Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Just in Time

My fiancee and I just got back from Moab in time to watch the final Presidential debates. I am a Red Sox fan too, but my first love is politics.

Couple of impressions: in the first debate, Bush blinked and twitched; in the second debate, Bush yelled (at times at nobody except maybe a voice in his ear); in the third debate, he smirked, smiled inappropriately and pounded on the lectern with a microphone on it (bad moves all). Again, I think Kerry won this debate. The folks CBS polled thought so too, to the tune of 39% Kerry, 25% Bush. Kerry wasn't as good as the first one, but better than the second. There were times when he could have done something more with the debate, like with the last question about strong women.

He should have pointed out that he has already placed strong women high up on his team (ex-Sen. Kennedy CoH Mary Beth Cahill and fmr. NH Gov. Gene Sheehen). In his cabinet, Kerry should have added, women will take a much more prominent role than they did in Bush’s. He should have talked about issues that were important to women; especially the swing women- married ones, besides abortion. Whoever gets the majority of married women will probably win.

Bush's worst moment- as my friend Rob pointed out- was when he was asked "what do say to a worker who's just lost their job to someone who works for less oversees?" with "go to college." I had to make sure I was hearing right, what with all the red sand still in my ears. It is pretty out of touch and insensitive to tell a 50 year old person who's mill just go shut down to go back to college. With what money? With what hope of landing what job? The president is right that in the long term, improving education, especially post-secondary education is the key to keeping Americans competitive in the global economy. But in the short term, unemployed workers need help paying the bills and finding appropriate work. Kerry touched on this but didn't shove in the President's face like Rob wanted him to.

The fact is, every time they asked a jobs question, Bush had no answer. Instead he talked about No Child Left Behind, which he under funded. In fact, NCLB is incredibly unpopular in "Red" regions of the country, because it is draining school budgets with an unfunded mandate and labeling many good schools "failing," which in turn lowers property values. Personally, I hate mandating testing. I can't take a standardized test to save my life, yet I did well in High School, did fine at an Ivy League college, and got into a top tier law school.

The best part for Kerry tonight for me was when he said there are two different school systems in this country, one for the rich and one for the poor. This is so true, and what makes it even worse is that it also trends along racial lines. Our country is just as segrated now as we were before Brown v. Board of Education, if not more so. Black school children are a hell of a lot better off than they were in the 1950s, but they haven't advanced as much as their white counterparts. Why is that? well lots of reasons which I don't care to go into right now but I am glad that Kerry brought it to our attention, something that folks in those GOP exurbs want you to forget about.

Before I go (I promised myself I would finish my CivPro outline tonight), I wanted to share with you a glimpse of my mini-vacation and Delicate Arch near Moab, Utah, which is in the post below...

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