Home 2014 Races Video: Virginia 8th CD Democratic Candidates Forum, Tribute to Jim Moran

Video: Virginia 8th CD Democratic Candidates Forum, Tribute to Jim Moran

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Assuming this works, it should show the live feed of the event. I’ll be attending.

UPDATE 9:57 pm: Video of the event is now available (see below, starting about 13 minutes in), great work by Arlington Independent Media!

  • Way to raise the bar – hopefully future hosts will also be able to share live video  

  • Debate format

    The format was stale and boring, with basically ZERO chance for any spontaneity, interaction between the candidates, followups by the “moderator,” etc. Also, having 10 candidates each get 3 minutes immediately adds up to 1/2 hour per question (or opening statement), leaving no time to get into a variety of issues. Thus, what we ended up having was: a) canned/prepared opening and closing remarks; b) where do you stand on domestic policy? (again, canned/prepared responses); and c) where do you stand on foreign policy (ditto). Instead of spending two hours at a debate, all you really had to do was read the candidates’ websites and you could have found out all this information. And the total lack of spontaneity basically killed ANY chance of something interesting happening. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    I thought the tribute to Jim Moran was fine, although I would have rather used that 1/2 hour to have more candidate interaction during the debate.

    Debate “moderator” Julie Carey of NBC 4

    I’m pretty sure she would have done a fine job of moderating the debate if she had had a chance to do that. Instead, she stood there like a potted plant (“Between Two Ferns” comes to mind) while the candidates spent 1/2 hour cycling through their prepared remarks. Why even HAVE a moderator if you’re just going to waste their time like that? I’d guess that Julie Carey is a busy person and has other things to do with her time than stand there for 1/2 hour stretches listening to the candidates….

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    Opening statements

    Herring: “Congress is broken, and to change it we need new people….people with different life experiences, people who know what it means to struggle, and people who have lived.” “Vigilance, grit and determination…help those who are struggling.” Life experience forms approach to policy. Record in Virginia General Assembly demonstrates effectiveness. Wants to help Virginians who are struggling; they need a voice in Congress.

    Levine: “Aggressive progressive” like Barney Frank – “aggressive, progressive and effective.” Lifetime of activism. Doesn’t agree with people who say we can’t win battles. Need to fight Tea Party. Call out Republicans if they won’t work with Democrats. If they’re a little afraid of you on the front end, you can work quietly with them on the back end. “Dare to dream, vote Mark Levine.”

    Ebbin: Lots of progressive slogans up here, “just call me a liberal.” Emphasized that he’s “gotten results.” Will fight for affordable healthcare, against Tea Party Republicans, for women’s reproductive freedom, for gun background checks, for LGBT equality. “Running to be your effective member of Congress.”

    Shuttleworth: Emphasizes experience as a fighter pilot, questions he has are best asked by someone who can’t be called “soft on defense.” Biggest threat to national security isn’t Russia or China, it’s climate change and we need to do something about it. This is very personal to me – both parents died of lung cancer as non-smokers. Need to fund cancer research.

    Korpe: Time to bring power back to the people. Not a career politician but an entrepreneur. Pragmatic approach to get Congress moving. “I’m a job creator.”

    Chatman: Need “a new perspective and a new approach.” Ran “effective non profits” and put “shared values into action.” Comes from “working class family.” Need to protect federal workers from “extreme Tea Party agenda that has the nerve to shut down the government.” “Social justice, affordable housing…positively impact underserved families in this region.” “The time is right for a woman” to defend women’s reproductive freedom.” “Commonsense solutions like background checks to reduce gun violence.” “We put a community organizer in the White House, now it’s time to put a community leader in the House.”

