Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hillary victim of a "gotcha" moment in Philly debate

As in the film A Few Good Men, the best moment of last night's Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia, televised on MSNBC, was at the very end.

That's when Tim Russert asked Hillary Clinton's opinion about the governor of her state's plan to issue driver's licences to illegal aliens. Hillary waffled on her answer but seemed to oppose it, but was noticeabley annoyed when Russert countered that she said a few days ago that "It makes a lot of sense."

Hillary called it "playing gotcha," and she was right--she was "gotcha-ed." And not just on this issue: She's been utilizing, to cop the phrase from her Democratic rivals, double talk throughout the entire campaign. And even before that while she was first lady.

John Edwards followed up on the "gotcha" with the quip that Clinton said "two different things in the course of two minutes."

HRC also couldn't give a straight answer on why her correspondence as First Lady with President Clinton, with whom I believe she still lives with, on why those documents, currently in the hands of the National Archives, won't be released until 2012.

Who won tonight? Everyone but Hillary, but the one who in my wingnut opinion gained the most was Sen. Christopher Dodd, for setting up, unintentionally of course, the Hillary DMV stumble with his forceful answer explaining his opposition in giving illegals driver's licences, calling the license what my high school driver's education said it was, "a privilege."

And now for others, starting with my senator, Barack Obama. Like his fellow candidates, he favors diplomacy over force in regards to the Iranian nuclear threat. Well everyone does, including President Bush. But he's forgetting this nugget of wisdom from Frederick the Great of Prussia: "Diplomacy without force is like an orchestra without instruments." But going further then his rivals, Obama favors normalization of diplomatic relations with Iran.

Hello, senator. We are not dealing with rational people in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Regime change, once again, should be the policy of government, but not necessarily by force. Military action cannot be taken off the table, in my opinion.
When normal people are running Iran, that's the time to normalize relations.

The words "sabre rattling" were used a great deal tonight in regards to Iran. In fact John Edwards said that the current administration is "rattling their sabres over and over and over."

But Iran is rattling their scimitars, and has been since 1979. And not once did the words "holocaust denial" come up last night. Nor did the fact that Iran is already committing acts of war against our nation by supplying our terrorist enemies in Iraq with weapons.

Sen. Joe Biden, who donned Halloween-scary eyebrows for the Philly match-up, added to his reputation for buffoonery when he uttered "Rudy Giuliani is the most unqualified man to seek the presidency since George Bush." I'm assuming Biden, who once spoke with bizarre pride because his home state of Delaware was once a slave state, was speaking of our current chief executive, not George H.W. Bush. For eight years, Giuliani was in charge of a city that has over ten times the population of Delaware.

Gov. Bill Richardson, as has been his wont in these debates, leaned heavily on his extensive résumé, and like the others was playing up diplomacy as the answer to the Iranian issue. And he reaffirmed his pledge to quicky withdraw our forces from Iraq.

Education was one of the topics brought up by Tim Russert and the other moderator, Brian Williams, and each candidate agreed that we need to improve in this area (Who could possibly be against that?), but not surprisingly, none of the Democrats favored school vouchers or merit pay for teachers, although John Edwards said he favors "incentive pay for teachers willing to go to the most difficult places."

He didn't bring it up tonight, but in his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama proposed offering higher salaries for science and mathematics teachers, and the need for better instruction in those fields was bandied about among the participants.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich made the most noise, which will get him attention, but few votes. He harped on a couple of themes: Impeach Bush and Cheney, and socialized medicine, which he calls "not-for-profit health care." Even Kucinich is wise enough not to use the "S" word.

Regarding Iran, Kucinich barked, "Even planning for a war in Iran is illegal."

Hmmm...Has the erstwhile "Boy Mayor" of Cleveland ever heard of war games or military contigency planning?

And finally, in the most lighthearted moment of any the debates I've tuned into, Kucinich was asked if he really did---scroll down two posts for more details--see a UFO in the early 1980s, as Shirley MacLaine claims he did in her new book. Kucinich admitted that he did indeed witness such a thing. But so did Jimmy Carter, he added.

Here's a tip for Kucinich: Don't remind voters of the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter, who allowed this whole Iranian mess over which we are now "sabre rattling" over to occur.

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who has attracted minimal support and funds, was not invited to last night's debate. I'm not sure where he was, but perhaps he was awaiting an identified flying object: The Great Pumpkin.

I watched Chris Matthews post-debate analysis, and he believes Hillary's license mishap will make this a wedge issue in the general election. And that might happen, unless HRC, if she does win the nomination, backs off her support for illegals to be able to obtain driver's licenses.

But if she does, then she'll be called a flip-flopper. Which is something no one will ever accuse Dennis Kucinich of being.

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