Friday, February 12, 2016
Bernie Versus Hillary at the Sixth Democratic Party Debate: When the gloves came-off at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee?
Keywords or Terms: South Carolina and Nevada Primaries; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie; Bernie Sanders; Hillary Clinton; Foreign Policy; Madeleine Albright; US Criminal Justice System; Campaign Contributions
With the race for Democratic Party nomination tied up, Hillary Clinton winning the Iowa caucuses and Bernie Sanders winning the New Hampshire Primary, there were firecrackers on Thursday night at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie. Facing off each other as if both of their lives depended on it, Hillary Clinton would not back down as she reminded viewers of the clear differences between her campaign for the White House and that of Bernie Sanders’. The upcoming South Carolina and Nevada primaries were not to be taken lying down; and, the former US Secretary of State wanted Democrats to know that her landslide loss in New Hampshire was just a bump in the road. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in his usual straight talk and close to being a fact machine, spewed so many information out and congenially reminded America that the welfare of the middle class must not be sacrificed any longer at the altar of Wall Street Corporate welfare.
The hypothesis that Secretary Clinton once demonized Bernie Sanders hardly came through at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie venue; however, her new strategy was to paint Bernie sander further as a candidate singularly focused on economic inequality. As Bernie Sanders barrage her on Social Security, immigration, trade and regime change, Hillary remained calm as if realizing now that there is no third choice candidate, that the odd of her losing all the coming primaries would largely be slim, except women voters fail to show up at the polls. As if reminding everyone that she has championed women issues in the past and would continue to do so on income inequality and abortion rights, Hillary avoided the question of a statement credited to another former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, that: “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.” Coming up with the admonition that women should vote for whomever they want, Hillary failed to take the bait from one of the PBS hostess.
While still saying that Bernie Sanders’ promise on healthcare cannot be kept, Hillary Clinton went on the offensive criticizing his grasps of foreign policy ("I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is"); his disagreement with President Obama ("This is not the first time that he has criticized President Obama"); and the ever so repeated, one-issue label of Bernie Sander ("I do not believe we live in a single-issue country"). Bernie Sander was not totally conciliatory of Hillary Clinton’s criticisms as he pokes fun at Clinton’s foreign regime change initiative, her call for the “rigged economy,” and her close ties and acknowledgement of former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger; with the Vermont Senator declaring he is not a fan or friend of a Secretary who was part of some foreign policy on an East Asian country that led to mass genocide. Reminding Clinton that She is not in the White House yet, Bernie Sanders diminished the brilliance of the foreign policy credential of the former secretary with: helping to overthrow a dictator is not the issue, but what to do, after the despot is gone. Replying to Clinton’s objection to disagreement with US President from Sander, the Vermont Senator said Madam Secretary that is a low blow, an asserted his right to disagree, even with a “President who has done such an extraordinary job.” To further rebut Clinton’s disapproval of the assailant of President Barack Obama from Sanders, the Senator added: “One of us ran against Barack Obama and I was not that Candidate”
As if re-calibrating her former antagonist stance to Sanders, Secretary Clinton was at times, subtle in criticizing some policy proposals from him. Not completely dismissive of the free public college tuition policy proposal, Secretary Clinton intoned, it is unworkable. Precisely saying: “Senator Sanders’s plan really rests on making sure that governors like Scott Walker contribute $23 billion on the first day to make college free,” … “I am a little skeptical about your governor actually caring enough about higher education to make any kind of commitment like that.” This was in response to the slashing of about two hundred and fifty million dollars from the University of Wisconsin system by the conservative college drop-out governor of the state.
