The big lie, and the one Democrats don't challenge nearly enough, is that Government is our nemesis. The thing about that argument is that it allows Republicans to prove the validity of their theoretical construct merely by misusing the powers they currently enjoy. If we're going to win, we have to remind people that we *are* the government, and that government can be a constructive force. But we have to make that point directly and forcefully.

There are plenty of Republicans out there who know this has all gone too far over these last few years. We just have to be straight and say "Some people think we'd be better off without the federal government. They're dead wrong, and here's why. . ."

Posted by: Emory Walker at Feb 17, 2004 1:44:36 AM

Best of luck to you, sir! I can't vote for you personally, being in Indiana. But if I was there in Georgia, I sure as hell would give you my vote. Democrats nationwide need all the help they can get. Once you're in, I hope you give the Republicans hell like they've never imagined. Go for it.

Posted by: Tom at Feb 17, 2004 3:10:26 AM

I am not a party Democrat. I am just fed up with the way the country is being run. I found your blog and became mesmerized with it. I see so many interesting and pertinent questions but WHERE ARE THE ANSWERS?

Posted by: Independent at Feb 17, 2004 9:45:59 AM

Doug is writing out the answers right now, and we should have them up in just about an hour or so. Stay tuned!

Posted by: Martin Matheny at Feb 17, 2004 9:48:23 AM

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all of the responses to the open call for questions! I’ve waited until we got a few posts so that I can concentrate the answers into one digest-type post instead of numerous separate posts. I’ve also taken the liberty of separating the answers into some broad topics for your reference.
Before I get to the answers, I want to say a quick word about my policy on policy. I believe in full disclosure on these issues. I know that everyone out there is not going to agree with everything I believe in, and that’s ok. But, if there’s an issue that we differ on, look around, find the common ground we do share and consider that too.
Here goes:

Foreign Policy and the War in Iraq
How you would have voted on the Iraq resolution? (Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at February 16, 2004 11:45 PM)

I did not and do not support it. Of course, hindsight is 20-20, but I have serious questions about the quality of the intelligence, and about the quality of the diplomacy. Having Saddam Hussein out of power is a great thing, from a humanitarian standpoint, but that was not how this war was sold to us. I believed then, as I do now, that any intervention in Iraq should have come through the United Nations.

…there's not a word about foreign policy, international trade, or defense. The substance of your views on those issues would be useful to know, and more importantly, failing to mention them suggests you don't give them much importance. Lack of national security credibility is a key weakness for Democrats and we don't need to encourage that view. (Posted by: GoDems! at February 17, 2004 12:28 AM)

How should U.S. foreign policy be updated? (Posted by: Carl Nyberg at February 17, 2004 12:35 AM)


We’re still working on getting all the policy put up on the webpage, so until we get it posted on the page, here’s how I feel. On foreign policy, I think our approach is flawed. We must pursue a policy of constructive engagement, creating dialogues with other countries and working towards solutions through discussion, not dictation. I believe strongly in working through international institutions to improve conditions for human rights throughout the world. Any discussion about the US and its role in foreign policy has to start with the acknowledgment that the United States is the most militarily powerful nation on the face of the planet. With that stipulation, we have a choice to make. Do we, as a nation, participate in the global community, or do we force our views down people’s throats? I believe we have an obligation to the future of the world to develop and support structures for international dialogue and peacemaking. On defense, I think that we have a Congress and a War Powers Act for a reason. If attacked, America will defend itself, but the notion of preemptive war is wrong on so many fronts. As a matter of fact, the whole Bush doctrine of preemptive war is a separate discussion that I want to have with the voters very soon. On trade, we must pursue trade agreements that have provisions for environmental protection and worker’s rights. We are losing manufacturing jobs because we cannot compete with countries that don’t protect their workers or their natural resources. These trade agreements, with these provisions, can work. For instance, see our current trade agreement with Jordan.
Let’s talk about updating foreign policy. Essentially, we need to do this: stop the doctrine of pre-emptive war, pursue constructive engagement and opening dialogues with our neighbors, start using our status and our position in the international community as a force for positive change. Mostly, the US needs to start leading and stop coercing.

