Massachusetts: Independent Libertarian Joe Kennedy participates in third of five debates

By John J. Monahan
Worcester Telegram

BOSTON — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott P. Brown expanded his defense of waterboarding as an interrogation technique this morning in a live radio debate, while his Democratic opponent Martha Coakley criticized his ad comparing himself to JFK, saying, “He is really more like Bush-Cheney.”

While the two major party candidates sparred on the economy, health care, war and terrorism during the one-hour debate on WTKK-FM that was streamed on the Internet, independent candidate Joseph Kennedy laid out the most specific proposals on what he would do if elected.

Mr. Kennedy said he would propose laws to end all current wars, audit the federal reserve operations, seek repayment of all federal bailout money and roll back a 43 percent increase in spending during the Bush years. He also said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should be fired in light of her handling of the Christmas Day attempted bombing of an international flight to Detroit.

Mr. Brown, who yesterday said he supported use of waterboarding to get information from terrorist suspects, went further today insisting the technique that relies on repeated simulation of drowning on restrained prisoners, is not a form of torture.

The state senator said he disagrees with U.S. Sen. John McCain’s opposition to waterboarding.

Mr. McCain, R-Arizona, who endorsed Mr. Brown’s candidacy Sunday and was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, opposes the use of waterboarding as a form of torture. President Barack Obama banned the practice last January and has declared that waterboarding is a form of torture.

But Mr. Brown stood his ground on the issue, arguing there are times such techniques are needed to protect the country.

“It’s time we stopped acting like lawyers and start acting like Patriots,” Mr. Brown said.

“If there is a time bomb situation and they know of a person who in fact has information, it should be up to the president to determine what tools he wants to use to gather information, ” Mr. Brown said, including waterboarding. “I believe it’s not torture.”

A lawyer and lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, Mr. Brown did not rule out other techniques to get information as well.

“I’m a military attorney, so I understand the law on this very important issue,” he said. “I will use any means possible and encourage the president to use any means necessary to gather any information to keep our country safe.”

Terror suspects such as the Nigerian claiming al-Qaida backing in the Christmas bombing attempt, Mr. Brown said, should be handed over to the military.

“They should be in a facility like Guantanamo Bay and getting interrogated,” he said.

Ms. Coakley, a career prosecutor elected state attorney general in 2006, countered that the decision to try terror suspects in courts or military tribunals needs to be made on a case-by-case basis and returned to the torture issue when asked about Mr. Brown’s recent ad comparing himself to President John F. Kennedy.

“I think he’s got the wrong president in the ad. I think it should be Scott Brown and George Bush, because what he believes in and what he denies, denies climate change, denies we have a real economic recession problem, doesn’t want to propose anything and let it continue and not get out of this recession, it’s really George Bush,” she said.

Ms. Coakley then said she backed Mr. McCain’s view that waterboarding is a form of torture.

“I don’t agree with John McCain on much, but I respect him. He was a war hero and he was tortured and he says he thinks it is. So this is one area where Scott Brown can pick and choose what he believes, but this is an area that he is really more like Bush-Cheney than he is like John F. Kennedy,” she said.

On health care, Mr. Brown said he opposes the pending reforms to expand coverage nationally with mandated purchase of insurance and argued it would force Massachusetts to pay for the cost of expanding coverage in other states. He said he would be the 41st vote in the Senate needed to block the legislation.

Ms.Coakley defended the pending reforms and said increased competition would help reduce health care costs nationally, while Mr. Kennedy opposes the reforms.

On proposed global warming fees on the use of carbon fuels through a national cap and trade emissions program, Mr. Brown said it is a bad way to address the issue in the middle of an economic recession.

He said it would drive up already high energy costs that are pushing one of the state’s largest high-tech companies, EMC, based in Hopkinton, to move out of the state. He added that the legislation would add $5 million to $6 million in costs to Worcester bottling company Polar Beverage’s operations.

Mr. Brown said he supports efforts to reduce reliance on oil with solar wind and other alternative energy sources. Ms. Coakley and Mr. Kennedy both said they support the large Cape Wind energy project and Mr. Brown said he opposes it because it Nantucket Sound is not the right location.

Ms. Coakley reiterated her opposition to a troop expansion in Afghanistan, while Mr. Kennedy, making his first bid for elective office, said he wants an immediate end to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Brown, however, said the escalation in Afghanistan is needed to prevent the Taliban from gaining a foothold to control Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and spreading nuclear arms to terrorists in other countries.

The election to decide who will serve out three years remaining in the Senate term of the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is Jan. 19.

Previously on IPR: Rasmussen Pretends Joe Kennedy Does Not Exist Posted by d. eris 1/5

Joe Kennedy updates: internet ads, Israel/Palestine position, marijuana legalization Posted by Paulie 1/3

Over 40 posts from 2009

8 thoughts on “Massachusetts: Independent Libertarian Joe Kennedy participates in third of five debates

  1. paulie Post author

    Gigi Bowman sent a message to the members of Liberty Candidates 2010.

    Subject: Support Joe Kennedy in Massachussets!

    Dear Liberty Candidate Supporters,

    If I listen to Republican Radio all day long I’ll be told to jump on the neocon bandwagon and that We should help, support and donate to Scott Brown in Massachussets to get him elected for Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat so that he will vote against the healthcare fiasco. Only I have a better idea!….Lets Help, Support and Donate to OUR Liberty Candidate Joe Kennedy! We KNOW he’s not going to vote for the healthcare bill! Why do we have to vote in another Pro-War Neocon? Lets show what we’re made of Liberty Folks! WE CAN DO THIS! Spread the word. Election is January 19th!;

    We have our keyboards, we have a voice. If we can win this now….then we can win in 2010!

  2. Joanne

    Does this Gigi person know that the term “neocon” is in reference to Jewish Democrats who left the party to become conservative Republicans?

    It is an old definition now used to bash Jews and is quite distasteful. Does she know this?

    Is she calling Brown a Pro-war Jew?

  3. Ben

    Joe Kennedy had another fine performance. He had focused points on the bailouts, wars and Bush spending, that are reflected in the article above. Scott Brown did better than last time – he seemed less like a GOP talking points robot.

    But Scott Brown isn’t really a small gov’t conservative. He opposes Obamacare, but he helped give MA Romneycare, which is almost identical. The Movement Conservatives don’t get this. When he mentioned Romneycare on the Laura Ingram show today, Ingram muttered “what a nightmare”, apparently not knowing the role Brown played in passing it!

    Even Martha Coakley, the Democrat, couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Scott Brown for being a big spending Republican:

    Brown, who is a state senator and onetime centerfold, has also provided some comic relief: he recently compared himself to Princess Diana and JFK Jr:

  4. Pingback: Joe Kennedy updates: debate, candidate issue comparison, youtube ad, position paper on spending and taxes, Wayne Root endorsement | Independent Political Report

  5. Pingback: Libertarian Party blog: Joe Kennedy appears on 96.9 “Boston Talks” radio show | Independent Political Report

  6. Adrian

    Well I have a question. If this guy is a member of Campaign for Liberty, why the hell is he not on the site? Why has C4L as yet held off on any endorsements except Rand Paul and Peter Schiff? Is it because he’s running as an Independent? What utter tripe.

  7. Pingback: Slim Tex. Nation Turning Lonely Eyes to Ron Paul. « Rosita the Prole

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.