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Democratic Debate: BIG LABOR EDITION

August 8th, 2007 · 1 Comment · Politics, Rants

I missed the first broadcast, so I’m catching the midnight rerun.

Full notes after the jump.

Brief intros:

Big cheers for Clintbama. Moderate hooting for Edwards. Kucinich pulls a slightly better round of cheering that Edwards. Nothing for the others.

Displaying laudable political neutrality, the AFL-CIO spokesfellow endorses the Democratic candidate, regardless of who it is. Ah, to be a political stooge.

Has Kieth Olberman always used Stephen Colbert’s cadence of speech when cracking wise?

Wait… where’s Mike Gravel? I miss ONE DEBATE and they take my favorite candidate away? GODDAMMIT.

Questions on “infrastructure.”

Dodd first.


He also feels bad for people trapped in mines and opposes the Iraq War.

CHRIS DODD: Opposing unjust wars AND being trapped in mines! A bold vision for tomorrow.

Whistles and hoots for… Chris Dodd? Wow. The audience is pretty rowdy, which is actually kind of cool.

Now Hillary.

She loves DA BEARS. In a joyless, someone-else-wrote-this-for-me sort of way.

Also, she loves trapped miners, too. Will Obama try to set himself apart by NOT caring about trapped miners? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

Obama now.

O-BA-MA loves the “NFC CHAMPION CHICAGO BEARS.” As a Redskins fan, I now refuse to support this man.

Whoa. No love for the miners. Ballsy move or blatant display of support for MINE COLLAPSES?

Barack hates The War. Blah blah.

Biden’s up.

Biden’s answer is SO good, that it almost feels like he’s been prompted here. Segues neatly from supporting people not dying on bridges to minimum wage and then into some sort of random anti-Giuliani rant.


John, apparently expecting some applause, awkwardly increases his volume in the middle of his opening statement, only to be met with… silence.

Edwards wants to give the power back to YOU. By YOU, he apparently means YOU-nions.

“Say ‘no’ forever to lobbyists.” I’ll believe it when I see it.


Should we fund stadiums instead of safe bridges?

“Instead of funding their stadiums (stadia?), why not just buy the teams?” VERY nice.

End NAFTA, leave the WTO, workers rights, collective bargaining.

Raucous applause.

Wow. Dennis is on fire here.

Follow-up to Obama on stadium funding:

It was right to fund the stadium because it “created jobs.” Blah.


Should we sell toll roads to private companies?

“Privatization is not the answer” followed by a decent gag (”I will continue to take your financial support”).

Second round - NAFTA


NAFTA has hurt American workers. We need “smart trade.” A TON of buzz-words and basically zero actual ideas. Not entirely surprising, since NAFTA was her husband’s fault. WHY DIDN’T WE LISTEN TO YOU, ROSS PEROT?

Quick-fire: Scrap or fix NAFTA?

Richardson - BLAHBLAHBLAH. He opposes child labor and slave labor. He opposes union busting lawyers! More BOLD positions! So… uh… TBD?

Obama - He would call the presidents of Mexico and Canada to amend agreements. Fix.

Biden - “A president’s job is to create jobs, not export jobs.” Blahblah. Fix.

Dodd - “Requires modification.” Fix.

Edwards - Fix. “NAFTA is a perfect example of the bigger problem - Washington Insiders.” Like Al Gore and Bill Clinton.

Kucinich - Scrap NAFTA. Withdraw immediately (cue more applause). Worker’s rights, human rights, environmental standards. Kucinich calls for cheers AND GETS THEM. Wow. Kucinich is DOMINATING.

Follow-up for Hillary, since Edwards took a swipe at her:

“We need to change America and a united Democratic party.” Totally dodges the question. BLECH.

Round three - Buy American?

Obama - People don’t want cheap t-shirts at the cost of jobs. Okay. Some stuff about globalization.

Quick-fire: China - ally or adversary?

Richardson: “Strategic competitor.” Lots of human rights stuff with an ever-so-brief mention of our currency (belonging to them).

Obama: A competitor, not necessarily an enemy. I guess we won’t hear about Barack’s hypothetical invasions of China this week.

Biden: Neither. “They hold the mortgage on our house.” BRA-VO, sir.

Hillary: “Amen to Joe Biden.” The Hillary/Biden love-in continues. “We need fiscal responsibility.” Cue a week of Bill O’Reilly ranting about the Clinton’s and Chinese money.

Dodd: “Close to adversary.”

Edwards: Competitor, a lot of uninspiring stuff about country-of-origin labeling.

Kucinich: “The time to worry about China was when THESE guys were voting to make them a most favored nation. MY most favored nation is AMERICA!” Seriously, who the hell activated the part of Kucinich’s brain that knows how to campaign?

Hey, commercials! Time for a BOYLAN’S DIET CREME SODA. Zero Calories, Zero Carbs, All the Taste. That’s BOYLAN’S DIET CREME SODA - Family run since 1891!

Thirty seconds: If Al Qaeda takes over Iraq, what will you do then?

