The Next Debate

Campaigning in Ohio, a supporter brought to Hillary Clinton’s attention, two Barack Obama mailers that criticize her health care plan and challenge her position on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement which is widely accepted to have caused much of the job losses in Ohio since its passage. Clinton angrily called Obama on the carpet and challenged him to discuss his tactics at the debate that is to take place on MSNBC, Tuesday at 8pm Central.

Clinton, who is trailing Obama in delegates and whose campaign is in serious trouble, is right to call attention to the mailers one which points out that her plan would make purchasing private health insurance mandatory for every American and would financially penalize those who don’t, and the other noting that in her book, she championed NAFTA as a victory of her husband’s administration.

In a state such as Ohio, with a high unemployment rate and a lack of jobs, such information could certainly be damaging to her failing bid for the White House.

Though the mailers are factually correct, at this point in the race, damage control is certainly in order, and today Clinton called on Obama to debate his tactics in Ohio.

Sorry Hillary, the nationally televised debate on Tuesday is not the place for a discussion of campaign strategy and political tactics.

In the last debate, an inordinate amount of time was spent asking Clinton if she truly believes Obama is all talk and no action and if she thinks he is ready to be commander-in-chief, not that the American people need either candidate’s assessment of the other in order to choose their president.
Unfortunately, not discussed in the debate were issues such as how high the cost of food has gotten, just what do the candidates consider to be an “affordable” cost for health insurance, where will they get the money for the green infrastructure they both want to build to create jobs, and how they plan to take unemployed factory workers and retrain them so they can once again have jobs that will enable them to provide a decent living for their families. And who and what will pay for all of that?

Also not discussed were issues such as Iran, our lack of a standing army, the Middle East peace process, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey’s incursion into Iraq and the United States’ obsession with spreading democracy around the world. Is that what caused the burning of our embassy in Belgrade, because that is certainly what everyone over there is saying. You’d think we would have learned about democracy spreading after the Shah of Iran, El Salvadore and Nicaragua, all dismal failures which we continue to pay for today.

Nor did we get to hear what they plan to do about lead paint in China, though Obama alluded to it. They want to rethink the free trade agreements, but no details as to what is being rethought. Hillary said we have to look at NAFTA again, though nothing specific as to what we are looking for. And Obama, though greeted with silence, mentioned that future agreements must have better wages and environmental controls built in so we can lift these countries up.

The silence should have been a clue to him that the failure to lift other countries up is not what is bothering the American people about free trade agreements.

Obama also said that companies that export jobs should be taxed and those that keep jobs here should be rewarded. He got applause for that one. Hello……..is anybody home? That is on the right track.

But Hillary wants instead, to debate Obama about his campaign tactics, something that is so irrelevant to those trying to decide who to choose for president when we live in a country that has banks borrowing billions, foreclosures in the millions, unemployment in the hundreds of thousands and heads of families working two and three minimum wage jobs because the last few presidents, including Bill Clinton, thought it would be just grand to make the United States’ most plentiful employment opportunities, low paying service jobs, and were satisfied with intellectual property being our biggest export.

No, this is neither the time nor the place to debate a couple of mailers. If your campaign is hinging on two pieces of paper that accurately describe your health care plan and quote your book, perhaps you should bow out now in the interests of party loyalty and spend the rest of the primary season helping Obama build enough momentum so that in November, we don’t find ourselves with John McCain as president committing our children, grand children and great grand children to spending the next hundred years in Iraq.

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