Benny's World

Friday, September 24, 2004

Debate Season

As many of us know, the first of 4 debates, including JRE and RC are coming up, starting next Thursday. Some of the JREG folks are asking about Debate Questions. I included a link from US at the beginning that takes one to a newsletter in which some of the issues are being discussed.

While certainly I have a bunch of questions, here's a fantasy debate: Mrs. Lynne Cheney and Elizabeth A. Edwards. Would it not be fascinating to see those two to talk about anything from Moms on a Mission (Iraq), Health care, woman's right to choose, civil unions (and why no one sees the gay daughter on the campaign), higher education, bankruptcies (Elizabeth's specialty) of small businesses, etc, extraordinary things as well.

Do post comments about questions you'd like to see on the issues?


I'm adding a video stream of Elizabeth A. Edwards on Keith Oberman's show a couple of weeks ago, thanks to JREG member, Lilfroggy. This is the first of two parts. I'd like to see a counterpart with Mrs. Cheney.

Another news item concerning Elizabeth A. Edwards (thanks, Lilfroggy), from JREG: Elizabeth Edwards points out Differences Between Tickets.

EAE, we can see the great communicator you are that JRE has been fascinated with for 27 years.


From the NYT:

Look for Substance, Not Sizzle
Commentary about the upcoming debates

As First Debate Nears, Rivals Seek to Bring Iraq Into Focus
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — Three days before their televised debate on foreign policy, President Bush ridiculed Senator John Kerry today, asserting that the Democratic challenger's shifting positions on Iraq make him ill-suited to lead as well as hard to debate.


When George Meets John
Excellent article by James Fallows concerning what the two candidates will have to do to be convincing Debate Resources
Includes debates with former opponents, both sides, articles from USA Today, the history of presidential debates and more.


How to Debate George Bush
Al Gore gives some tips for Kerry to debate Bush in this NYT Op-Ed piece.

We will have to see if Bush indeed will be very simple in responses, no talking points offered, as Ann Richards suggests? Is this the kind of leader we want?


Tonight is first night of the debates between the two candidates who are fighting for the undecided vote. One is an incumbent, the other a Vietnam soldier who is for more fiscal responsibility. One takes no responsibility for his actions, very different from a WWII generational president, Harry S. Truman, who said, "the buck stops here." Kerry, the challenger (although he appears now to be the underdog) in testifiying in Congress, spoke up about the non-strategic tactics he and his men had to do, that had nothing to do with democracy and freedom for our country. Sure, he was angry at our military leaders. He should have been: he represented very much of his generation. That took courage, and proved he was willing to take risks. Kerry is taking the biggest at all: debating the incumbent on his turf. He has come more than halfway to meet his opponent on these debates to be heard. If Kerry is perceived to be persuasive, it's a victory not just for the Democrats; it's leading to a victory at the polls for something we cherish so much: democracy.


From Paul Krugman of the NYT, who said what I wanted to say about tonight's debate, but he did it first, and probably best:

"Now it's Dick Cheney's turn.
Mr. Cheney's manufactured image is as much at odds with reality as Mr. Bush's. The vice president is portrayed as a hardheaded realist, someone you can trust with difficult decisions. But his actual record is one of irresponsibility and incompetence.
Case in point: Mr. Cheney completely misread the nature of the 2001 California energy crisis. Although he has stonewalled investigations into what went on in his task force, there's no real question that he placed his trust in the very companies whose market-rigging caused that crisis.
In tonight's debate, John Edwards will surely confront Mr. Cheney over that task force, over domestic policies and, of course, over Halliburton. But he can also use the occasion to ask more hard questions about national security.
After all, Mr. Cheney didn't just promise Americans that "we will, in fact, be welcomed as liberators" by the grateful Iraqis. He also played a central role in leading us to war on false pretenses.
No, that's not an overstatement. In August 2002, when Mr. Cheney declared "we now know Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," he was being dishonest: the administration knew no such thing. He was also being irresponsible: his speech pre-empted an intelligence review that might have given dissenting experts a chance to make their case.
So here's Mr. Edwards's mission: to expose the real Dick Cheney, just as Mr. Kerry exposed the real George Bush. "

To see the full opinion, click here. You have to be registered at the NYT to see it, but it is free if you register first.

