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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Let's get rid of the vitriol.

The level of vitriol just never ceases to amaze me. The fact remains this has become a battle of isms: sexism v racism v ageism. Both Obama and Clinton benefit from belonging to their respective "'ism." Only John McCain suffers; I doubt anyone will vote for him because he is old. Can't we honor others' positions without assuming that because they take a position it's because they are sexist or racist? Can't I prefer Clinton because I appreciate her supporter for liberal causes over the years and her many accomplishments and not because I'm afraid of Obama's race? Can't I prefer Obama because of his extraordinary management skills in running a flawless campaign and his ability to charge people of all ages, races and sex with a new excitement without being labeled a misogynist? Can't I prefer McCain for his former independence and service to this country without being considered both racist and sexist? The fact is that there are numerous questions that should be asked of all the candidates that would help define their positions and it would be useful if the media helped us by asking them. In the meantime, why can't we, as democrats (small "d) start asking them ourselves instead of wallowing in Wright, Hagee, RFK and other really unimportant side-issues? I, for one, would like to ask the following, just as a sample:

1. The federal government is a huge bureaucracy that may have become unmanageable. How do you propose to bring competence and efficiency to such an entity?

2. Any organization that gets a federal grant is required to be audited. Why can't we expect the same of the Pentagon and the defense budget?

3. How could the web be used to streamline and improve interaction between government and its citizens?

4. What should be the role of the United Nations and what should be the level of support for the UN by the US?

5. Do you have a plan for paying down the federal debt?

6. Do you have a plan to reform the tax system and who would you put in place to implement such changes?

7. Would you call yourself a Keynesian? or what economic theory guides your thinking?

8. The government has used secrecy to avoid embarrassment. Do you have a plan for opening up how government works and becomes accountable?

Just a sample. Let's bring some civility and rationality and discussion of philosophy and issues back to the debate.
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