Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, September 05, 2003  

I have a lead on the transcript from last night's Democratic debate--I'll try to post some of it a bit later. In the meantime, a couple of reflections.

Everyone except Joe Lieberman looked good. Dean was authoritative and relaxed--he's running on the inside track and pacing himself. Kerry held his own, looked reasonable and presidential. Gephardt mustered a kind of fire I haven't seen in ten years, which looked good, whether or not it was authentic. Carol Mosely-Braun was the surprise candidate, offering a very clear take on a single-payer health care system. Kucinich actually had a bit of an off night, but as it was the first time anyone's had a chance to see him, he created some excitement. He and Dean consistently received the largest cheers from what appeared to be a liberal, insidery crowd.

Joe Lieberman's got to do something other than attack Dean with shrill, off-the-mark comments. As a group, the seven others (Sharpton wasn't there) looked focused and ready to mount a push to defeat Bush. Lieberman seemed lost on the war and the economy, and continued to identify Dean as the man to beat by referencing him each time he spoke.

Soft Spots
Dean has a great campaign going, but he may be in trouble of "fuzzy math" allegations if he doesn't reconcile his position that we should repeal the tax cuts, continue with the Iraq occupation, and expand health care. He may have a plan for how to do that, but on the surface, it doesn't seem to add up.

Kucinch had a bigger problem. After asserting that the first thing he'd do in office is pull out of NAFTA, Ray Saurez pressed him on the point. He asked how Kucinich could demand other countries pay their workers well and meet environmental standards while keeping prices from spiraling out of control. This is actually a big deal. Both US and Mexican workers have gotten screwed by NAFTA, and globalization seems to be brutal on US jobs, but any proposal will have to be accompanied by an explanation of how prices will stay reasonable and not bog down the economy. I don't know, personally, and I'd like an economist to answer it. Max is a Kucinich man, maybe he can help.

Final Thoughts
If it took a guy like Bush to make Democrats out of these candidates, then it may not all be a loss. They looked like Dems (except, of course, Lieberman). Folks like me who have cringed for a decade about the wishy-washy, conservative, corporate-coddling candidates we've had to choose from should be inspired this year. These guys are starting to talk the talk of liberalism again. It was cool to see.

posted by Jeff | 12:14 PM |
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