Entries from September 2008
My initial gut reaction to the debate tonight was that John McCain won. He got in more snappy comebacks and sound-bytes. After the debate was over, I must say that despite this gut feeling, I liked Obama’s performance better. Obama came off as gracious, knowledgeable, and likable. McCain came off as mean, gruff, and not entirely honest. (If the number of times Obama objected to McCain’s statements as “just not true” were any indication.)
This afternoon, in a discussion at work, I said that regardless of what happens, both sides will declare victory. That is certainly the case. (Although the McCain campaign apparently jumped the gun and declared victory this morning before McCain had even confirmed there was going to BE a debate.) Hopefully a few people learned some things and maybe even a few people changed their minds. We can hope.
A coworker who I have a running political debate with (I’m nothing if not an argumentative bastard) sent me the following email. In my response I actually had to do some research so I figured I would post the fruits of my labors here and let it do double duty.
The following was pointed out last night while Colmes Interviewed Dick Morris.
Statement – McCain voted the same way as bush 90% of the time
Most were budget votes where there are two sets of numbers and you are voting one way or the other.
Look at the 9 most critical issues, and you will see that McCain and Bush differed:
banning golden parachutes
assuring worker pensions in mergers
9 of the most crucial issues, and McCain and Bush disagreed.
First off, here’s a couple non-partisan sites showing McCain’s voting record does indeed match up with Bush’s 90% of the time (one also shows that Obama votes with the democrats 100% of the time which since he’s a democrat shouldn’t be too surprising but may further the usual “Most liberal senator” argument that comes out every election.) http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/is_it_true_john_mccain_voted_with.html
The 10% where McCain broke with Bush listed above (I see no mention of the two main ones, the economy and the war) I’ll address here:
torture – Surprising that after being tortured McCain would be opposed to it. *eye roll* I’m actually more shocked that the Republicans are admitting that the Republican Bush administration WAS IN FAVOR OF TORTURE!!! So even if McCain opposed torture, it was the Republicans who were in favor of it! Not a terribly strong argument to make when you’re running to keep your party in the white-house and your party is, or recently has been, in favor of torture.
the Surge – first this: http://thinkprogress.org/2008/07/01/pfotenhauer-bush-surge/
Bush didn’t oppose the surge. Secondly, the surge did work but that’s like saying you decided to build your castle on a swamp even when everyone says it’s daft to build a castle on a swamp, but you build it all the same! Just to show ‘em! And it sinks into the swamp. So you build it again! And it sinks into the swamp. You build it again and that burns down, falls over and sinks into the swamp. But then you send a bunch of extra workers out and they manage to build you a castle that stays up. Just because it succeeded eventually doesn’t make the whole idea of the war (Which McCain has wholeheartedly supported since even before it started. I can find the video clips to prove it if you press me) not foolish.
campaign finance – “I wouldn’t have signed it if I was really unhappy with it,” Bush told reporters, according to the Washington Post. “I think it improves the system.”
Tobacco – What? Who cares? Was bush in favor of tobacco or against it? This is hardly an election level difference. Seriously, this is supposed to be the 9 most critical issues of this election? Or just the 9 most critical things McCain has disagreed with the president on? Cause either way, this is kind of sad.
banning golden parachutes – Cool! Another thing I actually agree with John McCain on! I couldn’t actually find any information on this one except in lists of Republican talking points on how McCain differs from Bush but I’m all for it. The fact that this is something that McCain had to break with his party on is, as in my above paragraph on torture, kind of sad and doesn’t really improve my opinion of Republicans much.
assuring worker pensions in mergers – Another one I’m all for, but couldn’t find any actual information on. Not even a list of Republican Talking points. Also, Bush was against people keeping their pensions in mergers? Seriously, WTF?
global warming – All well and good, but he chose as his running mate someone who denies that global warming is man-made (something I’m actually not 100% convinced on either to be honest, but still.) These days, even President Bush believes in Global warming. Or at least Global Climate Change, because Bush can never seem to agree to call anything what it is. (IE, time table = general time horizon.)
energy – It’s fairly obvious that Bush and Cheney are in the pocket of the oil companies. That McCain is not is refreshing, certainly. But then he chose Governor Palin for the ticket who is. (See that whole pipe-line-is-god’s-will thing or just her quote “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem or that more supply won’t ultimately affect prices.” Agree somewhat with the last bit, certainly not the first part though.) As part of my “Try to find good things about John McCain project from a month ago, I said that McCain’s energy policy is much more robust than the Obama campaign is claiming (Drill, Drill, Drill) however it was hard to tell from watching the RNC and all the “Drill now!” signs in attendance and no real mention of any other forms of energy.
judicial confirmation – Uh… what? Which judges was he opposed to?
