Held at the nation's premier HBCU, the 3rd democratic presidential candidate debate presented a refreshing change-of-pace. For once, the moderator did not spend half the debate discussing Iraq and instead focused on issues more germane to this country. Of course, most people don't realize this - which isn't necessarily their fault - this administration has been intent on paralyzing our citizens under an raging cloud of fear since 9.11. Instead, on a day when the Supreme Court turned Brown v. Board on its head and turned back the calendar to 1950, much of the nation's concern still rested with either Paris Hilton on her first day out of jail, or the mounting (and wholly unnecessary) casualties of innocent Iraqis and American troops.
The qualified candidates spoke eloquently (by qualified candidate, I do not mean Mike Gravel or Bill Richardson) on a gamut of issues ranging from education to AIDS, from outsourcing to poverty, and from criminal legislation to Darfur. My general feeling is that the three gentlemen pictured here did well for themselves in the debate. Some particularized comments:
1) Richardson annoys the heck out of me
2) Gravel is a lunatic (did he really accuse the other candidates of lacking moral character?)
3) I wish Barack hadn't insisted on clarifying that he tested for AIDS with Michele during the debate - this is the type of male machismo and veiled homophobia that is completely inappropriate in this type of forum. That more isn't done with AIDS, especially in its early days, is directly attributable to homophobia. Barack's unnecessary correction made me wince.
4) The NYTimes may be right - Edwards talks a big game on poverty, but what does he really propose? He offered some platitudes on the inequities of low capital gains taxes, but did not utter a word on whether/how he would change it. Let's see some solid proposals John.
5) Hillary is incredibly boring to watch during debates - she seems robotically programmed by her campaigners (which could be true - I just don't know).
6) I am disappointed that none of the leading candidates spoke what they know to be the truth on the outsourcing issue. The problem doesn't lie in the phenomon, it lies in the remedy. Protective tariffs and subsidies are not the issue, improving preschool and k-12 education for all is absolutely sine qua non for America to compete in the global economy. Understandably, the candidates can't say no to subsidies and tariffs if they want the union vote. That's part of what makes SCOTUS's k-12 school race-policy decision yesterday so incredibly anachronic, empirically unjustified, legally faulty, and a moral tragedy.
7) Dick Cheney is evil (wholly unrelated to the debate, but just wanted to throw that out there).