Monday, November 5, 2007

11-5-07: The Mukasey Nomination and Presidential Debates

It’s interesting how politics work sometimes. It’s often frustrating, but it’s always interesting. Look at the recent debate raised in the nomination of Michael Mukasey.

At first glance, I thought it was a simple “Democrat vs. Republican” issue, but then I read the article on about the debate between John McCain and Rudy Giuliani regarding the role of torture. McCain is a big critic against Mukasey’s nomination because Mukasey didn’t say water boarding was illegal. He’s got a bit of clout in this issue, because he was a POW for years in Vietnam. He’s against torture.

But apparently Giuliani might be favorable towards the practice of “intensive questioning,” which was used in the fight against the New York Mafia. He said it was necessary to reduce the crime in the city. Though he never said water boarding was used, McCain still fired back by saying that if some one didn’t know the difference between intensive questioning techniques and the practice of water boarding, they shouldn’t lead our military. Fair point, but it seems to be a bit of a stretch by McCain. I didn’t see any quote in their by Giuliani that said he did know the difference, but I don’t know what the rest of the interview contained. Maybe it was a question about whether or not torture was necessary. If it was, and he gave that answer, then McCain’s on to something. I just thought it was interesting that the issue is not just a party vs. party battle.

But still, it’s not a bad idea for Mukasey to hold back from making the assertion without learning more of the facts. Though it would be simple to say “yes, it’s illegal,” making sure of facts is a good way of doing things. I hate all these bullshit “debates” they show on TV every other week. They aren’t debates. They’re showcases. They don’t help to distinguish one candidate over another, because they aren’t debates. Anything that has a “Lightning Round,” simply isn’t a debate. They should have matchups of one candidate vs. another, sort of like a playoff system, only the elimination would be determined by the outcomes. Of course, the top candidates would find this too risky, and God forbid they have to back up their own views! I think it would be entertaining. If people are worried about which candidates to debate against each other (or the goddamn TV ratings), they should just make it random. Have a group of eight candidates match up in four debates. They certainly have the time right now with all these silly little debates, so why not do one on ones? Wouldn’t you want to see Rudy vs. Ron Paul, or Fred Thompson vs. John McCain? What about Hillary vs. Edwards or Obama vs. Mike Gravel? That is good TV. If the lesser candidates can’t hack it, then they probably won’t be a good President.

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