Tuesday, October 17, 2006

CD 8 Candidates Meet / Exceed Debate Expectations

Tucson supporters of Gabrielle Giffords and Randy Graf stuffed the PCC auditorium past capacity a full 20 minutes prior to the 6:15 event, forcing the hosts to escort excess folks to another room to listen through a sound system. While polls vary from 8% to 19%, word on the street is that Giffords probably has a good 12% lead on Graf. She is clearly the front runner and faced the higher risk and higher expectations tonight. This takes confidence and courage.

The male candidates trickled in, Graf first, and lastly Giffords entered the room shortly after six. When she did, her supporters broke into applause and stood. Not to be outdone, Graf’s fans started chanting, "Randy! Randy! Randy!" until the hostess, seeing the place turning into a Packers game, grabbed a microphone and stood before all of us, "Calm down, people!! This is important!"

The energy and anticipation in the room were thick, and make no mistake, there were strong minded folk in this room.

This debate was a long way from Willcox, from the Nucleus club, and light years from that early democratic event at the Northwest neighborhood center.

This was not like any of primary debates.

All candidates looked comfortable, confident, prepared, and spoke well. The event was televised and will be rebroadcast, so will not waste reader’s time with the play by play, but will highlight items, well, worth highlighting.

On Iraq, a notable remark goes to David Nolan’s attack of the cute phrase “Cut and Run” used by republicans to attack criticism of the Iraq war, "What are you suggesting we do, Stand and Die?" Nolan, founder of the Libertarian party and a sharp individual, who must be given credit for his Nolan Chart, an interesting way of illustrating his fiscal conservativism and liberal social values.

Quick jumped on this as well with, "Cutting and running is not the same thing as leaving a country that wants you to leave."

The room seemed emblematic of the very bifurcation that exists in the country with the majority on one side or the other, and a smaller number with a different angle.

What was interesting was the clearly audible and rather consistent but controlled laughter and chuckling of the Graf supporters while Giffords spoke. Not sure about this laughter, but I had the sense that they either would not or could not listen to her.

Will spare you the guest worker program, medicare part D, the middle class, where we were treated to different political views each holding their own in terms of a debate. To meet expectations in my opinion, Giffords had to excel over the rest, in particular if the "one issue candidate" concept for Graf is to remain alive.

She succeeded in three areas. First was a question about the economic development of Cochise County. The men stumbled, and Giffords nailed it, noting the importance of the San Pedro river, Ft. Huachuca, the industries and businesses that support the fort, the importance of protecting the fort when the military looks at bases across the country, and drove in an additional point about education in the remaining few seconds.

In the second area, a question deep from the heart of your humble x4mr himself (could the moderator have read this blog Sunday?!--kidding), global competition and in particular China and India. I could barely restrain myself . Nolan made a cute remark, "We all want made in USA wages and made in China prices." Graf mumbled about trade policies, and Quick fumbled about with world labor market cycles that should stabilize (oh yea?).

Globalization is an economic tsunami, and that is no exaggeration. Giffords demonstrated genuine understanding of the concept and told a telling tale about how years ago, children were told to eat everything on their plate because some kid in India is starving. Now we should tell our children to do their homework because some kid in China wants your job! She spoke of the knowledge based economy, a vital component of the tsunami that Washington desperately needs to understand.

The third place where she excelled was her closing statement. Listen to it yourself on television, but her language about a good idea being a good idea, republican or democrat, about reaching across the aisle, about working together to do what it takes to get the job done simply surpassed the other closing remarks.

All performed well, but Giffords has cause for the most satisfaction. This debate devoted significant weight to the border, immigration, illegal aliens and guest worker programs, Randy’s favorite subjects, and she held her own.

Receiving little or no attention (perhaps a one liner from a candidate at most) were crime, the war on drugs and methamphetamines, economic policy, abortion, anything substantive on national health insurance (medicare D was discussed), corruption, and the environment including global warming.

The front runner went in and ran. One could speculate whether she gained ground.

She most certainly did not lose ground.

5 Comments:

Blogger Kralmajales said...

Thanks, X4mr, for this fantastic assessment of the debate.

I can't wait to watch it myself, but from the reporting so far, I am fascinated by how Iraq was handled by the candidates. While Graf appeared to continue the tag of amnesty on Giffords and went with the border alone, I see what might be a shift back to issues like Iraq.

Democrats win this year on the war. It is such a mess in human and financial costs that few can support "stay the course." This has to come out hard in the latter weeks. On the border, I fear that Republicans win. The issue is soundbit to death and I think few want to hear or even see the complexity of this issue.

The only way I see to win on the border is to drive a wedge deep between Republican factions. Growers, builders, etc. cannot have a sealed border and make it. NAFTA would kick their butts on agriculture because it would be far cheaper to import stuff from Mexico than it would be to grow it here. For builders, where would they get their carpenters and laborers?

The last wildcard here is Hispanic voters. The big protests of April seemed to have died out. I know there were voter drives but again the question is whether they will turn out and for whom? 18% of CD 8 is Latino.

10/18/2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger Art Jacobson said...

I particularly liked Nolan's, "What are we supposed to do, stand and die?" I hope all Democratic debaters adopt that as the stock reply to the "Cut and Run" clap trap.

Always follow the response with, " (number) young Americans died today."

10/18/2006 5:01 PM  
Blogger Marco Alatorre said...

Too bad they didn't talk about the Second Amendment! Then there would have been some interesting discussion.

Gabrielle Giffords would vote to ban guns

Gabrielle Giffords is no moderate. She is a liberal, anti-gunner who has stated that she would vote to reauthorize the Clinton Gun Ban, which expired in September 2004.

This ill conceived piece of legislation banned guns based on purely cosmetic features. If a certain gun looks a certain way, then that gun would be banned. At the same time, many guns that were functionally identical to the banned guns remained legal.

And what is the rationale for banning firearms based on mere cosmetic features? The answer lies in the politics of gun control. While it is currently politically impractical to ban all firearms, the foot in the door is to ban those firearms that look "evil". The idea is to tell the public that only "evil" guns are being banned. Then, after the public has become used to the ban of evil guns, you come back for a second pass. You say that many guns have slipped through a "loophole" in the law and these guns that slipped through the loophole are functionally identical to the banned, evil guns and therefore they also should also be banned. Aren't anti-gunners clever!

So, when Gabrielle Giffords says that she would vote to reauthorize the Clinton Gun Ban, she is really admitting that she intends to support a broad attack on all firearms ownership nationwide. Yes, she intends to ban firearms. Yes, she is anti-gun. And yes, she is a liberal pretending to be a moderate.

The Clinton Gun Ban made no sense and finally, even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has admitted that it had no effect of crime. Yet Gabrielle Giffords has stated that she would vote to reauthorize such a senseless law that serves no purpose other than to advance the cause of gun control.

10/19/2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger sirocco said...

Marco,

You do realize Giffords actually owns and carries a gun, right?

You throw around words like "liberal" as perjoratives (which, of course, you mean for them to be) -- however, while Giffords is certainly more liberal than Graf (really, who isn't?), she's most certainly NOT the raving left-wing caricature you seem to have picured in your mind.

If she were, there is no way she would garner the support and endorsements of so many Republicans and historically conservative organizations.

No, Giffords is exactly what she claims to be -- a centrist Democrat. I realize that's a hard thing for you to swallow (and you seem to be choking on it).

10/19/2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger Marco Alatorre said...

Sirocco,

She said she would vote to reauthorize the Clinton Gun Ban

That is not centrist, that is liberal

10/27/2006 9:42 PM  

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