Posts Tagged ‘Debate

08
Oct
08

Reaction to the Second Presidential Debate

I have a strong bias and won’t even try to be objective. Barack obviously won. But, if I was Republican, I’d think McCain won. Which means Obama won because McCain didn’t bring it home for anyone outside his base.

Here’s my lefty opinion:

All of this jibber-jabber that town halls are McCain’s forum was a bunch of hot air. Obama was a freaking professor. Um, he has experience speaking in an instructive manner to a group of people less than 20,000 – though he doesn’t do it much these days. Even with the sound off, Obama took last night like he was on a runaway train to McCain Smackdown 2008.

McCain looked decrepit, was chirpy and uncontrolled. His attempts at humor had him simply coming off as bitchy to Tom Brokaw (who was incessantly annoying when pointing out the time limits – let the men talk for chrissakes!). He repeated the same ol’ Republican line that Washington is broken and continued the “Obama you don’t know” crap that doesn’t pass the smell test. Calling Obama “my friend” and then “that one” made it clear that McCain had his holier-than-thou suit on, a failed strategy in the context of a Republican campaign trying to fight the “elitist” left.

What was really amusing was his repetition that he would be “steady hand on the tiller” as if we all have political amnesia and haven’t been paying attention to this manic, disorganized and reactionary campaign he’s running. “Steady” he’s anything but. And the viewers know it. Which is why the line shouldn’t have even been included. It just highlighted his jacked up attempt to run for president.

Obama managed to get some zingers in – something he’s not known for, included the “bomb, bomb Iran” everyone keeps talking about this morning. Relating alternative energy development to the advent of the computer was excellent – I’ve been relating the energy crisis to Sputnik, but might start using the computer comparison as well. It’s quite clear that Hillary was good practice for Obama because he’s sucking way less than expected at these face-to-faces with McCain.

There were a few times – as opposed to a lot of times in the last debate – where I wished Obama had answered McCain differently. When McCain brought up health care mandates, I wish Obama had corrected McCain by saying the old man was confusing him with Hillary Clinton. It wouldn’t have been a good line for Democrats and might have pissed off the bitter Puma crowd, but it was the first thing I thought since Obama railed against Hillary during the primary for her call for mandates. When McCain described himself as “a cool hand at the tiller,” I wanted Obama to say, reminiscent of Bentsen to Quayle, “Senator, you are no cool hand.” Again, that probably wouldn’t have garnered Obama any points – but plenty of us out here in leftyworld would have high-fived each other and clinked our beers.

Much of the pundit exchange following the debate focused on the presidential debate negotiations which allow the candidates to carefully explain their policies without really challenging their ability to articulate them. It is such a shame that easily could have been rectified by the inclusion of Nader and Barr, as I’ve said in my reaction to the first presidential debate. Obama and McCain repeated themselves and their stump speeches and prepared lines the entire duration of the debate, which was disappointing to say the least. The questions were slow-balls, pithy and triggered my gag reflex. We saw much more candor and operating from the gut during the primary debates. Alas, our world is imperfect.

It was fun, if a little boring and forgettable. On goes the march.

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07
Oct
08

Go Negative, McCain! And Then Go Home!

With only 28 days left in the election, I’m hearing a lot of people saying they can’t wait until this is all over. Granted, these people are all anti-Obama. But, all politics all the time can be hard on people who are not political junkies. Unlike me.

I’m reveling in this constant political news stream. Even all the mud-slinging can’t rain on my parade. I suppose this is because the person I do not want to win will have to pull a rainbow with a pot of gold out of his ass to take home first place. After constant analysis of the men before us, I have to admit that I’m more ANTI-MCCAIN than PRO-OBAMA and really wish the left wouldn’t romanticize Obama because he’s going to have such a cesspool of crap leftover from Bush to be an extremely transcendent president – at least in his first term. Obama does have less experience than other viable Democratic candidates, his FISA vote pissed me off, he’s against gay marriage, he supports faith-based initiatives and has other “issues” which have garnered my disappointment. But as we say every four years about our respective candidates, “He’s a helluva lot better than the other guy.”

