1st District debate wrap up
A few more notes, scribbled on paper (got tired of writing on my PDA):
On the UN -- Dodd said the US should pay its dues.
Sullivan said that the UN is nothing more than a debating society. The UN passed plenty of resolutions dealing with Saddam Hussein but never enforced them. The US should withhold its dues. Sullivan pointed to the oil-for-food scandal -- money intended for humanitarian relief was skimmed off the top to build palaces for Saddam. Sullivan mentioned seeing a report that someone connected with the UN was burning documents dealing with Saddam's WMD program.
On gun control -- Dodd said he got 100% on the NRA questionnaire. He said we don't need new laws but need to enforce laws on the books, although he went on to ridicule the expiration of the assault weapon ban, which suggests he would favor a new federal law to reinstate the ban.
Closing statements -- Dodd advised voters: "Vote your own interests. Look out for you." (So much for "ask not what your country can do for you.")
This is necessarily sketchy -- hard to listen and compose at the same time, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing the notes as I took them tonight. Overall impressions:
- The new Jewish Community Center is a beautiful facility.
- The crowd was rather small -- maybe 150 -- and mostly partisans for one candidate or the other. One observer thought that there were only a handful of audience members who were there as members of the Jewish community, but he expected much more interest in the Senate forum coming up in a few weeks.
- John Sullivan's debating skills have improved markedly since his first race for Congress. He spoke with confidence and passion. The passion was particularly in evidence in his discussion of American policy towards Israel, which reflects his voting record.
- Doug Dodd was his usual polished broadcast-professional self, for the most part, although he seemed unusually incoherent and inarticulate at a few points, particularly in discussing the Jewish people and the issue of abortion. On abortion, he at first said the the government shouldn't interfere in the decision, but then he hinted that there was nothing that could be done anyway with Roe v. Wade in effect, so no point in Congress debating it except to pass a constitutional amendment. There was something too about revisiting the definition of viability based on scientific advances.
- Dodd was more open in his embrace of left-wing ideas -- opposing a ban on partial-birth abortion, opposing the defense of marriage against activist judges, treating Israel's elected government and Palestinian terrorists as morally equivalent (the code phrase for this is "being an honest broker"). His use of the phrase "our so-called coalition partners," referring to our allies in the Iraq war, speaks volumes about his view of foreign policy. I guess Britain and Spain and Poland don't count to Doug Dodd -- only the opinions of France and Germany matter.
In the words of Kris Kristofferson, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Having already lost twice to John Sullivan, and with the national Democratic committees unwilling to put money into his race, Doug Dodd no longer feels compelled to campaign as a centrist, as he did in his first two races. He's letting his colors fly.