I’m in a house full of flu-ridden Titans. The blogging may be interrupted by vomit at any moment. Be warned!
This time the stage is all decorated in red, white, and blue. That’s a change! Heh.
Howdy Sheep in Wolf Blitzer Clothing, howdy Howard Dean.
Senator Clinton, what about the Politics of Parsing?
Clinton: Women, Children, Health Care, Workers.
Obama: Illegal Immigration.
Clinton: Universal Health Care, against the special interests. Big Issues ahead. Republicans.
[This is like Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs.]
Edwards: Nobody on this stage is perfect, and that includes me. Except for my silky hair. This president has destroyed trust. She votes with Bush, she plans for war like Bush, corruption.
Clinton: Throwing mud, right out of the Republican playbook. Throwing mud, making charges. We need to have a positive agenda for America.
Biden: American people don’t give a darn about any of the stuff that’s going on up here. They worry about drug dealers, mortgage, job, their son in the National Guard in Iraq. “I’m not criticizing any of the three people who get to talk all the time at these debates.” (Big cackle from Hill) Blah blah blah, record, bills, violence against women act.
Mr. Edwards, You’ve changed your mind at times, is it fair for other people to change their positions?
Edwards: Absolutely. Peru trade deal. Iowa. 37 million poverty. 47 million no health care. There is nothing personal about this. This is about showing Americans what their choices are. Rigged. Corrupt. Etcetera.
Dodd: Our job is to win the Whitehouse and hold the House and Senate in 2008. When the campaign is about who is angrier and yelling louder the American people tune out.
Richardson: Edwards wants a class war, Obama wants a generational war, Clinton wants to stay at war in Iraq, I just want to give peace a chance. Kumbaya. Trust. Debate the issues. Positive.
Sheep: Will you support the Democratic nominee no matter what?
All yes, but Kucinich the Elf demands that the candidate opposes war as an instrument of foreign policy.
Where do you draw the line on the benefits of illegal immigration?
Obama: Bush administration has done nothing. Border security. Enforcement against employers who have more of a chance of getting hit by lightning than being prosecuted for hiring undocumented workers. Nation of laws AND a nation of immigrants.
[That was a pretty good answer]
Sheep: Do you support drivers licenses for illegal aliens?
Obama: Drivers licenses are a wedge issue, not a central issue. I’m not opposing drivers licenses for illegal aliens. [Sidestep. Slip. Slide.]
Kucinich: Illegal? Undocumented! Cancel NAFTA and renegotiate trade agreements. [Slip. Slide.] I’m offended!
Richardson: Yes. I did it. Secure the borders. Path to legalization.
What is wrong with rewarding a teacher that excels at the job they are doing by paying them more than the average?
Dodd: Pay for going to difficult schools, doing extra work, but not for having advantaged students who do well on tests.
Kucinich: My father was a truck driver, a Teamster. I believe that the union movement is essential to upholding human rights. I’m the candidate of workers in this campaign because I’ve stood for jobs for all, health care for all, education for all. A Kucinich administration will be the worker’s White House.
[Is that like the Worker’s Party White House?]
Richardson: Minimum wage for teachers starting at $40K. Junk NCLB. Art in the schools. Hire 100,000 math and science teachers. Universal preschool. Huge loans killing our college students.
Clinton: I support school-based merit pay. Get teachers into underserved urban and rural areas. The school is a team. We need to reward the team. You should be able to weed out teachers who aren’t doing their job. (!) Colle-jew-al [sic] collaboration.
Biden: My wife got a master’s degree and a PhD. That’s merit pay for teachers.
Regarding Pakistan, Are there times that the security of the United States is more important than the way a key ally such as Musharaff disregards liberty?
Biden: I told Musharraf we would take away the F16s going to Pakistan if elections didn’t happen in January. Need to move to a Pakistan plan, not a Musharraf plan. Aid needs to go to middle class in Pakistan.
Richardson: Of course I’m worried. We forgot our principles in Pakistan. Human rights should be more important than American national security. Condition aid to Pakistan on restoration of democracy and judiciary and also on fighting terrorists. Halliburton. Our strength as a nation is our values.
Edwards: Need to make sure the extremists in NW Pakistan are under control. Human rights restored. Elections in January. Nuclear weapons controlled. America’s ad hoc policy on nuclear weapons, though it is necessary in Iran and Pakistan, is the living breathing example of a policy that will not work in the long term. Longterm, worldwide effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Is human rights more important than American national security?
