|Sue Wild, Marty Nothstein & Tim Sifies|
|LWV's Beverly Hernandez|
I expected this immature behavior at the NextGen America debate, but not in a crowd of geriatrics who themselves are one step away from being Gracedale residents.
The debate itself started off with Wild predicting that she would be attacked that night with untruths about her from her opponent. Nothstein began by claiming that almost all of his campaign money comes from Pennsylvania, while Wild is getting her money from Nancy Pelosi. He said he stands for freedom and liberty. To find out what Wild stands for, "just follow the money." Silfies portrayed Nothstein and Wild as two sides of the same coin. He's tired of endless war, mountains of debt and broken government, and promised to bring common sense and an independent voice.
|The maddening crowd|
Wild answered that her two top priorities are health care reform and infrastructure. Nothstein agreed. Silfies said his top priority was figuring out a way to pay for these things with $21 trillion in debt.
Just a few weeks ago, at the Business Matters debate, Wild said her top priority was campaign finance reform. Nothstein said it was the national debt. Silfies agreed with the $21 trillion debt.
Speaking of campaign finance reform, I can understand why Wild dropped that as a top priority. Her campaign has received over $2 million in PAC money, most from out of state. Silfies hit her pretty hard on this point.
"She talks about representing the common man, but then she takes more than a quarter million dollars from one PAC composed of Wall Street big wigs who want power and influence. She talks about sensible policy in the Middle East, and she takes PAC money from PACs that get their money from Boeing, Lockheed Martin. These are the backbone of the military industrial complex. These are companies that profit from selling arms for wars."
Nothstein was at his strongest when he talked about his support for tax cuts. He wants them made permanent.
"Right now we see a booming economy in the Lehigh Valley. That's a direct result of the tax cuts. Speak to anybody. Speak to anyone who owns a small business. I'm one of them. I'm washing more cars. Right now the tax cuts are very important to every day working people and to small business owners like myself, who now have confidence to invest in the business. This is the type of stuff we need to make permanent and keep the money in your pocket and less in the government's pocket."
Wild is opposed, saying most of the tax cuts go to the wealthy one per cent and major corporations. But she agrees tax reform is needed. She called the proposed tax cut is an "election year stunt."
|Nothstein meets LWV officials|
"Sounds like my opponent is not for the tax cuts to put more money in the working man's pockets. You talk about one per cent. I met a lot of truck drivers, construction workers, who have seen more money in their hard-earned paycuts. I ask them, 'What do those crumbs get you?' 'Marty, for the first time in seven years, I was able to take my family to the shore. Marty, for the first time I've been able to take my kids to Hershey Park.' These are positive results of these tax cuts. More jobs, lower taxes, better future. Unemployment right now is at the lowest level since 1969. Wages grew nearly three per cent, the highest since 2009 and nicely outpacing inflation. A record seven million jobs are on the market, more jobs available than people willing to work. Pennsylvania has added more jobs this year than at any time over the last 18 years. Record job growth in Pennsylvania, also right here in the Lehigh Valley. Why? Tax cuts. More money.People are motivated. USS has reported that middle class income rose to record levels. Last time I checked, middle class wasn't one per cent. So I don't know who you're hanging around with, aside from your donors. These tax cuts are helping people. These are hard working, hard hat wearing, backhoe driving people who are seeing more money in their pockets, and they like the tax cuts."
Wild was at her strongest when she defended a woman's right to choose against pro-life candidate Nothstein.
"I do not believe the government belongs in anybody's medical examination room.It isn't there in men's examination rooms; it doesn't belong in women's. The decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy is a decision that should be made between a woman,her partner and a physician. ... It's a misconception that Planned Parenthood uses federal funding for abortions. they do not. Planned Parenthood provides vital, comprehensive health services for many, many women across all income sectors across the country."
I'm still trying to understand what Silfies said on that point.
At the end of the debate, when candidates were given the opportunity to question each other, they all did a pretty lousy job. Silfies managed to get Wild to say some nice things about Trump. I still haven't figured out what point Nothstein was attempting to make about Wild's legal career. He's no cross-examiner. But neither is Attorney Wild. She attempted to blast Nothstein for trying to tie her to disgraced Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski, now serving a 15-year sentence for political corruption. She opened the door to this response:
"I find it hard to believe that when you were asked about the contract process with your job as Solicitor, that [you said], 'We believe there is no wrongdoing here.' There obviously was a lot of wrongdoing. So you were either incompetent or you were just completely unaware or complicit in what was going 30' down the hallway from you."
Wild responded that all the wrongdoing took place before she became City Solicitor.
"Susan, it's your quote. 'We believe there is no wrongdoing here.'"
It was a strange debate in which the Republican candidate claimed with some justification to be the voice of average Americans while the Democrat was tied to the one percenters she disdains. The Libertarian made a point of distinguishing himself from the two major party candidates, but pretty much gave the same answer to every question. No candidate could claim to be the winner or labeled the loser.
The losers were the audience. I have no idea why people from Central America would walk thousands of miles to have those kinds of neighbors.