Our Tebo machine allows us to record programs. Normally one records a program because one wants to watch it. In the case of the Drexel Democratic debates, I recorded it because I wanted to push the disagreeable civic duty of watching the debate into the future, to avoid the drudgery, to temporarily shirk this duty. I finally subjected myself to watching the Drexel debate. Thankfully, it was not very painful to watch. In fact I found it interesting; almost refreshing. Here are some of my thoughts.
First and foremost, this debate made me realize something: I must change party affiliation so that I can vote in the primary! Being registered Independent is in keeping with my desire to see third party candidates for the Senate, the House, and the President. But this presidential election is going to be very important, I think, and sitting out the primaries would be ridiculous. After all, no matter how I register, I can still vote in any way I wish.
If there is an apparent dangerous Republican that appears to have a good chance of winning the Republican nomination, I will have no choice but to register Republican to vote against that candidate in the Republican primaries. To do this I would vote in the Republican primary for the Republican primary candidate that has the best chance of winning the candidacy and thus defeating the candidate I consider dangerous.
Those Democrats who appear to be complete chuckleheads (and dangerous due to being totally ill-qualified to be president) will, I hope, be washed out of any real chance of winning the primaries well before the primaries come around. But there appear to be four people running for the Democratic presidential candidacy that I may actually find worth voting for. So the decision of whether to register Democratic or Republican is a tough one. One wants to spend one's vote wisely, strategically!
On October 30, 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seven Democrats stood before a live audience and the TV cameras to "debate." Crow and Haggle might be a better way to describe the forum, but MSNBC was not ready to address the finer points of defining terms and so forth. Why complain about what they call it? Here's a chance to see the candidates answer questions and respond to attacks and construct their platforms on live television. A way to attempt to have an honest look at these peculiar creatures…
Note: If the Republican Party nominates a candidate for the presidency who appears to me to be good presidential material and the best hope for our country, I will not hesitate to vote for the Republican candidate for president. The apparent Democratic bias of this bit of writing is due to the fact that the Bush dynasty has disgusted me to no end, and the Republican candidates to date appear to be inclined to continue the habit George W Bush has cultivated: virtually ignoring diplomacy. Currently it's Iran they wish to antagonize without an honest attempt at diplomacy (which, in my opinion, is malfeasant unto treasonous), but recall that as soon as he was elected, George W Bush made his Axis of Evil speech, destroying years of very hard work on the part of U.S. diplomats to avoid war. To avoid war and still protect U.S. interests. Avoid war. Is avoiding war un-American? Is working to find a middle ground anti-American? Ask a combat veteran. War is not the first tool to reach for when dealing with difficult international relations issues! Sometimes war is the only alternative, like in WWII. But it should be the last resort.
JOHN EDWARDS: He appears to have a decent record as a senator. Apparently a lot of people really like him and consider him to be a great candidate. And maybe I should think twice before rejecting him. After all, the same confrontational and quick-witted attributes that he displayed against Senator Clinton would come in very handy in running against a strong Republican candidate for president. But I find Edwards to be superficial. Not just superficial in the way 97.65% of mainstream politicians are superficial, but he seems to be phony to the extent of being revolting. His wide-eyed blinking, as if he is amazed both at how honest he is and how dis-honest all others running for office are, his exaggerated gestures, as well as his very quick and wily verbal abilities which are admirable but which he uses in a manner more appropriate to a man selling sick donkeys to travelers setting out up a treacherous mountain trail than for a candidate for high office, make me uncomfortable trying to imagine Edwards as President of the United States. Maybe uncomfortable is too soft a word. Imagining Edwards as President of the United States makes me sick to the stomach.
Obviously I am not seeing what others see. After all, this is the guy who John Kerry chose as running mate, and who the people of North Carolina elected as their U.S. Senator. He served one term in the U.S. Senate. He has the unfortunate distinction of co-sponsoring the Iraq War Resolution. But I personally don't hold that against him. It was a terrible mistake, but virtually all of his fellow Senators made the same mistake right along with him by voting for the resolution.
CHRISTOPHER DODD: Senator Dodd is from the truly excellent town of Willimantic, Connecticut, which is greatly in his favor. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975-1981. From 1981 to present Dodd has served as the U.S. Senator from Connecticut. He has a great record in the Senate, and is an advocate of children. He feels strongly about the importance of education.
The reason I have rejected this venerable Senator is that he appears to be a bit of a hot-head. He interrupted Senator Clinton three times in quick succession, violating the basic ideals of statesmanship, decency, and dialectics. It will not do to have a president with anger issues. Bush is right on the edge, it seems to me, but even when he was needled and baited in presidential debates, Bush never lost his temper, although he did interrupt once that I can recall, which made him look like a reprobate, but apparently this lack of couth as well as his inability to speak or think clearly were overshadowed in the mind of the thin majority of voting Americans by some hazy idea that he would protect us because he was not given to thinking too much like that damn Kerry, who I guess made a lot of Americans uncomfortable because they didn't want to admit Kerry was more intelligent than they were. Who knows. Somehow these people chose a man who could not make himself clear in the English language over a man who was, I think, obviously more qualified for the presidency. Perhaps Bush's truculence struck a chord with John Q Shit-Head who thinks road rage is cool and admires, truly admires and wishes to emulate, some show-biz, hate-spitting pro wrestler.
