Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dave and Hillary debate freedom and equality

Letterman hosted Hillary Clinton last night. It was a good interview, pretty funny, mostly softball questions. Letterman seemed appalled by the cost of presidential campaigns (all the candidates will spend about half a billion, by Clinton's estimation) and drew her into a nice discussion about free speech versus equal access. But then Letterman made the suggestion that maybe we should use this money to feed the hungry instead of using it on campaigns. Here's the video:

That's just cheap. He should know better, and Hillary should have rebutted him better, although I certainly understand why she didn't. Money raised by campaigns goes almost exclusively to one purpose: educating voters about the upcoming election. And I think we can all agree that that's an important task. Maybe there are better ways of educating millions of adult voters in such a short period of time, but when you rule out forced re-education camps, there aren't that many other options.

So is educating the population more or less important than feeding the hungry? We can certainly debate that, but that's not really the issue here. The issue is, if we've decided we're going to feed the hungry, where does the money come from? With due respect to Letterman, there are plenty of better sources. You could cover that half-billion dollars by just cutting one B-2 bomber, and you'd still have plenty of change.

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