    Beyer: We’re each put on earth to build something larger than ourselves and to serve others. Significant challenges today. Income inequality. Need to strengthen education from pre-K  to college. Fight attempts to repeal Affordable Care Act, which has been a great success. “We won’t let you” repeal Obamacare. Commonsense gun laws. Will take on the NRA and “we will win.” “We have to address the growing threat of climate change.” Greatest mass extinction in 60 million years. Will fight for national progressive carbon tax. Proven record of taking on difficult problems and getting things done (e.g., as Lt. Governor). Grown a business in Northern Virginia. Led transition team at Dept. of Commerce and served as ambassador under President Obama. Proven record, ideas and energy to hit the ground running.

    Hope: Founded/chaired progressive caucus. Hubert Humphrey Democrat: take care of people at the dawn of life, twilight of life, shadows of life. So many out there hurting. We need a new economy, start taxing millionaires and billionaires so they pay their fair share. Invest in America – education, crumbling roads and bridges, transit, extend Yellow Line. Raise minimum wage.

    Euille: So many people still left behind. Has same passion as Jim Moran as Mayor to give back and make a difference. Served 13 years on Metro Board of Directors. Jobs must be created. Fund highway transportation funding bill. Record of service. First African American Mayor of Alexandria. Make sure nobody left behind.

    Hyra: Running because he’s tired of “partisan politics and gridlock in Washington.” (note: the problem is 99% the Republicans and the system of money in politics, but Hyra didn’t mention that). Need to “stabilize housing market” (not sure how on earth he’d do that or what it even means). Poverty can limit life chances.

    Summary: They mostly did well in their opening statements. I particularly liked Beyer’s and Shuttleworth’s emphasis on climate change, Hope’s reference to being a Hubert Humphrey Democrat (and why he is), and Levine on never giving up and fighting for what you think is right. I didn’t like Hyra’s answer or Euille’s, which I found to be kind of rambling and incoherent. Ebbin is probably smart to focus on the results he’s gotten over the years, although his “call me a liberal” line didn’t really work for me except a chuckle. As for Chatman, I just can’t take someone serious who did this and this.

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    Domestic Policy

    Korpe: #1 priority is to “create jobs”

    Chatman: Equal pay for equal work for women. (grammatical note: she referred three times to the “amount of women” – should be “NUMBER of women,” since this is a countable thing. I hate grammatical errors, I really do. Makes you sound a lot less smart than you might be.)

    Beyer: Unquestionably climate change – frightens me to death, should frighten every single one of us. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Emphasis on renewables, smarter land use planning, higher CAFE standard. Would like to serve on Energy and Commerce Committee. Would protect women’s health care freedom. Will fight the NRA. Committed to an America where we build things again. Raise minimum wage. Defend ACA.

    Hope: ACA’s one flaw is that it didn’t expand coverage to every single American. Bring 20 million Americans into health care system by: 1) free preventive care; and 2) catastrophic loss protection so people don’t go bankrupt when they get sick.

    Euille: Main issue is to create jobs, make sure everyone has a chance to succeed. Living wage. Equal pay. Affordable health care. Education high priority. Workforce development.

    Small business creation. Consensus builder. Gets results.

    Hyra: #1 priority would be to stabilize housing market (I listened to his answer, and still can’t figure out what he’s talking about exactly or why this should be the #1 priority in the country, over climate change, jobs, health care, education, etc.).

    Herring: Education, access to affordable education. Universal pre-K education. Have to work across the aisle. Make college affordable. Education was her key out of poverty. Education is key to social mobility.

    Levine: Get college age kids out of the house…millenials are first generation not to do better than parents. Charniele absolutely right about education. “I have a detailed plan to make college more affordable.” Use power of federal government to negotiate down student loans and lower college costs by 1/3 at no cost to the taxpayer. For-profit schools shouldn’t be subsidized. Take that money away and put it into a pool for 2-year and 4-year non-profit colleges. This should be appealing to Republicans. If not, he’ll go on TV and call them out.

