Friday, October 08, 2004

Listen To The Candidates Debate

I hope Kerry wins the election, but I don't think he won the debate. Kerry let a lot of opportunities to go for the kill go by.

When Bush was asked to name three mistakes, Bush claimed that the underpinning of that question was whether or not it was right to go into Iraq. I think Kerry should have said, no, that the underpinning of the question is whether or not, outside of his decision to stop drinking and the spirituality that came from it, Bush had a new idea in his head since he turned 10, and whether or not he was open to new ideas, and whether or not it is a good idea to have a President who really, truly was not open to new ideas.

When Bush continues to point out that Sadman Insane might still be in power if Kerry had been President, Kerry needs to point out that there has been no regime change in North Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Indonesia, Pakistan or Cuba over the last 4 years either. Why, if there were no weapons of mass destruction, and no ties to Al Qaeda, did regime change have to come in Iraq first? [I have an answer in my head, but it would be nice to know if the President has one.]

This is a hard thing to put into a debate format, but Bush says that he wants Supreme Court justices who are strict constructionists, who would have decided Dred Scott differently. Strict constructionists dominated the Supreme Court in 1857, and their strict construction of the Constitution, as it stood in 1857, as it applied to Dred Scott, was likely correct. Where a looser interpretation could have avoided civil strife, the Dred Scott court stood by its strict construction.

(Ironically, a strict construction of the Constitution in 2000 would have said that the litigants had not yet exhausted all the remedies in Florida, and that Bush v Gore could not be decided. Suddenly, the Supreme Court, to avoid civil strife, found that strict construction wasn't such a good idea. If the Supreme Court was composed of judges George Bush liked, Al Gore would most likely be President today.

And by the way, given the fact that there is a Republican President and a Republican Senate, why haven't some of the Republican Supreme Court justices stepped down? These justices are in their 70s and 80s, and their replacements would be in their 40s and 50s. The Democrats worst nightmare, the Republicans greatest dream, should be realized by now. I don't understand it.)

Moving on ---

The answer to the charge that John Kerry has voted to raise taxes 200 times, or 20,000 times, is to figure out how many times John McCain voted to raise taxes. I am sure its pretty close to the number of times Kerry voted to raise taxes. Senators raise taxes. If they didn't raise taxes, they wouldn't be Senators. They would antagonize too many people to be reeelcted.

In response to the accusation that the liberal answer to everything is to form a government bureaucracy, and that a Federal health care system would by its nature deprive the richest Americans of the best possible health care, Kerry should point out that the current system deprives the poorest Americans of any health care.

In response to the common complaint that if Kerry wins, an ambulance-chaser would be one accident away from the Oval Office, I would say that although there is a great need for tort reform, there are incompetent doctors and there are incompetent drug companies, and there is malpractice. Tort reform must be coupled with some way to make sure that where the laws of supply and demand don't work, that big medicine and big drug companies and big technology find a way to get rid of incompetence before the lawyers do.

The difference of opinion on tort reform goes back to the issue as to whether the President has ever made a mistake. The response to the two issues, taken together, is that the President feels that certain people, of a certain breeding or class, never make mistakes, and if they do, they should never have to pay for them. Accountability for thee but not for me. Talk about your flip flops!

I have written about this before, and I won't bore you with it again. The one paragraph version --- The right wing says that if you strip the government of its power, you enhance freedom. The "L" word says that if you strip the government of its power, you just give the power to the corporation and the church. It is an article of faith of the L-people that it is harder for so-called free people to get the corporation and the church to respond to them.

Incidentally, I keep hearing that the cost of insurance has gone up. It should be going up. Thanks to expensive advances in medicine, I am alive today. 20 years ago, I would be dead, and the insurance premiums would still be low. The insurance company would have never had to spend money even trying to keep me alive, since there were no available technologies to save me.

So anyway, Kerry could have done a better job. I don't think he lost the debate in the sense that he will suddenly be seen as incompetent or unelectable. However, given how aggressive Bush was during the debate, Kerry could have been more aggressive as well.