The Debate

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First, let me address this nifty graphic that I found in South Carolina’s leading newspaper.   The subliminal message is clear here, let me see if y’all are sharp enough to scope it.    Anyway, everything was goin’ swimingly for our leading contenders until the end when Kucinich, Gravel and Obama got into a dust up over Barack’s understated messaging to the Jewish community about Iran.   We’ve gone over this terrain before so refresh your recollection.   Both Congressman Kucinich and Senator Gravel attacked the Safe Negro for essentially pandering to the Jewish community about a pre-emptive war with Iran that he had to forcefully rebut and put to rest. 

Gravel went off on an earlier tangent about nuclear weapons and asked Barack “Who in the Hell are we gonna nuke, Barack?  Gravel has been in the moth balls for a long time having last served in the Senate when the world was new and bell bottoms were still fashionable.   He did his level best to sound unstable and irrational enough to question conventional wisdom and charge that the military industrial complex mentality has the D.C. beltway firmly in its grip.  

Hillary, Barack, and Biden were clearly the winners of the evening with the responses they gave and the number of questions directed their way.   Some folk will be taking a closer look at Biden especially.   Bringing up the rear was Dodd and Richardson.   Richardson’s explanation of his Iraq plan was sensible enough to get him serious scrutiny as a possible Vice Presidential pick or Secretary of State.   He outshined Biden, Barack and Hillary on that.  

Lastly comes Edwards.  I was not impressed with his performance.  He wasn’t unfocused per se, but he just didn’t seem to be quite there tonight.

31 thoughts on “The Debate

  1. rikyrah

    First, let me address this nifty graphic that I found in South Carolina’s leading newspaper. The subliminal message is clear here, let me see if y’all are sharp enough to scope it.

    I’m really pooped, SB.

    I’m not sharp tonight, so spell it out for me.

    I’m not going to disagree with you on your assessments, but I’m getting whiplash. Is Obama a lapdog or enemy of Israel? Folks are gonna have to make up their damn minds.

    PS- are you ever gonna comment on the CBC/White Citizens Council Network Democratic Debate Fiasco?

    2 posts of note:

    CBC Struggles to Regain Lost Dignity

    http://jackandjillpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/04/in-news-cbc-struggles-to-regain-lost.html

    CBC Denial Watch: When will it crack?

    http://jackandjillpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/04/cbc-denial-watch-when-will-it-crack.html

    PPSS-The Borg Queen in Blackface

    http://jackandjillpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/04/racist-republican-draws-hillary-in.html

  2. NMP

    SB,

    It’s late, so I’ll have to join the discussion tomorrow, but a couple of immediate observations:

    The gushing by MSNBC hosts and guests over Hillary Clinton is eerily reminiscent of their early praise of George Bush. They are too easily impressed! They were most impressed with her response to the ‘Al Qaeda two cities attack’ question. It seems that Chris Matthews and I are the only two people to observe that her answer was a page out of the neo-con play book. Retaliate where??? We’ve already invaded a sovereign nation in pursuit of Al Qaeda; it’s called Iraq. Was that not lesson enough that a “swift” conventional military response against an enemy without a home country and standing army is unfeasible? Nonetheless, they were all impressed with her “tough on terrorism” approach. That’s the same sort of media response that got Bush elected and the most powerful military in world history facing certain defeat by a band of rogues.

    I thought Richardson was the clear loser of the night. He seemed agitated and sweated profusely. His admission that he did not immediately call for Gonzalez’s resignation because he was Hispanic was a gift to the anti-immigration contingent in both parties. If he’s not willing to fire a grossly incompetent AG because of shared ethnicity, how much confidence do you think he’s going to engender that he can be tough on immigration? Could Obama have gotten away with defending Condi Rice because she’s Black?

  3. rikyrah

    Ok, I’ll take a shot before I go to bed.

    They ‘Time/Newsweek Magazine – OJ’d’ – Barack (MADE HIM DARKER)
    And lightened up Richardson?

    Am I close?

  4. Edwards looked tired. Almost as if he were the one fighting cancer.

    Obama looked and sounded nervous.

