Just watched the Democratic Debate on CNN... I have to say I was pretty impressed by every one's performance. I could vote for any of them against any Republican tomorrow if I had to and not feel bad about having to do it. I thought everyone performed pretty well and no one goofed terribly.
A few thoughts off the cuff and from memory, which might be faulty...
I was particularly impressed by Kucinich. I think his policies and criticisms are a bit too strong to endear him to many however, but I like some of his ideas, especially concerning trade policy (getting rid of our participation in all international trade organizations including the WTO, etc. and stop giving China incentives for screwing the US over, and going back to bilateral trade policies which benefit local and domestic economic growth within the United States first and foremost). I also liked his energy and health care ideas. My parents say he doesn't have a chance in Hell of winning the nomination, but that doesn't mean that I should give up on him this early on. You never know what will happen between now and next January. If I were elected president, hypothetically obviously, I think I'd like him in my cabinet... Dad says that cabinet positions aren't really what they seem, that they are administrative rather than advisory, but... if that's the case, didn't they used to be advisory? Wasn't that the whole point of how Lincoln appointed men to his cabinet? He wanted different POVs to access for advice? Something like that? I think he'd make an excellent advisor if not president.
I liked Senator Gravel's criticisms of the status quo and the current front runners. I hope even after he's out of the race that he continues to be a vocal critic because that helps to keep people more honest (don't laugh!).
After Kucinich, I liked Governor Richardson. He has a lot of good ideas and interesting perspectives on the major issues. I like freshness, you see, because I hate the status quo of the last six years.
After he and Kucinich, I liked Senators Edwards and Obama about the same. I think they both have a lot of really good ideas concerning health care, energy, education. But they could improve on trade... Nobody's going to beat that idea that Kucinich has of getting us out of the WTO! I don't like the WTO, NAFTA, NATO, etc... I think they are bad news for everything good, fair and honest in the world.
After them, Hillary... Yes, it would be nice to have a woman president, but what good would it be if she were the wrong president? And my dad is right, she's been kinda shady in the past, and that shadiness makes me reluctant to trust now. I'd rather be screwed over by someone I didn't know was shady than have someone I know is shady make a fool of me by tricking me twice, ya know? I did like how she shut down Wolfe Blitzer on the stupid hypothetical questions! He and all other talking network heads need to shut up with those... You can't ask a "Would you kill bin Laden even if it costs innocent people their lives?" without giving all the other info. How many innocent people? How innocent are they? How good is the Intel that we would get bin Ladin for sure? Are there any imminent threats? Etc, etc...
CNN, FoxNews, et al! Stop asking hypothetical, extreme situation questions during debates! They are a destruction from the real issues at hand and muddy up waters that are already as murky as the Mississippi two days after a rainstorm in Missouri! And it makes you look stupid!
I was also impressed by Bidden and Dodd, but they didn't get to talk very much... CNN is biased, I don't care what they or anyone else say. they show favoritism toward the front runners and ignore anyone else unless they are loud, like Senator Gravel was being. I think it was one of them who said that "Sometimes, even the commander-in-chief has to be practical!" when talking about immigration reform and allowing those who are already here illegally to earn their citizenship over the next ten to fifteen years if their background checks check out and they keep their noses clean, pay back taxes, go to the back of the line for citizenship, pay a fine for having come into the US illegally, and learn English.
Senator Clinton had a point about not making English "the official language" of the US, but rather the "national language," *if* indeed she was right that emergency personnel at hospitals and other emergency services would have their budgets cut so that translators would no longer be available in emergency situations, not only for Spanish, but for any other language. That would not be good...
I liked the overall position of the Democratic Party represented in this debate.
1.) Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell and allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly and with honor in all of the Armed Forces. As Senator Clinton said, the policy was a compromise when it was enacted (which I know is true because even all those years ago, I was following that and I remember that they said that Congress wouldn't give the President anymore than that), it was an important stepping stone to equality and open service and it's a stepping stone that has far out-lived its usefulness, by at least six years. I'd like to remind everyone that says that the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff are against ending Don't Ask Don't Tell that they were also, once upon a time, against integrating the Armed Forces for the exact same reasons they are against gays and lesbians serving openly. They were wrong then, and I think they're wrong now too.
2.) That a responsible energy policy which reduces our dependence on not just foreign oil, but all fossil fuels foreign and domestic is necessary for every kind of common good, that subsidies for the oil companies (because with record profits, they sure don't need them!) must be repealed, and promoting the expansion into green alternatives is absolutely essential (with Kucinich leading the way in this area).
3.) That extraction from Iraq is necessary and that Afghanistan must be stabilized and that indeed, there needs to be an international effort between the moderate factions in the Middle East and the international community at large to stabilize the entire region before things really start to get out of hand (because as bad as it is, it could get much worse).
4.) That diplomatic relations must be established between the US and Iran, but that at all costs Iran must not be allowed to weaponize nuclear materials. Hillary, I think it was, said that she would do this by allowing them to have nuclear material for fuel, but having European allies supply it and that its use would have to be very closely monitored by... the UN inspectors, was it?
5.) Image of the US in foreign countries must be improved.
6.) The budget must be balanced.
7.) Health care must become comprehensive and universal.
8.) Tax cuts for everyone who makes more than $200,000/year, instituted by the Bush Administration, must be allowed to expire and the revenues gained back from that must be put to good use.
9.) Everyone of us, all Americans, must make sacrifices in order to improve this country all around - economically, socially, internationally, domestically, environmentally - and we really should do it with a smile. They're thinking the good things that Clinton did (balanced budget & surplus in revenue to start with), and the energy and willingness to work together for common goals that JFK brought with him to his presidency, the power to do beneficial things (though obviously in hind-sight much of it was beneficial only in the short term) like Americans did in the years following WW2 (And can I say that I think it's pretty sad that the best that the Republicans can come up with to counter that is Reagan? ... Yes? ... It's pretty sad that the best that the Republicans can come up with to counter that is Reagan...) ... That sort of thing... I feel I'm ready to do that because that's the kind of thing we need right now, I think... I'm not totally sure who would be the best person to lead us all in such an effort, but I can tell you right and surely that that person is *not* running for the Republican nomination...