Democratic Debate in Philadelphia

I watched the MSNBC Democratic debate that occurred in Philadelphia a few nights ago. I was disappointed that Mike Gravel wasn’t there. He certainly would have made the whole thing more entertaining. Overall, the event was rather tepid. As I’ve said before, I mostly watch the Republican debates, and I’m accustomed to hearing thunderous applause or booing, especially when Ron Paul speaks. There is also more laughter from the audience towards the candidates’ jokes, even when John McCain recycles the ones he’s used before. But I didn’t see much audience reaction in the Democratic debate. Obama tried to crack some jokes about Mitt Romney, but he was met with silence. The Democratic candidates bashed Bush hard, but the audience was silent. Only toward the end was there a lot of laughter, and that was in response to Kucinich’s UFO experience. I had to entertain myself somehow through the whole ordeal, so I did so by putting words into the candidates’ mouths. I won’t repeat what I said here, but, rest assured, it was nothing racist or sexist.

So why the tepid reaction? Do people share my belief that the Republican candidates are simply more cool than the Democratic ones (except for Mike Gravel)? Maybe MSNBC has tighter security, the type that Bill Maher may want to hire to control his own audience. It could be an MSNBC thing. I don’t remember if there was much audience reaction in the MSNBC Republican debate, but the audience was wild in the Fox News and Tavis Smiley ones.

Most of the debate centered on Hillary. She handled herself rather well, even though I did see the Hillary scowl every now and then. I don’t like Hillary, but she doesn’t exactly turn me off the way that Gore always did (and does). She acknowledges when others make good points. She smiles and laughs. She’s still arrogant, but there is something winsome in the image that she projects.

I was a little confused by her Iraq policy. She said that she supports keeping some combat troops in Iraq, but she wants them to fight Al Qaeda. According to her, most of the Democratic candidates want American soldiers to fight Al Qaeda, even though they contradict themselves by affirming that combat troops should be withdrawn. Do most of the Democratic candidates really believe this? And why should we focus on fighting Al Qaeda and not the other insurgents? She would probably respond that Al Qaeda attacked us, and that reasoning makes some sense, but I wonder how feasible her policy actually is. How would American soldiers differentiate between the Al Qaeda insurgents and the other ones? And would the other insurgents leave alone the few American troops that Hillary wants to remain in Iraq? I’m not a foreign policy expert, but these are some questions that I have.

As I’ve said before, Joe Biden can be a jerk, but I was actually glad that he was one in the Philadelphia debate. He added some life to the party. For one, he really hit Rudy hard. He said that Rudy was underqualified to be President, and that his every other sentence is “noun, verb, and 9/11.” You’re treading on sacred territory, Joe! I also liked the way that Biden hit Richardson hard. I get sick of Richardson acting like he is the only candidate with foreign policy experience just because he negotiated the release of a few hostages. I’m sure the hostages are grateful, as I would be if I were a hostage, but I wouldn’t entrust our nation’s foreign policy to Richardson on the basis of that.

Marijuana got discussed. Dodd favors decriminalizing it because that would create more space in prisons. Brian Williams (or maybe it was Tim Russert) asked if anyone on the stage disagreed with him. Not surprisingly, Kucinich’s hand stayed down, but (if I was seeing correctly) so did Obama’s. I looked at Barack Obama on the Issues to see Obama’s drug policy, and that didn’t help much, except it said that he used marijuana before (which, after Clinton and Bush II, does not surprise or outrage too many). I don’t know where I stand on decriminalizing marijuana. I agree with Dodd that prisons are overcrowded, but I also think that marijuana can influence people to do some crazy and harmful things. But, then again, so can alcohol, and that remains legal.

Regarding Kucinich’s UFO experience, I really don’t care. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan reportedly saw UFOs, and Reagan was still a good President. I’m more concerned that Kucinich is a New Ager and trusts Shirley MacLaine to be his daughter’s godmother. Does Kucinich think that he is Mayetera, the New Age Messiah? Maybe I’m reading too much Constance Cumbey!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Candidates, Current Events, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.