Posts Tagged ‘Debate


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.


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.


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.)


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).


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.


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.


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


Update On Decrease In Violence In Iraq

In my efforts to combat the campaign of misinformation regarding the “success of the surge,” I have blogged about the efficacy of Sunni payoffs and the new strategic ops program Bob Woodward has brought to light.

I’m sure many of you saw the new report that came out yesterday indicating the ethnic cleansing in Iraqi neighborhoods has been the “primary factor” in reduced violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. Whether ethnic cleansing was THE primary factor or not, I cannot say, but am sure it was a very large component – much larger than Bush’s surge – in reducing violence.

Sunni payoffs are also a primary factor in their “Awakening”, placing into question the stability of the decreased violence should the U.S. decide to reduce payoffs to Sunni tribes as our forces are withdrawn. Furthermore, there are around a million Shia refugees that will be looking to return to Iraq as reconstruction, which has been an abysmal failure, continues. Violence in the Anbar province and Baghdad continues to be very fragile. Despite the existence of ethnically-cleansed neighborhoods, poverty breeds violence and the payoffs ensure tribesmen do not look singularly to killing to “get what’s theirs.”

Developments to transition the security burden to the Iraqi government, however, are in progress. As the Associated Press reported yesterday, “The Iraqi government will begin paying the salaries of about 54,000 of the mostly Sunni fighters in Baghdad Province who joined the fight against al-Qaida.” Unfortunately, the article does not state that the U.S. is currently paying those salaries and gives the impression that the Iraqi government is “all of the sudden” offering payments to Sunnis. Obviously, Iraq – who stands to make between $67 and $79 billion in oil sales this year – has the cash to offer these payments despite the ubiquitous corruption in the government’s ranks.

This increased role by the Iraqi government is certainly a sign that there is a possibility of violence remaining at a reduced state as the U.S. refocuses its military efforts where they should be: Afghanistan.

What is most irritating as the election enters its final stage is the reluctance by Democrat leaders, besides Biden, to point out the other variables that reduced violence in Iraq and suck the air out of Republicans’ continual misleading about the results of the surge. Just this Sunday on 60 Minutes, Obama again failed to give a comprehensive response to claims about the surge:

Kroft: Iraq. When we talked to you the first time, back in February of 2007, you had proposed, at that time, a piece of legislation that would have had all the troops out in 16 months. Which means they would have been out by today, if it would have been passed. We would have missed the surge. We would have missed the reduction in violence.

Obama: Oh, wait, wait, wait, Steve. I mean, now you’re just engaging in a huge hypothetical. We don’t know what would have happened if we had initiated the plan that I put forward at the beginning of 2007. And the fact of the matter is that, as successful as our troops have been in lowering the violence in Iraq, and they have performed brilliantly. But the truth of the matter is we still don’t have an oil agreement. We still don’t have provincial elections. The commanders on the ground themselves acknowledge that the political progress that’s needed has not been made. So we all welcome the reduction in violence, but the notion that somehow this was the only way for us to solve the problem, and that the problem has been solved, I completely disagree with.

He really needs to get with the program ahead of this Friday’s debate on national security. Cowtowing to uninformed notions that honesty regarding military situations – especially troop activities – is somehow unpatriotic is no way to lead. A presentation of the facts is the best and most effective way to pop McCain’s false surge balloon. Simply saying, “We don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t go ahead with the surge,” does not get the job done, and presents a weak and disingenuous message. And that goes for all Democrats – not just Obama.


Arguing With Republicans. Is It Worth It?

Or does it just make you want to sign up for a lobotomy? I thought so.

I’ve decided to explore this topic after my sister and her two boys spent last week up here in Fort Worth following the loss of power to their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. My sister is not as outspoken as I and lives on a street full of hardcore, lifelong Republicans as is common in Houston. Sucks to be her. Furthermore, she and I are headed for a family visit next week during which we will masochistically immerse ourselves in a cesspool of diehard, Fox News-watching (and believing) Republicans who fly the Confederate flag on Robert E. Lee’s birthday.

Just today I was asked if I’d heard the rumor that Biden was going to bow out of the race just before the VP debate for “health” reasons and Hillary was going to step in as Obama’s new running mate. I can only presume that garbage was aired on Fox because these people do not obtain information from any other source. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh permeated their commons sense barrier as well, but I cannot know for sure. In any case, pro-Republican media sources are just one long circle-jerk, so it doesn’t really matter where they get their information (see comments below). It all goes back to Satan in the long run.

