A few observations with respect to last Thursday's debates:
1. Barack Obama's uneven performance has to give pause to even his most hard core supporters. His failure to name Israel as a key ally of the United States (he needed Bria Williams's help on that one) and his ridiculous answer to the question regarding his statement that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinians" are worrisome developments and only adds to my suspicions that Obama's mideast policies would represent a clean break from Bush's pro-Israel tendencies. Furthermore, his failure to state in the first instance that he would retaliate as a response to a terror attack against this country is more evidence that Obama is seeking to return us to the Carter era. He is not yet ready for prime time. (Interestingly enough, post-debate we have seen the first national poll showing Obama in the lead.)
2. While I have no problem with second tier candidates being allowed into the debates, both parties should put their foot down with respect to third tier candidates. The fact that Sen Mike Gravel and Rep. Kucinich were allowed to participate in the debate lends a circus atmosphere to what should be a serious event. Gravel's statement that allowing troops to remain in Iraq should be made a felony and Kucinich's drive to impeach Cheney are not the marks of individuals seriously seeking higher office, but rather individuals seriously seeking attention. The Democrats should bar both individuals from future debates.
While I support the release of Jonathan Pollard from jail, the recent ads depicting Pollard's image along with those of Israeli POW/MIAs is an outrage. Pollard is not a MIA or a POW but a convicted felon. While he has been in jail way too long, those who depict Pollard as a POW/MIA belittle the plight of the Israeli soldiers and damage the credibility of the free Pollard movement.