I apologize for not being around for a while. I had two posts last week that blogger.com ate during their maintenence period, including my debate review that I spent quite a bit of time authoring. GRRR. After that I was quite sick (flu bug), but I am finally back.
Let me begin with the short version of my observations on the previous candidate debate:
The big thing that I noticed is that Gabby Giffords is a lightweight and would accomplish little other than cast a vote for Pelosi as Speaker if elected to Congress. Here is my reasoning to back that up:
At the beginning of the debate, in her opening statement (or close to it) she placed her cards on the table. She brought up her shining example of non-partisan compromise. It was a bill that she said benefited Holocaust survivors and their families. This is classic Giffords. The Holocaust was a terrible event, probably one of the most evil acts to occur in all of history. However, this event has absolutely nothing to do with Arizona some sixty years later, or at least to the extent that involves legislation. Is there anybody in Arizona responsible for this action, or did not have a proper understanding of the depths of horrors that occurred? At what point did Giffords need to step in and take ownership of the State's contrition? How did this bill benefit her constituents and the problems they face now? Where does she rate this in accordance with the skyrocketing property crime, health insurance issues, or the struggles that we are having in education? The truth is that this was meant to be a "easy" bill, free of controversy and therefore tough leadership. Most, if not all of the bills that originate with Giffords fall into this category.
She then explained how she was instrumental in forming a "Coalition for Children" shortly after forming the "Coalition for snuggly puppies" but before the "Coalition for puffy Unicorn stickers." Her grand accomplishment for the coalition was pushing for all-day Daycare, I mean Kindergarten, effectively diluting by half the teacher to student ratio during the time when students are first adjusting to the school system. The victory for children was debatable, but it certainly was a victory for daycare bills. Gabby was a little fuzzy about her actual sponsorship of this bill, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.
My impression of Giffords is currently short on substance, long on anecdotes, generalizations, and "feel-goodiness". I have yet to see a truly courageous stance on any issue of any substance where she actually led. I am open for examples, but so far I haven't seen any or been given any reason to believe that she would stand up for any issues not pre-approved by her party, or Ms. Pelosi. If any commentors wish to educate me, I am open to persuasion.
I am not even going to say much about her belief that raising the minimum age on Social Security does not qualify as a benefit cut or that Global Warming (and by association Republican policy) is directly responsible for the eight year drought we have been experiencing in the Sonoran Desert. I will choose to believe she would take those back if given a chance.
That being said, I am not too pleased that the new smear site has linked us and I ask them to take it down. My part of the party is better than that. We will run on ideas and leave sensationalist "Gotchas" to the other side. I was hard on Giffords, but this was based on her record and policy which is always open for examination and should be open to debate. Gifford's weaknesses lie in her lack of leadership, her avoidance of anything controversial, and her ties to interests that could compromise her ability to independently represent this district. I decry the personal attacks that have been made such a part of this campaign no matter where they come from.
We have a choice, and it should not be determined by whisperings of indiscretion, feigned outrage, breathless and baseless accusations, and mean-spiritedness. A lot of us need to grow up. If each one of us does not learn to be civil, even with Americans that diametrically oppose us, then what is the point of politics other than to prosecute and slime one another. If your ideas can't compete, clear the field and let someone else play. If you want to cheerlead rather than debate ideas, pick a football team.
I do have to say that for the most part however, the comments section of this site has been a classier corner of the blogosphere, and would like to thank all those involved.