The motto of the New York Times is "all the news that's fit to print". I've never cared for it. To me, it reeks of censorship. What is fit? What isn't? More importantly, who decides?
Democratic Debate Tonight, 6PM PST, Las Vegas, broadcast on MSNBC. NBC's Brian Williams will be moderating, joined by Tim Russert. You can bet candidates will face questions about education, health care, the economy and immigration. I would hope the Iraq War and Yucca Mtn will surface as well.
By the time anyone reads this, the Presidential Debates in Nevada will likely be underway. It's being built up as somewhat of "an Old West duel". Does anyone else find this offensive? This is not a shoot to kill situation. It is a legitimate format for discussing issues and plans by potential presidential candidates.
At this moment, Dennis Kucinich is in Nevada fighting for his right to participate in the debates. It has see-sawed back and forth with NBC vowing to exclude him by only allowing the top three candidates to debate. Judge Charles Thompson of the Clark County District Court has said he would issue an injunction cancelling the event if Dennis "does not have a place on the stage" ... (ignore the odd wording, "stage" is appropriate for Las Vegas, although it does make me wonder if his place on the stage might involve raising & lowering the curtain or handing out bottles of water) ... This is a hell of a way to run a debate!
I care and worry that our choices are being limited by some arbitrary corporate decision. Why is NBC deciding this? What is the DNC's position? If the people are supposed to pick our candidates, why are we being denied the right to hear Kucinich's opinion? If he is unviable, he will not garner enough votes to make it beyond Super Tuesday in February. Same goes for John Edwards, who will mostly likely be the next target of this type of censorship. Whatever we don't see and can't hear, might as well be invisible.
Well as I say, by now the debates have probably already commenced, so everyone knows whether Dennis has been censored or not. You know, I've never seen a debate that did not benefit from his presence. He has raised issues the front-runners dance around. He adds to the discussion and helps voters clarify the finer points of topics that are otherwise only generally addressed. And he manages to do this even when he receives far less debate airtime.
In Nevada, candidates will be facing a diverse electorate for the first time. The Nevada debate tonight has been preceeded by more intense local campaigning than that state normally sees. From important union endorsements to personal neighborhood canvassing, the candidates have gone far beyond the usual quick in-and-out rallies. Most Nevadans have never voted in a caucus, never had a chance to influence the national selection of a presidential candidate. They don't have the years of experience of Iowa and New Hampshire in this regard and since their caucus will be this Saturday, January 19th, tonight will be the final opportunity for Nevadans to hear them all together.
"Minority Issues" has been set as the theme for tonight's debate, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. (the theme was set by the debate co-sponsors). John Edwards told South Carolinians on Sunday, "As someone who grew up in the segregated south, I feel an enormous amount of pride when I see the success that Senator Barak Obama is having in this campaign". On Monday, Edwards, whose debate performances have gotten solid reviews, said "This is an opportunity for people to hear and see what I have to say ... whenever people have a chance to hear what I have to say, I do well." He refuses to be written off: "The national media has wanted this to be a two-person race for a year now. My job is to get through that noise". I think he does well in debates and am wishing him break-out moments in the Nevada and South Carolina primaries. Otherwise, he will become news unfit to print, and that doesn't bode well for his campaign in Super Duper February.
*****TONIGHT IS ALSO THE MICHIGAN PRIMARY VOTE*****
To me, the problems the democrats are facing at the Michigan polls today belong in this post about censorship. I think we're all aware by now that the DNC has stripped Michigan (and Florida) of their convention delegates because they moved up their primaries without authorization. As a result, in Michigan today, Democratic voters are looking at a ballot that only allows them to vote for Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kucinich. They cannot write in a vote, or their ballot will be invalidated. Their other option is to vote "Uncommitted". Big whoop. An uncommitted delegate, even if the DNC eventually allows them to be seated, can still vote for Hillary. They can vote for whomever they feel like; they are uncommitted.
The interesting result I'm looking for out of Michigan tonight is a high percentage for Kucinich and/or Uncommitted. What this would say is the Democrats in Michigan do not appreciate Hillary being crammed down their throats. Because make no mistake about it, that is EXACTLY what is happening. WHY it is happening is hard to fathom. Is it a return to old time Tammany Hall party control? Because that's what it looks like to me when the DNC itself is trying to suppress the vote. What does it mean that Michigan Governor Granholm is an avowed Hillary supporter, and Hillary is the only top-tier Democrat on the Michigan ballot today?
Michigan is a very independent state. They have an odd habit of bucking party trends. They handed George Wallace their votes over McGovern or Humphrey. I'm afraid this year, the Michigan independents, not seeing anyone on the democratic ballot they like, will follow New Hampshire's lead and hand their votes to John McCain. I'd like the DNC to explain their tactics, because now, whatever happens in Michigan and Florida, the democratic convention will NOT be reflecting the voter's will. And this doesn't even begin to address the Super-Delegate fiasco!
Open rant to the Media and the DNC: Stop telling us who to support. Stop limiting our choices. Stop shutting off information on all but the top one or two candidates. Stop suppressing the vote! It's bad enough that we have to fight voter disenfranchisement and electronic machine fraud in the General Election ... can't you even give us a clean primary election?
To the Candidates: Get back to the issues. Stop censoring yourselves & give us some details about your plans. Let us see who you are. Stop exaggeration and personal attacks!