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January 7, 2008

The other Democrat candidates saw how much mileage Barack Obama got out of using the word "change" leading up to the Iowa caucus, so they started used the word liberally during their New Hampshire debate on Saturday evening. I believe I heard the word "change" come out of the candidates' mouths about 3,700 times. It reminded me of how, when one high school kid does something new, like wearing his baseball cap backwards, suddenly everyone is wearing their caps backwards.

Obama rode the "change" wave to a big victory in the Iowa caucus, so all the Democrats are jumping on the "change" bandwagon. The funny thing is that none of them, including Obama, would tell us what "change" means. They all seem to be simply running on the slogan: "I'm not George Bush."

"Change" seems to be a catchy word that Democrats like, but none of the "debaters" chose to inform the audience about what they mean when they use the word. Here is an example of the double talk about "change" that occurred during the debate, courtesy of John Edwards...

"Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces of status quo attack. That's exactly what happens. It's fine to have a disagreement about health care. To say that Senator Obama is having a debate with himself from some Associated Press story, I think is just not - that's not the kind of discussion we should be having. I think that every time this happens - what will occur every time he speaks out for change, every time I fight for change, the forces of status quo are going to attack. Every single time...But the - the one thing I do not argue with him about is he believes deeply in change and I believe deeply in change."

Wonderful. They both "believe deeply in change."  But what change? Obviously they want the Republicans out of the White House and Democrats in there. But that's nothing new. That's the case in every election. That's not any kind of substantive "change."

Hillary had been using her "experience" to counter Obama's "change" message until Obama soundly trounced her in Iowa. She changed tactics in New Hampshire, and tried to make the case that she had both experience and "change" in her resume: "I'm offering 35 years of experience of making change."

She then followed up with more "change," probably because Obama got more votes from women that she did. "I embody change. I think having the first woman president is a huge change."

Concerning Hillary's supposed 35 years of  "experience," I am surprised that the media have not challenged her on this. Her only "experience" in national politics is as a junior senator - the same as Obama. Perhaps she is referring to the eight years when many believe that Bill Clinton was a figurehead, and Hillary was pulling his strings from the background. If this is true, she can't exactly put that on her resume. So, where did she get this "experience" she constantly touts?

Earlier I put the word "debaters" in quotes above, because there was precious little real debating in the Democrat debate. Most of the time was spent on the "debaters" attacking one another.

Hillary attacked Obama, saying that two weeks ago he stated that John Edwards was unelectable because he had changed positions. "You've changed positions within three years on a range of issues," she said, adding that he had said he would oppose the Patriot Act then voted for it and had opposed the Iraq war then voted to fund it.

Obama said he never said that Mr. Edwards was unelectable.

She also said, "You know, Senator Obama has been - as the Associated Press described it, he could have a pretty good debate with himself."

Obama responded that the Associated Press was simply quoting Hillary's own campaign staff.

Edwards, who just a few weeks earlier had attacked Hillary, saying that the Clinton "campaign doesn't seem to have a conscience" then scolded Hillary for attacking Obama!

Edwards said, "I didn't hear these kind of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead. Now that she's not, we hear them."

Bill Richardson then said one of the only sensible things I heard during the entire debate: "I've been in hostage negotiations that have been more civil than this."

The only real "change" I saw in this debate, compared to other debates, was who was attacking whom. "Change" for the Democrats is just another empty campaign slogan. It's not about "change" - it's about the perception of who seems to be the biggest proponent of "change."


Full Transcript of the Democrat Debate

Clinton Uses "Smears" Instead of Logic

Edwards Rebukes Clinton

MSNBC Skeptical of Hillary's "Facts"

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Copyright ©2008 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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