Thoughts on the South Carolina Debate

The Democrat Debate this Monday was painful.  It really hurt to watch it.  But, since I missed the boat on the last debate, let me make a couple of comments on this one (I really need to do this thing the next day).

First, watching Clinton and Obama go after each other, I could see the Republicans winning the election the next cycle.  Clinton actually accused Obama of representing slum lords in Chicago??  Obama has been in some hot water for a land deal with this guy Rezco for some time, and for a legitimate reason.  He purchased land from him to increase the size of his backyard while Rezco was under a grand jury investigation.  It’s not only dumb to do deals with people under investigation while you’re a politician, but doing it to have a bigger back yard is a pretty good sized knock against a “change” candidate such as Obama.  Let’s just draw an extra distinction between you and the average American, shall we Barack?

But to levy the claim that he was representing a slum lord was erroneous and irresponsible.  First, as Barack claimed, he wasn’t representing him.  He was representing a client who was also working with Rezco, Central Woodlawn Limited Partnership.  This might seem flimsy, but bear with me . . .  The one example the Chicago Tribune lists of such a representation was when Central Woodlawn was working with Rezco to renovate some low-income housing.  During the renovation, the City of Chicago issued Central Woodlawn a citation due to 16 serious code violations.  This might sound bad, except remember the whole purpose of the work was to make this housing better.  Obama appeared in court, but not on behalf of Rezco or his company, and within two months all the violations were taken care of.  So it seems Obama was working in a greater capacity to alleviate slums than to protect the slum lords.

At any rate, why levy such charges against one in your own party who may be running for President?  Talk about a page out of the Republican’s book.  I guess she saw how successful Bush was at slandering McCain in 2000.  After all, the Clinton’s have spent so much time at the Bush’s that it’s not hard to see the transformation there.

Clinton also said a couple other things that kinda ercked me.  First, she said that every time Obama was confronted with a vote he made that may not be too great he always had an excuse or a reason for voting that way.  I don’t really understand this argument.  Does she not have reasons for voting the way she does?  Does she just randomly vote?  Maybe, since she votes for laws she “was happy [never] became law.”  I would rather someone vote for a bill in a way that I don’t like, but have a reason for doing so, then just randomly vote for a bill, or only vote for a bill because it’s the politically “safe” thing to do (which both her and her husband have a habit of).

The other thing that really stood out was her accusation of Obama “evolving” opinions on issues, right before she stated that she would start withdrawal of troops in Iraq within sixty days.  For those of you who don’t remember, Clinton said she couldn’t guarantee withdrawal of troops from Iraq for much of the campaign; more or less right up until it became obvious that promise was a perquisite for winning the nomination.

Also, I thought it was a little unfair for Clinton and Edwards to gang up on Obama about the “present” votes.  Look, I’m from Illinois, and know that in this state if a vote fails to pass but garnishes enough “present” votes, there is a strong likelihood of the bill being modified and coming back to the floor.  If it all out fails without a bunch of “present” votes than it’s probably dead.  Their argument was based solely upon an ignorance of the Illinois General Assembly and how it operates (because Clinton abandoned the state like she’s Reagan).  But since only people in Illinois would immediately understand the argument behind their position, it may actually negatively effect Obama.  Sad.

But the back and forth between Obama and Clinton at the debate was bad in both directions.  It seriously impaired the Democrats’ ability to nominate the next President.  Though if Clinton gets the nod that might not be such a bad thing.

I’ll say this, though, Edwards went a long way, and I mean a loooong way, towards changing my mind about whom I’m going to vote for on the 5th.  I’m still leaning Obama because I think it’s between him and Clinton, and I almost see myself voting for McCain (sorry, Mom) or Romney before her.  But if Edwards wins South Carolina, I will seriously consider voting for him.

Finally, if Clinton does win, I think we’ll see Kucinich run as an independent or as the Green Party candidate.  He made it very clear that he could not support a Hillary Clinton ticket, and I would not be surprised at all if he decides to pull a Nader.

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