A hot-headed president sitting down with a foreign dignitary to sip tea and artfully engage in small talk for three hours before talking about anything substantial may not have the patience to discharge his duty of diplomacy. Of course all candidates are human, and given to human foibles. But those unable to contain themselves in a 'debate' seem to be a poor choice for 'leader of the free world.'
DENNIS KUCINICH: Former Mayor of Cleveland, he has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, representing Ohio's 10th district. Here is a guy who is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. Also, in 2003 he was recognized by Peace-loving hounds when he received the Ghandi Peace Award, which is something to take into account when you consider this dude. He also called repeatedly, during the debate, for the impeachment of George W. Bush. I like that. He is one of the Very Few who voted against the Iraq War Resolution. He states that he will overturn NAFTA in order to help the American worker; at least I could swear that's what he said. Whether that would be a good idea or not, and the reasons why or why not, I have no idea whatsoever.
Why wouldn't I vote for the guy? He is a great guy, a very rare breed of politician. He seems to be unusually forthcoming and honest, which is amazing in an elected official, because one wonders how the hell he got elected without putting on the bullshit. The only reason I have for rejected this candidate is that he gets so damn excited when he speaks that one thinks he is going to lift off the stage. It's entertaining, but worrisome. I agree with what he is saying, and if he took off his shoe and beat it on the podium, shouting that George Bush has done incredible harm to this country and must be impeached, I would agree with him, but once he had pounded the podium with his footwear I would never vote for him as presidential candidate. His fervency worries me. He also does not appear to be realistic in his expectations of what can be achieved, to a greater degree than the rest of the candidates (except Senator Clinton, who is very straightforward in what she will and won't promise). He seems to be too damn intense and sees things in too much of an all-or-nothing way to be a safe bet for president. He could be a real danger to our country if he took the hot seat, in my admittedly twisted and provincial opinion.
The other thing is, he has no hope whatsoever of being elected. When asked if he did in fact see a UFO, he responded honestly, but that sound bite would be used ruthlessly and relentlessly and repeatedly by his opponent, and if the majority of the American people are scared enough to vote for George W. Bush because they somehow think he will protect us because he's a tough-guy, they will never find the courage to vote for a guy who admits he saw a UFO.
HILLARY CLINTON: United States Senator representing New York since 2001, First Lady from 1993-2001. Senator Clinton was the target of the attacks of the other candidates and also was asked far more hard-ball questions by the panel. Governor Richardson did not attack Clinton, nor, if memory serves, did Dennis Kucinich. Senator Obama and John Edwards were ruthless in their attacks on Clinton's character and record in the senate. Hillary Clinton kept her cool. She was animated in her rebuttals, but she did not lose her cool and she did not stoop to the level of pointed counter-attack. It was pretty impressive to see her not indulge in attacking her fellow Democrats even when they were showing such lack of character by attacking her. Senator Dodd interrupted Senator Clinton three times in quick succession, and she remained calm and conducted herself in the way that a Senator is supposed to act- with coolness and without stooping to the level of those who break the rules of discourse. I was impressed by her cool under fire.
Another thing that struck me was that she did not make broad statements without qualifying them. Even though people would rather hear the candidate say, "I pledge that if I am president Iran will not get nuclear weapons on my watch," and even though someone like Giuliani or lame duck Bush would make this pledge without hesitation, Hillary pledged that she would do all she could to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. She stood firm against the foolish god damn question when it was asked a second time, as if by repeating a question that is impossible to answer (unless one can accurately predict the future: how the hell can a person Honestly Guarantee that Iran will not get nuclear weapons?) Here's the free press, one of the essential institutions of a free society, asking yet another stupid fu*^ing provocative question which requires the candidate to make a statement that can poison diplomatic relations if they do become president and which makes it look like the candidate is a weak fish-face if they are not willing to draw a line in the sand, and the candidate, rather than saying what she knows everyone wants to hear, stands firm, even when the question is repeated by the self-righteous journalist. Thank you, Senator. (Barack Obama, in an admirable rebuttal of this rude nonsense, made short work of the question, and spared his fellow democrats the ridiculous exercise in appeasing idiots by saying that no one running for president wanted Iran to have nuclear weapons so maybe we can short circuit this question or something to that effect, which drew appreciative laughter from the audience, who know a stupid question when they hear one).
The thing that concerns me about Clinton as a candidate is that when asked about the archives of the written documents from her days as first lady, she began to shrug her left shoulder nervously (the only time during the whole debate she made this strange, seemingly involuntary gesture) and for the only time that night the flummox-ical "aaaah" entered her speech. It was like a red light going off over her head saying "this is something that makes the Senator very uncomfortable!" It was weird how obvious it was. If there are skeletons in that closet it could derail her electability and if she is running against a dangerous chowder head and/or a war-pig (like say, uh, well, someone like George W Bush, or Dank Chimney), our hopes of defeating said stupid war-pig would be dashed. This worries me. A lot.
