Friday, September 05, 2003

Presidential Debate

The Debate


My first comment would be to say that all the candidates did a great job of showing how they would save our country from the mess that GW Bush has made of it. Dick Gephart drove the point home clearly and often, saying that Bush and his policies have been a miserable failure.

I appreciated the fact that John Kerry was secure enough in his own candidacy that he did not feel he needed to attack Howard Dean.
Kerry was in fine voice and he articulated his stand on the issues with clarity.
He may have been last night's "winner", if there was to be one.
Howard Dean held his own as well, reducing Senator Lieberman to a lame retreat after he initiated an attack on Dean.

I was disappointed to see those couple candidates who attacked fellow Democrat Dean (rather than concentrating on Bush). For those who participated in the attacks, let's just say it diminished their 'leadership-aura'.

Rep Dennis Kucinich (introduced by the moderator as"Kucinchi") looked incredibly dopey when he said to Howard Dean (regarding Dean's claim to keeping a balanced budget in Vermont):
"You can talk about balancing the budget in Vermont, but Vermont does not have a military ...And if you are not going to cut the military and you are talking about balancing the budget, then what are you going to do about social spending?Hello?"
I had thought Kucinich was rather dignified in his presence until then.
Not that what he said wasn't worth saying..the question was reasonable.
It was the time..the place..the WAY he said it.
Perhaps Rep Kucinich was feeling defensive and/or vulnerable about the idea of another candidate who could balance a budget.
I'm not sure why he did that..I only know he looked rather goofy doing so.

Senator Lieberman proved that he knew he has been low on candidacy fuel.
We could see it in his attack upon Dean.
He attempted to jump start his viability by snobbishly feigning that he was "stunned" by a Dean statement he'd read.
(I didn't think it was oh-so-stunning myself).

Lieberman said:
" . . . He would not have bilateral trade agreements with any country that did not observe fully American standards. That would cost us millions of jobs. If that ever happened, I'd say that the Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression."

It sounded like a poor imitation of Johnny Cochran's "If it fits, you must acquit."
At least Cochran's statement raised rational doubt.
Senator Lieberman's statement was just a cheap and untrue shot.
We all know Lieberman is smart enough to know what he did was simply cheap.

Overall, I'd have to say Senator Lieberman was the big loser of the debate.
The DLC should turn into the Dump Lieberman Club
Hmm--what cute little rhyming arrow can I throw HIS way??

Joe is very much out of touch.
On the war, he's no Gore.
Closer to Bush--send him out on his tush.

Here's a real hoot.
Look at the headline...yes, I said the HEADLINE on an MSNBC article about the debates.
Do you think the headline is about the debate on the war?
Do you imagine it might be about corporate scandal discussion?
No..the burning issue for America, according to MSNBC, is the issue of trade.
What IDIOTS our American pressroom editors have become!
It's no wonder we're so dumbed down in this country.
Those in journalism who could be helping Americans understand the issues better by reporting the relevant
points are instead reaching for the lowest common denominator.
Perhaps it sells, but it's gossip-quality schlock, pure and simple.
Their article:
Lieberman opens anti-Dean offensive
Connecticut senator warns of ‘Dean Depression’ if trade accords must meet U.S. standards

Back to the debate.

I was comforted to see these candidates employing their fine sense of humor.
There has been so little of it in the press and from the Bush administration these past two years.
After 9-11, it seemed that humor was wiped away and replaced with fear-mongering by our Presidential leadership.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said that 'a sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.'
If this is true, and I believe it is, then these candidates are "stand-up" leaders! (Pun intended).
America needs to get back a bit of levity and our right to laugh ... as well as our collective sanity.

Carol Moseley Braun did a fantastic job, in my opinion. She was dignified, rational, and had some great basic ideas for restoring health to our democracy. She would make an excellent President..or a wonderful running mate.
Why aren't we giving her the attention she deserves?

Howard Dean's opening statements were concise and exactly on-point. Overall, I would have liked to have seen him put more "meat" into his reasoning on the issues. Many of his statements sounded like stumptalk rather than spontaneous reasoning.
His statement about the Bush Administration "not paying any attention to Latin America, which is the most important hemisphere in American history" was a little scary. The average voter would not know what he meant by that statement. I'm not even certain myself. I'm sure this will be going around the
right-wing talk shows today (payback for Bushisms, perhaps).

Here's the difference, however:
Governor Dean has to work on giving clearer, more precise answers....NOT answers that have to be clarified later.
Debate responses shouldn't be left to a manipulative media's assumption and analysis.

I believe that Howard Dean is truly an intelligent and compassionate fellow.
We know different about the compassionate conservative Chimp, don't we?

By the way, with the exception of Dean, they all looked pretty silly when they dabbled (badly) in Spanish.


From the Albuquerque Tribune: 10 BEST THINGS ABOUT THE DEBATE

1. Best barb about President Bush: "The only jobs Bush has created are the nine of us running for president" - U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

2. Best catchphrase: "This president is a miserable failure" - U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

3. Best shot at making the first tier of viable candidates: Gephardt; Kerry; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean; and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

4. Best shot at making the second tier: U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois.

5. Best shot at bidding an early exit: U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York. (Sharpton couldn't make it past the rainy East Coast to take part in the debate).

6. Best job at exceeding expectations: Braun, whose calm, firm and informed presentation forced reassessments from many debate watchers.

7. Best attack on a fellow Dem: "The Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression" - Lieberman, describing the effect of Dean's economic policies.

*Jude's note:
I recall two such "attacks".
There was either Lieberman's attack or Kucinich's "Hello???"
Hmmm..not a tough choice.

8. Best flashback: "You remember: 23 million new jobs in seven years, unemployment was at 3 percent; we took a $5 trillion deficit and turned it into a $5 trillion surplus" - Gephardt, recalling the tenure of former President Clinton.

9. Best reality check: "You can talk about balancing the budget in Vermont, but Vermont doesn't have a military" - Kucinich to Dean.

10. Best audience: Albuquerque attendees politely applauded their favorites and refrained from disrupting the debate's flow with cheers, hisses or boos.