Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Master Debaters - St. Louis Blues (Part 2)

Question #9: Senator Kerry is asked to reconcile choosing a running mate who has made millions by suing medical professionals with his concerns of rising health care. Kerry claims that John Edwards is an advocate of patients' rights, and that they both support tort reform. He glazes over the details of his plans, inviting people to read it for themselves at johnkerry.com. (You know. On the Internets.) He then points out that, while Bush and his team claim that lawsuits are responsible for driving up health care costs, they only actually represent 1% of the total cost. Kerry says he has a plan to provide affordable health care for everybody, and he'll be able to fund this by rolling back Bush's tax cut for people making more than $200,000 a year.

I'm not sure what happens to Bush at this point. He refers to Kerry as "Senator Kennedy" and starts blathering on about how the National Journal named him the most liberal senator of all. He disputes Kerry's claim of 1%, and accuses Kerry of trying to create government-sponsored health care because "that's what liberals do."

Kerry accuses Bush of trying to use the "liberal" label to frighten voters, and then tears into Bush's supposed "compassionate conservativism." Claims labels don't matter. What matters is whether or not you have a plan.

Bush responds by attacking Kerry's attendance record in the Senate over the previous year. You know, while he was campaigning.

Question #10: President Bush is asked to explain why his spending plans are superior to Kerry's. Bush starts off on the defensive by claiming that he inherited a recession from Clinton, which caused the deficit. And he is worried about the deficit, but he's going to keep spending whatever it takes to win the war in Iraq. And he's not going to run up taxes, because that will cost this economy jobs.

Kerry detours to debunk the president's assertion that his plan for medical care is, in effect, a government takeover. He then attacks Bush's claims that he inherited a recession, reminding everybody that Bush managed to turn a $5.6 trillion surplus into a $2.6 trillion deficit. He also mentions that Bush is the first president in 72 years to lose jobs, and the first EVER to cut taxes while at war. On a roll, Kerry invokes the names of Roosevelt and Truman as good wartime presidents.

Gibson asks both candidates to elaborate on just how they plan to cut the deficit in half over the next four years. Bush starts to answer the question by saying something about keeping Congress from overspending, but then wanders off and starts trying to defend his tax cut again.

Kerry doesn't answer the question either, but once again attacks Bush's tax cut. Reminds everybody that Bush promised his second tax cut would create 5.6 million jobs, but it actually lost 1.6 million. He refers to Bush's plan as "a $25 billion giveaway to the biggest corporations in America, including a $254 million refund check to Enron."

Question #11: Senator Kerry is asked to look directly into the camera and swear that he will not raise taxes on families making less than $200,000 during his first term. Kerry does this, and uses the time left to elaborate on his plans to issue child-care credits, tuition tax credits, and provide affordable health care.

Bush accuses Kerry of voting to break the spending caps over 200 times, and yet now claiming to be a fiscal conservative. And he insists that Kerry will raise taxes, no matter what he claims. Which is an understandable point of view, considering what happened to Bush's dad ("Read my lips!"). Bush eats up a few seconds off of the clock by asking if his time is up yet, then repeats his plan to keep taxes low, to have an energy plan, and to reform litigation.

Gibson apparently realizes that neither candidate answered his previous question about cutting the deficit in half, so he once again poses it to them. Kerry starts off accusing the president of using "fuzzy math" instead of actual figures. He then describes a joint proposal he has with John McCain to close the corporate giveaway loopholes. He closes by reminding everybody that in 1985, he was one of the first Democrats to move to balance the budget, and that he voted for the balanced budget in '93 and '97.

Bush evades the question and simply attacks Kerry. He cites spurious figures about how Kerry voted 98 times to raise taxes (and then, ironically, claims that the numbers aren't made up). He then starts blathering about liberals again.

Question #12: President Bush is asked how he rates himself as an environmentalist. Bush cites his questionable environmental policies, including his plan to destroy large portions of forest to prevent fires. He refers to it as "good, common-sense policy." He then, somehow with a straight face, refers to himself as a good steward of the land. Somewhere, a Native American is crying.

Kerry comes out swinging, claiming the president isn't living in a world of reality. Once again, he chides the president for resorting to labels, and then he digs into Bush's attrocious environmental record. He refers to the Clear Skies bill as Orwellian, and claims it was a step backwards from the pre-existing Clean Air Act. He condemns the president's backwards views on air quality, water quality, and global warming.

