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The last debate?

So, after 992 debates, what have we learned? Rick Perry isn’t a debater and probably isn’t that smart. Hell, in Texas, that has been rumored for years. I have met Rick Perry and was not impressed. We didn’t have to have a debate to prove that. I think that what we’ve proven is that debates cannot be won, but instead they can be lost. Mitt Romney was the front runner before the debates and he is the presumptive front-runner after the debates. I don’t think that he had a particularly good performance in any of the debates. Newt Gingrich had some really good performances and that may have boosted his chances, but then he had a disastrous performance in Florida and that tanked his campaign. He performed relatively well tonight using an old playbook in which he attacked the media for asking a valid question. Herman Cain didn’t really perform that well in any of the debates and he is on the outside looking in. There was Tim Pawlenty, who seemed to be always be in the background. There was Michele Bachmann, who tripped over herself and her staff on every occasion.

Tonight, Rick Santorum had to hit it out of the park. He didn’t. As a matter fact, he dropped the ball on a number of occasions. There comes a time in a presidential race when you are in position to win. You have to strike when you’re in position. Rick Santorum had a genuine opportunity to make a very big move towards the Republican nomination. He knew that Mitt Romney would come out and attack him. He needed to be ready. He wasn’t ready. He had not one thoughtful answer to the Arlen Specter attack. There are lots of great things he could’ve said. He could’ve stood up for Arlen Specter as a great Republican. He could’ve stood up for Arlen Specter as a great American who has served his country well, both as a Senator and also on the Warren Commission. He could’ve gone on the offensive and mentioned that Arlen Specter in 2004 was pro-life, just as Mitt Romney, in 2004, was pro-life, but he didn’t. In a couple months, when Mitt Romney is accepting the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum can look back to this night and blame himself. He clawed, scratched and fought his way this far only to lose it with an absolutely abysmal performance tonight. The performance was bad. It wasn’t Rick Perry bad, but it was bad nonetheless.

The debate in less than 100 seconds –

By |2012-02-23T03:47:26-04:00February 23rd, 2012|Party Politics|Comments Off on The last debate?

Update: Obama Moving to the Center

Progressives, including myself, have become somewhat disillusioned over the last couple of days as we watched our candidate seem to drop some of his core beliefs and move towards the center. I have no problem with a politician changing their mind. Heck, if President Bush would have changed his mind, we could have had our troops home four years ago. So, changing one’s mind is not necessarily a bad thing. What made Senator Barack Obama different was that he offered a new kind of politics, one that was not about political calculation but instead was about doing the right thing. Over the last seven days, it seems that we are seeing political calculation more than anything else.

The FISA bill may pose a conundrum for some politicians. Some may believe that they will be portrayed as weak and “supporting the terrorists” if they oppose this piece of legislation. I believe that there are two principles at stake with this legislation. First, all spying on Americans with regards to national intelligence should go through the FISA courts. Remember that during Alberto Gonzales’s tenure, the Bush White House decided that the FISA courts were too slow and too cumbersome. Therefore, they bypassed the court. This piece of legislation will prevent that bypass (in theory). Secondly, this piece of legislation offers immunity to the telecoms. I think the telecoms you get immunity if I can also get immunity from not paying my taxes for the next five years. I’m just saying…

So in this legislation there is a small sliver of good and a larger slice of bad.

Faith-based initiatives were a cornerstone of President Bush’s 2000 campaign. Unfortunately, as we have now found out, they were more about funneling money into the pockets of people that Bush liked. The program was less about helping the poor or decreasing inner-city violence. As a matter of fact, it had nothing to do with those kind of charitable issues. The program was about keeping the religious evangelicals in support of the Bush administration. Therefore, programs like intelligent design, abstinence-only, and similar programs were pushed by this faith-based initiative.
Obama’s proposal is not an update on Bush’s program, but instead it’s a complete reform or overhaul on this program. Anyone who has read his book The Audacity of Hope, understands that Obama is a man of faith. They should also understand that faith plays an important part in his life. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this. I’ll wait and see how things shake out.

Now Obama’s recent stance on NAFTA is a little bit more confusing. During the primaries, it appeared that Obama wanted to take a hard look at this treaty and possibly renegotiate some of aspects. Recent statements seem to contradict this. For the last eight years, “free trade” has meant more profits for companies and more layoffs of American workers. This trend must stop if we are going to restore the middle class.

As a matter of fact, I’m surprised that Mexico hasn’t tried to renegotiate this deal. Jobs that originally went to Mexico have now gone to China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Why? Mexico was too expensive so it is now left with empty factories. Relatedly, the U.S. has unemployed workers, idle factories, and larger mansions.

I have not seen any convincing evidence to show that NAFTA has helped the American worker. If I am shown convincing evidence, I’ll rethink my position but currently I will support most measures that will strengthen unions and help the American worker. So I don’t think I can agree with Obama in this situation. (more…)

By |2008-07-02T23:15:16-04:00July 2nd, 2008|Civil Liberty, Domestic Spying, Election 2008|3 Comments
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