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The First Debate: Iraq or Afghanistan, and No Solution for the Economy

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kevin Gosztola       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   22 comments

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Besides the fundamental flaw with the debate---the lack of more voices and more choices on stage---the moderator for this debate, Jim Lehrer, was way better than I expected. I did not expect Lehrer to probe further and push the discussion of the economy by asking the same question once, twice, and then rephrased a few more times.

Since the debate just came to an end, I do not have a transcript at my fingertips to reference. I have to rely on memory. But, the memory have right now is not a good one.

Why do the two candidates that pundits on FOX News would call “practiced” and that pundits might say on other channels were “at the top of their game”---why do they leave a bad taste in my mouth?

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It’s not acceptable to say that my support for third party options in this election is why this debate stood no chance of satisfying my political intellect and ambition. Had the two actually discussed the issues and made the points that the American people deserve to hear presidential candidates make, I would have found myself considering a vote for one or the other.

But, Jim Lehrer had to ask multiple times what fundamental changes would be taken to fix the economy. Neither answered the question, really.

McCain offered some remarks on how spending needed to be cut.

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Obama offered some remarks on how this economy issue feeds into the need for energy independence.

Both failed tremendously to put forth meaningful solutions, and that was because both are okay with the bailout of Wall Street.

For all that Obama has said on the campaign trail, nothing was said of Main Street or the need for bottom-up policies to fix the trickle-down policies that have tainted this country.

For all that McCain has said on the campaign trail, he has flip-flopped on the economy so much that it is clear he is politically posturing himself through the use of campaign ploys and cheap gimmicks. (How else do you wind up choosing Sarah Palin to be your VP?)

As the debate transitioned into foreign policy, it became painfully clear that we were in for more of the same.

Obama was against the war because it was a poor choice. It was a bad war. He wanted a larger scale war waged in Afghanistan.

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McCain was for the war but criticized the strategy. We would not, according to him, be greeted as liberators and now Gen. Petraeus has given us a strategy for achieving victory.

But, to both of the candidates, there is nothing wrong with fighting for victory in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Neither asks if we have the right to fight militarily for victory.

Neither questions the “war on terror.”

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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