The Economy and Jobs

Would you scale back Bush's most recent tax legislation in whole or in part (i.e., would you leave in the so-called "Middle Class" tax cut)? (Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at February 16, 2004 11:45 PM)

I would leave in parts of the tax cut, such as the child tax credit. This is important because it is one of the few parts of the tax cuts that actually help the middle class, and there is a cap, so the folks who need it get it. What would I remove from the tax cuts? Just about everything else, especially the dividend tax cuts. I support bringing those back, as well as repealing the cuts on the wealthiest Americans.

What do you propose that we do about the record budget deficit? (Posted by: maxomai at February 17, 2004 01:24 AM)

Stop spending our money wastefully, on tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthy, on ill-conceived wars, on the myriad other programs that this administration and the Congressional Republicans have spent it on.

What are your plans for keeping jobs, both manufacturing and service, in this country? (Posted by: Wes Tharpe at February 17, 2004 12:33 AM)

As I mentioned above, we have to start pursuing trade policies that create a level playing field, and that means agreements with protections for workers and the environment. We also have to get our economy back on track, which will encourage job creation in this country. I think that to a large extent, having manufacturing jobs here in the US will also bolster the service industry here as well.


Higher Education

What type of plan would you support to reduce costs for higher education (for students and in general)? (Posted by: Izixs (also for Prez) at February 17, 2004 12:29 AM)

Do you think that it is appropriate to cut higher education funding during times when we have budget issues? I'm an undergrad in Minnesota, and the state here cut our grants and I'm scared for my federal Pell. Also, I'll be going to law school fairly soon and I'm concerned about how I might fund that. (Posted by: New Left 2004 at February 17, 2004 01:02 AM)

It is absolutely not appropriate to cut higher education funding, or education funding in general, at any time. Investing in education is investing in the economy. Here’s what we need to do. First, start fully funding Pell Grants. You mention that you’re worried about losing your Pell, and you aren’t alone. In addition, we need to expand the scope and funding for student loans and work-study programs. Finally, I’m working on a proposal that I call the CI (Community Involvement) Bill. Part of this bill will include grants to help pay tuition for people who are going into critical positions within the social infrastructure (public safety, health care, education, and childcare). I would even be interested in looking at expanding the scope of the CI Bill to help fund education for students going into public interest and non-profit work as well. We’re still crunching the funding numbers on the CI Bill, but I look forward to getting it out there very soon.

Legislative Priorities

If elected, other than the environment, what issues would you focus on during your term(s) in Congress (Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at February 16, 2004 11:45 PM)

I would focus on children’s issues. I’m a new parent myself, and my wife Lisa is a public interest lawyer who represents children. My priorities on children would include: expanding children’s healthcare, universal early screenings for health problems, and universal early learning. That means fully funding Head Start and even going beyond that.
Also, we have to start taking education seriously again. I will push for lower class sizes and more funding for after-school programs, especially on the middle and high school levels. We can pay for this by repealing most of the Bush tax cuts (keeping the child tax credit that I mentioned earlier) Keep checking the website; I‘m also working on a proposal for getting certified addictions counselors into our public schools.

Crime and Punishment

Your position on the death penalty (Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at February 16, 2004 11:45 PM)


I oppose the death penalty, and here’s why. First of all, I believe in rehabilitation. Maybe some of these convicted criminals can be written off, I don’t know. But I know that not all of them can. There’s a great program going on in some of our prisons, where prisoners are getting involved training service dogs for the visually and physically challenged. This is just one example of how rehabilitation can help.
The second reason I oppose the death penalty has to do with its application. The dirty secret here is that the death penalty has a history of being applied unfairly. A lot of the applicable case law on the death penalty comes from the South, and there is evidence that it has been unfairly applied on a racial and economic basis.

