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The two Democratic presidential nomination candidates — one smugly representing the establishment and the other sternly the campaign of political revolution — faced off, went at it and answered questions leveled by a bevy of journalists headed up by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Hillary Clinton who was always addressed as Secretary even though she is now just a candidate and holds no political office whatsoever, was hit with a couple of subjects she wasn’t happy to talk about and she didn’t. She just smiled. Well, Bill always got away with it. Hillary, on the other hand, just doesn’t have Bill’s personality or way with the press.
When pushed several times on releasing the transcripts of her highly paid Goldman Sachs speeches, she just didn’t have anything to say. Most politicians don’t. They are experts at saying nothing. And she refused to answer twice.
She didn’t want to talk about Libya very much either. That was President Obama’s baby, she indicated, although she has been described as a major player in the overthrow of the Muammar Gaddafi regime and leaving Libya in chaos.
Her opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, when pushed said he’d release his 2014 taxes tomorrow. Sanders said his wife did the taxes.
Sen. Sanders laid out his platform of political reform that includes breaking up major banks like Goldman Sachs and closing tax loopholes enjoyed by major corporations and the 1 percent oligarchy that controls this country.
Sanders reminded Clinton of her ties to Super PACs and oil and gas lobbyists and was critical of her ability to break up and regulate the people who she was beholden to for her campaign money.
Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic nomination has been funded by individual contributors who have been sending him on an average of $27 a piece. Unlike Clinton and the rest of the politicians floating around, Sanders is not bought and paid for by special interests and the oligarchs that own this country.
Sanders talked about universal health care, free public college and university tuition, expanding Social Security, $15 an hour minimum wage, reducing the current college student loan situation, and lifting the cap of $118,000 on those who pay Social Security taxes. Sanders said he would not support Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court because of his refusal to comment on overturning the high court’s Citizens United decision.
Hillary Clinton danced around lifting the Social Security tax cap and would not say a solid yes or no; she said she had some good ideas too, but dragged her heels on the $15 minimum wage; she was happier with $12.
When gun control came up and Clinton was asked about her assertion that the State of Vermont (the state Bernie represents) supplies the guns used for New York crime, she dodged it and hammered Sanders on his refusal to approve liability for gun manufacturers and dealers who sell guns that are used in crimes — and for supporting the NRA and voting against the Brady Bill five times.
They both talked about Climate Change, but when Sanders asked Clinton if she would support a carbon tax, she never did say. Clinton dismissed the move toward clean energy, and Sanders said in light of the climate crisis, the country should move boldly to install 10 million solar rooftops, and, move to retrofit and rebuild our rail and mass transit systems. He cited FDR’s example.
They both regretted the Crime Bill that has overloaded our prison system with non-violent drug offenders. Clinton said the sentences got too long and there had to be changes made. Sanders said the unemployed need jobs and education, not incarceration. Referring to the War on Drugs, Sanders said they need to take marijuana out of the federal controlled substance act.
The debate covered a wide range of issues from Israel and Palestine to Free Choice and same sex rights.
Finally they both made their closing statements and pitch for voter support next Tuesday in New York
Hillary told her cheering supporters that she was going to bring New York Values to the White House. Wonder what happened the last time around, did she bring Arkansas Values to the White House?
Bernie told his cheering supporters who chanted “Bernie, Bernie,” that if they stood together, they would achieve their goals and create a full political revolution.
There was no clear cut winner or loser of this debate. They both pretty much held their own. Hillary stood on her establishment background and record with and without Bill, and Sanders challenged that record, presented new ideas and solutions, battered the status quo and called for change.
— Caroll Lucas