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Bob Barr

Bob Barr

Posted: September 27, 2008 01:28 AM

The Debate That Wasn't



There's not a dime's worth of difference between Senator McCain and Senator Obama. The viewers of this first presidential "debate" missed the opportunity for a true debate because the viewpoints I represent were not raised.

This was clearly a debate between big government and bigger government. The proposals for spending taxpayers' hard-earned money for everything from bailing out Wall Street to bailing out Georgia (theirs, not ours) are simply irresponsible.

We, the United States, are living way beyond our means, and in this debate, there was not a single recognition--let alone an alarm cry--for the runaway spending of our government. Senators McCain and Obama honestly believe that the American taxpayers have endless amounts of money available for Washington politicians to hand out to their favorite cause of the day.

We have been told that the Wall Street bailout is needed in part because there is a credit crunch. If our government wasn't so fiscally irresponsible, and we had not amassed a $9.5 trillion dollar debt, there would be more money available for the private sector to deal with this credit crunch.

Second, there should be no mad dash to pass any legislation; let alone legislation that can cost taxpayers a trillion dollars. Legislation creates lasting obligations, which are easier to create than to cancel. Already, the initial three-page bailout bill has swelled to more than 100 pages.

Bailing out some of the financial institutions, like Bear Stearns a few months ago, encourages other companies to forego typical market place measures for dealing with their bad investments in hopes of receiving immunity, and a reward, for their mismanagement from Washington bureaucrats.

With Bob Barr in the debate, you would have heard about the need to involve the Justice Department to find out if fraud or any other criminal behavior led to this Wall Street crisis.

Accountability was not present in tonight's debate; just the repetitive refrain that the taxpayers have to pay for the mistakes of Wall Street, no matter what the cost might eventually add up to.

On foreign policy, I was getting dizzy with all the places they want to inject our military forces. Both McCain and Obama need to be reminded that our military comes under the Department of Defense, not the Department of Offense.

I will defend the US from attack, but I will not use force except when an attack on the US is an imminent, clear and present danger, or in response to an attack. Our service men and women are not the world's policemen, and we have no business occupying other countries like Iraq.

The debate tonight convinced me that neither McCain nor Obama want to, or can, change the direction of our country. With roughly 80 percent of all Americans saying our country is headed in the wrong direction, I am the only candidate who embodies their hope for true change.

The Washington establishment doesn't want to face up to the challenges next administration will inherit. If you're part of the 55 percent or more of voters who think the debates would be enriched by having me in them, let the news media know your feelings. The establishment will respond if public opinion is strongly in favor of my inclusion in the next two presidential debates.

Read more reactions to the first presidential debate from HuffPost bloggers, including Nora Ephron, Bob Shrum, Madeleine Albright, Paul Reiser, Arianna Huffington, Sean Penn, Sheryl Crow, and more.