Congressional Debate

There are those times when you are very proud and pleased to be associated with Niki Tsongas, and today was definitely one of those times. She had her first debate with Ms. Wofford (to shorten the name a bit), and she was, in my opinion, magnificient. She refused to be baited by some claims that seemed to be half-lies, as opposed to half-truths, and she kept her eye on the prize. The prize, in Niki’s case, seemed to be her accomplishments in the U.S. Congress. Things like her reaching across the aisle to get the help of a Republican Congressman to close the loopholes in punishment for horrendous crimes against women in the military, or the growth of New Balance Shoe company and their effort to make the only sneaker available which is manufactured in the United States of America. She was baited on conservation, but stuck to the work she had done in conservation, and the use of carbon-creating materials to hasten global warming, a process that I believe, but could not be sure by Ms. Wofford’s argument, her opponent was stating had been reversed in 1996. It must have been a miraculous year.

Ms. Wofford also stated that she was the “grassroots candidate” because most of her money had come from the man or woman on the street. Niki Tsongas stated that she had received PAC money from organizations that were Democratic in nature, but refused to state that Ms. Wofford would be the recipient of PAC money from corporations and other beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s finding that corporations were “people.” I believe. She simply stated that she had voted to overturn that oversight in the U.S. Constitution by voting for a new amendment to the Constitution making it moot.

I find that Tea Party candidates are not always correct in their criticisms. Ms. Wofford stated that she supports the Second Amendment, which allows for a peaceful militia, and the right to keep and bear arms. She cited her father in that one. Mrs. Tsongas stated that there should be a law against assault weapons and multiple shell-holding magazines. It was also stated that it was fairly easy to get weapons in New Hampshire, which I believe to be true. Of course, there was that old bumper sticker that stated that “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” but so far that has not been borne out, I feel, by statistics. Most of the mass murders of the past few years were committed by persons who used guns legally. I certainly, do not want to go back to “Wild West” days like Georgia recently did when it allowed almost every citizen to carry if they want to carry a weapon. It is far easier to get guns in states that have had cases of mass executions than it is in Massachusetts. To be honest, I worry about knives in Massachusetts. When the NRA called my house recently I cut the seller short by stating that I had not forgiven the NRA for there being a rifle which killed President Kennedy. The man hung up on me.

So, how did the debate go? It could have gone better if Niki lied about her accomplishments or took all ofthe credit herself. Instead, she stated that she and her staff were working hard on client issues, and they deserved a lot of the credit. She did not say that she was responsible for Obamacare. She did say she voted for it and was proud of the fact that it did not exclude pre-existing conditions. I have five pre-existing conditions and I am a firm believer in Obamacare. I have had very fine care since it was implemented. I recommend that those of us who are better off after the passage of it start espousing it to our friends, not keep it hidden in the nether-reaches of our minds. Finally, what words would I say to Niki? I would tell her to speak her truth, as Rudyard Kipling said in his poem, “If.” People will try to tear your opinions down but you have to “stoop and build them up with warn-out tools.” I believe that is the exact words of a section of that poem.

The debate went well. I anticipate that Niki will take time at some point and show how out-of-touch Ms. Wofford is with the bulk of her target audience, whomever that may be. On the issues, not the glitz, is where Ms. Wofford should be attacked.

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