Also, this is the first time it looks like I’ll be on the winning side of a presidential election. I’ll admit it – I voted Dole in ’96, would have voted Bush in 2000 (was out of the country and didn’t get my shit together for an absentee ballot), and voted Kerry in ’04. After growing up in Texas, I was originally a Republican, but naturally moved to the left as I grew more informed – first as a social liberal/fiscal conservative, then even more to the left as I realized the lack of financial regulation results in the United Corporatocracy of America.

I’m not a straight-ticket voter by any means and support the multi-party system more than the Democratic Party, which is why I still may vote Nader in the general election as Texas is almost guaranteed to fall into McCain’s pocket despite the switch of Hispanic voters to the Democratic side. If Texas were a toss-up, I would by all means vote for Obama. Either way, I support a McCain loss above all.

Which is why I love his negative attacks. And Palin’s for that matter.

If they want to load their stump speeches with tales of domestic unrest during the turbulent 60’s – ahem, FORDEE years ago – while the U.S. is embroiled in two wars and the major financial crisis of our times, that is peachy with me. It only ensures a greater loss for them come November. There are legitimate economic policy disputes between McCain and Obama. McCain has every opportunity to present to voters a forward-looking, encouraging picture of where he wants to take the country.

Instead, he calls Obama a liar and dishonestly claims Obama wants to avoid answering questions about his record.

It’s not working. And it won’t work.

The ridiculous charade of McCain’s campaign has found their credibility on a downward slope that has paid little attention to the poll numbers. Instead of a plausible campaign on policies, McCain has given us infamous cannon fodder of stunts: the ads linking Obama to Paris and Britney, naming Palin his running mate, one dishonest ad after another – including an ad that claimed Obama wanted to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners, repeating the lie that the surge was responsible for the decrease in violence in Iraq, once again trying to win an election on his POW experience, the fake suspension of his campaign and attempt to take credit for a bailout legislation that failed to materialize according to McCain’s timetable, and – most recently – linking Obama to William Ayers’ activities decades ago. His campaign isn’t legitimate, it’s a joke.

The problem for McCain? The internet has provided voters quick and easy access to fact-based information, allowing people to call bullshit much earlier on lies for the sake of political expediency. Stunts are far more transparent than they were just four years ago. Would the Swiftboaters have succeeded under the current umbrella of the proliferation of information? I don’t want to give American voters too much credit, but I don’t think so.

McCain never gave his policies a chance to shine. He never gave his stance on the issues an opportunity to appeal to voters. He went Hillary on Obama way too early and the stubborn refusal of his campaign to see the error in this tactic is their death knell. Regardless of my disagreement with their policy proposals, they don’t deserve to win it. They tried generalities about his experience and his “maverick” record, but they forgot the specifics about what they are promising the American people. Basic chants about “cleaning up Washington” and “rooting out ineffeciencies” (though Palin forgot the “in” in “inefficiency” a bit too many times in interviews) and “Obama’s the most liberal Senator” don’t work. People want to know what you are GOING TO DO. Future tense, McFly.

From a politically scientific level, it’s been suicide again and again. From a leftie level, it’s been glorious.

Every time another speech by Palin or McCain is carried live on television and they are talking Ayers and calling Obama a liar, I giggle – then press the mute button. Each day they waste with these failed distractions is just another nail in the coffin of their campaign.

So, go negative, McCain! Go negative all the way! Because that road leads to second place. And when you’re looking for bozos to blame, don’t just hurl your spittle towards all the former Bushies you hired, remember that you sold your soul and with it any chance you had to win. I’m looking forward to see you do well, but not good enough, in tonight’s debate. We’ll finally get to see that Town Hall you’ve been clamoring for. Enjoy it. Maybe Bush will meet you afterward by your jet with a cake.

30
Sep
08

Blogging About the Bailout From the Netherworlds of Anti-Obama Territory

I was on the road all day yesterday driving from Houston to Pensacola to visit my parental types with my sister. Besides all the damn convoys of electricity and tree-trimming trucks heading back home after helping get Houston power back up following Hurricane Ike (my sister says thank you) driving in the left lane trying to give me an aneurysm, the ride went pretty well. All I’m saying is that I don’t know what South Texas and South Louisiana did to make baby jesus mad. Who knew hurricanes were such a useful tool of divine justice?