Bush claims he pulled out of the Kyoto treaty because it would have cost America a lot of jobs, and he continues to insist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the quality of the air is cleaner since he's been president of the United States.

Kerry admits that the Kyoto treaty was flawed, but is appalled that the president simply declared it a dead issue rather than try to fix it. He simply abandoned the work of 160 nations over 10 years. And people wonder why America is unpopular in some parts of the world...

Question #13: Senator Kerry is asked how the U.S. can be competitive in manufacturing and still pay comfortable wages to the American workers. Kerry reiterates his plan to shut the tax loopholes that encourage companies to relocate overseas, and instead give a tax benefit to companies that stay in America. He also restates his plan to lower the costs of health care, which then allows him to segue back into his rehearsed health care speech. Bad form, Kerry. But he eventually wanders back on track and talks about the "great entrepreneurial spirit of this country," and how we will eventually free ourselves from dependency on oil from the Middle East.

Bush goes even further off track by rambling about medical liability reform and his energy plan, which is stuck in the Senate. And Kerry and Edwards didn't show up to vote for it. And Kerry's plan to tax the rich won't work. And HOLY SHIT, MR. PRESIDENT! DID YOU EVEN HEAR THE QUESTION? Bush then makes the claim that Kerry's plan will tax 900,000 small businesses.

Gibson asks Kerry to elaborate on how tax credits will stop outsourcing, and Kerry claims that stopping all outsourcing would be pandering. What he intends to do is level the playing field. He cites an article in the Wall Street Journal that said 96% of small businesses would not be affected by his plan. He then claims that Bush's figure of 900,000 comes from a very loose definition of "small business." By those criteria, Bush is a small business because he got $84 from a timber company that he owns.

Bush cracks a few jokes about the fact that he doesn't own a timber company, but really doesn't say much else.

Question #14: President Bush is asked to justify weakening the rights of Americans with the Patriot Act. Bush claims the Patriot Act is a necessary tool for fighting terrorists, and it in no way erodes the rights of Americans.

Kerry claims the Patriot Act was misapplied, and that people's rights have been abridged as a result. He explains he voted for the Patriot Act along with 98 other senators, and that he still believes it contains vital elements necessary to coordinate the FBI and the CIA. But he disagrees with the way the current administration has abused the act with regards to civil liberties.

Question #15: Senator Kerry is asked about using stem cells obtained without destroying an embryo. Kerry starts off plucking the heart strings, mentioning Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve. He then mentions his plan to obtain embryonic stem-cell material from embryos frozen in nitrogen by fertility clinics. These embryos are either going to be destroyed or left frozen, so why not put them to a more noble of potentially curing Parkinson's, curing diabetes, or curing spinal cord injuries.

Bush responds by claiming embryonic stem-cell research requires the destruction of life to create a stem-cell, and he reminds everybody that he was the first president to ever allow federal funding for it (although everybody knows Rutherford B. Hayes was a huge proponent of it as well). But he wants to limit it, because destroying life to save life is "one of the real ethical dilemmas that we face."

Kerry accuses Bush of waffling. He calls Bush's numbers into question, and claims every scientist in the country will claim the lines of stem-cells currently available are "not adequate." Kerry promises that, if elected, he will open up the possibilities of stem-cell research, instead of limiting it.

Bush claims he made his decision to "destroy more life" in an effort to "balance science and ethics."

Question #16: President Bush is asked about his next choice for the Supreme Court. He says he wants somebody who will strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States. Then, as an odd example, he says he would never pick a judge who felt it was wrong to include the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. So apparently, strictly interpreting the First Amendment isn't job one. He also takes a bold stand against slavery, and then makes it clear he's not quite sure WHAT the Constitution actually says.

Kerry reminds everybody that Bush once said he favored appointing conservative judges. He claims we don't need good conservative judges or good liberal judges. We just need good judges.


SJ said...

Damn. I guess this is why you haven't posted for like, 3 days.

Since Bush knows about the Internets, I wonder if he knows what a "Mexico" is...

Note to Irb: Charlie Gibson with a b. Shit, I've been Miss Grammar Teacher on everyone's blog today, so don't be all defensive. There is something in the air that is making me get out my ruler and smack some hands.

Irb said...

Holy crap, I am NEVER doing that again! My post on the last debate is going to be two sentences, max!

Fixed the Gibson mispellings. Thanks ;-)

Irb said...

I meant "last" as in final, not as in previous.

Shit, I'm tired. I'm going to go watch Scrubs now.