Two things we can all agree upon. Former US Secretary of State Clinton articulated her vision very well with the opening statement: “I’m running for president to knock down all the barriers that are holding Americans back, and to rebuild the ladders of opportunity that will give every American a chance to advance, especially those who have been left out and left behind.” On the urgent need for criminal justice reform, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders rightly articulated his proposal with: “They see kids getting arrested for marijuana, getting in prison, getting a criminal record, while the see executives on Wall Street who pay billion dollars in settlements and get no prosecution at all.” The unfortunate nature of the problem with the US criminal justice system, is that it had often disadvantaged minorities, Blacks, Asians and Mexicans. Slow reactions to these urgencies make America look unresponsive to the welfare and needs of minority groups – the need to repair the broken criminal justice system is no longer an aberration, but fundamental to a fair, just and stable democracy. On both count, opening up opportunities and reforming the criminal justice system, it is time for America not only to become more inclusive, but have or create a more just society where minority groups. It is also imperative, that the system is not further disenfranchising a major chunk of the population on their right to something as simple as a personal private choice on abortion. Maybe that is why the question of “moral responsibility’ as articulated by Bernie Sander ring ever so loudly; and Clinton’s castigation on his healthcare proposals going to significantly expand the scope of government, sounds more hollow. Where on earth did Ms. Clinton find her data to show that further health care reform will lead to 40% expansion in size of US government? The proportionate share of expenses for the accommodation of nation on healthcare, criminal justice system and fundamental human rights, are not at par with the national gross domestic product.
That much is agreed. But these does not say that both Hillary and Bernie are still in unison on other liberal issues. When Bernie Sanders was asked if defeating his rival for nomination would amount to thwarting history in a country that had never had a female president, he responded with: “I think a Sanders’ victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well.” When Secretary Clinton was asked how she will bridge the racial divides in the country when the first African-American president had had a tough time doing much, she responded with: “the nation has seen lots of advances under the leadership of President Obama and there had been a boon the health welfare of African-Americans, with the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Rejecting the notion that Wall Street contributors may influence her decision-making, Secretary Clinton reminded the audience that President Obama was also a major recipient of that class of contributors. Shooting back, Senator Sanders blistered, “let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people”. The intended purpose of donations is an expectation of favorable treatment.
Taken literally, the closing remarks of Secretary Clinton appears support taking out money out of US politics; however, she insisted that that notion, as well as, some policy proposals from Senator Sanders, appears to be naïve. Yes, the nation could choose to take first steps in taken big money out of American politics, however, who is going to start first? Except US Congress passes new laws and or amendment to those on the books, it is probably a mirage to expect money to get out of US politics. By adopting the right mix of proposal to change American politics through taxation of undesired behavior, including penalizing Wall Street excesses, illegal campaign contributions and other disenfranchising policies, the nation may chart a new course for herself. By agreeing with Senator Sanders that the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top and going further to promise to protect minorities, African-Americans and Immigrant families facing discrimination, Secretary Clinton is indirectly agreeing that there is truly a problem, or problems. The fact that Senator Sanders is proposing a “political revolution” to resolve these issues, may be an over the board proposal even with some leftists, however, the time is probably ripe for a change; a change that will lead us to that promised land, which the preacher once informed us about.
Without telling what the stringent measures that are necessary to achieve the purported American utopia, current slate of politicians seeking to occupy the White House oval office appear to be failing the litmus test of good political campaigns: what the voters are interested in or about, what would change their past experiences on many levels, why their particular brand of proposal and offerings are the things or policies that will rectify the difficulties or perceived problems. The right strategy in a campaign is not whether the campaign is going to rake up enough supporters at the party level, although that as well is good and should not be discountenanced, but whether the electorate at a general election will subscribe to the brand of proposal and would not hold against them, uncomfortable and very offensive comments that might have slipped out of their mouth during the respective party nomination process. The silent minor premise that many of these candidates are going with, on what should be done and not done in party politics, appear to have been turned upside down, with the reality of the Republican candidate debates. On the side of the Democrats, it has not been rather obvious regarding this challenge. The margin of support that individual candidate is currently receiving, despite all the faults and probably fallacies of their campaigns, is the essence of all the current party debates; and left to me, this is why we need more of these informed debates.