cross-posted @ One Million Strong
Last night’s debate was a really eye opener for many.
Because the democratic electorate is now, paying attention.
I have written, repeatedly, that this race will end up being about trust, honesty and change.
And we saw all of that last night, and then some.
Many have said that Edwards, Obama, and everyone else must attack Clinton, take her down.
The problem with that is that when the average voter is sitting down, watching, they don’t want "take her down", they don’t. What they do want is definite differences, defined. We saw that last night.
I never understood why Hillary Clinton mailed an explanation direct mail piece in Iowa . Even though many know her vote for Kyl/Lieberman was appalling, I did not find it a death nail. I did not. In fact, that direct mail piece just opened more questions and doors about why Clinton would vote that way, but more importantly, "Did she learn her lesson, from the first vote, Iraq?"
Last night she stated that the amendment was about diplomacy. When you read it, this piece of legislation is about open-ended, introduction, first steps, to call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. By doing so, this has opened up a can of worms, with mixed messages and intent, which the Bush Administration can use for their own advantage. And they are.
The record shows that Kyl-Lieberman is not only about bombing Iran, but keeping US forces in Iraq.
So, last night’s debate was an explain fest for Hillary Clinton, and she did not do a good job at it. In fact, after being in hot water about her vote with democratic voters, she ran and aliened herself with the Webb Amendment. Below all this is broken down:
Then the Social Security moment. Again, caught off guard stating one thing emphatically but pandering and stating something a voter wanted, totally different.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has given a private clue on an issue she has refused to discuss publicly — how to preserve Social Security in the long term.
The Democratic presidential contender told an Iowa voter she would be willing to consider an idea that her Democratic rival John Edwards has been promoting — raising Social Security taxes on high-income earners.
Clinton dodged the question when asked publicly, as she has on several other topics in debates and during campaign stops. When a man in Anamosa, Iowa, asked her to describe her specific plan to bring troops home from Iraq, she said she would have to determine that when she takes office since she doesn't know what she would inherit.
The Iowa man pressed on because he wanted specifics:
One Iowa voter, Maquoketa Community High School government teacher Tod Bowman, pressed her for more specifics when she took audience questions during a public meeting in his hometown Sunday night. With a packed gymnasium of voters and the media watching, she didn't say more but used her response to criticize President Bush's handling of the issue and the deficits he's run up. She said her first step to improving Social Security would be to get back to fiscal responsibility.
Notice the pattern? Get in a fix, can’t answer a question directly, use the next best thing to deflate the issue, George W. Bush. And that was done, quite a bit last night. Now, this, to Bowman while shaking voters’ hands:
She told him she didn't want to put an additional tax burden on the middle class but would consider a "gap," with no Social Security taxes on income from $97,500 to around $200,000. Anything above that could be taxed.
An Associated Press reporter overheard the conversation and discussed it with Bowman. He said he didn't agree with Clinton and felt that as someone who makes under $97,500 he pays an unfair share.
"I understand that in her world $97,000 is the middle class, but here in Iowa $97,000 doesn't qualify as the middle class," Bowman said.
Now, I cannot get away from the driver’s license issue, from last night debate. I cannot. Why? Because the question was so simple, that it only required a "yes" or "no" to allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to get a driver’s license. This was asked to Clinton because her state’s Governor wants to allow illegals the opportunity to get a valid driver’s license.
Chris Dodd gave the best answer. "It is a privilege, not a right." But when Clinton was pressed to answer, I don’t what she said. She sounded like she agreed and was on the side of Governor Spitzer, then when Dodd put it out there, she back peddled. So, in the end we don’t know what the hell she said. And it was such a "yay" or "nay" answer. In fact a friend sent me this after the driver’s license debacle:
Bill: Do you want chicken for dinner tonight?
Hillary: I think it's a good idea. I see why you would want to have
chicken for dinner tonight.
Bill: So is that a yes?
Hillary: I didn't say that! I just said I understand why you want to
have chicken tonight. It's low in fat, has plenty of protein, and
tastes really good with broccoli. But I didn't endorse chicken.
Bill: So that's a no.
Hillary: THAT ISN'T WHAT I SAID! I think it's a good idea! I
understand why you'd want it!
Bill: So what is it - yes or no? I have to start the chicken thawing
now if it's going to be ready by dinner.
Hillary: WHY CAN'T YOU JUST ACCEPT MY STRAIGHT ANSWER ON CHICKEN? HOW
DARE YOU QUESTION ME?
And Mark Penn, trying or attempting, to spin this:
Folks, after last night, the conclusion are that we will not get any straight, complete, honest answers from Clinton. We won’t.
If a candidate cannot answer a simple driver’s license question, why should we commit to uncertainty in a candidate? Why?
We may not like all the candidates, for whatever reason, but I do expect straight shooters. After witnessing the most non-transparent administration, ever, why should we allowed or be tempted, to go back to that.
I think this is a tough issue for Clinton. Being a straight shooter, candid, it is. When honesty was brought up last night, one could only question, is she honest. If she is. This is a character issue that is not coming across to the public. Especially, after the driver’s license question. Something so, simplistic, that she made difficult by not answering the question.
Finally. Any progressive will denounce Hillary Clinton. She has gotten through this campaign season, so far, by blurring her Iraq vote successfully to the public, but after Kyl-Lieberman, it changed. Many feel she has disqualified herself from being our nominee. In some aspects, she did. And as Rosenberg on TPM stated:
Most important for me was that the Iran issue was at last confronted. I think that her vote for Kyl-Lieberman was Hillary's big mistake of the campaign season. It suggests that the same considerations and interests that led her to vote for the war are not discredited in her mind i.e. the DLC strategists, the rightwing of the Israel lobby, and the need to always be perceived as centrist.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
And I don’t want to be shamed twice.