    Ebbin: #1 domestic policy issue is climate change and aggressively addressing it – health of planet and your health demand it. Carbon tax. Fund renewable energy. R&D on clean energy. “I’ve worked on this…I believe in approaching unlikely allies” (e.g., agricultural Republicans, people from coastal districts). Also raise minimum wage, address income inequality. Approach is what matters – worked with liberals and conservatives (e.g., Family Foundation) to get stuff done.

    Shuttleworth: Affordable health care. Invest in life-saving cures for diseases. Need to fix our “crazy bad public health” system.

    Summary: Beyer and Ebbin nailed it on climate change. Hope and Shuttleworth were strong on health care. Herring gave an excellent answer on education, and Levine followed up with smart ideas on that front. Euille was kind of a grab bag of policies I think most everyone on stage agreed with. Hyra lost me, as did Korpe.

    Foreign Policy

    Euille: Claimed he’s a “natural born leader” (hmmm) and said he’s traveled a lot and had lots of foreign visitors in Alexandria, ergo he’s qualified on foreign policy. Alrighty, then. According to Euille, he supports peace in the world “all the time” (good luck with that!), and will “never put out troops in combat, I will never vote to support a war,” that “the only time we use our troops is to fight in defense of our borders.” Sorry, but extreme isolationism like that leads to a lot of really bad problems. It’s also totally unrealistic. #FAIL

    Hope: Said we can’t be the “policeman of the world” (whatever that means), that President Obama’s administration should be “commended” for what they’ve done internationally. Said he agrees with Jim Moran in opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m not sure what Hope’s talking about with regard to Afghanistan, as the vote 420-1 to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan after 9/11 (Jim Moran was one of the 420 to vote “yes”). Hope said what’s happening in Odessa “clearly shows that we are headed to a civil war” in Ukraine. Hope said “I don’t know whether Russia is being truthful or not in whether they are supporting the unrest.” Hope said we need to get off our oil addiction and move towards renewable energy.

    Beyer: The top foreign policy priority is fighting climate change, and that “until we lead, noone else will.” I strongly agree. “America still has a vital role to play elsewhere in the world.” Agreed. Renounces “pre-emptive military strikes.” Agreed, with rare exceptions.  “We need a foreign policy that recognizes smart power.” Agreed. Keep Iran from getting the bomb, two-state solution in the Arab-Israel conflict, women’s rights around the world, work with our allies. Agreed, agreed, agreed, agreed.

    Shuttleworth: Invest in “soft power” like Peace Corps, State Department. Strongly agreed.

    Ebbin: We need comprehensive immigration reform…immigrants are a source of talent and strength for our country. Strongly agreed. Fight human trafficking. Agreed.

    Levine: Aggressively fight climate change. Strongly agree. Don’t go isolationist because trouble will come to us if we do. “We are an ally of NATO and countries look to us for support.” “We should go to war if he have to if a NATO country is attacked.” Russia is NOT being truthful regarding Ukraine, we should have very very strong economic sanctions. Don’t fight “really stupid wars.” We shouldn’t be allied with dictators. We should take action to stop genocide. I agree with all this and disagree with the signs of isolationism I saw on the stage last night in several cases.

    Herring: I just wanted to praise her the ENORMOUS improvement she showed between debate #1, when she seemed to have absolutely nothing to say on foreign policy, to this debate, when she made a lot of sense. She agreed, for instance, with Mark Levine that we can’t be isolationists but that we can’t take sending troops into harm’s way lightly. Bingo.

    Summary: I’m an internationalist, always have been. I believe in the use of American soft power, with hard power in reserve as a last resort for cases which can’t be resolved using soft power alone. I’m not an isolationist, find those tendencies EXTREMELY dangerous, and believe that as much as we don’t want to be the “world policeman,” if we withdraw behind the oceans the vacuum will be filled by terrorists and rogue nations. We absolutely can’t do that. Also, many if not most problems these days are trans-national in nature, climate change being the leading example. So…I like the answers of those (e.g., Beyer, Levine, Herring, Shuttleworth) along those lines, and didn’t like the answers of those (e.g., Hope, Euille) that were not along those lines. I DID like Ebbin’s answer on immigration reform, and agree it is both a domestic and international issue, but I’d like to hear more about Ebbin’s overall foreign policy outlook.