As I’m playing Highway Commando and trying to make good time, we get a call that the House voted against the bailout. Against the bailout! We immediately turned my new XM radio (which rocks hard) to the news stations – which was fun because the first thing we heard was Boehner and his fellow boners blaming Pelosi for the failure of Republicans to vote for the bailout package. Apparently, Pelosi gave some partisan speech, which pissed off quite a few of the Repubs so much, they forgot their vote would affect the entire U.S. economy and that of the rest of the world and decided to use their vote for political gamesmanship and spit in Pelosi’s glossy eye with a “Nay.” What word am I thinking of? It’s another word for donkeys… Oh, yeah – Jackasses!!

Who gives a shit about people’s retirement packages? Who gives a shit about companies being able to meet payroll? Mortgages, car loans, grocery bills…who cares, who cares, who cares? The American people have been fed a lot of baloney about the free market and American capitalism and decided to call their representatives, instructing them NOT to vote for the bailout. And the House reps actually claim they listened to these people – these people who have not one iota of understanding about how the markets work and what a catastrophe it will be if the bailout fails and allows the markets to wallow, freezing credit and large portion of the exchange of monies. Even my Republican family – who is watching the retirement upon which they currently live head toward the drain – was astounded at the stratospheric stupidity of these politicians.

Just real quick – the House Repubs are LYING when they said they’re voting no because of their constituents. They’re voting no because of lobbyists. As we speak, K Street is in a tizzy over golden parachutes and regulation and anything that might redistribute wealth in this country and is threatening all those little Congresspeople up for reelection. Three words: constituents my ass. Don’t insult me. I’m mean, I’m a blogger, for chrissakes.

I don’t think this current situation is altogether a bad thing.

Pick your jaw up off the ground and take a breath.

First of all, the level of education of the American public in the areas of economics, finance, credit, etc. has increased immensely. If we have to feel pain now so that our entire country operates with a few more smarts and a tad more responsibility, it is worth it. The people of this country have been told that their monthly income should not determine their standard of living. Credit was the answer to everything, and was easy to access, encouraging every Tom, Dick, Harriet, Rumor, Tallulah and Scout to spend those george washingtons without any attention to budgets and saving. Economic retards, as it were. I used to be one. These are my people.

Well, I’ve moved on – slapped in the face by a low FICO score, and it’s time for the American people to do so as well. Hopefully, this economic crisis will move us in that direction.

So, have a margarita, a mojito, a martini, a miller lite or whatever it takes to get your blood pressure down; then save money, diversify your investments, purchase cars and homes  beneath the amount you are approved for, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, learn the language of finance and grow old, fat and happy (well, not fat).

That’s silver lining numero uno. The next, OBVIOUSLY, is the political fallout.

How fun! How tickling! How fucking hysterical!

The Democrats are about to take over the majority of the House and the Senate and get the Executive branch. And what happens? The House Repubs group together to collectively shoot themselves in the foot and take McCain down with them. Well, yeee-fucking–haw! I didn’t think this election season could get better AFTER McCain’s fake suspension, but I was gloriously mistaken. If I wasn’t in my parents’ Republican household, I’d be cranking up all the angry liberal commentary on the boob tube I could and just enjoy watching the conservative avalanche. God, it’s like Festivus came early this year. I don’t have anything else on my wishlist.

And it only gets better. The icing this week will be the Biden-Palin debate. Even if Palin does well – and I hope she does – Biden will be drowning our little sassy Republican VP candidate in facts, names, dates, details of overseas trips. And I love Gwen Ifill. Seriously, I think we would be friends in real life.

Ultimate conclusion 09.30.08: Keep yer panties on, because the economy will do much better under Obama than McCain – so get out there and make sure your vote is on the right side of future prosperity.

And wish me well as I try to keep my angry, foul liberal mouth in check just a little bit. Because my mom (who is not crazy conversative) still hits. Backhands, to be more specific. (As my sister will testify.)