Intellectual debate is one of the highlights of my life. I loved living in Austin for just that reason. No matter which bar you entered, the scene was ripe for spicy discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the leading causes of war or the pros and cons of limited government. Agreeing and disagreeing had nothing to do with the shared enjoyment of testing and rehashing arguments as round after round was purchased into the wee hours. I rarely saw my sparring partners again, but those conversations stay with me.

In Fort Worth, of course, the vast majority of people here are Conservative Republicans who pride themselves on their bumper stickers indicating which pricey christian private school they send their children. I’m in a FreeThinkers group and love the conversation there – though we tend to agree with each other most of the time. But living in Fort Worth does at times make me yearn for the ubiquitous open-mindedness of Austin’s citizens and bar patrons.

Living in a town like this or on my sister’s street in Houston constantly begs the question of appropriateness  of political debate. I’m outspoken and have little need for the approval of others, but also don’t have very tight relationships with my neighbors. When my sister’s neighbor across the street exclaimed, “Democrats suck!”, it was clear that arguing with the person would be unproductive and even less enjoyable. So why even threaten a relationship with a good neighbor, however politically bassackward they may be? It’s a question that will last through the ages.

In a previous blog, I discussed that our unwillingness to insert politics in “polite” conversation inhibits progress and stymies debate which is essential to a healthy democracy. We look to intellectual debate to be worthwhile, fulfill us, get our blood pumping, have fun, learn new things and test our acquired knowledge – not to wear us down, leave us worn and ragged and hopeless.

So, when is arguing with Republicans worth it? Here’s my hypothesis:

Arguing with Republicans is always worth it if they’re informed. Most of the Republicans I know are fairly well-informed, though most of them are also not regular church goers. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, I just thought I’d put that out there. And while arguing with uninformed Republicans is akin to taking candy from a baby, it’s about as productive and fun as preparing for a triathlon by playing golf. I leave those discussions thinking, “What a dumbass!” rather than, “Oooh, that’s something to think about” or “That was fun” or “I shouldn’t drink so much if I’m going to have to recall shit from my AP History class.”

Arguing with Republicans is worth it if they use curse words in their every day vernacular rather than just when they’re angry. People who do not ever use curse words generally have some form of a stick up their ass. These people are not fun to be around in any event, let alone in a political arena. Even my own mother says “Shit!” every now and then. Those who can roll with the punches, play loosey-goosey and see the value in sarcasm are always worthy of a place in the forbidden world of political debate.

The previous rule applies to Republicans who drink alcohol and especially if they smoke weed. If they are a teetotaler, chances are they are wound pretty friggin tight and could erupt like Mount Vesuvius at any moment. Any real debate with these people should be left to the TV screen, no doubt peppered by the teetotaler’s spittle after images of nudity or Obama surging in the polls are projected.

Fiscal Repubilicans are always worth arguing with much more than Conservative Republicans. In theory, many of the fiscal Republican tenets make sense; they simply do not work in reality. Trickle-down wealth, lack of regulation, free market, etc. They sound good. They just don’t work. The problem with Conservative Republicans, however, is that they are one issue voters. Abortion in particular. For example, last week Ben Stein was on Larry King sternly criticizing the manner with which Republicans have handled this economy and are handling this specific economic crisis. After Robert Reich suggested he support Obama for just those reasons, Stein said, “No, it would not solve my problem with right to life, I’m afraid.”

One issue voters, mainly evangelicals, are the worst. They are uninformed and do what they’re told regardless of the consequences. There is no depth to their thought process and their leaders are unethical and unaccountable. I will not shy from an argument with these yahoos, but I also do not expect any positive result from these conversations. Most of the time, I have to present the flaws in christianity first because it is christianity that serves as the foundation for these people’s close-mindedness.

In general, if the Republican is cool and doesn’t take a quality discussion on the issues personally – you have the green light. If you’re like me and have no problem discussing politics with any schmo – even the racist ones – have at it! Enjoy it and remember that the discussion is what is important, not dominating, not winning or convincing. Simply having the discussion is productive. Especially if it’s over a good beer. I would avoid getting loud and redfaced – which can be hard after a few libations – but some of my best friends are knowledgable, fun Republicans and I wouldn’t have them any other way.