Obama: Human rights would strengthen American national security. [It sounds like he’s repeating the Bush doctrine.] No more propping up anti-democratic practices. That makes us less safe.
Dodd: National security is more important. It’s one of the two oaths the new President swears at inauguration. Have to remember there is one way into Afghanistan and it goes through Pakistan.
Clinton: National security is more important. Pakistan. Afghanistan. Failed policies of the Bush administration.
National Guard unit, third tour of duty in Iraq. Is Petraeus correct when he says that the troop increase is bringing security to Iraq?
Richardson: Surge is not working. There is less possibility of a political solution. Benchmarks. 65% of Iraqi people now say it’s okay to kill an American soldier. Pull out 100% in 12 months, and negotiate a peace between Iraqis. Healthcare in America and for kids.
Kucinich: Occupation is fueling the insurgency. I’m the only one on stage who voted against the war. Cut off the war funding now. Cannot look at Pakistan without understanding how our actions in Iraq have contributed towards the anger.
Obama: More American troops in Iraq are helping safety in certain neighborhoods. But it failed. Because there are no political solutions. 2-3-4 tours of duty. Horrific levels of violence to intolerable levels of violence are not enough.
Dangerous Chinese toys
Kucinich: Yes, people who voted for trade deals are responsible. Edwards, you’re a trial lawyer. You knew better.
Edwards: America’s trade policy has been a complete disaster. Trade interests have taken over the government of the United States. Universal Health care was killed by big Pharma, instead we got NAFTA which has cost us millions of jobs. Need to give the power of this democracy back to the people. The mistake was to let China escape responsibility under the WTO.
Was Ross Perot right about NAFTA?
Clinton: I remember charts. It’s not just toys, it’s food, pet food. We should not permit unsafe imports into our country. NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it didn’t deliver. We need a trade timeout and to enforce our current trade deals.
Dodd: If a US corporation produced contaminated toys and food they would have been shut down in 20 minutes.
Obama: I’m going to vote for the Peru agreement because it’s good. Japan sends their inspectors to China and all Chinese goods have to pass Japanese inspection before they can be exported to Japan. Why doesn’t the US do this?
[that’s a darn good idea!]
Biden: This isn’t about the law. It’s about the man. President Bush won’t enforce the law. Enforce the agreement with China. Shut it down.
[Also true. Who says that Bush is too unilateral and headstrong? More like not enough and too tied up by lawyers.]
Where can you put nuclear waste if you won’t let people put it in your own backyard or Yucca Mountain?
Obama: Nuclear energy is important, but not the best answer. Store waste onsite for now. Stop assuming we can’t do all these things like meet our energy challenges. Don’t be pessimistic about the future of America.
Richardson: The future is renewable. We need a energy revolution in this country. 50% renewable by 2020. American people sacrificing a little bit when it comes to appliances.
At Wellesley College you said that it prepared you to compete with the boy’s club, but then you went all girly girl in the past couple of weeks.
Clinton: I’m not playing the gender card. They aren’t attacking me because I’m a woman. They’re attacking me because I’m ahead. I feel very comfortable in the kitchen. [hah] I can stand the heat. Aim for the highest hardest glass ceiling.
Edwards: You looking at me? BUT there are differences between us and voters are entitled to know what the differences are without it getting all personal.
Marine Mother: My son is a Marine who has served three tours of duty in Iraq. Neocons and the White House are beating the drums of war against Iran. How are you going to show us your leadership on this issue?
Biden: IRCG being declared a terrorist organization has been counterproductive. I’d impeach Bush if he started a war in Iran.
Clinton: Bad Bush. Beating up on Iran. But keep Iran from developing nukes. Iran has killed American troops in Iraq. Get China in. Oppose the rush to war but get tough and prevent nukes.
[Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop.]
Edwards: Bush, Cheney and the neocons wanted IRCG declared a terrorist organization and a proliferator of WMDs. We know how this movie turns out. We have to stop it.
Obama: Excuse to perpetuate strategy in Iraq, not just to spread it into Iran. Bold diplomacy. I would meet with not just our friends, but also with our enemies.
Military Mom: My son is making $30K in Iraq while military contractors are making $100K. Can you fix the disparity? And happy birthday to Mr. Richardson!
