Dave Harmer (Republican)
Education– opposes government supported public education declaring that the money received was ‘not worth the strings attached’.
Social Security– opposes its structure wants privatization along the lines of a 401K fund that restricts your benefits based on what you put in,
Health Care– opposes government involvement wants a voucher like system, prefers a system of three major insurance companies dominating the national market than one government system
Environment– Sees nothing wrong with CO2 and is opposed to any efforts to curb it in the atmosphere.
Debt– decried the national debt and stimulus saying we need to stop the growth of government
Blame Game– blames the economic recession on Franks and the Federal Government.
John Garamendi (Democrat)
Education– we need to strengthen public education and the government has a role there.
Social Security– reminded the audience the reason that it came about was the failure of the banks and the private sector to provide for the mass of the people in their retirement. Had a good line on that a 401K approach would have left people with not even a 201K recently and more likely a Zero 1K retirement fund.
Health Care– made it clear that he supports a Medicare system for all and a public option
Environment– sees global warming as real and action needed. A modification of the way we operate needs to take place.
Debt-supported the stimulus as necessary
Size of Government– reminded the audience that when he was assistant Interior Secretary he reduced the size from 90,000 to 72,000.
Blame Game-put the economic mess at the foot of Bush’s financially disasterous Iraq War, tax cuts for the rich, the lack of regulation and enforcement
Mary McIlroy (Peace and Freedom)
Education– supports public education by Oil Drilling Tax and changing the commercial side of Prop 13. Basically lost the entire audience on the opening statement declaring her party as the only socialist party and talking about supporting the working class.
Jeremy Cloward (The Greens)
Suggested massive cuts in the military budget by upwards of 190 Billion Dollars to fund college and graduate school education as well as make payments on the deficit. As with the Peace and Freedom Party wants an immediate withdraw from Afghanistan.
Jerry Denham (American Independent Party)
Wants a 90% reduction in the size of the Federal Government and perpetually responded to questions that the Constitution does not provide authority for the government to get involved in Health Care, Education, Banking, Insurance etc. He ended with a final plea that we need more God in our lives. In fact it felt that the entire role of the Denham participation was to show that there was still some room to the extreme right of the Harmer positions.
There was an overlap of common ground only on the opposition to the Peripheral Canal and the request that if elected there be more forums and town hall meetings.
The audience of about 200 was clearly fitted out with a majority of the Republican Harmer supporters who resonated with his views that would be considered extreme in many other places in the district. However, Harmer’s constant theme was selling the current government as the bad guy seemed to over ride all other aspects of his platform with the audience.
The most extreme shock though for this commentator was reserved for the moderator’s closing comments. She said that in her conversation that morning with the Election Clerk for Contra Costa County, the turnout was trending towards 22% turnout much lower than the September open primary. Such a turnout plays into the extremes that tend to vote on such occasions, something that got plenty of applause in Moraga.