Edwards vs. Rove Debate Update

According to the University of Buffalo website, the Edwards/Rove Debate is still on like donkey kong. This surprises me for a couple of reasons.

  1. When I first learned of the assignment of moderators of the debates, I also learned Sept. 26 was the designated first date of the presidential debates. What is interesting is that the Commission on Presidential Debates announced November ’07 the dates of the debate. That the University of Buffalo would schedule this Edwards/Rove match-up that same night indicates they either didn’t do their homework or never planned on having a large viewing audience. Is this why Edwards even agreed to the debate, knowing he’s likely to get creamed? There is no indication that I can find on the UB website that indicates the debate would be televised in any event. I would hope an attendee could at least sneak in some recording device to the event or UB post the entire footage on the website for all of us Inquiring Minds.
  2. The recent broo-ha-ha over a possible illegitimate baby of Edwards would be prime meat for Rove, who had his dirty fingers in the whole McCain-has-an-illegitimate-black-baby trickery in 2000. For those of you who don’t know, back in October of last year, the National Inquirer broke a story that Edwards had fathered a child with former campaign worker Reille (do you pronounce that Riley? Cause if you do, that’s the most retarded spelling of a first name I’ve ever seen) Hunter. However shoddy the tabloid’s reporting, they managed to corner Edwards in a bathroom at the Beverly Hilton last week after he visited with Hunter and her baby. A simple DNA test would allow Edwards to put this political Pandora’s Box behind him, but he and his wife are laying low probably in attempt to let the whole think blow over. It won’t. In fact, it’s likely a volcano amassing pressure before the huge eruption. How interesting that mainstream media is avoiding this hot topic, Kristin Lin of the Fort Worth Weekly echoes my sentiments in this editorial, while The Huffington Post and Propaganda Machine Fox News are giving it air. I have no idea if Edwards was seriously a VP contender (I think if you fail to help one elect president – Kerry – as their number two, you shouldn’t get the privilege again – Lieberman). If he was, he ain’t now, in any case. And whatever hifalutin political ambitions Pretty Boy had for himself, I’m sure this baby is big enough to pop a hole in even the most modest of intentions. At least he’s not currently serving in any elected office, which would give the Republicans an unending supply of crap to sling, but I must say Edwards has some big cahones trying for the presidency despite the National Inquirer article coming out last October. Imagine where we’d all be right now if we had chosen him in the primary! I don’t want to think about it.

So, back to this debate. If the baby biz quiets, Edwards is more likely to show. If it doesn’t and Edwards still shows, he has greater powers of denial than any presidential candidate I’ve ever seen. Illegitimate child rumors followed Bill Clinton around and never really caught traction, but Edwards is not Clinton. He’s not the megalomaniacal fighter Clinton was and Edwards’ wife has cancer, which puts the whole alleged sordid affair on a repulsive level far beneath any extra-curricular boning by Clinton. Needless to say, we shall see what we shall see, won’t we?

UPDATE: 08.08.08 DI-YAMN!!! I returned home from the zoo today only to find scavengers all over my TV screen, sucking the marrow from the carrion of John Edwards’ political career. Well, Johnny Boy, this time, the bell’s tolling for thee. I’d like to say I’m sad to see you exit stage left, but I never really appreciated your trial lawyer presence on the national horizon, faking your “Man of the People” stage show. You did a good job convincing people of this role you played, thinking you finally found the golden egg that would take you up the bean stalk. You played with fire and, now I can only say that I don’t hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave.

UPDATE: Wesley Clark to Replace John Edwards


Freaky Friday: John Edwards & Karl Rove to Debate

Did anyone catch this last Friday? The Buffalo News has learned that the University of Buffalo intends to include in its Distinguished Speaker Series a debate between John Edwards and Karl Rove on September 26. John Edwards and Karl Rove. Naturally, my mind immediately searches for the nearest comparison to such an unpredictable and unlikely competition of the minds (I use that term loosely).

