Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Edwards in the Democratic debate.

TalkLeft was impressed with Edwards' performance in last night's debate; from what I've read, so am I:

On Liberty:

I support dramatic revision of the PATRIOT Act. The last thing we should be doing is turning over our privacy, our liberties, our freedom, our constitutional rights to John Ashcroft.
Let me speak about this quickly. First, the very notion that this administration can arrest American citizens on American soil, label them an enemy combatant, put them in prison, keep them there indefinitely -- they never see a lawyer, never see a judge, never even get an opportunity to prove that they're innocent and they did nothing wrong -- this runs contrary to everything we believe in this country.
The notion that they are going to libraries to find out what books people are checking out, going to book stores to find out what books are being purchased.
What we have to remember -- and I will when I am president of the United States -- is what it is we are supposed to be fighting for, what it is we are supposed to be protecting.
These very liberties, this privacy, these constitutional rights -- that's what's at stake in this fight. And we cannot let people like John Ashcroft take them away in an effort to protect ourselves.

On Education:

[Bush is] not addressing the fundamental problem in our public schools, which is that we still have two public school systems in America, one for the "haves" and one for the "have-nots." If you live in an affluent community, the odds are your child will get a good public school education. If you don't, the odds go down dramatically. The president is not going to do anything about it.
This is personal for me. I would not be standing here today without a great public school education.
Here's what I want to do as president. First, lead a national initiative to pay teachers better, so we get good teachers and keep the good teachers that we already have.
Second, give bonus pay to teachers who are willing to teach in schools in disadvantaged areas, give scholarships to young people who will teach in schools in disadvantaged areas.
And finally, we have thousands and thousands of young people who are deciding not to go to college because they can't afford it. We ought to make college available to any young person who is willing to work for it. College for everyone. That's what I believe in.

On Health:

[Bush is] in the process of dismantling the public health system. He is cutting funding every single day for programs like prescription drug benefit. This is a president who says we can't do anything about the health care crisis in America. This is a president who blocked the Patient's Bill of Rights.
Here's what we ought to do, we ought to go over to the White House and hang a big warning sign on the door of the White House that says, "This president is hazardous to your health." That's what we ought to do.
No, we can in fact bring down the cost of prescription drugs if and when we have a president that has the courage and backbone to stand up to big drug companies, stand up to big HMOs, stand up to big insurance companies. I've been doing this my entire life. We can't just deal with the coverage question. We can't just deal with helping Americans pay the cost of premiums. If we don't solve the cost of health care problems in America, we will never address this health care crisis in a serious way.

In Conclusion:

We knew when President Bush came to office that we were going to see big giveaways to his friends and Halliburton.
Here's what we didn't know. We didn't know he was going to take away after-school for hundreds of thousands of kids. We didn't know he was going to take away help for college kids.
This election is about a lot of issues, but it's about something much bigger than that. It's about what kind of America we are. It's about what kind of America we want to be. It's about taking the power in our democracy out of the hands of that handful of insiders that are running our country today and giving it back to you, giving it back to the American people.
I believe in an America where the family you're born into and the color of your skin should never control your destiny. I believe in an America where the son of a mill worker could actually beat the son of a president for the White House.
That's the America I will fight for as president of the United States.

The funny part? That the moderator actually apologized to Edwards for having placed him after Sharpton: "Senator, it was just the way the order was."