Super Tuesday Tech Special: Democratic EditionS

Click to viewThe Super Tuesday primaries are tomorrow. If you're voting in a Democratic contest, the choice is down to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. If you still haven't decided who will get your vote, fear not, because we've broken down the candidates on the issues that matter most to us: their tech policies. If that's too serious for you, how about this? If each candidate were a gadget, which would they be and why? Tell us how close we got to being right.

Hillary Clinton

The 100-Word Version:

Clinton is progressive in several tech areas, including her support for net neutrality, plans for a Strategic Energy Fund to develop alternative resources, and providing tax credits for research and development. Unique to Clinton's manifesto is her desire to bring more women and minorities into math and science professions, where the groups are sorely underrepresented. However, she loses points with us for skirting issues of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reserving opinion on a consumer's right to legally create backup copies of their media pending further review, and accepting the Bush administration's support of requiring ISPs and search engines to record the surfing habits of their users.

Bonus Bits: Clinton recently said that if elected, she would take the "radical step" of hiring bloggers for government agencies to write about what goes on in meetings. She didn't say how these government employees working under the eye of the president would remain watchdogs of the agencies.

If Clinton were a gadget, she'd be: a designer Taser. The pink outer case projects an image of charm and beauty, but it's the stun gun on the inside that is the true mark of its power. Just like Hillary.

Barack Obama

The 100-Word Version:

The only candidate with a dedicated technology section on his website, Obama has vowed to make priorities of ensuring net neutrality, affordable broadband access, and accelerating research and commercialization of biofuels and plug-in hybrids. In addition to this standard Democrat fare, Obama plans to redefine "broadband," calling the present definition of 200kbps "astonishingly low," reform the patent system to protect major innovations and prevent patent trolls from stifling development, and use the wireless spectrum for maximum public benefit. Finally, an Obama-led administration would include a Chief Technology Officer to oversee these issues and maintain communication between the government and the American people.

Bonus bits: Obama is likely the Apple fanboy's candidate of choice. On a recent episode of Letterman, he made one campaign promise we hope comes true: "I won't let Apple release the new and improved iPod the day after you bought the previous model."

If Obama were a gadget, he'd be: an iPhone. He's the new, sexy and popular candidate, but he still has a lot to prove.

And the winner is...: Barack Obama. From a purely technology-based standpoint, Obama is the more progressive of the two. He cares about topics as nerdy as broadband speed, and wants to protect the freedom that exists on the internet. Obama appears to understand technology on a deeper level than Clinton, and is our choice for the most tech-savvy Democratic candidate.

Further reading:

Hillary Clinton

Clinton's technology plan

"Hillary Clinton on Energy & Oil"

"Clinton knows the value of research"

Barack Obama:

Obama's technology plan

"Obama pledges Net neutrality law if elected president"

"Obama: No warantless wiretaps if you elect me"

Special thanks to TechCrunch and CNet.