    Biden sounded good; and actually looked pretty good, too.

    Hillary was much better than I had thought she would be. I hate to admit, but I was impressed.

    Gravel was a hoot with moments of lucidness and raw honesty. Kinna reminded me of Ike with his crack about the military complex,

    Kucinich was a bore. His wife is a knockout, though. In fact, all the wives were.

  5. Mimi,

    Hey, girl. I’ve missed ya. Edwards is a very disciplined man, but he has underestimated the psychological, physical and emotional toll his wife’s illness will have on him and the campaign.

  6. rikyrah,

    by grouping gravel, kucinich, obama and richardson together, the graphic artist sends the unmistakable message about their contempt to the reader. Read from left to right, the minorities are dead last and least desirable. Grouping Richardson and Obama with Kucinich and Gravel also means he/she believes that it is impossible for one of them to go all the way. Race is always the elephant in the room in South Carolina. As much as I love S.C’S people, racist sterotypes and treatment are commonplace.

  7. rikyrah

    rikyrah,

    by grouping gravel, kucinich, obama and richardson together, the graphic artist sends the unmistakable message about their contempt to the reader. Read from left to right, the minorities are dead last and least desirable. Grouping Richardson and Obama with Kucinich and Gravel also means he/she believes that it is impossible for one of them to go all the way. Race is always the elephant in the room in South Carolina. As much as I love S.C’S people, racist sterotypes and treatment are commonplace

    You know, it was almost worth it, being up this late to get this response.

    And here, I innocently thought they were labeled alphabetically…LOL

    But, I’m hearing you, SB.

    I hear you.

  8. rikyrah,

    Ya know what, you’re right. I either need to adjust my tinfoil hat, take my meds, or just simply get some damn sleep. They are in alphabetical order and it NEVER occured to me. Everything I just said, scratch it. I’m tempted to erase my comment but won’t because it is really a classic over generalization. My bad. 🙂

  9. dblhelix

    Had to finish up some late night work, but some comments. I’ll give some creedence to SB’s theory (yes, I thought alphabetical) simply because the pics chosen for Obama/Richardson are just terrible. With respect to light/dark, I thought it was just a lousy job of putting together the image (you can even see the hard line) and then applying a contrast filter across the entire image.

    The debate — I heard it in the car and missed the first and last 15 min.

    Edwards — tired, yes.
    Obama — Faltering a bit here & there, but ok.
    Hillary — I always thought she was pretty sharp as First Lady, so I was not “impressed” the way some people seem to be. I learned nothing new.
    Biden — went up a few notches.
    Richardson — I disliked him before the debates as an arrogant SOB; nothing has changed my mind.
    Dodd — noting exceptional.
    Gravel, Kucinich — (see below)

    I still think Hillary/Obama are in cahoots. Could somebody explain to me substantial policy differences going forward between these two? I read a headline this evening that both are opting out of a debate in NH. Both avoided the question on how to pay for their health plans. Both raised their hands …

    I think all of this is a dog & pony show. Perhaps Obama even tamps down here & there intentionally. Some of the second-tier candidates might just be instruments to hand off below- threshold delegates in Iowa to tBQ “just in case.”

    The republican CEO of Morgan-Stanley is backing Hillary. No joke. “She’s willing to work with Republicans.” Obama has a couple of Bush Pioneers on board and ppl from The Carlyle Group are donating to him.

    Now let us speak honestly: who here is excited by the “tough on terror” talk, or the 100K expansion of the military? Not us, but their benefactors, probably. Is there anything more ludicrous than a woman and a black man happily chirping about fighting the GWOT and expanding the military at a HBCU??? Speaking of which, where was the substantive discussion of civil rights, worker’s rights, justice — you know, the staple components of a Democratic debate, throwaway references to “poor working class” and “infant mortality” notwithstanding.

    By the time I turned off this bread & circuses for the masses, I’d arrived at the conclusion that the cranky Gravel and Kucinich basically represent what used to be the D-party — which apparently has been whittled down to sideshow status.

    I do think it’s going to be the two of them, whatever that might mean in the long run. I think the “old” Hillary (who I did like) or the “old” Obama (whose record I like) are long gone. Or, perhaps I missed all of the good stuff getting in and out of the car.