Richardson: Fight international terrorism by.. uh… reducing Greenhouse gas emissions? WTF, Bill?

Obama: WE’VE GOT NO OPTIONS!!! “Phased redeployment.” Troops in the region, just not in IRAQ. Yeah, because we can park 100,000 troops in the Middle East and not get shot at.

Biden: Swipe at Obama’s Pakistan comments last week. Separate the parties. Limited central government.

Clinton: She has a THREE STAGE PLAN. “Get out smarter than we got in, put pressure on the Iraqi government, diplomacy.” Mrs. Clinton, I’m not sure that’s ACTUALLY a plan.

Dodd: CHRIS DODD LUVS THE TROOPS. *rolleyes* “Diplomacy and statecraft.” Man, I would play the FUCK out of “World of Statecraft.”

Edwards: 40-50000 troops out today, engage Iraqi leadership to reach political agreement, engage Syria and “others.” Be prepared to control a civil war and genocide. No DETAILS, but not a bad answer.

Kucinich: Get out of Iraq now. Force Bush’s hand now, bring in a peace keeping force. Because the peace keepers won’t get shot at, right? His weakest response so far.

Special to Obama: Why was your vote on supplemental war funding not announced until the last minute? Shitty question. I’m grabbing another BOYLAN’S DIET CREME SODA.

Follow up to Clinton: Same question. Dammit. So, how’re YOU doing? Some kinda hot weather we’re having, eh?

To Dodd: It’s OBAMA huntin’ time! What about Obama’s foreign policy is “confusing?”

Dodd: Words “mean things.” Yes. Yes, they do. A bunch of stuff about how Obama saying he’d consider invading Pakistan was bad.

Obama follow-up: “Hey man, YOU cats fucked up the war on terrorism. Quit blaming ME for going after the real problems.” Followed by some sharp jabs at Dodd. A strong response.

God, Olberman has NO control over this event. It’s actually pretty funny.

Hillary: “People running for president shouldn’t engage in hypotheticals.” Hehe. Your mom SOOOO just bitch-slapped you, dude.

HILLARY. LOVES. SCREAMING. Ooh… BOOS at the end of it.

Dodd: “Stop blaming me for Iraq! I was wrong then, can’t we just discuss how you’re wrong NOW?”

Obama: ANOTHER follow-up. This is ri-goddamn-diculous. A FIVE YEAR OLD could moderate better than this.

After the COMMERCIAL BREAK: Audience questions.

And now it’s time for a soothing TUCKS® MEDICATED PAD. Has the oppressive godawfulness of this debate caused YOUR hemorrhoids to flare up terribly? Then reach for TUCKS® MEDICATED PADS.

Aaand we’re back. Just in time for audience questions. I refuse to accept the legitimacy of ANY audience questions that aren’t delivered via YouTube®.

Question one to Biden from the widow of a miner who died last year in the Sago mine: What will you do to improve coal mine safety? And (afterthought) other workplaces too.

Biden: I know what it’s like to lose a spouse, you know! HOLY SHIT. Biden IGNORES THE WIDOW and goes back to Pakistan. Rightfully, he gets BOOED. Jesus, Joe. Fuck you six ways from Sunday, man.

Question two to Kucinich: What will you do to restore the right to unionize?

Kucinich opens with his union credentials and then goes on a TEAR. To borrow from Olberman’s past: The man is EN FUEGO.

Question three to Richardson: I’m a soldier, I lost my job to MEXICO! What will you do?

Richardson: I’ll protect your pension. Then he spins off into his “Heroes Health Card” plan.

Via THE INTERNET to Dodd: Why was my (soldier) daughter forced to pay for some of her own gear? Also, what’s up with longer-than-usual deployments?

Dodd: I was in the reserves! Chris Dodd supports body armor. Republicans hate body armor. At least he was on-topic.

Question five: Tearful pension/healthcare question from a crippled guy. What’s wrong with American, what will you do to change it?

*standing ovation for the questioner*

Edwards: Treat CEO pensions like everyone else. Universal healthcare is needed so unions don’t have to negotiate for healthcare. Not a bad point. And he SHOUTS DOWN Olberman. Edwards started weak, but is picking up in the back half.

INTERNET QUESTION for Hillary: Something about pensions.

Hillary: Pensions are broken. I don’t mean to sound crass here, but who the fuck still GETS a pension? I sure as shit don’t. SHE. BEGINS. SHOUTING. ABOUT. MINE. SAFETY. I love that she’s basically just been programmed with a VOLUME ROUTINE in lieu of a personality.

Question number… uh… something to Obama: Newly minted citizen wants to know what Obama will do for undocumented workers with roots here.

“I want your first vote!” Hehe. “Comprehensive immigration reform.” Hold employers accountable, pathway to citizenship, LEARN ENGLISH. Same ol’ same ol’.

Next question to Biden: Nurse wants to know what Biden will do to address the uninsured.

Biden: I spent MONTH in a hospital after an aneurysm! Apparently, Biden is cranky because EVERY BAD THING EVER has happened to him. Gives a fluff response about universal healthcare, then goes off on a rant about his pro-labor pedigree. Certainly better than his “screw you, Miner Widow” answer.

