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RE: Debate ][


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RE: Debate ][
Topic: Politics and Law 2:14 pm EDT, Oct 11, 2004

Decius wrote:
] I'll drop my hat in but I'll bet people are afraid to tackle
] this. Its tough.

I found Friday's debate interesting because it drew more specific distinctions between the candidates on certain issues. On the other hand, it made things more difficult, because I agree so strongly with one candidate on some issues, and with the other candidate on other issues. :/ So, my comments are split here among the different issues, including which candidate I agreed with on each one.

Economy. I agreed with neither. I'll freely admit that economic issues are not my strong point. I've listened to plans from both sides, but have no strong opinion either way on whether one plan or the other is the clear choice.

Healthcare. Kerry. When the subject of prescription drugs came up, Bush's answer nauseated me. Like the issue of whether or not to import drugs from Canada, he gave the party line answer, "First I want to make sure they're safe." Oh give me a f***ing break. Most of those drugs are American drugs that we sold to *them*! Are we trying to say that we shipped unsafe drugs to Canada? That answer was just garbage.

War in Iraq. Bush. I've researched the heck out of this issue, and know it way better than most reporters and columnists who are writing about it. Saddam needed to go. We knew it, the world knew it, every single one of Saddam's neighbors knew it. Even other Islamic governments were calling for him to step down. We'd tried every other method of removing him from power, and nothing had worked. Every indicator said that he was just biding his time, waiting for world scrutiny to go away, and then he was going to rebuild everything. WMDs, weapon programs, everything. Military intervention was necessary. Clinton agreed. I agreed. The only thing most people disagreed on was, not that military intervention was necessary, but the *timing* of it. In other words, most thoughtful people are not so much upset that the war happened, but *when* it happened. But I still support the war, and think Bush had the right idea, and I'm hopeful that at some point more of the behind-the-scenes information will come out to explain why we chose the timing that we did.

War on Terrorism. Bush. This is another one that I've researched the heck out of, and know backwards and forwards. It is not a hypothetical question as to whether or not there are terrorist plots to cause widespread death and destruction. There *are* such plots, and they are actively trying to get one of them through our shields, and it's only through the hard work of our law enforcement personnel, tips from the right sources, and a fair bit of luck, that we've stopped the planned attacks since 9/11. I agree with Bush here, that it's not about waiting to be attacked and then responding, it's about carrying the attack to the enemy, and keeping the war away from our own shores. In a nutshell, on this one issue, I will sleep safer at night knowing that Bush is at the helm, and not Kerry.

Civil Liberties. I'm split, with a lean towards Kerry. This is another one I've done a lot of research on. Overall, the Patriot Act was a good thing. Parts of it though were over-reaching and need to be struck down. And as they're working through the courts they *are* being struck down, and I'm glad of it.

Social Issues. Kerry, Kerry, Kerry. When he was asked the question on abortion, I could almost see the wince. The, "Gah, I have to touch the third rail," thought. But I thought Kerry's answer was thoughtful, tolerant, compassionate, and heartfelt. It was respectful for other ways of thinking. Bush, on the other hand, gave a "My way or the highway" response. And when partial-birth came up, again, I thought Kerry gave a considered and reasonable response, that he's against it except when the life of the mother is at stake. I felt that for Bush to attack that answer as a flip-flop was just plain wrong. When Bush belittled Kerry for that response, that was my most intense, "Please, anybody-but-Bush" moment. I wish Bush could have expressed some sort of sympathy for other cultures and morals and points of view.

Character. Split. As with the other debate, I was disgusted at times with both candidates because of their "sound bite" mentality, or when their answer had nothing to do with the question that they were just asked. I don't expect any human being to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every fact in the world, and for a candidate to occasionally say, "I don't know," or "We're still gathering information on that," or "That's a complicated issue which will have a complicated answer," or "I'm continuing to listen to both sides in that debate," I'm occasionally okay on it. When a candidate is reciting a lot of numbers, I can usually tell which numbers they're reciting because they work with those numbers every day, which ones are "sound bite" numbers, and which ones are numbers that they memorized by rote directly before the debate, in order to be prepared for that question. For example, when Bush was asked about the environment, he gave a lengthy list of detailed environmental accomplishments, but I could almost see him reaching into his memory, like his internal thought process was, "Okay, I need to list 10 things, I've got a mnemonic for it, what was it, ah yes, list them in order, here we go..." But that aside, it was a good list, and when he said that he felt he was a good steward of the environment, I felt some sincerity in his tone there. It was an issue that he seemed to care about. And then Kerry's response I felt was weak, and was of his usual, "Are not, are not, can't make me believe it, nyah," kind of tone.

Bush's mistakes. Split. I didn't like either candidate's response on this one. Bush has been asked this question before, and he keeps dodging it, and I think that's the wrong thing to do. If he doesn't want to admit a mistake because he thinks it might be demoralizing to the troops, I can respect that, but I think he could come at it from another angle and still satisfy the requirement, by saying something like, "I agree that it's important to look at what's happened in the past, and to learn from it. On the big issues, such as the War in Iraq, I've looked at what we knew then, and what we know now, and I still believe very strongly that it was the right decision. However, there are a few things which, though I don't regard them as mistakes, I think are definitely things which we might have done better." And if nothing else, I think he could talk about certain intelligence sources which were probably not good sources to trust, such as Chalabi. That, and other "20-20 hindsight" observations ("If I had it to do over again, I would have devoted more resources to this project than that one"), would I think go a long way to satisfying some of the people who believe Bush to be stubborn and blind to his own flaws. They want him to be able to admit *something* that could have been done better, rather than feeling that he continually states that every single decision he made was the right one.

So, that's where I'm at right now, and I'm looking forward to the next debate!

- Elonka

RE: Debate ][

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