Your position on mandatory sentencing for drug offenders (Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at February 16, 2004 11:45 PM)

I oppose it. We are crowding our prisons with non-violent offenders, many of whom need help, not punishment. In addition, mandatory sentencing strips the justice system of the ability to look at cases on an individual basis.

…if the candidate thinks that an accomplished, adult (and then some), peaceful, politically-aware, veteran, and grandfather should be considered a criminal, or a deviant, or a danger to society deserving ANY hassle from the law or courts because of enjoying the hell out of good cannabis… (Posted by: disgusted vet at February 17, 2004 12:48 AM)

The short answer is: I don’t support legalization, but I also don’t support mandatory sentencing.

Gun Control/Gun Rights

Where do you stand on gun rights/gun control? (Posted by: maxomai at February 17, 2004 01:24 AM)

I believe we should start enforcing our existing laws before creating new ones with two exceptions. I do support closing the “gun show loophole” and I support the Assault Weapons Ban.

Equal Rights and Civil Rights

Where do you stand on gay marriage/civil unions? (Posted by: maxomai at February 17, 2004 01:24 AM)

I support civil unions, and I strongly oppose any Constitutional amendments like the ones being proposed.

NASA and Space Exploration

What is your position on NASA and government involvement in space exploration in general? (Posted by: Izixs (also for Prez) at February 17, 2004 12:29 AM)

I am absolutely fascinated by space exploration and I do think that the federal government should play a role in it. But, that being said, I don’t think it is very responsible to be wasting money on a politically motivated Mars program when we have the domestic crises here at home. As one example, we should be fully funding education before starting for Mars. If we give our children the education they deserve, they will take us even farther than Mars.

Social Security

What are your ideas as to how to save Social Security? (Posted by: Wes Tharpe at February 17, 2004 12:33 AM)

Stop raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. We had the mechanisms in place to keep Social Security solvent for years until the Bush tax cuts came along. If we can restore that stability, we will have time to look beyond a “quick-fix” approach and evaluate the options to keep Social Security solvent.

Health Care

On health care, do you support a single payer or some form of tax credit plan? (Posted by: Wes Tharpe at February 17, 2004 12:33 AM)

I support a single-payer plan, but realistically I don’t think that we will be able to go from where we are now to single-payer in one step. So, I think we need to look at a tax credit-based system as an intermediate step.

PATRIOT Act

what is your position on the PATRIOT Act? (Posted by: Leif Engstrom at February 17, 2004 01:26 AM)

I oppose it. It is absolutely terrible. The national security it provides is pretty dubious when compared to the civil and Constitutional rights it threatens. I think our Attorney General should have paid more attention in his Constitutional Law classes.

My Background and Philosophy

Why has the Democratic Party declined in power recently? (Posted by: Carl Nyberg at February 17, 2004 12:35 AM)

One thing the political gurus like to talk about is “framing the debate”, or presenting the issues in the context most favorable to your side. I think a lot of our problems have to do with letting the Republicans frame the debate on issues like national security, patriotism, choice, etc.
Some Democrats will tell you that the problems are financial. I disagree. We need, as a party, to get back to our (grass) roots, taking our message directly to the voters.

Give an example of when you put together a diverse coalition to solve a problem. (Posted by: Carl Nyberg at February 17, 2004 12:35 AM)

In 2001, while in the Georgia State Senate, I worked on the Domestic Violence Registry Bill. It created a database of protective orders issued in domestic violence situations. Initially people assumed it was a “women’s issue” and I had the support of women’s groups. But we needed more support. I was able to pull in law enforcement, because the database would be available to them in the car before even walking up to the door at a domestic violence call. I won the support of judges and other members of the judicial system. As the support for this bill grew, we even managed to get many Republican Senators on board with us as well.

Give an example of when you took a principled stand at risk to your well being. (Posted by: Carl Nyberg at February 17, 2004 12:35 AM)

The best example is the Georgia state flag. I was in the Senate when all of this madness over the flag was going on. I had been redistricted, and my constituency included a lot of social conservatives who supported having the Confederate emblem on the state flag. I voted to change the flag, and fortunately, we got the Confederate-inspired flag changed. By the way, Georgia voters, the two suggested flag designs are on the ballot on March 2nd. Please vote!

