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Last night we had the third debate between Randy Kuhl and myself.  Even before the debates Randy Kuhl was facing withering criticism, from a lifelong Republican General, for unrealistic comments he made after visiting Iraq. (link)  During the first debate Kuhl decided to close by bragging about how well the government did in its response to Hurricane Katrina.  The audience almost laughed him out of the room.  (video here)  During the second debate, Kuhl made the unbelievable comment that many who have no health insurance are without insurance because they choose to be without it.  That time there was a short silence while everyone tried to decide if he really said what they thought he said.  He also shocked us all by denying that he had run a negative campaign.  (an excellent diary on the debate is here)

But during last night's debate Randy simply lost his cool.  It came during his answer to a question about torture.

 As usual, Rubber Stamp Randy was repeating the Republican talking points.  The audience wasn't buying his defense of torture and Kuhl tried to play the fear card and screamed at the audience "These are people who want to kill you! Who want to kill you!" (video available here)  He had another outburst later when discussing the cost of single payer health care. He also said to me "If you had ever been in Iraq you'd know how hot it is." He actually accused me of not having served in the Middle East. The audience found that rather humorous and I set the record straight.

My answer to the torture question is the same as a personal friend and fellow Naval officer who suffered torture during six years of captivity in the Vietnam War, and vowed to fight against the law with every breath in his body:  Not just no but HELL NO!  

Torture doesn't provide good intelligence. Torture puts our troops at risk. Torture is eroding the little international respect we have left.  Torture is not a necessary tool in the war against terrorism.  Throwing out the Geneva Conventions is foolish.  We need less torture and more leadership.

And here is the important point: Democrats are stronger on National Security and more in touch with what the soldiers really want and need because we have so many veterans on our side of the aisle.  Men like Randy Kuhl, who have never worn the uniform, cannot compete with military experience when it comes to National Security and supporting our troops.

President Bush, and those who blindly follow his lead like Randy Kuhl, are leading us away from the National Security strengths built upon by previous presidents, both Democratic and Republican.  (see discussion by Brent Budowsky here)  We need Democratic congressional leadership that will provide congressional oversight instead of rubber-stamping failed and misguided policies, like torture, as the Republican congress now does.
We need to make America everything it is destined to be.

Originally posted to Eric Massa on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:07 AM PDT.

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