27
Sep
08

The Morning After: Debate I of the 2008 Pres. Election

Well, it certainly wasn’t a lovefest. I stayed strong and refused to play the debate drinking game, though temptations were strong, to put it mildly. I even took notes, though for some reason, my handwriting is almost illegible when I’ve written while not actually looking at the piece of paper.

Here’s my reaction.

The real loser of the debate was democracy. Debate and discussion are inherent to a healthy democracy and the Commission on Presidential Debates perpetrated a grave error by disallowing the presence of Ralph Nader and Bob Barr. The inclusion of those two, yes – serious, but fringe – candidates would have helped separate McCain and Obama from their talking points. More viewers probably would have tuned in knowing it wouldn’t just a grudge match between the two main candidates. It certainly, certainly would have been more interesting. My husband said there’s no way McCain could have taken Perot – but remember how condescending he was to Ron Paul. We would have seen McCain’s golden smugness on display like peacock ready to hit it.

Beyond the democracy thing, I thought both Obama and McCain both did well. I know, that’s such a vanilla thing to say. Obviously, if you prefer one over the other, you most likely think your guy took home the trophy. It is a little telling that HuffPo’s headlines all shout about an Obama victory and Townhall’s headlines claim nothing of the sort for their man. I’m just saying… McCain will probably have to buy a cheap plastic trophy from the trophy store while Obama is taking a three-tiered monstrosity back to campaign headquarters.

Why, you ask, you silly?

Not because Obama blew McCain out of the water, that’s for sure. After McCain’s non-suspending campaign suspension and the withering of a bailout deal after his arrival in D.C., McCain needed to hit a homerun last night. Anything less was a victory for Obama because, as Lawrence O’Donnell said last night, if there is a leader in the polls and no clear victory in the debate – the poll leader wins the debate. And there was no knocker-outer, clear victor.

Obama presented a clear comprehension of the topics discussed – despite McCain’s pitiful, “He doesn’t understand” mantra. If the viewer demographic is the informed voter – and based on a personal poll of people I know, it is – it was quite easy to see through McCain’s little tactic.

While everyone thought Obama was slow in the beginning and picked it up toward the end, I disagree. Based not on presentation of facts, but simply speaking manner, Obama was much more dominant in the beginning while McCain came in in the second half to own the discussion. While some said McCain appeared testy at the end, he was more aggressive and stronger. Obama was able to get in some good interruptions in the beginning and, at the end, when he tried to cut in, it was painful. There were so many ums, and johns, and that’s not trues. If he has spoken louder and shut McCain down, that would have looked brilliant. But he’s a measured and calm person and that’s just not party of his schtick.

In fact, there were so many easy openings that Obama just let float by while those of us at home were shouting at the screen. When McCain said, “That’s just a fact,” how easy would it have been for Obama to comment on the rampant “untruthiness” of McCain’s campaign. Would have been fish in a barrel, but I know…It’s not Obama’s style.

McCain’s refusal to look at Obama was pitiful. He really should grow up. If he was trying to appear better than Obama, it didn’t work. How fierce would McCain’s stares at Obama have been? How effective? Instead he seemed as if he wanted to avoid the whole thing, stick to his speech talking points, repeat lines that have worked in the past but now ring hollow. He looked more like Obama was breaking up with him than debating him.

The lines and phrases that stood out to me were:

Obama calling John McCain “Tom” by accident. haha. ouch!

Obama: “Orgy of spending” (eeewww)

Obama: “No soldier dies in vain.” (good rebuttal to McCain’s telling for the millionth time the story of some mother asking McCain not to let her son have died in vain and with the Iraq war.)

It was unsufferably annoying in the beginning when Jim Lehrer kept trying to get them to talk to each other. They’re grown men, they’ll talk to each other if they want to. Boo on Jim for that. These are not action figures or puppets on a little stage for you to manipulate. And maybe if you had included Nader and Barr, you would have gotten the direct action you were looking for.

