Friday, November 16, 2007

Thoughts on Last Night's Debate

Let me begin this post by stating that I have not picked a candidate to vote for in next year's primary, though I have a leaner(s). It should also be noted that I thought CNN did a craptacular job regarding presentation. The camera coordination was terrible, the format was run like a Misters and Mrs. America Pageant, and Leslie Blitzer provided plenty of moments of disservice to this country. Now, on to the carne y papas.

Drivers' Licenses

This was the cause of much turmoil for Hillary over the past couple of weeks so it was clear that 1) the topic would come up again, and 2) she would be prepared for it. Luckily for her, the CNN talking heads decided that the amazingly complex issue of immigration reform should be devalued to the status of a "yes or no"-type answer. Ridiculous.

Obama saw the farce for what it was and tried to refocus the conversation to the wider issue of overhauling the country's policies, but Leslie Blitzer wasn't having it, kept interrupting, and thanks to the tag-teaming by the zombie comentators afterwards, are working to spin it as his moment of "tripping up." Not only do I appreciate Obama working to widen the discussion, he's willing to support drivers' licenses for the right reasons and isn't afraid of weathering the attacks that will undoubtedly come from it.

As for the best answer on that issue, I would give it to Gov. Richardson. He understands
this issue perfectly and signed legislation in New Mexico years ago to do it. His citing of the stats in the state regarding reduction of traffic incidents as well as the increase in number of drivers insured showed that he knew the issue was coming that night.

Something like drivers' licenses for undocumented people in this country shouldn't be a dealbreaker - but it is for me because it shows that I can't trust the candidate to have the courage to fight back against the demonization of the people and families in the shadows. If they are going to cave on something so trivial, so fundamental to basic safety on the streets, then I can only imagine what they'll do with respect to further militarizing the southwest, building of additional concentration camps to hold the targets of workplace raids, and reasserting the dumbing down of the U.S. by wearing an English Only pin on their lapel.

So where do they stand?
Support: Kucinich, Obama, Richardson
Oppose: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards
Not surprising that two of my leaners are in the top line.

Racial Profiling

This issue came up during the audience Q&A period at the end. A gentleman by the name of Khalid Khan spoke in thickly-accented English about the discrimination that is faced in airports and everywhere else since 9/11. It seems like a no-brainer that all the candidates would denounce racial profiling - and they did - but I was proud that he was able to raise it to their awareness. It is happening on a widespread level, and while it's illegal, there is nothing being done to stop it. Paying lip service that "racial profiling won't be done in a Candidate X Administration" doesn't cut it. It's time to lead and it can be done now if they're feeling assertive.

Final Thoughts

One side of me wishes that CNN could return two hours of my life, the other side is thankful that Nevada got some well-deserved attention from the candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire voters are not the same type as those in this part of the country. We have different cultural experiences, different relationships towards the East Coast power sources, and deserve to have a much bigger say in how our lives are governed. The caucuses are approaching quickly and the more "mudslinging" that occurs, the more we'll learn how each person deals with criticism, pivots and recovers if they stumble, and hopefully - we'll understand exactly what type of leader they will be in the Oval Office and what policies they'll support.

[UPDATE] Roberto Lovato has more commentary

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