Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    Top Ten Moments of The World's Most Boring Debate!

    I watched Monday night’s debate in New Hampshire with rapt attention. Or as much rapt attention that can be mustered while watching a debate between a group of people who collectively make me want to stick (sharp object) into my (body orifice). The ‘attention’ quickly vanished by the second hour during which I found myself submerged in boredom and the same old rhetoric. We get it, you cannot stand the current administration or Democrats or, quite frankly, anyone that thinks differently than you and that’s why you’re running. Instead of feeling an overwhelming sense of things moving forward for 2012, I felt like these were seven people who are really good at saying what they’d like to do but when push comes to shove, nothing will come about. Then again, this cynicism is a manifestation of ten years of working in politics. It’s easy to make campaign promises until you get to the actual job at hand. I feel that this particular group of Republicans seeking the nomination to become the President of the United States are wholly lacking. Each is good at making a show and spectacle of themselves or others but I don’t feel leadership from them. Of course that can be debated based on party affiliation and other things but for now, let’s just say that so much was left to be desired after Monday night’s debate. And several things, well, those things should never be said outside of the comfort of ones home. Leave your bigotry at the door.

    Top Debate Moments:

    10. Education: I work in the education policy and politics field, as such I spend a lot of time wondering what a future candidate would do about the sad state of education in this country and educators who have spent the last year being beaten down. Nothing. Not a mention of an instrumental part of the future of this country. Interesting.

    9. This or That?: John King wanted for us to get to know the candidates better. I suppose hearing about something other than policy talking points might make a candidate more likable. Learning that Tim Pawlenty likes Coke instead of Pepsi, did nothing to make me think of him as approachable. Coke or not the man was a snooze-fest.

    8. Tim Pawlenty: Prior to the debate, I thought that T PAW had it in the bag. I am also one of those assholes who thought that Barack Obama would never win against a Clinton. DO NOT ASK ME TO HANDICAP A POLITICAL RACE. That said, he showed up and that’s about as exciting and enigmatic it got with the person who everyone is trying to like. It’s hard to like a candidate who makes watching paint dry seem entertaining. Not only was he lacking charisma (and let’s face it, looks) but when it came down to John King asking about a specific statement he made about one of his opponents he hemmed and hawed instead of saying “Yeah, I said it”. We all know how you feel about Mitt’s health care plan ‘fess up.

    7. Foreign Policy: Foreign policy was saved for the last fifteen minutes of the debate. Interesting given the current predicament the country is in with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia and Yemen. Minus 10 points to CNN for perpetuating American ignorance on foreign affairs.

    6. Michelle Bachmann:
    She’s running for President and she wasn’t terribly crazy during the debate. She even fell in line when the subject of same sex marriage. She hates the gays just as much as everyone else on that stage. Yay!

    5. Obamneycare: Quote from John King after asking Tim Pawlenty about his “Obamneycare” remark; “If it was Obamneycare when in the comfort of a Sunday who why isn’t it Obamneycare when he’s [Mitt Romney] standing right next to you?” Take that, Governor! I love how what will continue to be a source of contention for Republicans will be what Mitt Romney did with health care in his state of Massachusetts and how it compares to what President Obama did with health care. Both implemented a similar system which some believe to be towards “socialized medicine” or a “single-payer system” both of which deserve more of a discussion than a paragraph. The point is that Mitt Romney is going to get screwed on this as health care costs and the Affordable Health Care Act have a direct tie to jobs and the economy and whether or not people can afford health care in general. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming months but right now Mitt Romney is King of Backtracking.

    4. Right to Work:
    I found the subject of Right to Work compelling as a lead into a conversation on state’s rights as well as seeing just how staunchly anti-labor these candidates are. Also interesting because - in full disclosure - I have spent the last three months working on the Right to Work as it pertains to New Hampshire and trying to prevent a veto override. This will be something that they will have to campaign on in New Hampshire as they will be asked about it so why not make it a national issue of how terrible the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is and while we’re at it let’s get rid of collective bargaining and any sort of wage related fairness for public employees. I can totally picture Newt Gingrich being all, “Fuck a living wage! Inflation is in your imagination.” That all of the candidates agreed on getting rid of the NLRB made me spend the rest of the evening thinking of the state of labor in this country.

    3. Jobs: A topic that should have been up there with foreign policy and yet it remains but a distant memory. Something about “trickle down” and something about how they all want to be just like Reagan when they grow up. But what people are dying for now is some sort of plan from someone that leads the country back to prosperity and to have an unemployment rate of 5% again. That’s what is leading to voter angst towards the current administration and that is what will drive the 2012 election. All anyone anywhere cares about are the jobs. Where are they and how are we going to get them back.

