Eventually I had planned to write up something about the Vice Presidential Debate, but I didn't realize the demand would be so great--- Today I received four separate emails asking for my opinion on the debate and as I was getting out of my car at school today some guy just stops me and asks me who I thought "won." (I guess the Kerry and Kennedy bumper stickers on my car gave me away!)
So here it goes and it will be somewhat scatter-brained as I haven't yet worked it all out in my head as of yet and I'll organize it by order of topic, bear with me. (and if you missed it here is the transcript or if you are really desperate I have four pages of notes on the debate itself, just ask...)
Paul Bremmer released a statement two days ago stating that the U.S. has not supplied enough troops for the effort. If the former Ambassador to Iraq is going to state such a thing, I am going to side with him. Edwards gave no data stating that he and John Kerry were prepared to either increase or decrease the number of troops in Iraq. Dick Cheney stated that: "what we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action." That somehow did not comfort me either because 1) they know now that Saddam had no WMDs and 2) our soldiers are still being killed daily and the numbers are rising monthly. No one "won" this argument as far as I'm concerned, but neither candidate said anything horribly wrong that lost them the argument either.
I'm confident that we did the right thing going in to Afghanistan following the events of 9/11. I'm pleased to hear that women are voting, children are going to school, and minorities are being recognized, BUT (and forgive me for sounding Kerry-esque)... We have let up on Osama Bin Laden if we have not yet captured him. Dick Cheney says we have not let up on the terrorist, but as Edwards and Kerry have both mentioned, we left Bin Laden at Tora Bora. That is letting up as far as I'm concerned. The real winners when it comes the issue of Afghanistan are the troops over there that are doing everything in their power to maintain control and peace. This success is not either a win for Edwards or Kerry, but reflects highly on the Bush administration. If only we had Bin Laden...
3. THE GLOBAL TEST
I'm going to have to side with Cheney on this one, Kerry made a big flub when he brought up the Global test in last week's debates, but Edwards was correct in that I think it is very important that the U.S. have decent credibility and the world needs to know that when the U.S. takes action it is for a reason. This one is a touchy subject for everyone involved, I am trying to avoid it all together!
4. INTERNATIONALIZING THE EFFORT
This is the part when no matter what is said I'm gung-ho about the Kerry/Edwards ticket. The Bush administration abandoned allies going in to Iraq and when it came down to reconstruction it continued to abandon the coalition. It is absolutely essential to the effort in Iraq and future foreign relations of the United States to have strong ties to the United Nations. We must form a coalition... a strong coalition, not the skaky coalition of Great Britain, Australia (oh, and Poland!).
Cheney felt that Edwards was presenting an echo of a plan, Cheney didn't present a plan at all, maybe an echo is better than nothing. All I know is that we must respect and appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister Allawi, but we also must realize the coalition is much broader, or at least needs to be.
The fundamental issue here is that during the Bush administration 1.6 million private sector jobs have been lost. 4 million Americans have fallen into poverty. The Bush administration is for the outsourcing of jobs, sending jobs overseas. Flat out--the Bush administration is the first administration in 70 years to not have created jobs. That is ridiculous. In the last 70 years there has been a World War, not to mention several recessions. If the Bush administration cannot create jobs they aren't going to win the issue period.
Now of course this one hits home with me and it could be a post of its own, but for the sake of time I will just remind my readers that yes, the Bush administration has created No Child Left Behind, establishing a system of high standards for American schools, a program that was great in logic, but lacking in reality, but the administration has failed to pass the mandates to fund it. 1/2 of Hispanics and African Americans are dropping out of high school. Tuition is rising in colleges and universities all over the country. The Bush administration has failed to strengthen education. Enough said.
Ok---so those are the six key points that I see making or breaking the election for either side. I am choosing not to comment on the Israeli/Palestinian dilemma that was mentioned in the debates or the issue of Iran and North Korean, I'm sure I have commented on these before or will eventually. I am also choosing not to spend a paragraph on health care-- it frustrates me more than education ever could! I don't want to comment on Haleburton or the AIDS epidemic, because I don't think either were addressed appropriately.
I will say that in regard to same-sex marriage it should be left up to the states. There should not be a constitutional amendment stating that marriage should be strictly between a man and a woman (this amendment is supported by Bush), I don't really think that government can place that kind of a restriction on its citizens. Traditional marriages do not have to be accepted from state to state so I see no problem with same sex marriages facing that same rule. It was very noble for Edwards to not pick apart Cheney for his stand against same sex marriage, given the circumstances with his daughter, and I think it was even nobler for Cheney to thank him and drop the subject completely. I'm interested in what Bush will say on this topic, but the most "human" (if that's the word for it) moment of the debate was while on the topic of same-sex marriage.
And last, but certainly not least... when mentioning the hope to garner votes from both sides of the isle, Zell Miller isn't the best example, Mr. Cheney.