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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Meet the Press Debate, Part II

Disclaimer: I have summarized what was said this morning on "Meet the Press", sometimes using exact quotes, sometimes paraphrasing (I am not a friggin' stenographer). But at no time (at least in my opinion) did I change the intent of what was said.

These are my highlights, [with my comments in brackets] organized as I saw fit [I have more but I'm getting tired and have errands to run so we'll see if I get to it tonight or not.]:

-Webb starts out by explaining that he is running against Allen because he has not seen any leadership from him in his 6 years in the Senate, particularly on National security issues.

-Russert recounts Jim Webb's assertion that Allen told him he was asking him to be disloyal to the President by not voting for the Iraq war. [As opposed to developing his own position on the war...or anything else for that matter.]

Russert: Is that what you said to Mr. Webb? That you supported the war as a way of showing loyalty to the president?

[Allen responds with a non-sequitur.]

Allen: I'’ve shown great leadership for the state of Virginia both as Governor and in the Senate making this country more safe and also more prosperous. [Does that include voting against minimum wage increases 4 times?] And now my opponent is upset with tax cuts [unprecedented during wartime] and energy ideas [here are some of Allen's "energy ideas":
* Opposes spending resources to stop Global Warming. (Sep 2000)
* Roll back federal gas tax to lower gas price. (Apr 2000)
* Voted NO on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas. (Oct 2005)
* Voted NO on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%). (Jun 2005)
* Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy. (Jul 2003)
* Voted NO on targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010. (Jun 2003)
* Voted YES on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months. (Mar 2002) Voted NO on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's AMWR. (Nov 2005)
* Voted NO on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)
* Voted NO on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill. (Mar 2003)
* Voted YES on drilling ANWR on national security grounds. (Apr 2002)
Pretty much drill in ANWR and to hell with everything else.]
and education improvements in this country so that this is the land of opportunity for all. [Huh?] I’m going to keep fighting for those ideas because they will keep our country more prosperous and more safe. [If we are so safe, why are they always trying to scare us? Anyway, like I said, nothing intelligible here.]

Then Allen trots out the unequivocallyally disproven idea that Iraq was a threat to the US.

Russert: Let me ask you a simple question. If the CIA said in 2003: Saddam doesn't have WMD, that is our finding, would you still have voted to go to war?

Allen: Tim we made can'’t say gosh 5 years later-

Russert: It's a serious question. If you knew Saddam Hussein did not have WMD would you still have voted to go to war?

Allen: I stand by my vote and my vote was based on the evidence at the time. [Which he accepted unquestioningly - definitely a leadership characteristic.] We could have listened to the critics [Like the International Atomic Energy Agency] and done nothing and have this world be more dangerous if we were right [which they were not] and if we were wrong [which they were] and deposed Saddam Hussein, the world’s still better off. [So, the choice was to depose or not to depose Saddam Hussein. *Note: store this nugget away for later.]

Russert: Did you say to Jim Webb you were voting for the war so as not to be disloyal to President Bush? [Kudos to Russert for not letting Allen weasel his way out of answering this. Or at least trying to keep him from weaseling his way out of answering it.]

Allen: I was supporting our efforts of our administration. It was a bipartisan effort. It was my hope that Saddam would see how unified the US was as well as the UN and would actually comply with weapons inspections. [Unfortunately, "Senator" Allen just said (see above *) that the choice they had to make was to leave Saddam in power or take him out. Now he is saying it was to get him to comply with weapons inspections. Which, incidentally, would have left Saddam in power. So, I guess if "Senator" Allen had his way Saddam would still be in power. BTW, if you think it is unfair to take something and twist it to make a person look like they love Saddam, I agree. Please see below.]

[Note: I took these statements out of order for clarity of the argument.]

Allen: My opponent [Allen seems scared to say "Jim Webb", probably smart – don’t want to help increase that name recognition (except for the attack ads).] if he had his way, Saddam Hussein would not only be in his palaces in Iraq, he would be in Kuwait because he was opposed to military action in 1991.

Webb: That'’s an absurd analogy-

Allen: Heck, the French were even for military action in 1991. [It is very important to Allen that he not appear French - even though he is.]

Webb: I was testifying in the Nunn hearings I was testifying 16 years ago that the worse job we did in Iraq, the more powerful Iran would become. [Prescient, no? See Shia crescent if you want to see how right he was. See also Hizbullah v. Israel. Or pick up any newspaper.]

And, with respect to the French analogy, which he has used before, my Marine son was home and he said wait a minute, OK the French did support Gulf War I, Ok Dad, you fought in Vietnam, George Allen didn'’t fight in Vietnam, even the French fought in Vietnam. What do the French got to do with any of this? [Excellent way to take a stupid, French-bashing remark and turn it into a way to highlight Webb's service and point out that Allen didn't serve in Vietnam. Great shot of Allen shifting nervously in his seat and clenching his jaw with that phony grin on his face.] [BTW, what the hell does France have to do with anything? If they aren'’t already number 1 on the al-Queda hit list they are pretty close to it and they haven't gone anywhere near Iraq.]

[Here comes the money quote:] With respect to going in in this situation we did have other options. This was not a war of necessity at the time...You even had the Vice-President on this show who refused to comment on the Senate Intelligence Report who showed that the intelligence being used had been cooked. A lot of people on the outside new that there was no urgency to go into this war at the time that we had gone into it and if we had had the right people in the Senate there would have been more questions asked and a better policy in place in order to defeat international terrorism. That is the focus of our country. We didn't go into Iraq because of terrorism, we have terrorists in Iraq because we went in there. [This should be the campaign slogan for every Democratic candidate.]

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