    2. The 10th Amendment: The 10th Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It’s the basis for states right as delegated by the constitution which Conservatives and Republicans (which are not interchangeable) like to adhere to. “Why is the federal government sticking its nose in the business of the states?” is the question asked by many on the right who feel that the federal government should be serving the states but not necessarily legislating for them. Which. Fine. Ok. Of course there is always an exception to the rule. So while each of these candidates said that the federal government shouldn’t be telling the states what to do they would like for the federal government to tell the states how people should get married and what women should do with their bodies. On social issues it’s ok for the federal government to butt in. First it was that it isn’t the role of a President to go into states and interfere with their state law BUT a President should have a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Why you ask? Because according to Rick Santorum, the best way to raise children is with one mother and one father. This went on for several minutes just so each candidate could say yup, I’m a bigot! Just like the rest of ‘em! It was a sad moment in the debate but not the saddest...

    1. Muslims in the administration: None of the candidates would hire a person of the Muslim faith to be in their administration because we don’t know what kind of Muslim this individual could be. I mean, look at all the evil Muslims out there waiting to get us? WHAT IF I HIRE THAT MUSLIM? And then Newt Gingrich is all, “We didn’t hire Communists so we can do the same thing for Muslims.” And then I was all, “Remember what we did with the Japanese during World War II? We could totally turn Texas into a giant interment camp! YES! That makes sense!*" Let us go back to our 1940’s sensibilities. This was the saddest part of the debate that there are people so close-minded willing to run a country. They say that they want to make the country great again and yet, one of the things that has made this country what it is, is its diversity. In a 10 minute interval, these seven ‘candidates’ took us back by about 100 years. With that one question, I felt like anything that could be the ‘future’ of the country is for naught. You can’t hope to move forward while looking back.

    So, did you watch the debate? What did you think?

    *I did not really say that. I feel like I need to clarify that there's some serious sarcasm going on here

    What happens to men in positions of power? 

    “He is in a deep, dark, unspinnable place,” - Chris Lehane

    The day Chris Lee resigned I felt for his constituents first and his staff second. His constituents in need of someone to handle their Medicare, Immigration, Medicaid and flag requests. Then the staff that is now subject to possible ridicule for working for a man who managed to be so very irresponsible in his actions with little regard for who might be affected. This ‘I feel for you’ quickly turns to anger as I questioned why a member of congress might attempt to get their swerve on via Craig’s list and think that they won’t get caught. The balls on these men - the Lees, Vitters, Edwards and now Weiners of the world - to exploit not only themselves but their positions is not only disgraceful to the office they hold and the people they represent but also to those around them.

    That is where Anthony Weiner finds himself today wrapped in shame, which is where he should be. He is part of rather close knit delegation of 31 - including the House and both Senators - and right now he finds himself the odd man out. The head of the DCCC also happens to represent the western part of Long Island and now he must stand with Leader Pelosi to say that a House Ethics investigation will proceed against a colleague who represents a district just a few miles away. Trace amounts of shame always ends up on those who are even in the periphery. As such he will remain an untouchable to the rest. No one else wants that on them.

    What I keep going back to though, as I write this and as these sex scandals continue, is that they’re all men and always are men. That coincidence is not lost on me but I find myself wondering why. Is it a power trip in them? They’ve been elected and feel powerful and thus omnipotent? Is it something about what they are already offered to vote and do certain things (money) so that transfers into sexcapades? What is it about these men who are so brazen with their willingness to share photos of their genitalia but upon getting caught it’s hush, hush and suddenly hiding on the sidelines. How interesting that Weiner step out yesterday afternoon while in New York because the House is in recess this week. How do you go back to just doing your job - a job that requires interacting with people and deal with the sideways glances. How can you shake your constituents’ hand or hold their baby claiming that you will work for them in Washington but when you’re in Washington, you are doing this? How?

    I wonder if things would be like this if women ran the world. I really do. I wonder if more women should run for office because they might take it a little more seriously and the power wouldn’t get into our heads in manifest in such a destructive way. Sure we have power trips but we end up Divas who want crushed ice not cubed in our water. Is there a natural something in our make up that makes it more difficult to exploit our power or our sexuality in such a public fashion? I suppose that what I am asking is what makes men and women so...different? For me It’s not just that this a politician and not just that my respect for politicians diminishes when a scandal like this occurs but it’s wondering if a woman would find herself in a similar situation and if so how would it be handled?

    I guess more women are going to have to run for office and show these men how it’s done. Fingers crossed that this is how it ends.

    Oh Newt

    In case you have a life and missed the joy that has been the sudden implosion of Newt Gingrich's 2012 campaign, please, allow me to let me give you the Cliff Note's version: Hoo boy! He's a sinking! He's the Titanic post-iceberg.

    Conservatives hate him because he spoke out against Paul Ryan's budget plan to voucher-ize Medicare and referred to it as "right-wing extremism". Which it is but if you're trying to court your very conservative, why is the federal government all up in my business, base, then that is not the way to go.

    Liberals hate him because...well, he's Newt.

    Then there's something about a pesky $500,000 bill at Tiffany.

    He should be having a great week of kicking off his campaign and being overjoyed that now that very serious contender Mike Huckabee is out and scene stealer, Donald Trump is gone. Alas he is stuck bobbing, weaving and backtracking with House republican leadership and getting glitterized.

    I'd wish him luck but that would go against everything I believe.