Your favorite restaurant in Athens, GA. (Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at February 16, 2004 11:45 PM)

On this one, I’m pleading typical politician vagueness, so I’m going to give you my top five in no particular order.
1. The Grit
2. Last Resort
3. Wilson’s
4. Five and Ten
5. Caliente Cab

Which do you prefer: Mac or PC? (Posted by: Izixs (also for Prez) at February 17, 2004 12:29 AM)

I prefer PCs, but in the interests of inclusion, I took a quick informal poll of the staff and volunteers around the office today.

Mac Users – Mike and Brittany
PC users – Martin, Matt, Dan, Shaye, Katie, and Billy

Posted by: Doug Haines at Feb 17, 2004 1:07:51 PM

Well! I asked for answers and I certainly got them! And you are correct, I don't agree with everything you say. This means I have to decide whether or not the things we differ on are "deal breakers" or something I can live with. Then it is a matter of deciding if you as a candidate come closest to my views. I'm not going to find a candidate who completely agrees with my views unless I run myself (Heaven Forbid!)

I appreciate getting clear answers to important questions, not double-talk. So often you see a candidate given a question and they give you a 3 minute answer that is somewhere in the neighborhood but does not answer the question. Thank you for your candor.

Posted by: Independent at Feb 17, 2004 1:44:47 PM

Thanks for the terrific answers, Doug. As someone over on DailyKos put it, you're really raising the bar for all the candidates seeking support from the blogosphere. Great work.

Posted by: Athens Voter at Feb 17, 2004 2:20:02 PM

I'll be back, and maybe I'll even read what you have to say IF AND ONLY IF you stop trying to print black letters on a navy blue background.

It just doesn't work!!!

It's up to you, but I didn't particularly cotton to that ad on dkos with the fat rascal smoking da big ceegar. (You really have to think to figure out what it's all about. (Haines or opponent?)) I wouldn't be here at all if it weren't for the good words kos and other bloggers have given the effort in the Georgia 12th district.

Lee Risley
Dayton, Ohio
Lriz@erinet.com

Posted by: Lee A. Risley at Feb 17, 2004 2:28:02 PM

Doug,

As a Georgia hunter, your response to the question on gun control concerns me.

The Question was:

Where do you stand on gun rights/gun control? (Posted by: maxomai at February 17, 2004 01:24 AM)

You answered:

I believe we should start enforcing our existing laws before creating new ones with two exceptions. I do support closing the “gun show loophole” and I support the Assault Weapons Ban.

My concerns are:

The national gun graber groups (and all other special interests) continnue to insult our intelligence by playing games with words. Now they don't want to take our guns away, they only want to promote gun safety (albeit by the same methods they previously proposed to take our guns away with).

Two of their big frauds (issues) which you responded with are the gun show loophole and the so called assault weapons ban.

Can you elaborate on these?

What do you consider to be the gun show loophole? Is it the fact that a private individual can sell a firearm to another private individual? Are you proposing the eliminate that entirely and if so, how will the federal government pay for the diminished value of my gun collection when i am no longer allowed to sell it on the free market?

The so called assualt weapons ban appears to be a monumental insult to intelligent people everywhere. From what I understand, it neither prevents crime nor improves safety. It doesn't apply to automatic weapons (they were effectivly outlawed in the 1930s, though with the right permits you can still purchase them) but rather to weapons that function exactly as most other guns. The only difference is they look scary. John Kerry has been stating on the campaign trail that an AK-47 is not a hunting rifle - however, the Assault Weapons Ban doesnt apply to AK7s (thats an automatic weapon already banned) and the 30 caliber round fired from the AK47 (and its semi automatic varients) is nearly identical to the 30 caliber round I hunt deer with in my Marlin lever action rifle?