The fastest duo to surface is, of course, Dopey vs. Beelzebub. But that’s too easy. I’m looking for something more nuanced. More apropos. Barbie vs. Cobra Commander? No…. Nemo vs. Ursula? No…. Luke Sykwalker vs. Jabba the Hutt? No! Not even close. John Edwards has no Force.

Gumby vs. Squealer from Animal Farm. That’s it.

Yes, I remember that John Edwards is a former trial attorney, but the images of him getting smoked by Dick Cheney in 2004 are seared into my brain. And while Karl Rove may have the morality of a dung beetle, his ability to misrepresent facts with a straight face is supernatural and would require Edwards to acquire an encyclopedic knowledge of politically-related statistics and their sources to properly refute Rove’s machinations. My not-so-amateur prediction is that John ain’t got the stuff. And I’m being kind.

If the debate is televised, I will certainly perform the masochistic duty of viewing the event – with a fist firmly planted between my teeth. Naturally, I try to avoid having Rove’s visage offend my home from the television and relegate my involvement with him by reading his erroneous comments online. Blech.

In the meantime, I’m going to entertain myself with and make fun graphics with hopeful themes.

john edwards curshes rove\'s ehad

john edwards crushes rove

I made Rove’s eyes red, but they may be too small to tell.
And did you see the headline on The Huffington Post this morning that Rep. Henry Waxman is considering legislation that would prevent a White House employee from being paid by taxpayer money to work on political affairs? He might wait until Obama is elected to launch this legislative attempt.
I’m encouraged by the possibility that Obama will roll back a number of powers Bush and Cheney concentrated at the executive level. McCain, of course, would not. Checks and balances are so silly, aren’t they?!
And one last tidbit of morning news – let’s give Howard Wolfson a big round of applause and wish him good luck as he joins Fox News. In a way I get it – he wants to bring a democratic voice to the network. But I also think he’s selling his soul to do it. Although, he seemed comfortable bending the truth when he worked for Hillary, so maybe he’ll fit right in.

Reaction To Last Night’s Debate And Theories of Media Bullying Clinton

It was exciting. At first. That prolonged debate on health care during which Hillary rolled over the moderators’ shushing attempts like that Clear Lake dentist rolls over cheating husbands. I don’t understand why the whole wide world is all pissed off at Russert for throwing her fastballs later when she so pointedly treats moderators like inconveniences at debates. She has a potent of history of open combativeness with and disrespect of the press for over a decade and then resorts to the role of victim and claims she doesn’t get a fair shake. Gag, you know? Just gag.

Sure, Russert didn’t ask Obama once to “commit right here and now” to do whatever he said over and over the way he did Clinton. He didn’t launch Sumo attacks at Obama the way he did Clinton to pry a clear answer from her cold, thin lips. But, then Obama doesn’t react to them with the condescending arrogance she does and doesn’t have the history of kicking them out of The White House when her husband became president.

I have news, people. Clinton has a lot more baggage than he does – she has many more decisions to answer for than he does, more fuckups, more disingenuous and politically calculated speeches. She is perpetually fake, with her friends and close supporters saying they wish she would show the public the manner she uses in private. Obama is politically calculating, no doubt, but you don’t get that feeling that he’s dramatically different in private. I’m just not resentful that I don’t see that side of him the way, at least I am when I see her. She’s legendary for the disconnect between her private self and public self. This is one of the core reasons the public trust doesn’t gravitate toward her full-cheeked smile. And let me tell you, I bet I’d like her private personality a lot. Even if she looked at porn. I’d probably like her more. She should throw some cuss words into those speeches. Even a “hell yeah!” here and there would push those public approval numbers up, I’m sure of it! Let’s get some shots of her gambling and throwing back some tequila! That’s how you rise in the polls. At least here in Texas. She tried that whole, “I eat hot peppers a lot” line, but that just gives everyone visual images I will not go into.

The bottom line is, like I heard an analyst on MSNBC say recently in response to Clinton’s interview where she said she felt misunderstood, that Clinton has been in the national public eye since essentially 1992 and if she’s still misunderstood, who’s fault is that really? It her fault, dagnabit! It’s the fact that every word, every look, every piece of jewelry, every laugh, and smile, and eye-contact, and hair placement is a political calculation that includes side-stepping reporters’ questions and failing to knock that feeling of “well, I think she could do the job…but I don’t know…” from those of us who pay attention and will show up to the polls.