INTERNET QUESTION to Kucinich: Another healthcare question.

Medicare for all. Basically rehashes his previous answer. Strong, once again.

Follow-up to Biden’s response for Edwards. Why did Olberman wait to do this? Weird. Also, Edwards is gibbering about hating scabs.

Olberman: Are you not from a right to work state?

Edwards: Er… well, yes. And yes, my state has a very small organized labor contingent. But I really DO understand the importance of it!

Yeesh, talk about handing Biden a secondary home-run.

AAAAND Biden heckles him after the fact.

Next question to Dodd: Energy efficiency question.

Dodd: Starts with healthcare. And - rightly - gets booed. I want the AFL-CIO audience at EVERY DEBATE from now on. ANSWER THE QUESTION.

Dodd would tax polluters, invest in Magic Alternative Fuels. BLAH. I want to poke anyone who mentions ethanol in the eye.

ANOTHER INTERNET QUESTION for Hillary: What changes to No Child Left Behind must be made.

Hillary: Responds to Dodd’s questions (boos). GOD-DAMMIT PEOPLE, answer the FUCKING QUESTIONS! She’s being heckled, but I can’t make out the shouting. She broadly supports a “total” change. No details.

And commercials. This break is brought to you by NON-PRESCRIPTION VIVARIN®, because it’s nearly 1:30 AM and things show no sign of stopping anytime soon and I have to work tomorrow.

Back for the “Lightning Round.”

Lame jokes from Olberman.

To Richardson: What’s your VP’s job description?

“Not Dick Cheney.” *cheers* Must be able to step in as president (duh).

To Clinton: Why do lobbyists make so much money?

Supports reform. End no bid contracts, blah blah blah. References her early-90s health care experience.

To Obama: You oppose lobbyists, but accept bundled lobbyist money.

“No I don’t.” Honestly, I have no idea who’s telling the truth here.

To Edwards: You’re a lawyer, how are lawyers better than lobbyists.

It’s not a lawyer’s JOB to pay off politicians. If a lawyer gives money to a jury, it’s a bribe. Not bad, honestly.

To Biden: Would you allow a Republican to run the Pentagon/Homeland Security?

He’d consider it, followed by more stuff about his EXPERIENCE. Ties it back in to reaching out to “the best” people.

To Dodd: No terrorist attacks since 9/11, does that mean Homeland Security is working?

No. Followed by a vague reference to collective bargaining(???). We’re not safer today. Hey, we’re suddenly back on-topic!

To Kucinich: What have you accomplished in this session?

His position is to try to lead (lists his bills). Distances himself from the Democratic Congress’ failure to leave Iraq. Decent answer.

To Obama: Would you honor Barry Bonds at the White House? Seriously, what the FUCK is this question?

He’s still gotta hit one more. And, MIRACULOUSLY, Obama spent the weekend with Hank Aaron. “My yes is not a yes.”

To Clinton: Katrina stuff, how would you help?

I have a ten-point plan. Put someone in charge who cares, make them answer daily to the president. Not bad, though I’d prefer “STOP BUILDING BELOW SEA LEVEL.”

To Biden: Would you stop no-bid contracts.

“Yes.” One word, no follow-up. Nice.

Questions about campaigning. What do they think about the fact that campaigns start so early? This is an absolutely awful question. I’m pretending they asked what their favorite animal is instead.

Richardson: “I’ve always had a soft spot for the proud armadillo.”

Obama: “Insofar as I am pretty like one, I like ponies.”

Biden: “First of all, I was once trampled by a herd of buffalo. I spent EIGHTY-SIX YEARS in a coma. So I like buffalo.”

Clinton: “An extremely loud parrot.”

Dodd: “Tree sloth.”

Edwards: “Monkeys!” (Also, HOLY SHIT, he’s back on the cleft-palette guy from two debates ago!)

Kucinich: “I’m Seabiscuit!” (Oh, how I wish he hadn’t ACTUALLY SAID THAT.)

Kucinich wraps up with an energetic rant, followed by big applause.

And that’s it.


Against all odds, Kucinich was the RUN AWAY winner.
Edwards started rough but got progressively stronger as time wore on. His best outting so far, in my opinion.
Obama took near-constant shots, but held on strong.
Clinton, as always, is the ROBOT-SCREAMING front-runner. She came across as a bit of a shrew at times, but that’s just her M-O at this point. No real forward movement, but no back-sliding.


Joe Biden. Dear Lord, the man needs to pack it in. He IGNORED A WIDOW. In front of TEN THOUSAND widow-loving union folks. I’m not sure he can even be considered a legitimate VP candidate.
Dodd - Might as well be invisible.

Also on stage:

Richardson - Still hanging in, slow and steady. Still a valid second-tier VP choice.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Aubrey // Aug 8, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    WOW. That was very thorough. I feel like I didn’t miss it now. I also probably shouldn’t be reading this at work because I’m chuckling so much :).

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