Well, it wasn’t all the fireworks I was hoping to see. McCain uttered quite a few lies that he knows are lies, which was clear to those of us who follow politics. Obama wasn’t swinging hard enough to land a knockout, but that’s not his way and it seems to be working so far. Obama’s willingness to acknowledge when he agrees with McCain shows strength that people relate to and like and – more than that – it worked against Hillary.

Bob Shrum said we now know who the next president will be. Of course, he was John Kerry’s campaign manager. But I agree with him – hell, I even wrote “McCain’s Campaign Obituary” a couple months ago. This was McCain’s last, best hope to rewrite the narrative. It is signficant that the last two debates – and the ones that will stay on voters’ minds – are not in his area of strength as last night was.

Perhaps McCain has more stunts up his sleeve to try and change the game again. But after a few stunts, people start wising up. You hear me, Steve Schmidt? Sure, the polls vacillate, but this is Obama’s game. The majority of people agree with him on all the issues, the Republican brand is in tatters, Obama has lead one of the best, coherent and cohesive campaigns in recent history. I say this not to be naively overconfident, but looking at everyone’s positions on the field.

In the spirit of college football (go UT agaisnt ARK today!), McCain did nothing to move the ball last night and gave Obama the opening for the field goal. Debate I: Obama 3, McCain 0 (with lots of yardage).

25
Sep
08

Wesley Clark Replaces John Edwards In Debate With Karl Rove

In the last few weeks, I had completely forgotten about the debate scheduled between John Edwards and Karl Rove in the University of Buffalo’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

The debate was scheduled for tomorrow and, according to UofB, General Wesley Clark has replaced John Edwards. Smart move.

I wonder how many people they had to ask to face Karl Rove before Clark said yes. I do think Clark will handle Rove better than Edwards even though he will not have a grasp on statistics as much as Edwards. Rove, however, tends to respect men with military experience and quite possibly could be more deferential than he would have to a former trial lawyer who cuckolded his wife.

There is still no word as to the broadcasting of the debate and now that Clark is Rove’s opponent, I don’t know how much I’ll want to watch it anyway.

Still, the whole thing makes me want to start a betting pool predicting when Edwards will crawl out of his cave and try to piece together the tattered remains of his reputation. Hopefully never.

24
Sep
08

Who Thinks Obama Is Going To Win The Sept. 26 Debate?

I’ve seen a lot of certitude from the Democrat side that Obama is going present USC-OU 2004 National Championship-style smackdown on McCain this Friday at the first presidential debate. And while if I were christian, I’d get on my knees every night till they bleed begging baby jesus for such an outcome.

But I don’t think it’s going to happen. And here’s why.

McCain has morphed into a desperate tall-tale-teller allowing his ambition to parasitically leach the soul from our once honorable and happier warrior. All that’s left is a shell of political expediency that clings to the life-force of a five-year POW who existed forty years ago.

Given the current situation of McCain’s character – or lack thereof – how many times do you think those of us watching will want to call bullshit Friday night? How many times do you think Romney tried to call bullshit during the primaries? Probably never. My experience with Mormons is that they don’t curse.

Still, the level of untruth perpertrated by McCain and his campaign has reached atmospheric levels. They wouldn’t know reality if it bitch-slapped them in the face and called them “man-whore.”

The worse part about it is not McCain’s lying – despite it’s unprecedented levels – it’s that the type of people who would vote for McCain do not care.

Jonathan Chait offers a compelling profile of McCain’s whoppers in today’s (LEFT-LEANING) The New Republican and I’ve pulled the significant paragraphs from his 6-page report. It’s long because McCain’s told a lot of lies. Here’s what I found extremely interesting from his piece, entitled, “Liar’s Poker” (bear with me – I know it’s a long – but it’s definitely worth the read):

Here we have the distilled essence of the McCain campaign’s ethos: Perception is reality. Facts don’t matter. McCain has presented himself as the grizzled champion of timeworn values. But the defining trait of his candidacy turns out to be a postmodern disdain for truth. How could McCain–a man widely regarded, not so long ago, as one of the country’s most honor-bound politicians, and therefore an unusually honest one–have descended to this ignominious low? Part of the answer is that McCain is simply doing what works–and there is good reason to believe that his campaign’s strategy of persistent dishonesty will pay dividends come November 4. But part of the explanation for all this recent dishonesty may lie, oddly enough, in McCain’s legendary sense of honor.

