Tag Archives: debate

An the Debate Goes On.

I have now watched (alright listened) to two of the scheduled Democratic Presidential Candidates debates. Unlike most, if not all, of the talking heads I will not be talking about who won/lost or about the “horse race”. Since 1964, yes that long ago (55 years now), I’ve been more interested in the subject mater (issues) discussed. I want to hear what the candidates are interested in campaigning on.

I really don’t think modern political campaign debates are really debates. This I blame my mother ‘ED’ Daniel a true aficionado of rhetoric and debate. From 1972 till she suffered brain damage in the 2000’s she and I would look upon Presidential election years as a fun time to vivisect candidates on their debate capabilities. I used to tease her that she selected who she would vote for by how well they spoke and debated. She would just laugh and smile. What I wouldn’t give to have her input on these last two debates.

That said, back to the issues brought forward so far. I think there are really only three that have any staying power. I say three, but their is really only two with one have two parts. In no order of preference other than my thought process here goes:

Issue One A: Health Care

From these debates it is clear that what we are going to be doing about healthcare in this country is going to be a major issue in the coming election. 99% of the population has some major concerns about getting and paying for healthcare. Those that have some kind of insurance worry about will they keep it and will it cover what ever happens. Ever since the baby boom Americans have grown up thinking they will get the health care they will need, mostly. It was only the poorest amongst us who had to worry, and they had charity, right?


Who reading this remembers the time before the law(s) making in mandatory for ER’s to accept anyone who shows up? I remember reading the horror story’s in the afternoon paper about dying people being turn away from Hospitals because they could produce an insurance card. It did happen back in the day.

We hear about people who get their insurance thru their union, but less than 10% of the non governmental work force are now union members. Or you get it thru your job, but that means you have to stay steadily employed, not so easy in this new job market. An what about the ever growing group smiling known as ‘Independent Contractors’? I was one, not because I wanted to be but because it was the only way I could find work. An this wasn’t some unskilled labor, I was a programmer aka software engineer. (See Bellow) even if you can keep the contacts coming in so you work steady you still have to buy your insurance. (Also even tho you may get anything from 150%-200% of what a w2 employee gets paid you can have to pay over 100% more in taxes) you still need to buy your own private insurance. If your over 40 this can get very hard.

Issue One B: Healthcare

This is where the rubber meets the road for most of the Democrats, what do we do about it. This is where we all have to be very careful with our words. It is easy to say Medicare for all. But just what does that mean? So far I have found more than two distinct meanings for the slogan and I fear there will be more. In fact I will go out on a limb here and say that “Medicare for All” means exactly what the hearer wants it to mean. More on this later.

Other candidates want to ‘fix’ Obama care. But so far they have all been kind of lite on details. What we do know is that the GOP has no idea how fix Obama care, they tried last congress with came up a cropper.

Issue Two: Who is best to Defeat Donald Trump?

For me this is really a non-issue. The answer is as simple as almost any of them or none of them can. It is that simple. No one really has any clear idea of why Donald Trump ended up being President. Hillary Clinton should have won, she didn’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “It will take at least 50 years before the Historians and Political Scientists will figure it out”. So get over it an go on. The only thing for sure is the Democrats need to get a fighter. It can be a down in “the mud, the blood, and their beer” fighter like Truman. Or it can be an elegant ‘Mohamed Ali‘ dancer like JFK or something totally new. Just someone who knows they are in for the fight of their life with someone who cheats a golf! So it is ‘no holes bard’ and “Winning isn’t the everything, it is the only thing.” Fight.

I have no patience with the people who are worried about the Democrats tearing themselves apart. The Democrats need a fighter who ‘knows’ they are in for the fight of the century.

Why the Left can’t talk to the Right, a hypothesis

For the past week I have been reading Battle Cry of Freedom by James M McPherson and I was struck by what he has to say about the politics of the 1840’s and 50’s.  I think what went on then can give us some insight into what is happening now in the early 21st century.

What struck me was how much the southrons felt that they were being attacked by the abolitionist.  Not just the institution of slavery was attacked, but the individual people of the south felt they were being attacked.  Also the reasoning of the south was locked into feeling that if they gave so much as an inch to the Abolitionist they, the supporters of slavery, would soon loose everything.  Not only that, they felt that slavery needed to be allowed in the north.  Here is one of the earliest examples in American political history of the one sidedness of ‘States Rights’.

Conservatives have often be the most ardent users of ‘States Rights’ to defined what currently is in a state or states, such as Slavery.  But the are equally aghast at the use of ‘States Rights’ to change things.  That is, a state has the right to keep slavery legal but a state does not have the right to make it illegal.  We see this same problem now.  In the modern age we now see this same class of argument with some saying a state has the right to enforce federal immigration law, but other states can not decline to co-operate with the federal government in inforceing that same law.  We see the same thing with the Gun debate.

State’s Rights were much more important before 1868 and the ratification of 14th amendment and the supremisy of Federal law was clearly established.  What is emportant here is the two kinds of illogic being demonstrated.  The first is that Conservatives, because they see themselves under attack, have taken on the mantel of ‘victim hood’ they decry in others.  Next is the illogic of decrying the use of the same reasoning or principle, like States Rights, used by their opponents.  This is not to say that ‘Liberals’ and/or moderates don do the same thing .

It’s just that the Left has a much hard time defending the illogic.  This is fundimintally because the Left is well and truely based in the Rationalism of the ‘Enlightenment’.  For those of you who really don’t know anything much about the ideals of the ‘Enlightenment’ one of its more fundamental principles is the rational debate to resolve issues/conflicts.  The Left accepts as a given that use of debate where both sides use the same rules and that logic trumps rhetoric. The right , not so much.  The those who believe winning is not just everything but the only thing have currently found a home in the political right.

”But there are people on the Left who believe the same thing”. True, but if you ever follow the internal and lower level debates of the Left you will see that often as not the people who say ‘wining is all’ often get slapped down by those listening.  It doesn’t go far now, “or play well in Preoria’.  Not so with the Right.  Because of the long standing tradition of victim hood, the ‘lost cause’, and/or no compromise rhetoric is much more emportant in their debates.  Right now, this day winning is what counts, not winning the right way.

So what now?  How does the Left deal with a Right that enters the debat with the preconceived  notion that the Left is attacking them, by the simple act of disagreeing.  How does the Left deal with the Right who holds that left is fundamentally evil and therefor can not be compromised with?  How do you have a calm discussion with someone who can not consive of the possibility of their being wrong?