What Would You Ask the Candidates?

September 26, 2008 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Just watched the first Presidential Debate on CNN.  As someone who’s firmly stuck in the middle (I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet), I was hoping that this first debate would push me to one side or the other.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.  McCain didn’t do so hot in the first thirty or so minutes when the debate, which was supposed to be about foreign policy, shifted gears and went right into economics.  I’m not saying that it was necessarily a bad thing that the debate was sidetracked for a little bit, but you could tell that McCain wasn’t as ‘fired up’ as he usually is.  Obama did fine in this first part, but nothing he said really surprised me (except for the moments when he started to lose his cool).

Then we got to foreign policy.  Here’s where most people were expecting some kind of knockout blow from McCain, a chance to prove once and for all who has the most foreign policy experience.  While, to me, he proved that he did have more experience, McCain didn’t deliver that knockout punch.  Obama, while proving that he can at least hold his own, didn’t show to me that he had the credentials to back up anything he said.  A lot of the things coming from Obama seemed, to me, to come from hindsight; it’s easy to point out mistakes once the mistakes have been made, but what about in-the-moment?  When McCain, Leiberman, and Gen. Patraeus were pushing for the surge, what was Obama doing?  He’s never mentioned at all what he would’ve done instead.  If the surge was such a bad idea (which, in hindsight, it wasn’t), what plan would he have suggested?

There are some questions, though, that I was assuming the moderator, Jim Lehrer, or the candidates were going to ask.  Questions that I have and have yet to hear an answer from either side.  To be honest, if I could really ask a question to the candidates, I’d pick something like UFOs, but I figure that aliens (at least the extraterrestrial kind) aren’t exactly high on the issues people want the candidates to discuss.

To Obama:

Bill Ayers.  Respected professor and former domestic terrorist.  I say ‘former’ because he doesn’t do any of the stuff he used to do anymore.  He also admitted to, though was never convicted of, several bombings of government buildings, including the Pentagon, in the 60’s.  Obama has met the man, and apparently befriended him, yet in all the televised events in which someone asks Obama about Ayers, he dodges the question.

This isn’t the same situation as Jeremiah Wright.  I personally don’t think that Obama believes in any of the negative stuff that Rev. Wright has said, so to me, I didn’t really pay much attention to the whole Wright controversy.  Ayers, on the other hand, did physical damage to buildings, and although no one was killed or injured, Ayers has stated that he wish he could’ve done more.  In a statement published, oddly enough on 9/11, Ayers said that he didn’t regret setting those bombs.  In my opinion, that says he isn’t repentant of what he did.  If those bombs did hurt or kill someone, would he feel different?

I want to know, truthfully, what Obama thinks of all this. I understand that it’s not like Ayers and Obama are best friends, but it’s also not like Obama didn’t know about Ayers’ past before he accepted a very small political donation (about $200 I think).  I know that, in politics, people will do anything to get ahead, but I’d like to think that if I were in the same position, I would not accept a donation from someone that had willingly, and without remorse decades later, committed a violent act of domestic terrorism.  Why should I vote for someone who did? And can Obama address the issue of terrorism, foreign and domestic, should the need arise?  He said in the debate that he would, but how can he convince me?

To McCain:

Iraq vs Iran.  It’s a popular theory to suggest that Iran was kept in check by it’s neighbor, and enemy, Iraq.  But it’s a fact that the governments of either nation don’t like the U.S. or any other Western nation.  Now, I’m assuming that dealing with one rogue nation is better than dealing with two, but what I would ask McCain is, would it be too far-fetched to suggest that turning Iraq into a pro-Western democracy actually gives more opportunity for Iran to become a major Mideast player? Right now, Iran is funding and supplying insurgency groups in Iraq, even if Ahmedinejad denies this.  But, would they still be doing this if Iraq was still controlled by Hussein?

I believe that Saddam Hussein, his sons, and many of the Baath party loyalists did not deserve to be in power in Iraq.  In my opinion, the U.S. should’ve removed them from power in the Gulf War, back when there were anti-Hussein groups inside Iraq ready to help the U.S., before Hussein cracked down on them and either killed or imprisoned many of the members.  But, is a democratic and pro-West Iraq a better thing to have versus a possibly nuclear-armed Iran? I know both candidates do not want to see Iran with the Bomb, but I think it would complicate matters more for Iran if Iraq were still ruled by Hussein.  Under Hussein, it wouldn’t be completely out of the question to suggest that Iraq and Iran could renew their war, but now, Iran knows that the U.S. is spread far too thin to deal militarily with them should the need arise.

Can the U.S. still use force of arms to protect herself, properly, with our forces tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, if an extreme situation with Iran, or possibly North Korea, arises?


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