Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Congressional candidates finally talk; Dems are superb

I haven’t heard Dave Patlak so revved-up since he was just back from Camp Obama.

“I’ve finally realized my dream!” he shouted down the phone.

What was it? A “debate forum” that brought together the three rubber-stamp Republican members of Congress from South Florida with their Democratic challengers. The format was so restricted that the designated moderator, Michael Putney of ABC Channel 10, withdrew and wrote in Wednesday’s Miami Herald that it “promises to be little more than a dumb show – a play done in pantomime, Kabuki theater.”

Someone among the candidates – no one would confess to it – had demanded that the sponsoring Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce reveal the questions beforehand, otherwise no show. Putney said he suspected one of the Republican campaigns for making the demand.

So there was a certain “canned” atmosphere, but the encounter itself was enough to give Dave Patlak chills down his spine, since when he ran for the District 18 seat in 2006, incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wouldn’t even touch the idea of a debate with a 10-foot pole. Now Democratic challenger Annette Taddeo is running a powerful and well-financed campaign against Ros-Lehtinen, and Patlak said she spoke with wonderful heart and directly demanded that Ros-Lehtinen explain her votes against expanding children’s health insurance.

And Patlak had ringing praise for Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez, who are challenging the Diaz-Balart brothers in Districts 25 and 21, respectively. Patlak said Joe Garcia was “presidential” in his remarks against Mario Diaz-Balart and Martinez was “dominating” against Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Alas, no one took the trouble to spread the word that the forum was being broadcast live on, so it could have been watched as it was under way. Channel 6 assures me that it’s being processed and uploaded, and should be available Wednesday evening on their archives website.

The Diaz-Balarts, Patlak reported, repeatedly tried to joke their way out of tough corners, and Ros-Lehtinen pranced around like a cheerleader to disguise her weak positions. I hope for more detail from Dave later, amid his constant work on the Obama campaign – he was off to deliver yard signs.

Meanwhile, here’s some word from Joe Garcia about a forum where he and Mario Diaz-Balart appeared earlier this week.

Not once did he offer a plan as to how we're going to get our economy moving again. He also never spoke about how we're going to make health care more affordable for the 1 out of 3 people in South Florida that don't have any.

Here's what he did do: He lied, attacked me, played partisan politics and made jokes.

There's nothing funny about thousands of struggling middle-class families losing their homes, or teachers getting laid off in places like Kendall and West Miami-Dade. The fact that Mario Diaz-Balart has voted over 90% of the time with the failed economic policies of George W. Bush is no laughing matter.

It's no surprise now why Mario Diaz-Balart insists on having questions given to him ahead of time.

This is what politicians do when they've only passed one bill after six years in Washington.

This is why we need change.

Our campaign is different. It's about finding solutions to the problems we face, like fixing our broken economy.

The stakes couldn't be higher. Get involved and let's make history.

Thank you so much for being there for us,

Being there means helping. You will find these links useful in getting to a place where you can help. Annette Taddeo. Raul Martinez. Joe Garcia.

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