Monday, May 07, 2007

The First debates...

So now after having seen both the Democratic and Republican debates I can say more assuredly, Yep, we're screwed!

First the Democrats. The surprise was former Sen. Mike Gravel. I didn't even know who this raving kook was, and he was way out there on some stuff, seemingly disconnected from the reality the rest of us live in. He certainly seemed to be a man of very passionate conviction, though he seemed angry most of the time. I suppose frustration over the lack of integrity in modern politics can do that to a person. Perhaps the most memorable moment from him was when he said, "I gotta tell ya, after standing up with them [other Democratic candidates on the dais], some of these people frighten me!" Yeah, me too!

Sen. Hillary Clinton seemed a bit phony, as usual, but she did answer a lot of the questions rather well. For the most part she seemed informed and as if she'd given these issues some thought. Of course she also seemed as if she was pandering. She seemed too polished and often used her alloted time without going over. A bit too rehearsed it would seem.

Really, I don't think she made any serious mistakes. However, one thing did catch my attention though, something which I found all too telling, the issue of her having voted in favor of the war with Iraq, even though she talks as if she opposes our having gone there now. .

"I take responsibility for my vote. Obviously I did as good a job I could at the time. It was a sincere vote based on the information available to me. And I've said many times that if I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way." When the topic of her having voted for the war with Iraq was brought up, as usual she put the blame on Bush & Co. having mislead us on the justifications for this war instead of owning up to her own errors in trusting him. She first claimed to "take responsibility for [her] vote," saying yet again that "if [she] knew then what [she] now know[s], [she] would not have voted that way." Hmmm... And just why did she not know then what a lot of us did, that this war was based on bogus info and trumped up rhetoric?

She also said, "Obviously I did as good a job I could at the time." That was a really, really bad answer... First of all I think it showed a lack of integrity in not admitting she made a mistake and instead just continued to be bullheaded, refusing to admit her error and putting the blame on someone else. But it also shows incompetence on her part. If deciding 'yes' to the question of whether or not to vote for this unjust and unnecessary war was "her best" I'd hate to see her worst! For some time now I've felt that if laypersons like some us could see through the lies and propaganda by Bush & Co., then why in the hell didn't politicians like Sen. Clinton see this? Where was her objectivity and caution? Where was her ability to make good, sound decisions? When it comes down to it I think it clearly shows that she is either being dishonest here or she is totally incompetent to not have been wiser. Either way she isn't fit to be senator, let alone president.

Sen. Barrack Obama, was perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. Of course this could be that I had big expectations for him. He seemed to evade some of the questions, not offering a very good explanation or even avoiding them altogether but going off on a tangent about something else. I really wanted to find a lot of things to approve of him. For some time now I've been somewhat impressed by the guy but just unsure of what he stands for exactly. I figured once we got to the debate stage he would start to better articulate his plans but he really didn't.

Perhaps the biggest blunder on his part was when asked very directly, "[if] we learned that two American cities had been hit simultaneously by terrorists, and we further learned beyond the shadow of a doubt it had been the work of al Qaeda, how would you change the U.S. military stance overseas as a result?" Rather than his answer sounding Presidential, like one whose priority is protecting the country and taking a solid defensive stance, he sounded perhaps more like a mayor, "the first thing we'd have to do is make sure that we've got an effective emergency response, something that this administration failed to do when we had a hurricane in New Orleans. And I think that we have to review how we operate in the event of not only a natural disaster, but also a terrorist attack."

Joe Biden sold his ideas fairly well. I like Joe Biden and have for a long time. In fact, I recall hoping strongly that he would run as talk of 2008 increased... That would be pretty much after the shock and dejection of Bush managing to hijack the country for another 4 years. I think he's very intelligent, has a lot of great ideas about how to make changes in government. Of course, because of this alone he'll never win. It was so amusing when Brian Williams commented about how Biden has been accused

Christopher Dodd
did alright as well, I find myself agreeing with him at times and at other times not. He doesn't seem like the left-wing liberal type but then I'm also concerned he might be too conservative.

Bill Richardson was a bit of a disappointment, he just isn't very commanding. His stance on issues and his ability to express himself doesn't reach me. He just doesn't seem presidential, he seems more like a diplomat.