  10. I am out of the loop and not up-to-par to speak of this matter.

    Thanks: Rikyrah and Dblhelix via SB for educating me to a new prism of skepticism. Huh!

    Y’all got me thinking over here…a different way. I like that.

  11. I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    Politicians make no difference.

    We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

    Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

    There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

    The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

    So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

    This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

    The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

    For more details see:

    http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/inside-pentagon-procurement-from.html

  12. Rick

    Kucinich posed arguably the tougest challenge of the evening, one that we are still faced with the morning after. That is: “the President is about to veto the Iraq war spending bill setting deadlines for troop withdrawal…What are you folks prepared to do about it?”

    Despite all the rhetoric, I didn’t hear anyone say that they were prepared to do much (other than to try to round up 16 signatures to override the veto, an outcome that didn’t strike me as being very likely).

    it seems to me the democratic leadership in the House and Senate are content to say, “hey we tried, but it’s time to go home.”

    at the end of the day, the question is: “what are you prepared to do?” I think Bush looked over at the folks in the Capitol Building and came away with the same conclusion.

    “Nothing”

  13. NMP

    SB,

    Don’t feel bad. I thought the same thing when I saw the MSNBC advertisement for the debate. At least you got corrected by Rikyrah, your intellectual peer, and not a 14-year-old ‘know it all’ son like I did. “There you go with your racial conspiracy theories again,” he said.

    Hope you have something good for us on Monday.

    Everybody, have a great weekend.!

  14. Rick

    NMP wrote:
    “At least you got corrected by Rikyrah, your intellectual peer, and not a 14-year-old ‘know it all’ son like I did.”

    Yesterday was National “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”, which my organization participated.

    I am convinced now – if I wasn’t before – that some kids have more sense than us adults🙂

  15. dblhelix:
    By the time I turned off this bread & circuses for the masses, I’d arrived at the conclusion that the cranky Gravel and Kucinich basically represent what used to be the D-party — which apparently has been whittled down to sideshow status.

    Rick:
    at the end of the day, the question is: “what are you prepared to do?” I think Bush looked over at the folks in the Capitol Building and came away with the same conclusion.

    “Nothing”
    ——————————

    My sentiments exactly.

    How sad is it that the only ones able to speak the truth on the most important issues are the marginalized candidates. This is a direst result of the DLC turning the Democrats into a corporate teat-sucking soulless machine.

    BTW…the lighting on the pic is lousy for all the candidates. Hillary looks like a bleached out ghost (kind of fitting really).

  16. rikyrah

    dblhelix,

    Are you trying to say that you don’t think we should be involved in a Global War on Terror?

    We’re in it, whether we wanted it, or not.

    I believe that we should be fighting one, but that, in essence, we aren’t, because of the boondoggle debacle in Iraq. Resources that could be spread around the globe are now being wasted in Iraq.

    Then again, we aren’t doing what we should to be protecting ourselves on our own shores either.

    I’m no hawk, but I’m not a dove either. There are some nasty folks out there who mean us serious harm, and I fully understand the reasons why, but it still doesn’t negate that they want us dead, and when they come, they won’t discriminate.

    Speaking of which, where was the substantive discussion of civil rights, worker’s rights, justice — you know, the staple components of a Democratic debate, throwaway references to “poor working class” and “infant mortality” notwithstanding.

    I expected to hear more of that from Edwards because it was so much a part of his platform. As someone said on a talk show this morning, they should have made those questions part of the requirement for it to be held at S.C. State.

    Here’s to hoping that somebody on Tavis’ panel will ask such questions in June at Howard.

  17. That reminds me…the really cute question about the two cities being hit and we “knew” it was al-Queada. My answer would be to throw Bush and Cheny in jail immediately because 1.) they had six years to catch Osama and 2.) they are the only people who could benefit from such a thing at this point.

    Meanwhile, New Orleans is just waiting to be drowned again because not a damn thing has been done to fix anything there since Katrina.