BILL RICHARDSON: (Currently my favorite.) The first thing I liked about this guy is that he made the point that he was not pleased with the way that the candidates were attacking Clinton. He said it in a way that did not rely on chivalry or indulge in the slightest shade of condescension (don't pick on the poor little lady). He wasn't a dog's head, and he didn't take the opportunity to get self-righteous. He just wanted to make it clear for the record that he felt the attacks on the Senator were offensive. I really appreciated that, because it was ugly watching Obama and Edwards attacking Clinton's character. It made one question the strength or desirability of Edwards and Obama as candidates.
Richardson has been governor of New Mexico since 2003. He was U.S. Secretary of Energy from 1998-2001. He was Ambassador to the United Nations for almost two years in 1997 & 1998. He represented New Mexico in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983-1997.
Other aspects of his career impress me deeply and I quote here from Wikipedia:
"Richardson served one term as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Native American Affairs in the 103rd Congress (1993–1994). While in the House, Richardson sponsored bills such as the Indian Tribal Justice Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments, the American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act, the American Indian Agricultural Resource Management Act, the Indian Dams Safety Act, the Tribal Self-Governance Act, the Indian Tribal Jurisdiction Bill (commonly known as the "Duro Fix") and the Jicarilla Apache Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act. In 1995, he traveled to Baghdad with Peter Bourne and engaged in lengthy one-on-one negotiations with Saddam Hussein to secure the release of two American aerospace workers who had been captured by the Iraqis after wandering over the Kuwaiti border. He became a member of the Democratic leadership, where he worked closely with Bill Clinton on several issues. This was one of several times that Richardson went overseas during the Clinton years to negotiate the release of American prisoners. He was also successful in this task in Sudan and North Korea.
In 2000, Bill Richardson was awarded a United States Institute of Peace Senior Fellowship. He spent the next year researching and writing on the negotiations with the DPRK and the energy dimensions of U.S. relations with North Korea."
BARACK OBAMA: Barack Obama has the misfortune to be named Barack Hussein Obama. That middle name will be used against him by U-Tube vomit-brains, there is no doubt about that. But the thing is, he has been a U.S. Senator representing Illinois since 2005. He was elected to the Senate with this name, so maybe the presidency is possible too, if the real Americans, the ones who see past superficial bullshit, get out to vote. Obama was an Illinois State Senator (not to be confused with a U.S. Senator representing Illinois) from 1997-2004.
NOTE: None of the candidates stooped to the pitiful and un-American level of trying to use God as a part of their platform, and I was proud of them for this. This country has very good reasons for the strict separation of church and state, the main reason being that we will never allow anyone to claim rule by divine right.
I was hoping maybe Obama was a Muslim, since electing a Muslim to the presidency would give a fresh face to the problems of diplomacy with those countries which have been so grossly antagonized by the occupation of Iraq. But I found that Senator Obama is a Christian, who is partial to the United Church of Christ. Senator Obama was a part of the death penalty reforms in Illinois when DNA testing proved that several innocent people had been killed under the death penalty laws. This I like. The death penalty, which I used to think was O.K., is, in my opinion, a ridiculous practice for a well-organized society. (On the other side of the death-penalty spectrum is George W Bush, who signed a slew of death warrants as governor, and allegedly mocked a death row inmate whom he had signed off on to be killed.
( http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/10/things_we_saved.html )
Senator Obama was confrontational during the 'debate', which I found distasteful and not to be admired in a candidate for high office. He did say something that I really liked, even though it is far easier said than done (!). He said he would organize a summit of Muslim leaders and the U.S. president (himself). Somehow I don't think the current president of Iran, who refers to the U.S. as Satan (Satan has a different meaning in the Muslim religion, if I understand correctly from the little amount of reading I have done on Islam. Islam regards satan more like a stupid idiot who is basically evil but also a laughable clown and a dunderhead), would attend the summit.
JOE BIDEN: The great Senator from Delaware, serving in this capacity since 1973! I've always admired Biden. And I consider Giuliani to be, with all due respect for his strength as a leader after 911, a ridiculous shit-head as far as candidates for president are concerned (accepting the endorsement of Pat Robertson was a truly grotesque thing to do, in my shameful and damned-to-hell heathen opinion). BUT: Biden's statement that Giuliani was completely un-qualified to run for president was such a bare-faced lie as to be shocking, stunning, and revolting. I should dismiss Biden on that idiocy alone. But despite his asinine remark about Giuliani (everyone makes a gaff here and there), who was the Mayor of New York City and thus has one hell of a credential as a leader and an organizer and a person who is qualified to run for president, I think Biden would make a good president. He has good sense and he has the instincts that would keep him afloat in the partisan hell-fires, while his convictions seem to be right in line with mine, for the most part. (Anyone reading this who has any sense at all will, of course, immediately write off Biden, since the idea of someone who thinks as I [a bona-fide dog's head and a lummox of the most genuine stomach] do being president is Truly Frightening!)
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