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Finally Finding John McCain’s Arts Policy

This is, of course, the sequel to a previous CultureGrrl post, Desperately Seeking John McCain’s Arts Policy.

With two debates down and one to go, neither Presidential candidate has had anything to say on national television about the arts. This would seem to indicate that the economy, health care and foreign policy are more important issues than funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and allowing artists’ tax deductions for charitable donations of their work. Who knew?

Still, John McCain finally saw fit to come out with a one-paragraph, arts-related statement, reproduced here on the website of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund, a bipartisan advocacy organization. The statement was “quietly issued” last week, according to Julie Checkoway‘s article about the arts and the Presidential campaign, published on Friday in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Here is the McCain statement in its entirety:

John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role fostering creativity and expression. He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts. Schools receiving federal funds for education must be held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects critical to ensuring students are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. Where these local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life and providing a means of creative expression for young people.

I’d call that an education policy, not an arts policy. Barack Obama had previously issued a more expansive “Platform in Support of the Arts,” which I described and linked to here. There’s more on Obama’s position on the arts here.

On Friday the Americans for the Arts Action Fund also published on its website a report card on the arts positions and voting records of the two candidates. Assuming this is a fair and comprehensive rundown, it appears that support for the arts is more on Obama’s radar screen than McCain’s. In the great political scheme of things, that hardly matters, though. It’s the economy, stupid…or the stupid economy.

an ArtsJournal blog