  18. I like Gravel and I think he was on point. I may even donate to his campaign. The rest of them except for Kucinich are PHONIES. 911 was an INSIDE JOB. The war was based on LIES. The Military Industrial Complex does rule this country!!!! I’m listening to a book that I downloaded on audible.com — Behold the Pale Horse by William Cooper. Makes Sense, Makes Sense.

  19. Ogre Mage

    “I still think Hillary/Obama are in cahoots.” — dblhelix

    This thought occurred to me as well, or at least there seems to be some unspoken agreement. I noticed how they both gave props to the other during the debate. Hillary mentioned that “Well, I think that what Barack said is right” in response to a question about Iraq and Obama said that “Hillary mentioned earlier, this is going to be a change election. People are hungry for change.”

    Maybe at some point in the future the unspoken agreement will be off. But in these early rounds both seem to feel that it is to their benefit.

  20. rikyrah

    “I still think Hillary/Obama are in cahoots.” — dblhelix

    This thought occurred to me as well, or at least there seems to be some unspoken agreement. I noticed how they both gave props to the other during the debate. Hillary mentioned that “Well, I think that what Barack said is right” in response to a question about Iraq and Obama said that “Hillary mentioned earlier, this is going to be a change election. People are hungry for change.”

    I’m in for a good conspiracy theory and all, but I just don’t think this is the case. They want to knock him out; remember, their entire plan has been built around ‘inevitability’. They just haven’t found the right way to attack him that won’t come back on them….yet.

  21. dblhelix

    rikyrah: Are you trying to say that you don’t think we should be involved in a Global War on Terror?

    Well, we were, prior to 9/11: this is why intelligence agencies were trying to bang down Dubya’s doors with extra-long memos. Tenet knew about Moussaoui. Perhaps if Team Bush had sat down for a meeting on this, we wouldn’t even be talking about this for a second consecutive election.

    It’s about balance and priorities.

    What is long overdue is a candidate who tells us we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Instead, early indications from the Democratic primary show that political fear-mongering as perfected by GWB & friends will shape this election once again.

    With respect to this particular debate, it bothered me that the emphasis was on response rather than conflict prevention.

    I strongly support streamlining communication protocols between our agencies. We should be working in tandem with our allies on conflict prevention rather than emphasizing response (as was done throughout the debate). We have key opportunities for our politicians to propose programs with the dual benefit of enhancing national security while providing educational opportunity. Here is an example: there is a critical shortage of Arabic speakers and Middle East experts in our ranks. It is in our best interest to subsidize education toward the goal of competence in the international arena, including our own security and intelligence missions.

    Had I been a candidate answering that ridiculous question on Al-Queda attacking two cities simultaneously, I would have responded that the scenario would require a level of communication and planning that would not go undetected by my administration. Put the onus of responsibility back on the Republican adminstration asleep on the wheel, which at the same time takes care of the idiotic Giuliani comments.

    Moreover, we’re buying a pig in a poke if we choose leadership thinking he/she will “make us safe.” There is no way of reducing the threat of terrorist activity to zero. In that sense, Gravel was correct in comparing the GWOT to the War on Drugs.

    It’s easy to defend against what the terrorists planned last time, but it’s shortsighted. If we spend billions fielding liquid-analysis machines in airports and the terrorists use solid explosives, we’ve wasted our money. If they target shopping malls, we’ve wasted our money. Focusing on tactics simply forces the terrorists to make a minor modification in their plans. There are too many targets — stadiums, schools, theaters, churches, the long line of densely packed people before airport security — and too many ways to kill people.

    Oklahoma City. ’83 bombing in Beirut. Columbine. These are all terrorist acts against Americans.

    Until recently, I’ve been cutting the frontrunners a lot of slack for their rhetoric — yeah, yeah, they’ve got to prove that they’re as ‘tough’ as any white male — I get that. But I’m getting a permanent war economy vibe from them at this point, and I’m not convinced that it’s only rhetoric.

    Only a small fraction of Americans truly worry about potential terrorist attacks — I just looked up the results of CNN polling in the past year at pollingreport.com: only 10%, while 60% of us worry ‘very little’ or ‘not at all.’ This makes sense to me — I certainly believe that the probability of meeting an unnatural end is greater due to local crime than Al-Queda.