Richardson: I’d remove all contractors immediately and withdraw in a year. I’d add two divisions in the army and one in marines, increase pay, and give them universal free health care through the VA. The big challenge is mental health. Huge burden. Mental trauma. PTSD. Mental health system is not given the parity and coverage it deserves.
[Sorry Mom, no raise for your son and he’ll get to guard the thankless State Department folks who despise him and all warriors and constantly second-guess his decisions on how to best protect them.]
Middle Easterner asks about profiling at the airport. What will you do to protect Americans against harassment? Sheep adds what about the Patriot Act?
Edwards: We will stop racial profiling at the airports. [great, more grannies getting strip searched] Close Gitmo. No more secret prisons. No torture will be tolerated.
Kucinich: Everybody out here is flip flopping, Imagine having a president who is right the first time. [he means himself] Impeach now! Don’t wait! Impeach them now!
[I swear his eyes were glowing red by the end of that bit of insanity]
Biden: Nothing in the Patriot Act allows profiling. It’s not because of the Patriot Act. It’s because of other things. I’d close Gitmo. What do you do now?
Latin Chamber of Commerce member. Do you consider border enforcement and security against terrorists linked?
Richardson: Dick Cheney and HMO’s have higher approval rating than the US Congress. Work on the relationship with Mexico, and end with a path to legalization that is not amnesty.
Dodd: Lots of Spanish tripping off his lengue, very fast too. Unfortunately I couldn’t make out what his answer was in English. Showoff.
Casino Cashier asks what happens when Baby Boomers retire, the US deficit is at record levels, and Social Security and Medicare are endangered? How can they stay truly available to us and our descendants?
Obama: 78 Million Boomers going to retire. Blame SS deficit on Bush raiding the SS Trust Fund for Iraq War. [that’s absurd] Raise the cap on the payroll tax. Don’t privatize. Medicare is tougher. Universal Health Care will control rising health care costs.
[in other words reduce competition to control prices. Obama needs to review Adam Smith.]
Clinton: Bush inherited a surplus. I don’t want to fix the system on the backs of middle class and seniors.
Obama: 6% of Americans make over 90K. They aren’t middle class. They are upper class. Raising their taxes is not a middle class tax hike.
Clinton: Bipartisan commission.
[tennis anyone? how do you have a debate when the debaters talk past each other?]
Would you require Supreme Court Justices to support abortion?
Dodd: No litmus test. But pro choice is better.
Biden: Enough ideologues and professors on the bench. More dog catchers. My first appointment would be a woman. Litmus test is the right to privacy.
Richardson: I’d require diversity. Yes.
Kucinich: A president has to be a healer. I’d support pre-natal care, post-natal care, health care, sex education in schools.
Clinton: Yes, litmust test on privacy. The right to be left alone.
Obama: Yes. It’s about the right to privacy. I taught constitutional law for 10 years. The Court’s job is to protect the underdogs, the outsiders.
[No, the Court’s job is to interpret the Constitution. How can anyone trust a constitutional law professor who thinks the Supreme Court’s job is to favor certain groups of citizens against others and not to adhere to the Constitution?]
Edwards: Yes. Judges need to have a backbone and stand against opposition.
[I think he means they need to agree with the elites like him and ignore what the majority of people want. After all the majority are useless peasants, who are only useful as plaintiffs in class action suits.]
Poli Sci Student asks about the problems in the Middle East. How do you unite the divided country concerning the Middle East?
Obama: Convene a continuous advisory meeting with Democrats and Republicans on foreign issues. Political divisions should end at the water’s edge. Polarization of the Bush administration. Tell the world that America is back. Bipartisan foreign policy.
Clinton: I’m running to be the president of the entire country. We’ve got to begin to work together. Common ground. Under presidential leadership we can begin to listen to each other. I’ll work not just with Republicans but with the best of America.
Biden: I start by ending the war. I’ve always been bipartisan in the Senate. I’d have Republicans in my cabinet.
Richardson: Cornerstone of my foreign policy would be diplomacy and negotiations. Two state solution.
Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?
Clinton: I want both.
[Sheep is back to bleating.] Baa baa baa baa. Anderson Cooper?
It is over!
Phew. Escaped without any calls to Uncle Ralph on the Big White Telephone.
Trackposted to Perri Nelson’s Website, The Virtuous Republic, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, guerrilla radio, Right Truth, , The Amboy Times, Big Dog’s Weblog, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.