Like most Americans, I find primary debates about as interesting as watching toenails grow. Sure, it's important in the pre-primary stage for the candidates within a party to differentiate themselves from their competition. However, it's much more important for candidates to play out the actual debate they will be having once they are chosen as primary candidates, or elected to office. Such a discussion would happen with the other party.
This Sunday's Meet The Press hosted a real debate between Republican and Democrat, Senator John McCain faced off with former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry. What struck me most immediately was the approach to the discussion between the two candidates. As I have said before, I tend to view things in a simple fashion unlike my supposed left wing betters. I saw two points of view, one that was focused on solutions and winning, and one that was bitter, angry at the past, and using terms like redeployment as a pseudonym for quitting. I'm sure even the most left wing of my readers can guess which one was which.
McCain's opening comments:
"The U.S. strategy in Iraq should be to defeat al-Qaeda, to do everything we can to reverse the increasing influence of Iran in Iraq, and to achieve or move towards the goal of military security and a functioning government."
Kerry's opening comments were a bit longer, and not quite as clear:
"Well, the Bush-McCain strategy of escalating our troops in the middle of a civil war has no relationship directly to what you need to do to resolve the civil war. So you can put additional troops in and secure a small area here or there, but everybody knows there are not enough troops to be able to secure all of the areas you need to secure and, most importantly, it does absolutely nothing to resolve the fundamental differences, Tim. A policy of putting more troops in and staying is a policy for staying. It is not a policy for winning or for changing the equation. And the fact is that over the last four and a half years, they’ve had ample opportunity to make any of the fundamental political decisions that really don’t relate to security. An oil revenue law does not take security to be passed. A de-Baathification law does not take security to be passed. It takes political will. They haven’t shown the political will. We have to change the fundamental equation and create leverage in our relationship.