Last night was no different and we were all expecting more. I mean, come one, it’s go time! All she could come up with was a McCain line that Obama wanted to bomb Pakistan – which was ridiculous and garnered a small, immediate laugh from B.O. Her jumping in after the Farrakhan question lowered her score when she said, “Well, something like this has happened to ME as well when I was supported by an anti-Semitic group and REJECTED their support!” Nice try, hon. Not gonna make it.

And she still refused to answer his accusations about the negative effects of her plan to mandate health care – which I have serious concerns about! She hasn’t even addressed once what would happen to a person who didn’t fall in line with her plan and that really pisses me off. People are living paycheck to paycheck and in huge debt – even if health care costs were decreased dramatically, many millions would still not be able to afford it and the answer is to criminalize them? Or what? Because I don’t know how a mandate is enforced in her plan. She won’t tell us.

As far as Obama goes, he was good, but less than stellar. There were a couple of Fred Thompson-esque responses to questions that lacked depth and were fairly short. It’s great that he is comfortable with himself politically enough to agree with her on issues, but other times his answers were as simplistic as a 12th graders. It’ll be good once the nomination process is over and he can take a little time to bone-up in areas where he doesn’t have a lot of understanding. Also the word is MASSACHUSETTS, not MASSATOOSETTS. Phonetically: MASSACHOOSETS. God, I hope this isn’t his “nookular.” That would just kill me to have another president who can’t pronounce easy, regularly-used words correctly. He’s supposed to be a good orator…

All in all, he won. He won because he didn’t lose. We didn’t have visions of Hillary Clinton landing on an air-craft carrier with the banner “Mission Accomplished” on full display behind her. It was like she was trying to put out is unstoppable prairie fire with one of those handheld fans you take to the ballpark.
Her “It’s so curious how I always get the first question” immediately followed by the disingenuous “I mean (breathy laugh), I’m happy to answer them, I just think it’s curious!” was just a bomb. I mean BOMB. The first panel member to give his assessment of the debate afterward mocked her by telling Keith Olberman, (paraphrasing) “Fine, Keith, I’ll answer, but you always give me the first question!” If she wanted to give the media a softball to use against her over and over she couldn’t have done any better.

If media coverage of Hillary seems harsher lately, it’s because she’s LOSING. And they are reporting on what’s happening. They’re not reporting on her ideas or the issues. They’re reporting on how the campaigns are going and hers is going shittily, to put it lightly. If Obama’s was sucking ass, they’d be on that like white on rice, too. But he’s doing well for whatever reason and that’s what the media is saying. “Her campaign isn’t going well.” “His campaign is picking up steam.” OHMYGOD, call in the media patrol, Hillary’s the last one picked for kickball!

Grow up, suck it up, this is national politics and Hillary, you started the campaign thinking it was in the bag and then you brought out your secret weapon, Bill, who reminded us how much the partisanship of the 90’s sucked. Sure, the media isn’t the unbiased, effective weapon against corruption, valiant body protecting the publics’ interest. But take a good, hard look in the mirror when you’re wondering where the fault lays for your coverage and your political progress. And don’t do it with a flashlight on your face, saying “bloody mary…bloody mary…” Do it with the lights on.


Getting Geared Up For The Debate

It’s going to be exciting!! The last scheduled debate and Hillary’s potential Waterloo. The election season is so topsy-turvy, the fat lady is frustrated. She always gets a note or two out and then the cane (large one) emerges from the wings and yanks her behind the curtain as candidate after candidate skirts the grim reaper of political campaigns.

I don’t know if I’m ready for the all-out brawl between Obama and McCain yet, despite the beating of the war drums audible across every media medium – can we at least wait for the coin toss? At least Nader’s presence will provide some comic relief.

The Hillary/Obama contest is drawing to a natural close and the majority of Democrats seem ready to bid her adieu – though I doubt she’ll go down without a fight. Politics is a spectator sport and I’ll have a couple of bottles of Texas bock ready for the show when the clock strikes 8 (Central Time, that is). Tim Russert, with his permanently furrowed brow, and Brian Williams, with his pristine hair that even a war zone couldn’t ruffle, will try to assert their steerage of the vessel so forcefully to remove any off-script ideas from that head of Hillary Clinton’s.

