Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Circus Comes to Las Vegas in the Form of the Democratic Debate

This editorial was difficult for me to write for two reasons: 1) I was asked to cover the Democratic debate and I hate political debates. 2) I had to keep it short and could not elaborate. Nevertheless, here it is.

The November Democratic debate was not unlike a three-ring circus, a veritable ring of obfuscation. I did not know whether to laugh or lament in response to the performance of the Democratic candidates. Regardless of party, political debates are not usually productive, as the questions are rarely directly addressed. The 2008 batch of democratic candidates struck a new low with their question evasion and avoided making public their true agendas, which aim to destroy what is left of the founding fathers’ legacy of a constitutional republic.

Generally, all that was accomplished was a great amount of character attacks and democratic hot-button phrase tossing such as “universal health care” and “comprehensive immigration reform”. The former means health care to the tune of Europe, where many have resorted to pulling their own teeth, and the latter is mere empty rhetoric, since no one seems to know what “comprehensive immigration reform” really is.

A real show stopper was the issue of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. The candidates resembled gold medal quality gymnasts, and dazzled the crowd with oratory and positional flips and twists. However, they remained unable to stick a landing by actually answering the question. Clinton did an impressive, but not surprising, full 180 degree turn from the last debate on her position. Obama in particular waffled on this question. When moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Obama to explain his position on driver’s licenses for illegals, a murky, muddled mess ensued. Obama responded after 15 seconds of qualification with “I have to make sure the people understand, the problem we have here is not driver’s licenses…so instead of being distracted by what has now become a wedge issue, let’s focus on actually solving the problem that this administration, the Bush administration, has done nothing about”. And thus, Obama fell flat.

When the question moved to Kucinich, he smugly asserted that he took issue with Wolf’s description of “people being illegal immigrants”. He followed by stating that “there aren’t any illegal human beings”. Thank you, Congressman, for that shining beacon of humanitarian prowess. However, the definition of illegal immigrant has nothing to do with a person’s essence of being. Rather, illegal modifies immigrant in defining a status that is by definition, not legal. Since these “immigrants” entered the country illegally, the term “illegal immigrant” seems to fit.

There were multitudes of other noteworthy sound bytes, such as Bill Richardson giving his response to the question of why the troop surge isn’t working. “We shouldn't be talking about body counts. One American death is too much,” said Richardson. Should we, therefore, stop defending ourselves because death is involved? War by nature makes death probable. Further, this feeble response does not even begin to answer the question, lending even more support to the hypothesis that the Democrats do not have a solution to the war in Iraq.

Another gem was John Edwards’ reference to a would-be staggering number: "35 million Americans last year went hungry. . . .This [election] is about those 35 million people who are hungry every single year." His basis for this “fact” is that the USDA issued a report which said that 35 million Americans experienced “household food insecurity”. Is this truly the same as “going hungry”? The USDA does not think so.

Any thinking American who was watching this debate could clearly see that the candidates were playing “dodge the question”. They represent a conglomeration of folks who are either maliciously manipulative, utopian and useless, sneakily socialist, or are any combination of these traits. Overall, the fact that no helpful or direct answer seems to ever come out of their mouths is very frightening indeed.

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