Sorry to get this up so late. I’m sure yall would have liked a thread to share your thoughts on last night’s debate, but some of us are still holdin down the day job, ok? :)
Let’s get to it. I didn’t actually see most of the debate. I read the entire transcript and saw a few exchanges on YouTube and read many second hand reports. What impressed me from the transcript was Mr. John Edwards who seemed to evoke the most powerful spirit of Dr. King in reminding everyone of the Poor People’s Campaign.
He could also afford to sidestep the Obama-Clinton battle much of the time but seemed eager to jump in as well (with his comments on taking money from lobbyists or defending his trial lawyer fundraising, for example).
I liked Clinton when she stuck to advocating her policies. The Green Collar jobs. A freeze on home interest rates. She was sounding mad progressive. I did not like the intentional misrepresentation of Obama on Reagan. We need to get past all that. Similarly with the “present” votes in Illinois. But she knows there is no room for nuance in these forums, and she’s trying to spread as much dirt on Obama as possible. Felt like a bit of scorched earth campaigning going on.
Part of me had to rethink my entire anti-Clinton perspective. When O hit her hard with that “sometimes I’m not sure which Clinton I’m running against,” I thought on the one hand, “hell yeah, go get em.” But the other side was like, “oooh, it would be nice to have two Clintons attacking and distorting McCain or Romney’s positions.” It was a dark thought, based in the cynicism in which we’ve been soaked as a society.
Obama appeals to something more positive in me, but damn the dark side looks good sometimes. As for Mr. O, I’m so glad he jumped in and started swinging, because folks are right, if he can’t take the heat from Clintons, much as I despise what they’re doing as divisive, he can’t take it from the Right who will call him everything but his name and then some.
I absolutely hate the tactics the Clintons are using (thus, the wiki
), because if she gets the nomination, I doubt she can win the general (and she’d almost certainly hurt down ticket Dems in red states). If Obama gets the nomination despite the Clinton tactics, then we know we have a winner.
As for the debate questions. I think too many tried to instigate more race-based personality battles than were necessary, but at least there were no dumbass questions about clothing. Here are the questions I would have asked. I tried to get something for everybody and, of course, all for the American people.
- What do you consider to be the primary cause of the subprime housing implosion? (this is designed to test their ability to diagnose a problem even before proposing solutions. Will they lay the blame at shady mortgage agents, uneducated buyers, the deregulation of banking and housing, securitization of mortgage debt? etc)
- Despite calling ourselves “the land of the free,” the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world, with over 2 million people in prison, over half for drug-related offenses. The state of South Carolina was ranked next to last in its ability to reintegrate former prisoners into society. Whether through overzealous sentencing guidelines or a failed War on Drugs, something is clearly wrong with the U.S. prison system. As president, what would you do to fix it?
- Most oil industry analysts agree that the world has reached its peak production of oil and as a consequence will face a dramatic increase in prices as demand outstrips supply. Considering how critical low-priced fossil fuels are to our system of industrial agriculture, transportation and suburban living — especially here in the Southeast — describe your plans to ensure or alter the so-called “American way of life.”
- In August, over 1,800 National Guardsmen from South Carolina were deployed to Afghanistan, the largest single unit deployment from the S.C. National Guard since World War II. These soldiers, for the most part, left full-time jobs to serve their country as part of the year-long commitment. In the aftermath of this deployment, families — many of whom include kids — have been left without their primary breadwinners. How would you ease the economic strain the war has had, and will continue to have, on these and other military families, particularly at a time when there are real worries of a recession?
- This question is directed at Senator Clinton. You have repeatedly claimed that you have 35 years of experience while referring to Barack Obama as a part-time state legislator who began his White House bid after just one year in the U.S. Senate. However, in terms of holding elected office Senator Obama has 11 years, you have eight and Senator Edwards has six. In fact, Dennis Kucinich leads the three of you with 12 years in elected office including two as mayor of Cleveland. Isn’t experience in which you are accountable to voters more important?
- This question is directed at Senator Obama. You have based your campaign on an inspiring vision of a united America and your victory on a strategy of winning over Democrats, Independents and even Republicans. But as we have seen often, America doesn’t always remain united. Bill Clinton faced withering attacks from the right after the 1994 election gave control of Congress to the Republicans. What do you do if you’re elected, and your coalition falls into old partisan habits?
- This question is directed at Senator Edwards. Since your 2004 campaign, you have become a strong voice against poverty and what you consider to be disproportionate corporate influence in our democracy. Many refer to your campaign as populist and admire your passion. However, your Senate record seems not to reflect this message. You voted for the Iraq War, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, permanent normal trade relations with China and a bankruptcy bill which makes it more difficult for people to clear debt. You have since claimed that you regret all of these votes. Why should voters believe you won’t make the same regrettable mistakes as president.