But she’s a desperate woman, People! And desperate women do desperate things. Even today, her friend Chris Dodd threw his lot to Obama, which can only convince Hillary further it’s now or never. Do or die. Sink or swim. Beat her opponent about the head with her political prowess or pack up her plethora of pant suits and take a tropical vacay. I cannot predict which direction she will take – conciliatory, accusatory, defensive, offensive, aggressive, condescending, friendly, valedictory? She can do them all with ease. And I can’t wait to watch.

And if you don’t want to watch the debate, Valerie Bertinelli will be on Larry King talking about her drug use and sex with Stephen Speilberg. Wolfie says CNN will have an interview with that fruitcake radio host who embarrassed McCain when he called Obama a hack.


Clinton Gets Nasty – Does That Make Her A Bitch?

This weekend, Hillary’s bipolar campaign decided to tack toward the scolding and mocking – away from the friendly and conciliatory. She scolded Obama for “misrepresenting” her stance on NAFTA and later mocked him, saying that,”I could just stand up here and say ‘Let’s just get everybody together, let’s get unified.’ The sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.” You can watch the video on The Huffington Post here.

Applying the word “bitch” to Clinton can ignite a shitstorm of controversy, with women claiming men never receive such epithets. I wholeheartedly disagree, as I apply the words “dick,” “asshole,” “asshat,” “weiner,” “ankle-grabber,” and many, many more to many, many men in and outside the political arena.

Let’s get real. Clinton is a bitch. You can see it clear as day in her clip on Saturday telling Obama, “Shame on you” in that mean school-marmy affect she has. The continual replaying of the clip has sent ripples of cringes across this nation of ours. A lot of powerful women can be called bitches and others can’t. Being a bitch isn’t a bad thing and certainly doesn’t mean Clinton wouldn’t or couldn’t be a good president. Quite the opposite, in fact. But it’s not her bitchiness that will lose this election for her.

Letting loose her inner bitch and then speaking mockingly and condescendingly of Obama’s “message of hope” the next day just signals her campaign is grasping at straws and getting desperate. She’s like the girl toward the end of the night who really wants to hook up but even the ubiquitous beer goggles aren’t getting her any play. Too late, you’re a mess, go home and lick your wounds. She couldn’t win on inevitability. She couldn’t win on the issues. She couldn’t win on personality. Insulting Obama supporters certainly won’t convince them to abandon his ticket in droves. Bitchiness might have worked before, but not now. It’s just pathetic now because it’s purpose is so transparent.

So far, Obama has shown no proclivity towards getting down in the dirt with her, but – needless to say – the debate tomorrow night on MSNBC promises to be very interesting indeed. Maybe she can channel the Ultimate Fighting Champion and Eleanor Roosevelt at the same time and pull a miracle out of her ass. I doubt it, tough. The fat lady is entering the building…


Unimportant Notes About the CNN Debate 2/21

Remind me to write CNN and request that they never schedule a debate the same time as “Survivor” ever again. For those of us who play Fantasy Survivor, it was just too much! I had to digitally record the Fans vs. Faves – so don’t tell me who was kicked off!- we’re watching it tonight. Come one, James!

Now, let me ask you, can you recall any other, out of the tens of presidential political debates held during this campaign season, seeing the audience sitting on bleachers??? NO! I love my alma mater – especially this year’s basketball team – but COME ON! I discussed earlier that holding the debate in the Rec. Center would add a WT element, but seeing the bleachers just brought it all home. Of all the venues in all of Texas and Austin alone, they chose one in which the majority of the audience would be hunched over, uncomfortable and waiting for the discussion (these are not debates) to end. And it did end earlier than usual – it didn’t even last a whole two hours. (it was neat seeing William Powers, the president of UT, onstage with the candidates – I used work for his secretary when he was a professor at the UT School of Law. I wonder if he still walks around with an unlit cigar in his mouth wearing soccer sandals…)

And poor Hillary, that TX humidity had really gotten to hair – all flat and unflattering – but she made up for it by treating the moderators like annoying gnats and asserted her own topic schedule many times during the night. Personally, I think it’s great when the moderators shut up for a bit and let the candidates go at it – that’s a debate! In any event, Chris Matthews said something on MSNBC last night to the effect that they wouldn’t be able to pull those shenanigans next Tuesday during their debate with Brian Williams and Tim Russert at the helm. He’s probably right.