    *******************************************

    Closing statements

    Herring: Emphasized that Congress is broken (although I have no idea how she – or anyone else – would fix that). She said she has proven her effiiacy in the General assembly.

    Levine: Not a conventional politician, has very strong beliefs, doesn’t have to look at polls to decide what his beliefs are. We need to prevent injustice wherever it occurs. “I don’t quit…will continue to fight” for universal health care, to punish polluters personally, to “fight for you.” Don’t give up with “half measures.”

    Ebbin: Candidates agree on most issues, use similar slogans, but he’s proven his effectiveness.

    Shuttleworth: Emphasis on soft power to increase national security.

    Korpe: Immigrant, self-made man, engineer, not a career politician, will bring power back to the people. Pragmatic approach to getting things done.

    Chatman: Emphasis on “more diverse representation.” “I’m a fighter, but I’m a coalition builder and a collaborator.” Has gotten “real things done in the community.”

    Beyer: Respects all the candidates, but we do bring different strengths to this race. Businessman. Lt. Governor. Ambassador. Transition team at Dept. of Commerce. Proven experience, tested leadership, and a lifelong commitment to serving others.”

    Hope: Running to be the voice for the people who don’t have a voice, who are downtrodden (e.g., the poorest among us). We need someone who’s going to fight every day for lower income people. “Pass the torch to a new generation of progressive leadership.”

    Euille: Emphasis on being Mayor, just like Jim Moran was. He’s a “workaholic.” Continue what he’s done on the local level to Congress.

    Hyra: Refresh the American dream by stabilizing the housing market. Said he’s “the only one with federal government and academic experience” (note: that’s definitely NOT true – for instance, Patrick Hope worked with Senator Bob Kerrey and is ” Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.”)

    Summary: Overall, I’d say that, as the clear front-runner in this race, Beyer continues to win these debates not just by “not losing,” but by performing very well on both national and international issues. Levine is a natural at this format, although he has to fight the tendency towards being an “entertainer” as he is on TV and radio. For people like me who know Levine well, we know he’s a very serious person. But for others who don’t know him, they might conclude that he’s ONLY an “entertainer,” which could not be further from the truth. Let me just say, since I’ve been highly critical of Charniele Herring’s past debate performances, that I thought she did quite well in this one. That includes foreign policy, where unlike in the first debate, she was prepared this time. Patrick Hope and Adam Ebbin did fine overall, but I’m not sure these debates are their strong suits or will help them surge in the remaining 35 days against Beyer. Hyra and Korpe were…well, they were there, didn’t embarrass themselves at all, but are non factors in this race. I don’t get Bill Euille at all, he just seems unfocused, kind of all over the place to me.  Finally, I already mentioned that Chatman can’t be taken seriously given her fraudulent conveyance/ripping off nursing home employees and her endorsement of Teapublican Pat McCrory as governor of North Carolina. Now…here are the letter grades for overall debate performance.

    Don Beyer: A

    Mark Levine: A-

    Charniele Herring: B

    Patrick Hope: B

    Adam Ebbin: B

    Bruce Shuttleworth: B

    Satish Korpe: C

    Derek Hyra: C

    Lavern Chatman: C

    Bill Euille: C-

  • Here’s an earlier version of the rules (see below), which obviously changed dramatically but without all the candidates being aware of the changes. For instance, they went from “No opening statements” to 3-minute opening statements. They also changed it from “Each candidate will have one minute to respond to each question.” to 3 minutes per question (and only two real questions: 1 on domestic policy, 1 on foreign policy). They also did NOT take questions from the public.