The top Democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, the two who were the primary focus of the debate yet again (and I make that conclusion by the order that the questions were asked of candidates), proved themselves to be subscribers to faulty logic that involves blaming Republicans and not taking responsibility within the party for failures in the past seven years. Obama used jargon such as “bad options and worse options”, “no promises”, “country at crossroads” and “need someone to bring people together”, “take on special interests”, “telling truth even when it’s tough”, “everything should be on the table”, etc. Clinton used jargon such as “I agree with Barack”, “don’t have votes”, “don’t want to talk about what might or what might not happen” (hypotheticals), “not gonna answer”, “bipartisan commitment”, “fiscal responsibility”, etc. The “top two” candidates, which have been decided to be the “top two” by media coverage and media polls taken, basically spent two hours telling the American people that they will not promise anything, they will not say that change can be made, they will not talk about possibilities even when that may give us insight into the mind of a future leader of America, and they will most certainly avoid answering questions specifically and instead use heavy-handed rhetoric. They will go to Republicans even when president to find out if their plan is acceptable to them or not. In relation to the "top two", the other candidates, appeared to distance themselves from the “top two” and attempt to overhaul their image in the eyes of the American people so they could be more like Kucinich or Gravel. These candidates (Biden, Dodd, Edwards, Richardson) should be thankful that the majority of American people are still unclear on who Gravel or Kucinich is and do not think about them as possiblities for president because they've been blacked out by the media.
Through this article, I intend to look at three key elements of this debate that should be focused on. One, I will look at the answers on Iraq. Two, I will look at the health care discussion. And three, I will examine the overall element of corporate power/special interests that Democratic candidates claim to stand against.
To help you understand where this article is coming from, understand that this Democratic debate had a high level of tunnel vision preventing it from really discussing the issues, which is what most debates suffer from. It neglected the idea that the two parties are the same and subjecting Americans to a two-party dictatorship. It neglected to look at the fact that Democrats are moving away from progressive and liberal ideas that are supposed to be the crux of the Democratic party. In essence, it neglected to ask if the party is anything more than one whose mascot is a donkey. For with recent failures in Congress and all other candidates (except Kucinich, Gravel, and surprisingly, Richardson) unwilling to go after Senate and Congressional Democrats, what can we really expect from these future leaders of America whom we expect to pummel any Republican opponent because polls show a Democrat will skate in whether a Democratic candidate has good policies or not?
Think about that as I move through the three key elements.
The Iraq Question
Tim Russert’s question went something like this: Will you pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by 2013 at the end of your first term as president? Any American who heard that, myself included, must have been put off by the fact that Russert wasn’t framing the debate around getting troops out in the first months in office. Russert had reframed the question so that Obama and Clinton would not refuse to talk because they cannot give “hypotheticals” or make “promises”. So, to play it safe, he moved the date 5 years ahead so that Obama and Clinton could indeed talk about their policies that they have written out and talked of on the campaign trail. This set the stage for Obama, Clinton, and Edwards to become the “war candidates” and not the anti-war ones they claim to be.
Only Kucinich, Gravel, Richardson, and to some extent, Dodd, really said they would be in no way continuing deployment in Iraq until 2013. By some extent, I mean that Dodd kind-of said the troops would be brought home in his first year or second year in office but definitely by 2013. Biden is an exception to the whole 2013 projection because he has a plan for de-facto partitioning of Iraq and federalizing the nation that, according to him, would curb civil warfare and genocide. His plan that I believe few of the top candidates understand but claim to support would mean we stay even further past 2013 if no political reconciliation occurs. This is what Obama is talking about when he calls for a continued military presence. This is why, possibly, Edwards “cannot make that commitment” to end the war. Obama, Edwards, Biden, and even Hillary who spoke out in favor of the Biden Amendment, support Biden whose plan would leave troops in to do what our troops have done in Bosnia for 10 years---“maintain peace.”