I was watching Brian Lamb on CSPAN this morning, Washington Journal. Brian Lamb is a man I admire, perhaps THE man in the socio-political world I admire above all others. And he was asking opinions about a currently newsworthy question -- what is the USA's exit strategy in Iraq and should we set a date for leaving that country.

One of the things I admire about Mr. Lamb is that he solicits opinion in a brilliantly neutral manner whether in interview or on telephone call-ins. He does not presume to advocate or denounce, does not opine as to whether or not the media and the public should be pre-occupied with this issue or that. He treats each person with the respect each of us would like to receive, regardless of the opinion being expressed -- and there are times I marvel at his straight face and self control. (It may not be a good idea to play poker with the man.) In short, he behaves in public like an educated gentleman. He has chosen his work to be the solicitation and presentation of the opinions of people, both in the world of politics and out, with minimal distortion on his part. A messenger.

Mr. Lamb does not, as I said, presume to opine, but I do. And the subject of the war and the exit strategy brought me to this point:

I am sick and tired of presidential candidates acting like grade schoolers. (I can already hear the 9-year-old's reply: "But HE started it!"

I want to know what each man (in concert with his advisory staff) thinks about and plans to do about the pressing matters of today. To be more precise, the matters that actually should concern a properly-focused federal government. (That means that such petty items as who marries whom and what each state chooses to make legal or illegal under its constitutional authority are NOT federal business.)

Back to the CSPAN discussion -- can an exit strategy (and possibly an exit date) be spoken if we have no idea what was the real purpose of the war?

I want to hear adult persons exhibiting emotional and intellectual maturity and honesty.

"He's wishy-washy and flip-floppy and will get you all killed," is NOT political debate, I don't care how vicious your forebears were in their campaigns (there it goes again, "HE started it.")

"Bush is an idiot" is NOT political debate. I tried to make the point to friends a few years ago that the fact that the jokes Bush told on himself about his 'limited intelligence' were better than ours suggested we were on the track he and his advisors had set up for us.

I want to know what you (both of you) think and actually plan to do about:

The deficit
The war in Iraq
Health Care costs
Medicare costs
Infrastructure integrity (oh, perhaps you don't know that infrastructure these days generally refers to digital communication and no longer refers to bridges, roads, rail, sewers, water, power, etc.)
Medical care for the poor
The corporate irritants that trigger the sociopathic practitioners of terror

I want both of you and your people to stand up in the light of day or the lights of TV, together, and discuss these matters.

I do NOT want to hear you try to tell us what a vile piece of shit your opponent is.

You're acting like a bunch of psychotic second-graders, and should be taken out to the schoolyard and have your fannies whipped. Or maybe be medicated, although I would also like to hear the issues of juvenile behavioral medication debated -- do either of you have people schooled in that matter and who are allowed to speak freely about their conclusions? (And for that matter, any real data on the safety of other medications and food additives?)

I feel now, despite the fact that I personally despise George W Bush and his entire family, I can be objective. Now that John Kerry has been taken up the mountain and seen that the demon's approval only comes if he agrees to continue killing people in the Middle East, I realize my vote for him is based only on my intransigent hatred of George Bush.

So I can once again say -- what are the actual issues here? Perhaps a second-grade teacher would do better as a debate moderator, repeatedly chiding you, "Now boys, no more of that name-calling and finger-pointing. Answer the question, please, or go to the principal's office."



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