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Monday, September 18, 2006

Fairfax County CoC Debate, Part II: "Written Words Are Words That You Think About"

Part II, see Part I.

Question: War in Iraq: What are we fighting for and when will our soldiers come home?

Allen: Security of the USA. He says there is no difference between him and Webb on this. [Whaaaaaaa?] We agree there should be no permanent US bases. We shouldn'’t talk to Iran and Syria because they are state sponsors of terror. [Sure look how well isolating Cuba has worked. We changed their regime lickety split (in geological terms).]

Webb: Last year Allen said we should be talking to our enemies. Part of the success in Afghanistan was due to getting the neighbors involved, including Iran. "No great country should be afraid to talk to any other country." [Fear obviously drives everything in our country now - as long as the Allen types are in positions of power.] The US can begin a process to bring Iran back into the international community, as we did with China in the 1970s.

Snuffy: What is the key difference between you and Allen on Iraq going forward?

Webb: Many. He is comfortable with the idea that we could stay for 20-30 years. [We've been in Cuba for 100, right "Senator"?] I believe we need to work immediately to get our combat troops out of Iraq. [That seems to be a difference to me.]

Allen: Webb has no clear plan. [Does he even listen when Webb speaks?] [Oh, and by the way] Iran and Syria are state sponsors of terror. [In case you missed it the first time.]

Webb: Even the President of Iraq is talking to Iran. The President of your regime in Iraq is talking to Iran. You will not have peace in the Middle East unless you somehow bring all the countries into involvement. [I think this was the best off-the-cuff, honest, and powerful substantive remark of the whole debate.]

Q: Senator Allen, as a Governor you were against easier motor-voter registration laws because of states rights, but you, as a Senator want to force states to accept concealed weapons permits from other states. How do you reconcile this?

Allen: Motor voter is an unfunded mandate. Concealed weapons laws = drivers licensing.

Webb: I agree, I have a permit to carry. I'’ve had a gun since 8 I hunt etc. [I didn't really think much of this question and they both pretty much agreed on it. However, this turned into a positive for Webb because he used it to show that he has been a life-long gun owner and hunter. That should play well here in Virginia. My brother (who lives in Pennsylvania) told me about a co-worker of his who, before the 2004 Presidential election, decided he was going to vote for Bush because he didn't believe John Kerry actually hunted (Kerry had had a pretty weak hunting photo-op staged just before this. Of course, he had no problem swallowing Bush's fake-cowboy schtick.) There should be no such problem with Webb, I find that very positive.]

Q: Mr. Webb, would you vote to cut off appropriations to fund the Iraq war to end it?

Webb: I would want to ask questions about the permanent bases. Iran has more power in Iraq than it has in 300 years. I would not vote to cut off funds.

Q: Should Iraq be partitioned?:

Allen: This should be determined by Iraq. Northern Kurdish area is a boom town. We didn'’t have to wear flack jackets there [As opposed to the rest of the country. Seriously, he's trying to point out positives in Iraq right? The best he can do is "not everywhere requires Kevlar"?] All the factions have decided to be positive and constructive [This is so naive and/or ridiculously oversimplified and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Iraqi Kurdistan.– Kurdistan is far more uniform ethnically and religiously than the rest of the country (Kurdish Sunnis far outnumber Arabs - Sunnis and Shiite - Turkmen and the other ethnic groups in the region.) They'’ve had self-rule for 15 years allowing them to have civil institutions in place (which we didn't dismantle when we invaded, unlike the rest of the country). The dynamic in Kurdistan is completely different from the rest of the country. They didn'’t just decide not to kill each other.]. ALL Iraqis are agreed in the gratitude to our country and that Baghdad is essential for security. [I don't think anyone can make any statements that ALL Iraqis agree upon. The closest to universal agreement you could probably get would be that they ALL want US troops out of their country.] They should decide. Oil as a national asset again. [Again, nationalized oil? That'll bring in outside investment. Tell it to Hugo Chavez, "Senator".]

Webb: The insurgency is active because they resent the American troops. Kurdistan is in danger of spilling over into Turkey and Iran and Syria.

Allen : Do have to be so negative when even the Kurdish area is doing so well you have to be critical of it? [Yeah, ya big meanie! Kurdistan is all candy and sushine. Well, except for the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), the terrorist organization that wants to carve out a Kurdish homeland from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey and which happens to be based in Iraqi Kurdistan with the tacit approval of the Kurdish government. They are also the reason that Turkey and Iran have been shelling Iraqi Kurdistan. They are why Turkey has been threatening to invade Iraqi Kurdistan. Oh, and Kirkuk (which the Kurds want to annex because it contain 40% of Iraq's oil) ain't so stable anymore either. But, ya know. All is well. Or, Allen is showing his ignorance, yet again.]

Q: Women can'’t fight:

Webb: I apologize for the tone of the article. I am comfortable with the role of women today. When I was in government, I opened up more operational blllets than any navy secretary in history. And I instituted stronger provisions on sexual harassment. I apologize to anyone offended by the tone of the issue, 27 years ago. Where we are today is result of the debate discussed in that article.

Allen: Written words are those that you think about. [Unlike saying macaca, I guess. Wait, did he really just say that?] Allen pounds on Webb for the article and then goes back to the Reagan ad again.

Webb: "Well, I guess this is my macaca payback. Keep tryin' George." [Nice. That pretty much says it all on this issue.]

Q: VA transportation: New taxes for road or rail?

Allen: Does not want to answer the question because it requires taxes to be raised. Prefers private investment with tolls.

Webb: I agree on need for private investment. Should try what he used to bring companies to Vietnam. BOT: A private company Builds roads. They Operate the toll road. Then they Turn it over to the government when they make a pre-determined profit. [This sounds like a pretty smart, detailed plan for one of NOVA'a biggest issues.] Work hard to get full dollar for every dollar in gas tax back from the feds. Virginia has a great Governor in Tim Kaine and I look forward to working with him.

Allen: Allen wants to drill for oil in ANWR and off the coast of Virginia.

Closing statements:

Allen: You know me. [To know you is to want to vote against you.] More microchips than cigarettes were made in Virginia. This is not a one issue campaign. [Pleeeeease believe that. Please, please, please don't think of Iraq when you vote.] I'm the only candidate with an energy security plan [Drill.] We need more people involved in science and technology. [I agree. Does anybody know Allen's stance on Intelligent design being taught in schools? Seriously, I don't know. He'’s a smooth politician, I must say.]

Webb: Mark Warner deserves some credit for the technology boom in Virginia. [Touche.] The state of leadership in this country: –Have wanted to see strong affirmative leadership on many issues not just one. 2/3 of American believe this country is headed in the wrong direction. I can bring a new view. "I have written books George, I confess." [Gasp!] I would like to spend the next 6 years giving every ounce of my energy to helping our national defense become properly focused again, to helping to ease the divisions in this country and create more fairness in our economic system and on isues of social justice and to stand up to an administration that, in my view, has abused its constitutional powers over the last 5 years. [Amen.]

Webb has a nice little joke at his own expense by standing on his toes to be as tall as Allen when they shake hands. [What is Allen, like 8 feet tall?]

So guess who won? Webb. Again. Not by as wide a margin as on "Meet the Press" but still convincing.

Allen seemed at times like the ultra-slick politician and at other times (when knocked off message) flustered, angry, and uninformed.

Webb articulated definite positions which are, most importantly, his own and not a) dictated to him by the President, or b) lifted from someone else.

Post-mortem on both debates to come.

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