If this is McCain’s strategy, then a bunch of news reports debunking his claims isn’t going to hurt. Indeed it may even help. Last February, political scientists Brendan Nyhan of Duke and Jason Reifler of Georgia State published the results of an experiment designed to test the effects of political untruths. The results would unsettle any idealist. The first conclusion they found was that lies work. When subjects were confronted with an untrue political claim (President Bush banned stem-cell research; weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq) respondents naturally moved toward those positions. When the lie was corrected, however, the effect of the untruth in moving opinions largely remained. The truth, in other words, is no antidote for a lie.

Their second conclusion was even more disturbing. Subjects who identified as politically conservative were not only immune to the effects of having a lie corrected, the correction made them even more likely to believe a lie. So, for instance, one group of conservative subjects was presented with a news story that depicted President Bush claiming weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. A second group of conservatives was presented with the same thing, along with a paragraph noting that Bush’s statement was untrue. The second group was more likely than the first to believe that Iraq possessed WMDs. The very fact of the press challenging their beliefs seems to have made conservatives more likely to embrace them. If this finding is broadly correct, then the media’s new found willingness to fact-check McCain will only succeed in rallying the GOP base to his side.

The pattern here is perfectly clear. McCain has contempt for anybody who stands between him and the presidency. McCain views himself as the ultimate patriot. He loves his country so much that he cannot let it fall into the hands of an unworthy rival. (They all turn out to be unworthy.) Viewed in this way, doing whatever it takes to win is not an act of selfishness but an act of patriotism. McCain tells lies every day and authorizes lying on his behalf, and he probably knows it. But I would guess–and, again, guessing is all we can do–that in his mind he is acting honorably. As he might put it, there is a bigger truth out there.

Main point: Conservatives who are told a lie, then told the truth, believe the lie more after they were told the truth! This means, people, that no matter how many times Barack says (with a hint of condescension), “Now, John, you know that’s just not true,” it won’t make a smidgen of difference. Even if Obama presents a coherent, thought-out, truthful rebuttal to McCain’s lies (“He wants to tax the American people,” “He was wrong on the surge,” “He doesn’t put country first,” “Palin has more experience.”), it will not make a difference in the belief conservatives have in McCain words. It truly is a sad commentary.

I must, however, point out that most of these conservatives are evangelical christians and believe the bible is fact, the Earth is 6,000 years old, all life came from the animals Noah could round up, Jesus rose from the dead and you have to believe in him – with no evidence – or their benevolent, all-loving god will send you down to the hellfires for eternity. Critical thinking isn’t their best attribute, to say the least.

I’m not sure how many of these conservatives will be watching Friday night, but seeing as how the main convention speeches drew around 40 million viewers, I’m thinking a lot will be tuned in. These people, however, would be in the bag for the Republican candidate even it was Elmo. I know, I know – there are loads of Dems who would vote for the Cookie Monster if he said he’d end the Iraq War. I get it.

While the debates will be a vital deciding factor in the outcome of the election, I think it will be harder to decide the victor. Palin has already won the VP’s go-round on Oct. 2. The bar is so low for her (perhaps the Devil is holding it up) and there are no rebuttal periods, which means than unless her boob pops out or she says, “I’m changing my mind and voting for Barack Obama,” she’s won. Actually, she’ll probably win big time if her boob pops out. Good luck, Joe B – try to chant, “I am not a political god. I am not a political god,” before heading on stage. That will probably help impede your gaffe-propensity.

What we can conclude here is that the arguments, facts, issues, policies, etc. presented during the debate will not determine the victor. The viewship will. The more informed and analytical the viewership, the more likely Obama will win. The opposite is true for McCain. I plan on watching.

23
Sep
08

Issues Covered On Political Blip (my other blog) 09.23.08

Bill Clinton Losing His FOBs

Romney For VP, Anyone? (i’m particularly proud of my graphic on this one)

Mukasey Gets Something Right

N.Y. Times On McCain Debate Style





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