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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The AFL-CIO Debate - I Laughed, I Cried, It was Better than CATS!

I hope that people took the opportunity to watch the AFL-CIO debate last night on MSNBC.

It was a raw, exciting debate. It was moderated by Keith Olbermann, a gorgeous, liberal man with a million IQ. It was attended by at least 12,000 union members. And the candidates took questions directly from people in the audience and from those who posed them on the Internet. One man literally made me cry as he stood, his voice breaking, his legs weak from disability, and asked why he couldn't afford health care for his wife after 36 years of work. "What is wrong with this country?" he pleaded. Indeed! The candidates all answered that we need universal healthcare, of course, but I believe that the plight of ordinary Americans was brought home to them in a very immediate way that night.

If there were tears, there was also laughter and surprise. My favorite moments came when Dennis Kucinich referred to himself as the "SeaBiscuit" of the presidential candidates - could he BE any more endearing? - and when Hillary Clinton easily deflected criticism of her taking lobbyist money by saying, "Look, I don't want to fight with Democrats. I want Democrats to be united fighting the right wing. And if you want someone to do that, I've been doing it for fifteen years, and I'm your girl!" The audience was shocked - and the cheers were deafening.

So who won? I thought many of the candidates did very well, and I think some of them would make good Presidents. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd will never make it, of course, and although I think Dennis Kucinich is by far the most progressive and I like his policies the best, America isn't ready for him. Bill Richardson doesn't seem to have the intensity or the drive necessary to make it all the way, although I think he has some very good accomplishments. Poor Mike Gravel was not even invited. So that leaves the Big Three - Obama, Clinton and Edwards.

In my mind, Hillary walked away with it. Obama and Edwards are starting to get ridiculous with their claims of being above taking lobbyist money. In a race where hundreds of millions of dollars have to be raised, no one's hands are totally clean. Obviously, we need public financing of elections if we really want to get corporate money out of government, and all the candidates agree on that. And what's with Edwards, although he was a Senator two years ago, suddenly pretending he's a Washington outsider? Please.

As for Senator Obama, he's trumpeting his brilliance in not being a supporter of the Iraq war and saying that he's a better foreign policy bet than Edwards and Clinton because of that. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing for sure what Mr. Obama would have done had he been in the same situation as Edwards and Clinton, since he was not in the Senate when he came out against the invasion. It was a lot easier to be against the war from the outside, without the pressure from the President and the Republic Majority and the doctored CIA reports saying Saddam had WMD.

In any case, although Al Gore is my first and most desperately-wished-for choice, I would vote for any of the Big Three. But right now, I still think Senator Clinton has the edge.

Tune in tomorrow...


Dirk Gently said...

and although I think Dennis Kucinich is by far the most progressive and I like his policies the best,

perhaps if everyone voted for the person whose policies they support the most, the best person would get elected.

personally, i think america is not only ready for kucinich, but that most americans agree with him. washington and the media may not be ready for him, but america is ready and waiting.

as things are, though, i agree. ms clinton will be our next president, barring some unforseen miracle or catastrophe.

madamab said...

Heh. I didn't say I would vote for Hillary in the primary. ;-)

I think Iowa and New Hampshire will kill Kucinich, but if not, I'm voting for him, even though he has no chance at all. I wanted HoDo in 2004 - I was a straight Deaniac. And obviously, he is doing an amazing job as head of the DNC, so perhaps that vote did some good.

Maybe Kucinich's profile in the election will get him a Cabinet position in Hillary's government, or some very plum committee chair. One can only hope. We need loud progressive voices at all levels of politics.