    I recall that when the Katrina survivors were in town protesting, they marched down Penn Ave with signs like “Bin-Laden Didn’t Leave Me On No Damn Roof.” We know that the 2004 election turned around the priorities of ‘security moms’ — it’s time to restore some balance to priorities across the board. Let’s say, hypothetically, that we collectively agree that we need a 21st century military that requires troop expansion. If so, then it’s a shared responsibility — let’s see if the ‘security moms’ are still on board after that. Why is it that I suspect the additional troops will be drawn from disadvantaged families who are expected to risk their own for scraps to allay the fears of a minority who will never face any danger?

    My impression is that this particular issue is once again getting hijacked in the interests of a few at the expense of many.

  22. dblhelix

    rikyrah — published a longish response to your GWOT question that is lost in the wordpress ether. Judging by the way fear-mongering is taking center stage during the early rounds of the Democratic debate, I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to revisit. The very short answer is that I’m looking for balance in priorities right now, and more of a “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” type message.

  23. john in california

    Hillary and Obama have tacitly agreed to not go after each other in this kind of forum as they are the front runners and both want to appear statesman-like and cofident enoughto display a generous attitude to their opponent.. It reinforces the perception that there are no real policy differences among the ‘serious’ democrats. They will pointedly ignore Edwards since he is the only one that looks to pose a serious challenge and the rest, Kucinich, Richardson, Gavel and Biden are really not important enough to be actually debated. And this is the way the msm likes it, and so will do their best to ignore all the other cadidates and real differences in positions so that the usual sound bite journalism can prevail. By ignoring the rest, the will reinforce the polls and any real possibilty of change toward a more liberal economic policy will be stifled.

  24. dblhelix

    john in ca: By ignoring the rest, the will reinforce the polls and any real possibilty of change toward a more liberal economic policy will be stifled.

    You hit the nail on the head, and this is the essence of what is bothering me.

  25. dblhelix
    “who here is excited by the “tough on terror” talk, or the 100K expansion of the military? Not us, but their benefactors, probably. Is there anything more ludicrous than a woman and a black man happily chirping about fighting the GWOT and expanding the military at a HBCU???”

    ExodusMentality
    Thank god, i thought I was the only one who noticed. The only way to get elected President in America is to pander to the corporate interests. Democrat or Republican, doesn’t make any difference, same message. I didn’t get to see the debate, but everything I’ve heard and read seems to point to it being a uniquely pointless event.

    rikyrah
    “Are you trying to say that you don’t think we should be involved in a Global War on Terror?
    We’re in it, whether we wanted it, or not. ”

    ExodusMentality
    Unlike dblhelix, i have a short answer. We’re in it because we created it, and we can end it anytime we decide to end it. How does a nation declare war on a tactic? It’s a nonsensical concept. Don’t be fooled into thinking that people are taking up arms against U.S. aggressions and intrusive policies because they hate us for our freedom. That is the biggest crock of BS any Bushite ever invented. They are fighting back because they are in fear for their lives. I really don’t expect any more terror tactics here because we have demonstrated once again that we will take life at a minimum 20-1 ratio (you kill 3000 of us, we’ll kill 60,000+ of you). America is simply capable and willing to instill more terror than anyone else.

    rikyrah
    “I’m no hawk, but I’m not a dove either. There are some nasty folks out there who mean us serious harm, and I fully understand the reasons why, but it still doesn’t negate that they want us dead, and when they come, they won’t discriminate.”

    Even if some few individuals decide to commit an act of terror, does it warrant an all out war against another nation. When timothy McVeigh decided to blow up a building in Oklahoma, did anyone declare war on white male militia men? Are you as worried about that type of “nasty people”? Terrorism should be a law enforcement problem not a military problem. As long as Americans continue to value other lives less than we do our own, we should expect armed and violent reciprocity.

  26. Great post, Exodus. In response to your last sentence, our government doesn’t value our lives any more than they do foreigners who live in “strategic areas”. Google “environmental racism” to take a look at just one example of how profit margins take precedence over our health and safety.

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