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Change by the Ounces or Change by the Gallons?

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The presidential race, which has been whittled down to five main candidates who include Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Richardson, and Kucinich, is creating a new battle between the remaining candidates. With Obama’s victory in Iowa, the election’s all-encompassing theme has become “change.” The options for “change”, the kind of “change” and how much “change” will occur still remains undefined. It is in the next leg of this election during primary season that the field of Democratic candidates will be tested on what they call for “change,” and each candidate can count on every detail being picked apart by his or her opponents as well as the media or press covering him or her.

This was demonstrated in last night’s debate held by the corporatist news network, ABC News, and hosted by or I mean, moderated by Charlie Gibson. A special section of the debate addressed "change," and in fact, Edwards called for unfiltered discussion to get the best change failing to note that he is was participating in a debate that has been filtered. 

As the candidates talked about Pakistan and what they would do, each of them came inches away from fully supporting the Bush Doctrine of foreign policy that has gotten us into the sticky situations we are currently experiencing in the Middle East.

While Obama may have a plan to get out of Iraq, does he have a plan to keep another Iraq from happening that does not resemble the go-it-alone strategy we have been using for the past seven years?

The candidates went on to talk about economy and taxes but forgive me if I do not remember what exactly they talked about because the debate erupted into Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dum bickering. It became a he said, she said debacle, which Edwards took charge and noted and then proceed to engage in.

If the candidates cannot just simply talk the policy, speeches they cite to boost their campaigns, and track records (which does not include what so-and-so said on CNN or was quoted saying in the Associated Press), than how can we expect any of them to truly unify the nation for change in the manner they suggest?

The most dim-witted moment was when Charlie Gibson took the debate to an all-time low asking what you would wish you had done after a nuclear weapon blew up in America and what would be your first course of action.

How can we expect true and meaningful change if these candidates cannot recognize a lousy and baited question who’s answer which nobody chose to respond with should have been, “I will never allow a nuclear weapon to go off”?

Answering the question on what you would wish you had done and starting to deal in hypotheticals (which Obama and Clinton refused to do a few months ago in previous debates) with such a science fiction or disaster movie scenario sets you up for being targeted as not being strong in national security. It opens the door for someone to say a nuclear weapon could get past Obama, Clinton, or Edwards.

What would you wish you had done? You would wish you had stopped it! End of discussion.

Yet, all of these candidates bowed down and agreed to cooperate and answer Gibson’s questions based on fear. They agreed to give answers that on paper would look not much different from the answers a Republican might have given. All of them said they would retaliate without even bothering to suggest that retaliation could lead to more nuclear weapons being fired at America.

It was in Dennis Kucinich and later on Joe Biden (who gave us the great line that every sentence Giuliani speaks is a noun, a verb, and 9/11) that I came to enjoy watching the debate because not only were those candidates using their intelligent minds to answer questions but Dennis and Joe were using their sharp wit to process the underlying meaning of the questions they were being asked.

With Obama’s brows furrowed, with Edwards eyes squinted into focus, and with Hillary calmly sitting with a stiff posture and legs crossed, the three racked their brains for what should have been simple questions at this stage in the election. These answers should be at the tip of their tongue and they should not seem to be creating policy as they speak as they often did.

Preparing answers doesn’t mean you give a prepared series of sentences. You can still formulate what you are thinking in to a beautiful diatribe. But neither offered any response worth inspiring me to care about what they had to say.

Forgive me for phasing out Bill Richardson. His email from his campaign incorrectly reads that the election has been whittled down to four candidates. He claims he is the only one calling for troops out of Iraq, which under those parameters is true. He unlike Hillary, Barack, and John would do better with Iraq than they would. But he for his convenience phases out Dennis Kucinich, and in turn, will be forced to quit the race or be excluded in the next couple debates as he ends up in the same situation as Dennis has---as he begins to not fit the narrative of Black man vs. White Woman. He fails to realize how he could benefit from calling for Dennis’ inclusion so that he can remain in the debates too.

With last night’s debate behind us, it becomes now of utmost importance that we begin to take them to task on the issue of Iraq as well as for the issues they ignore like civil liberties, impeachment, our damaged Constitution and separation of powers, corporatism, the “Shock Doctrine” policy our government allows, media reform, etc. It becomes of utmost importance that each candidate be challenged with the following:

Hillary – Sixty days out of Iraq? How? What would that plan look like? Where did that come from? You have never spoken about that. What has changed so troops can be brought home before 2013? Does bringing the troops home depend on political improvements in Iraq or not? Would you leave a residual force? How many troops? Will these troops help or not help the insurgency? Do the people of Iraq want us out and will you listen to them? Are you prepared to admit failure and move on to repairing our foreign policy?

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
 

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Before you so glibly wave away the threat of a nuc... by Sherwin Steffin on Wednesday, Jan 9, 2008 at 2:06:06 PM
And believe me, you have no reason to fear Orwelli... by Kevin Gosztola on Wednesday, Jan 9, 2008 at 3:29:16 PM