Sunday, January 06, 2008

Some questions to ask at the next Democratic debate.

1.) Why were Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel again shut out of the latest Democratic debate? They didn't drop out of the presidential race, and there has yet been only one caucus. Is it because the two of them are not moneyed enough? And if so, why is ABC dictating who should be heard? Shouldn't voters make that decision?

2.) Why is Illinois senator Barack Obama using anti-lobbyist rhetoric, when he has been accepting money from the health insurance industry and has previously gutted health care legislation as a state senator? According to the Boston Globe:

When Barack Obama and fellow state lawmakers in Illinois tried to expand healthcare coverage in 2003 with the "Health Care Justice Act," they drew fierce opposition from the insurance industry, which saw it as a back-handed attempt to impose a government-run system.

Over the next 15 months, insurers and their lobbyists found a sympathetic ear in Obama, who amended the bill more to their liking partly because of concerns they raised with him and his aides, according to lobbyists, Senate staff, and Obama's remarks on the Senate floor.

The wrangling over the healthcare measure, which narrowly passed and became law in 2004, illustrates how Obama, during his eight years in the Illinois Senate, was able to shepherd major legislation by negotiating competing interests in Springfield, the state capital. But it also shows how Obama's own experience in lawmaking involved dealings with the kinds of lobbyists and special interests he now demonizes on the campaign trail.


By the time the legislation passed the Senate, in May 2004, Obama had written three successful amendments, at least one of which made key changes favorable to insurers.


Lobbyists praised Obama for taking the insurance industry's concerns into consideration.

Is Obama's support for the health insurance industry the reason it has made him its number two top recipient of payoff money after Hillary Clinton, according to a New York Time article reproduced on Michael Moore's web site?

One of Mr. Obama’s fund-raisers, Kirk Dornbush, president of Iconic Therapeutics, a biotech company in Atlanta, said, "The contributions reflect the simple calculus of the health care industry, making a bet that Democrats will control the White House and both houses of Congress after the next election."

Drug and device makers have donated about $275,000 to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, making her the top recipient of money from that sector, followed by Mr. Obama, with $261,400, and Mr. Romney, with nearly $259,000.

Does this explain why both Obama's and Clinton's health care packages are effectively giveaways to the health insurance industry?

3.) What, specifically, do each of the candidates invited to the debate intend to do about the environment, energy policy, and participating in international efforts to curb Global Warming? It's a legitimate question, and one that deserves more than a mere, "switch to energy efficient light bulbs" answer.

4.) Thus far, only one senator running for president has demonstrated leadership in opposing Iraq war funding, and standing up to abuses of the Constitution. If Senators Obama and Clinton won't show leadership in the Senate, or fulfill their oaths of office as senators, what makes them think they can convince voters they'll do it as president? I think the least we should be able to expect from a presidential candidate is that he show leadership when it matters, and display a deep commitment to the Constitution -- even if it means risking one's presidential campaign.

5.) Will future debates exclude John Edwards, even if he hasn't dropped out? I ask, because it seems the mainstream, corporate media is hellbent on picking our candidates for us. And that is absolutely, 100% wrong.

6.) Of the candidates invited to the debate, which one has actually promised to pull the U.S. out of Iraq within a year? And why should we support any candidate who refuses to commit to such a withdrawal? Remember Iraq? And how about Afghanistan? And let's not forget about Iran, which seems to have dropped off the political radar since the NIE was released.

7.) Speaking of Iran, why have most of the Democratic candidates -- the exceptions being Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel -- swallowed the Bush regime's lies about Iran developing nukes, and spoken as though such a deception was a given truth? Shouldn't Democrats be as publicly skeptical of White House lies as anyone else, if not moreso, given the track record this regime has for deception?

I'll probably add more questions later.

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