Hillary did comment about how amused she was when she watched “some show” this week and an Obama supporter couldn’t name his legislative accomplishments. I’m pretty sure Kirk Watson was in the audience, but I wouldn’t be my life on it, and he was probably wishing the Earth would swallow him. That comment kind of made me want to pop her in the mouth, but she was booed for her “change you can xerox” comment and that made it better. I wish before all this broo-ha-ha someone had asked one of her smaller surrogates about her legislative accomplishments. Something tells me the word “litany” would not apply to their answer.

There were not fireworks, no surprises, other than her conciliatory “I’m honored to be sitting up here with Barack” and “no matter what happens, we’ll be fine” comments. He seems so appreciative, I thought they were going to start making out then and there. She did set herself up for an honorable exit from the race March 5, however.

I think she’s pretty much out of it now, and thinks it’s best to maintain solidarity in the Democratic party and that’s so sweet of her. Texas and Ohio are not going to give her the delegates she needs – probably because she hasn’t had a good campaign since Feb. 5 – and, as Obama pointed out last night, every major newspaper in TX has endorsed him. I’ve been seeing Obama ads since then and Hillary’s only started up here a couple days ago. And the background guitar on one of his ads is awesome, so I actually like seeing it over and over as opposed to almost all other political ads I’ve ever been subjected to.

The only other thing I found noticeable about the debate is the great detail with which MSNBC covered it. It was, after all, a CNN debate and MSNBC has shown resistance in their coverage of debates on other networks in the past. Last night, they showed clip after clip with CNN all big and bright behind the candidate’s heads. CNN had covered MSNBC debates in the past – now I guess they’re getting chummy with their quid pro quo.

PS. The phrase “after all” needs to be one word. Afterall. That’s how I automatically write it and then spell check kicks in and tells me what an idiot I am. Afterall. Like nobody and another and nevertheless. Am I right? Webster’s? Anybody? Bueller?


Debate Tonight In UT Rec. Center

Apparently, the peeps are pissed because this CNN debate is invitation-only. I entered a drawing for tickets, but my happy butt is still in Fort Worth, so the gods of political debate were not smiling on me. My beef is that’s the thing is in the Rec. Center and I know that has recently been renovated – I had to trudge around the construction during the majority of my college tenure – but there are so many other great venues at UT, I don’t know why we had to go WT (white trash) on the whole thing! Bass Concert, the Frank Irwin Center, the LBJ Auditoriam, and other concert halls… hook ’em?


It’s So Hard To Be So Good

Our democratic candidates put the gloves back on and tried to make a few soft jabs when they weren’t busy patting each other on the back. Woopity-doo. The lack of interruption from Wolf did mean the candidates get to talk a bit more at-length about their issues and the conversational manner was so much better than watching their campaign speeches on the road as they shout into the microphone in the same manner my middle-school teachers use to use during fire drills. Please move calmly to the exits! Every child deserves health care!

Overall rating: Booooooring. And this is the last day before Super Tuesday. I expected those two to reign it in a bit, but come on! We didn’t even get any Hillary shoulder-shrugging, closed-eye, raised eyebrow “You’re retarded if you don’t know how awesome I am” type statements. I don’t believe Barack’s oratory skills are what everyone claims they are – he is easily interrupted, spoken over, and he uses “ah..ah” way too much to formulate arguments in his head. If he goes up against McCain, I don’t think that will be an issue though.

Best meaningless one-liners of the night: 

Obama – In response to a question assuming the U.S. government is like a business and neither Obama or Hillary have run a business, what would qualify them for president more than Romney, Obama says it doesn’t look like Romney has received a good return on his investment in the race for The White House.

Clinton – In response to a question regarding a possible Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton alternating presence in The White House, Clinton responded that it took a Clinton to clean up the first Bush’s mess and it’ll take a Clinton to clean up the second Bush’s mess.

Noticeable things to Notice:

  • All the celebrities in the crowd. There were a bunch. Some I had thought were dead…
  • That awful Hillary laugh was back. Yikes! “I laugh at you, you imbecile!!” (makes me shudder)
  • Chelsea’s dress at the end of the night – way Little House on the Prairie-ish. I certainly wouldn’t have rushed on stage after the debate with that on.

