LSB: I just finished watching the Democratic candidates interviews (not really a debate) on LOGO-TV. If you missed it, you can catch up on what was said at one of the web sites live-blogging the event (AmericaBlog.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and Joe.My.God among others). I think the live blogs, and the bloggers' personal comments, captured the event pretty well. I can't wait to read the reviews from the hate mongers at FOX NOISE, Ann Coulter, James Dodson and Pat Robertson.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts on the event:
- A lot of sucking up to the GLBT community by all of the candidates. Sure the Democratic candidates are better than any of the Republican candidates, but Melissa Etheridge got it right when she said to Hilary Clinton (paraphrased by Joe.My.God): ‘I have a personal issue here. I came out publicly during your husband's inaugural week. It was a wonderful time. In the following years, our hearts were broken. We were pushed under the bus. It is many years later now and what are you gonna do to be different? Are we going to be left behind like we were before?’ (i.e., “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”) Maybe I’m just a little jaded, but that was what I was thinking throughout the entire program.
- A lot of dodging the questions when it came to the question of gay marriage, a question repeatedly asked by HRC's Joe Solmonese. (Am I the only one who thinks “gay marriage” is an oxymoron?) It was apparent that Solmonese was not going to be satisfied by civil unions as an achievable outcome. IF, as all the candidates agreed, civil unions include ALL of the 1100+ rights and protection of “marriage,” then isn’t this just symantics? If civil unions (with full rights and protections) are achievable, why throw out the baby with the bath water simply because it isn’t called “marriage”? Sure, it may seem like a second-class-separate-but-equal solution, but aren’t the rights and protections the most important thing? The Religious Right and FOX NOISE aren’t going to suddenly capitulate under a Democratic administration and allow gay marriage, so let’s get the rights and protections first and worry about what it is called later. (I might have my gay card revoked for saying this, but isn’t “marriage”, like “baptism” and “Bar Mitzvah”, a religious celebration? I don’t have a problem with the Religious Right wanting to keep that term for themselves as long as my tax-supported government provides me rights and protections similar to those of a “marriage” - should I ever want to go down that road.)
- I’m searching for a new candidate after tonight, as my man, Bill Richardson, fucked up when Melissa Etheridge asked him if homosexuality was biological or a choice and he said it was a choice. Are you kidding me? Why would he push so hard to block DOMA and pass domestic partnership in his state if he thought that this was a choice? Further when asked if he would sign a gay marriage bill if the NM legislature approved it, he dodged the question. WTF? Not wanting to spend your political capital on gay marriage is one thing, but not to sign it if it was handed to you on a silver platter? I think he’s right on the Iraq war, he was one of the few to vote against DADT and has shown leadership on many gay issues, and has the leadership experience (as a Congressman, Governor and Cabinet Secretary) to be a good president, but he screwed himself royally tonight.
- While I agree with John Edwards when he said ‘it is a mistake for a President to impose his/her personal religious belief on the American people,’ I do think a President’s personal beliefs should guide him/her. Sure, there should be a separation of church and state (freedom OF and FROM religion), but I’m not ready to say that a leader should abandon their religious convictions when they step across the threshold of the Oval Office. Despite the evidence of the past six years, I want my President to have religious beliefs that will act as a moral compass in their decision-making. I just want to know in advance something about those religious beliefs.
- Interesting that none of the questions were specifically about Iraq. I guess they thought with the limited time spent with each candidate that they’d better ask something that the candidates would not already have answered a dozen times. Still, it is the most important issue facing the country… and nothing about the stock market losses of the day either. While not specifically LGBT-centric, these are concerns for ALL Americans.
- I'm not sure I liked the format. I guess I was hoping to see a real debate, with the moderators asking the initial questions and the candidates asking each other the follow-up questions. The program last night seemed like more of a job interview than a debate... or something that you might see on late night television (guests on a sofa, laughing and clapping by a small studio audience, etc.). The quick-fire format that Hardball's Chris Mathews used in an earlier debate wasn't much better, but at least we didn't waste time with the processional/recessional of the candidates. This format was relatively safe and seemed somewhat scripted last night, and I'm not sure we learned anything new about these candidates.
- Richardson was the clear loser tonight; no clear winner - Obama, Edwards and Clinton each had flashes of unsustained brilliance; and Gravel and Kucinich are still unelectable.
All-in-all an interesting evening. I hope you got to watch it or will take the time to read the blogs about what happened.
UPDATE: Joe.My.God has the video recaps of each candidates complete interview. Check it out if you missed the 'debate."