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Debating the Future

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 27, 2007 1:50PM

2007_4_debate.jpgLast night was the first debate among Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination. On a crowded stage, the large group of suits that are hoping for the nod to take on a Republican in Fall of '08 for the White House argued about the nuances of the Iraq War.

Erstwhile local gal Hillary had a well thought-out answer to the question "Do you agree with the position [that the war in Iraq is lost] of your leader in the Senate [Harry Reid (D - NV)}?" Hillary's position on this question, however, never really put any responsibility on the people that had a hand in accepting the premises of not only starting the war, but continuing it. She talked quite a bit about the responsibility of the Iraqi people to build a democracy and a functioning government, never addressing the issue of how to end the civil war there and get the US out of the mess. While it's true that self-government in Iraq needs to come from within, her entire response to the question belies the naivety of future stability there.

Chicago's hometown hero, the skinny kid with the funny name that is trying to shoot the moon, Barack Obama, is continuing to disappoint us here by not coming up with any real solutions to a very complex international security problem, arguing instead for more ground troops while at the same time flashing his anti-war street cred. In fact, all of the candidates took the opportunity to flog Bush for bad foreign policy, while offering up a myriad of options for fixing the "Iraq question" with a mixture of more troops and diplomacy. Perhaps the best candidate all night was John Edwards, who has been running for president since the primaries in 2004. His answers to the questions posed came off as genuine and honest, and he has admitted that he was wrong in voting to go to war in Iraq in the first place. While Hillary has tried to tap dance around the question of Iraq, and change the terms of the debate to the same pat excuses the neo-conservative right wing in this country has sold the rest of us, and Barack Obama morphs more and more into a career pol, John Edwards (who has explained his $400 hair cut with the story of once having gone to dinner at a restaurant as a young child and having to leave because his father could not afford the prices) called Hillary out for continuing to pander to hawkish elements on the Iaq war. While his performance wasn't stellar, it was good enough this early in the game.

Although none of the candidates on stage last night left us with the impression of having distinguished themselves, we're giving kudos to Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, both long shots, for having the courage to take the opportunity to chide the four senators on stage who earlier that day voted for a bill that set timetables for bringing troops home from Iraq, while continuing to finance the war effort. Although Obama has recently been taking some heat for his ties to indicted businessman Tony Rezko, we still want to like him. Unfortunately for Barry, John Edwards came off as the best man for the job last night. We hope that he can refine his positions a little more, and come up with a good solution to the Middle East misadventure this president has gotten us into.