From ABC News...
Cheney, Edwards a TV Study in Contrasts
UPDATED - Wednesday October 06, 2004 12:59am

Who Won Tonight's Debate?
Vice President Cheney
Senator Edwards
NEW YORK (AP) - No TV talent booker could have found more striking opposites than Dick Cheney (website - news - bio) and John Edwards (website - bio) in their vice presidential debate Tuesday night. If they hadn't been clashing in the campaign appearance of their lives, Vice President Cheney and his Democratic rival struck a visual contrast more commonly found in vaudeville comics or TV anchormen. Seated across the table from moderator Gwen Ifill, Cheney and Edwards each was yin to the other's yang: old and young; contained and effusive; gruff and twangy; slouchy and peppy; Darth Vader and Peter Pan. They even differed in their fluid intake. Unlike Cheney, Edwards repeatedly took sips from his mug.
Cheney, Edwards a TV Study in Contrasts (source: AP) Earlier, several media pundits had forecast that the more intimate seating arrangement would inhibit the kind of combative give-and-take that isolated lecterns might promote. Afterward, NBC's Tom Brokaw was one observer who corrected the record. This debate, he said, "proved you can have hand-to-hand combat while seated." The networks, reprising their policy from last Thursday's first presidential debate, broke the rules, too, by showing the debaters' reaction shots - an explicit no-no. But this time, neither candidate was caught unawares in the glare of split-screen, as President Bush (website - news - bio) had been, repeatedly seen blinking and looking annoyed while his opponent, John Kerry (website - news - bio) , replied to a question. Instead, Cheney, in reaction, favored a wary sidelong stare. Edwards often jotted notes, a bit theatrically, on his pad, and, late in the debate, ripped a page from that pad, its sound interfering with Cheney's words. During the 98-minute faceoff at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ifill - of PBS' "NewsHour" and "Washington Week in Review" - generally handled her duties with poise, although she did bobble one sequence. Despite the sometimes testy exchanges between the two candidates, the campaign's sole vice-presidential debate wasn't great theater. But as television, it made for a vivid display of clashing styles - even with the sound turned off.

I saw Mary Cheney tonight, yet her father opposes in public her lifestyle. It was nice to see Elizabeth, dressed in purple, and the JRE/EAE young ones, Emma Claire, and Jack (who was bored by Dick Cheney--Jack looked a bit sleepy).

JRE, good job! The moderator started with foreign policy, which was good for Cheney; economy at the end, good thing for you and your running mate. Uncommitteds (according to CBS) rated you higher and perceive you could be president, if necessary. Well, some of us knew that since the Iowa caucus in January. :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2004


I've been reading some ACT reports on JREG, concerning their "get the vote" out in West Virginia and Pennsylvannia. In a time that our current economy is a jobless recovery and the worst since Herbert Hoover, Arthurdale, a project in West Virginia came to mind. Arthurdale was a special project of Eleanor Roosevelt's. She was able to get funds and used quite a bit of her own to create a better community in supplying new homes with indoor plumbing (at a time even my mom was still using an outdoor toliet), modern appliances, and got her friends to supply jobs. Just think with all of the weath that was created by the mess in Iraq, and all of the executives who continued to get bonuses while outsourcing their jobs; they could have been creating better communities in the US.

It saddens me that to read WV is still a very conservative state, despite having senators who have gone to bat for them, and they are more worried about the Bible being banned than having better opportunities.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Edwards Speaks Out On Lou Dobbs

John Edwards was given a chance to "speak out" on CNN's Lou Dobb's show. He spoke about border safety, tax breaks for US companies who keep and create jobs here, and the "mess in Iraq". Share with us what you thought his speech, Kerry's news conference in Florida, and Bush's speech to the UN General Assembly.