John Edwards did rather well, I think. I must say, the more I hear of the guy the more I'm impressed with him, but also disillusioned. He talks of their being "two America's" an apparent allusion to the have's and the have nots, yet Edwards is filthy rich, he has a huge house, and pays $400 for hair cuts... I will say this for him, I do think he's honest. I've listened to his interviews, and have come to the conclusion that he's either a very, very good actor, or he's speaking from the heart most of the time. I don't get that feeling from much of the others.

Another of the candidates, probably the most honest of all, is Dennis Kucinich. He's too liberal for my tastes but he does have a lot of interesting ideas and fresh perspectives. Most folks right it off as too radical of a change in how we look at war, our place in the world, social programs, etc. but then maybe some "radicalism" that doesn't involve perpetuating the same old cycle of exploiting the majority for the benefit of a very select minority.

Full transcript of the Democratic debate

When it comes to the Republican debate, one of the things I noticed was how someone had sure went out of their way to give them a fancy set up. They were in the Reagan Presidential Library and even had the backdrop of an older version of Air Force One... There was plenty of talk about Reagan, everyone was invoking his name, attempting to channel his spirit, or at least show themselves to idolize the guy. I'm still trying to figure out, what is this obsession with Ronald Reagan? Just what is it that he did that was supposed so fantastic. You'd think he was George Washington to these Republicans. I guess that explains why I am not and never will be a Republican.

As for the debates, Mitt Romney was slick, scary, definitely a flip-flopper, and to be perfectly frank about it, why vote Mormon? These folks have some really bizarre beliefs and I'm not so naive to believe that a person's political or religious ideologies won't interfere with their ability to lead the country. The man is so plastic, so phony. I must say I'm really concerned about him winning the nomination. I refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton, but if she runs against Mitt I'm afraid I'd have to...

John McCain was really hung up on rhetoric, he's trying to be the tough guy hoping it will help his image. I used to have a lot of respect for McCain, but he sold himself out soon after he lost the party nomination in 2000 and he's mostly been singing Bush's praises since then. And he's certainly too pro-war. He's just not the maverick he used to be. If he could genuinely bring that back and show some independence instead of sucking up to the neocons and the theocons I'd seriously consider voting for him...

Ron Paul is certainly too libertarian for my tastes, I cannot support eliminating the income tax {unless it was replaced with a sufficient revenue stream}, completely getting rid of social programs like social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, and needed agencies like the FDA. Still, Ron Paul is a very refreshing change. I'm wondering just where this guy came from. I didn't think they made guys like this anymore. We could certainly use a lot more of this small-government mentality from candidates. Ron Paul is like the true conservative, isolationist, non-interventionist, limited government, fiscally conservative.

Paul wants us out of the UN and NATO, which is certainly radical, dangerous even. But he not only opposes the war and our having ever gotten into it, he also opposes the imperialism we've seen in this country for years. He wants to get rid of NAFTA, of course he also wants so-called "free trade". He seems to be a State's Rights kind of guy, so when it comes to social issues I think he'd leave it up to the states, like abortion law. As far as gay issues are concerned I think he wants the government out of people's personal lives and he might be indifferent to same-sex marriage but would probably never push for homosexual equality.

Tommy Thompson first he says employers should have a right to fire gays, then says his "hearing aid" failed. Brilliant, jackass. Either he's a bigot or he's full of shit, either way we don't need that sort of leader.

Evolution became and interesting topic, 3 out of 10 of the Republican presidential candidates say it's bogus. This, of course, came from the socially-conservative religious fundamentalists of the line-up — Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo and Sam Brownback...

Rudy Giuliani thinks overturning Roe vs. Wade would be "okay". Lost more moderate votes with that stance than conservative votes that he may have gained from it. Other than that I think Rudy is a thug, he think he lead NYC like a little dictator, and he's certainly too hawkish on the war, on all war, on the so-called "Global War On Terror". I think this guy would give us more of the kind of neoconservative war-mongering that we've seen from little Bush. I do, however, like his stance on social issues

Full transcript of the Republican debate

I think we all know that this will be the most important election in at least a generation, but it looks like this will also be the most polarizing and heated of them. The red vs. blue ever divide widens...

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