Can you please elaborate on this position. I am a progressive thinker who finds the failure of our movement to acknowledge the importance of the 2nd amendment (and the individual right to bear arms) to the protection of all of humanities other rights to be most troubling.

During World War II the Nazis murdered millions of jews with ease and little trouble over the course of the war, but 100 armed jews in the Warsaw ghettos held the nazi war machine at bay for over a year. Without those 100 armed jews many more would have been murdered.

In addition to responding to my concerns, could you also please indicate whether you support the rights of hunters on National Forest land and whether you think the 2nd Amendment is an individual right or does it simply give the federal government the right to raise an army?

Posted by: Michael at Feb 17, 2004 6:59:13 PM

I'd be happy to comment.

First, on the gun show loophole. My major goal with this policy is making sure that there is a national database of people who cannot buy guns which can be checked onsite at a gun show. My concern is that if there is no background check at all, then anyone can buy a gun regardless of whether they are legally allowed to are not. It seems like a risk that the technology available does not require that we take. I imagine that in many places this is already happening, but I also know that we haven't taken as many steps towards standardization as we can.
As far as the Assault Weapons Ban goes, I agree with the spirit of it. Should we look at how we define an "assault weapon"? I would be amenable to opening that discussion in Congress. here;s my concern. Perhaps most "assault weapons" are owned by responsible, law-abiding gun owners. There is evidence to suggest that they are. But there is also evidence to show that assault weapons are being used daily on the streets of the inner city, in gang-related and drug-realted crimes. To my mind, the assualt weapons ban is the best proposal to date to address this problem. I would suggest looking at the language and the intent. Of course, under existing federal law, there is a special licensing procedure for anyone wanting to own a fully-automatic weapon. Perhaps we should look at extending this policy to assault-weapons as well.
If you want the bottom line on guns and how I feel about them, its this. The whole gun debate needs to be discussed in a calmer, less loaded manner. It is a part of the Constitution, and a part of our national discourse. Unfortunately, the extremely militant factions from both sides of the argument seem to be monopolizing the debate. I'm sure that this isn't entirely the answer you want, but I'm not that kind of politician. This is what I think, but the most important thing on this or any other issue is that we have a discussion, a national discussion on the issues.

Doug

Posted by: Doug Haines at Feb 17, 2004 7:48:42 PM

A New Englander here, over from dKos.

Can you address your view of how Dems and Repubs ought to get along in Congress? Assume, alas, that Dems are by a slim margin the minority party. Waht's a reasonable role for the loyal opposition? And do you vote your constituency or your party?

I appreciate your efforts here. It's winning you friends from all over.

Posted by: DemFromCT at Feb 17, 2004 8:41:56 PM

"The short answer is: I don’t support legalization, but I also don’t support mandatory sentencing."

This does not answer my question which concened the criminality of responsible, adult
cannabis consumers. Should peaceful adults be considered criminals for possession or ingestion of marijuana? Yes or no.
I'd also be interested in your reasoning - if it doesn't just repeat the same old thoroughly debunked nonsense.

Posted by: disgusted vet at Feb 17, 2004 8:56:16 PM

Good answers. I like. And you managed not to fall into a possible hole I left open in one of my questions, which gives you bonus points in my book. Good job.

Posted by: Izixs at Feb 17, 2004 8:57:14 PM

WHat do you think of your congressional district being so gerry-mandered? What is your opinion about Zell Miller? Do you think he helps the Dem Party, or hurts it? And also, what is your message to African-Americans in the community, and do you have any prominent endorsements in by African-Americans in your community?

Posted by: Jasper Reingold at Feb 17, 2004 9:18:08 PM

Mr. Haines, thank you for responding to my questions and those of others. Your thoughtful responses have shown, at least to me, that you have solid knowledge on a variety of issues. As a fair number of queries came from posters not in your district, including myself, I hope the time spent answering their questions proves fruitful.

Posted by: Birch Bayh For President at Feb 17, 2004 9:48:57 PM