I did enjoy seeing the preview we’ll get when we have solidified Repub and Dem candidates and the Dem campaign slogan strategy of saying that electing a Repub will mean the continuation of Bush’s policies. Moreover, and I’ll borrow a phrase of the icky Pat Buchanan’s, that McCain is basically Bush on steroids. Word, Pat. Word.
Were any minds changed or any decisions solidified tonight? I don’t think so.

Oooh, CNN announced Snoop Dogg will be on Larry King tomorrow night. Maybe I’ll buy some Courvoisier and curl up for that quality programming.


The Jan. 24 Repub Debate in Florida

Next Tuesday will be fun. Slowly watching the death knell toll for Giuliani’s presidential campaign will give me a bit of satisfaction. Who knew that McCain and Giuliani would essentially trade positions in the polls between August of last year and now? It amuses me to no end to see inevitability turned on its head – and for campaigns for president proceed without Ben Franklin determining who emerges as the victor. Romney is basically diarrheaing cash into his campaign, but I still think enough voters are smart enough to recognize his severe, late-in-life political 180’s prove he’ll proffer whatever ideals and promises necessary to win an election. Blech. If offends my political senses to no end. And not much offends me. Really, ask anyone I know.

Every pundit said Romney won the debate last night, though, but only because the other candidates weren’t dog-piling on him and he was able to shed his ankle-grabber status of previous debates. Last night was like watching the Teletubbies or a bunch of men massage each other in a steamy Japanese bath. What was that about?

This is what I heard:

  • Oh yeah, right, the downturn of the economy is serious! I mean, everyone, knows that. We just haven’t talked about it before because Tim Russert only wanted to ask about troops or gays or something.
  • Giuliani, you’re so cute and we’re so glad you’ll be getting out of the race soon. Then we won’t have to look at your mistress and wonder how many times you banged her before you actually got divorced.
  • Hillary Clinton is the devil and we will all suffer a severe case of the terrorismitis if she’s elected.
  • I can be funnier than the other guy.
  • Abortion is no longer the big issue (hallelujuah and praise jeebus!).

Republicans wanted to rise above the fray (how many former Republican Congress people are in the pen right now?) and be a little better than thou democrat, but I was unimpressed and would likely forget every word uttered last night if I wasn’t blogging about it.

Listen, maybe the inoffensive, non-confrontational American friendliness that I do enjoy cringes to see Clinton and Obama scrap a bit, but I thought we actually were hearing some substantive conversation. Wolfie should have sat back and popped a beer like the rest of us and revel in the relevance of some actual DISCUSSION about some ISSUES. Yes, at first, the jabs took a little getting used to, but in the end I felt like we were closer to seeing what kind of candidates these people really are. Admittedly, I’m not sure the arguments changed anyone’s mind or rearranged any voting blocs, but us political junkies loved it and you know it!

I’ll continue to watch the debates of both parties and toward the end of the season, they’ll be easier to turn into drinking games. Hopefully, Nader will jump in and maybe Bloomberg and possibly some family values candidate and we’ll witness some Political Ultimate Fighting Champion and philosophies and ideals and characters will emerge from behind those particle-board podiums! Actual political discussion.

One can only hope.


Do I Have to Watch Tonight’s Republican Debate?

McCain: (paraphrasing) Americans wouldn’t mind if we had a troop presence in Iraq for 100 years if there were not military casualties.

Huckabee: “[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it’s a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that’s what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards,”

Romney: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.”

Giuliani: “…we’re going to carry a 50-state campaign…” (which is why he’s only focusing on Florida and losing to Ron Paul in the other primaries….)

Ron Paul:  “The world’s elites are busy forming a North American Union. If they are successful, as they were in forming a European Union, the good ‘ol (sic) USA will only be a memory. We can’t let that happen. The UN wants to confiscate our firearms and impose a global tax. The UN elites was to control the world’s oceans with the Law of the Sea Treaty. And they want to use our military to police the world….I am writing to you today to ask you to recommit yourselves to this battle. I need your help now, more than ever, in this fight to save the country we love…for the people we love.”

Do I? Do I HAVE to watch tonight’s Republican debate? Maybe some wine will make it bearable…

Scarlet Letter of Atheism


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