ABC & Fox Debates
As we approach Tuesday's first in nation Primary in New Hampshire, ABC aired relevant debates between the Presidential hopefuls from both Parties. To their credit, ABC significantly changed the tiresome biased showcases presented as fair and balanced debates. Fox, although inviting only Republican candidates, fashioned a format more helpful to the voting process as well.
ABC's Charlie Gibson and Fox's Chris Wallace asked pertinent questions to the field of candidates sitting before them and more importantly, allowed sufficient time for each candidate to answer in depth, confront each other and contrast the slim differences between them; differences that voters are eager to know before they cast a vote that could transform the nature of the race and ultimately the formulation of Party Politics.
Hillary v. Obama
After the firestorm in Iowa that devastated Hillary's inevitability and enhanced Obama's electability, all eyes and ears were on Hillary's ensuing survival tactics. As it turns out she attempted to belittle the voters for emotionally backing, what she considers, a naive movement to HOPE for government change from a light-weight man who lacks the experience to fight the establishment in DC and transform their hopes into reality.
All her shrill criticism showed is that SHE is part of the crippled partisan government that has failed miserably to make the Government work for the People; and that she is devoid of the comity necessary to achieve that dream. Hillary Clinton, who panders relentlessly to special interests on the Left, has no deep rooted core values that she won't change for her advantage. It is apparent that she, more than any other candidate, must defend the status quo from which she derives her 35 years of experience and resist the hopeful generational change movement because it would render her powerless.
Gibson asked the Democrats a question that other moderators dutifully omitted.."Why don't any of you recognize the progress in Iraq?" AND, if an American city suffers a nuclear attack, what would you as President do about it? Bill Richardson, whose knowledge of the current facts on those fronts seems seriously outdated and uninformed, stuttered when he said that Musharraf should be forced to resign by the USA. Edwards would urge that the people stay calm and don't over-react if bombed. You could hear a universal sigh of disbelief.
The rest of them rejected that the reports of progress NOW alters not one iota their initial objections to invading Iraq in the first place or Bush's strategic mistakes as CIC. Gibson noted Hillary's remark to Gen.Petraeus declaring the common consensus of Democrats when he reported to Congress: "it would require a wilful suspension of disbelief." To this point, it is still not clear what Hillary Clinton would do if CIC.
Obama's response was that the definition of victory is too vague and credited the Democratic take over of the majorities in Congress for the Iraqi tribal change of heart against Al Qaeda. Democrats still seem clueless on the dangers confronting the United States from radical Islamic terrorism. However, they spoke muscularly about combating Nuclear terrorism vis a vis Pakistan and the capture of Osama binLaden, albeit, without relating any credible details on how that would be accomplished or what they'd do if a US city was attacked.
Republicans on the Spot
Instead of focusing on questions usually asked to R-candidates that provoke predictable answers required by the Party platform, Gibson induced the candidates to comment in full on the details of their Illegal Immigration solutions, Islamic terrorism, Health Care and (a new consideration) the distinctions between them and Barack Obama's policy agenda.
What astonished me most was how most of our candidates got twisted in knots trying to infuse compassion into their proposed answers to the massive problem of dealing with Illegal Immigration. They were apologetic for wanting to enforce the Law.
To my surprise, Ron Paul's explanation of why Illegal Immigration is strongly opposed by the American people and a detriment to common welfare of the United States was the most convincing and UNapologetic. He linked it to the economic well being of our Country; i.e., the expansion of the welfare state to illegals limits opportunities for American citizens by requiring hospitals to provide free medical care to millions; Public Schools to provide education and bi-lingual instruction; employers hire illegals as a source of cheap labor; and in Sanctuary Cities, police are ordered by local officials not to enforce the Federal Immigration Laws.
All of this burdens the taxpayer; endangers the solvency of hospitals and schools, keeps wages for the American worker below standards, and enables non-citizen law breakers to run free. Therefore, unfettered illegal immigration deminishes the quality of life for citizens of the United States.
FOX..blinded by the Right
Chris Wallace did a good job prodding the candidates to confront each other by asking questions of concern to Republican voters on Illegal Immigration, Iraq, Islamic terrorism, energy independence, taxes and the economy. They were also asked; "How would each of them alter their tactics to campaign against Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton." Polls in NH have Obama 10pts ahead of Hillary Clinton and it's the judgement of most polital gurus that she will NOT be the Democratic Nominee.
They all performed well and McCain, the current front-runner in NH, defended his record on tax cuts and Romney's accusation that he sponsored Amnesty for illegal immigrants. Mitt Romney was confident and well prepared as he fought to appear the most Conservative among McCain, Huckabee and Thompson. Romney doesn't get it...NH independents and Republicans are less Conservative on social issues than Romney pretends to be..Huckabee did get a small bounce out of his win in Iowa and as NH sees more of him he'll finish third in NH..a good showing in a state with few evangelicals.
(Romney:I approve this message)
What really disillusioned me about the Fox event was the Frank Luntz's focus group of "supposed" undecideds. The group unanimously made a decision after the debate to vote for Mitt Romney. UNBELIEVABLE that they didn't know before the debate that they were leaning towards Romney or that Luntz and Fox didn't plan this as a boost for Romney.
The focus group all disliked Huckabee's open religiousity. None of them liked McCain...even though his record of reform and fighting against the establishment aligns him with the Obama wave of "change." The post debate commentary raved about Romney and hardly mentioned McCain's probable win in NH and his ability to attract Independents, moderate Republicans and cross-over votes; essentially the same voters that might consider Obama.
(Wings don't fly)
FOX was not fair and balanced or in my opinion in line with the current fervor of the people in Iowa, NH or of the whole Nation. Sadly, it appears that the Right Wing and the Left Wing will cling to the status quo and the fleeting power that comes with it; regardless of the futility of flying against the over-powering Winds of Change.