Quote from McCain: “Let me just look you in the eye, I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I’ve said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts. I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible], and I am proud of my record of working to get them confirmed, and people who worked to get them confirmed will tell you how hard I worked.”
And now those two I mentioned earlier:
the economy – McCain’s senior economic advisor and co-author of McCain’s economic policy (now technically former advisor, but still handing out free advice and considered by many in the media to be a shoe in for treasury secretary should John McCain become president) Phil Graham was instrumental in deregulating the energy industry, allowing speculation on oil prices that have lead to our current gas price mess and also aiding the likes of Enron and their gaming of the California energy market (rolling brow-outs, remember them?) He was also instrumental in furthering deregulation of the mortgage industry and we all see how well that worked. Still, the fundamentals are strong, right guys?
the war – McCain has been a proponent of the Iraq war since before it started and while his “100 years” comments were taken out of context, the fact is that even after the Bush administration and the Iraqis are starting to talk time-tables for withdrawal, McCain is still in favor of us staying there and spending 10 billion dollars a month. (Oh hey! There’s something else they disagree on!)
Really though, all of this is of secondary concern. Hell, I’m on record saying that I wish Obama would get off this McCain = Bush line of attack. I watched both the Democratic and the Republican conventions. I heard a lot from both camps on why we shouldn’t vote for either candidate (Bob Barr is looking better and better…) However, what I was listening for really wasn’t the partisan bickering over which candidate was better than the other one, who had more experience or the right kind of experiences, it was the question of where the candidates would take this country if elected. And I like where Obama wants to take the country. Sure, he may not make it to the land of world peace, great economy, blue skies, clean water, and a sun-flower in every driveway, but at least he is trying to take us in a positive direction. I hope you all have gotten a chance to listen to McCain’s acceptance speech at the RNC. Listening to it and all the other speeches at that event, I never got a clear view of where exactly the Republicans were going to take us, I can only guess that we’re already there. After all, the Republicans have been in control of our government for 7 out of the last 8 years and the last year or so that the democrats have had “Control” of the Senate, the Democrats had 50 votes, the Republicans had 49, and Joe Lieberman (McCains BFF) and Dick Cheney were the tie breakers. (No wonder they can’t get anything done.)
It’s odd that the Republicans seem to be running against themselves so much. Is McCain’s best selling point really that he’s a maverick and went against his own party lots? What does that say about said party and why, even if their candidate is a maverick, would we want to reward them with another 4 years in power?
I had started writing a post for today, perhaps I will finish it up soon and post it. It didn’t really go as I planned. Truth be told, I’m a little depressed at the state of the world right now. While most networks would call this election way, way, way too early to call I think it’s fairly obvious that the election is going to John McCain and that thought has me rather depressed. I have a long history of backing the loser. I backed John McCain against Bush in 2000. I then backed Bush, who won overall but lost my state. I voted for Kerry (God help me) in 2004, who won my state but lost the election. Perhaps it’s just my environment. My family, with the exception of my wonderful wife, are all lifelong Republicans. Several of them were leaning Obama this election but the nomination of Governor Palin has made them reconsider. Many of the people I work with are also staunch Republicans, Republicans who will flat out admit that they’re wrong on a host of issues but will still doggedly support the Republican candidate. I said last week in a conversation that Palin was designed to appeal to the Republican base, the people who voted Bush into office twice and hadn’t learned their lesson. America it seems is like someone in a string of abusive relationships, maybe this one won’t beat me up, take me for granted, or cheat on me. 80% of the country believes that we’re on the wrong track, that our Government has not helped us. Yet despite this, a slight majority of the country is going to annoit the same political party back into the white house? We never learn. It was almost surreal watching the RNC last week. The Republicans seemed to flat out refuse to admit that they have been in office for the last 8 years. Oh, the Democrats have had a majority in the house and the senate for the last 2 years, but with Lieberman jumping ship, the Senate is basically a 50-50 split with Cheney as tiebreaker. The Republicans call this the do-nothing Congress. So by their own admission, Congress hasn’t done anything. Leading, if you follow my reasoning, to the inescapable conclusion that the mess this country is in must be the fault of the people in charge for the last 8 years who actually did anything.
The Republicans are of course refusing to admit that the country is in any real trouble, and again blaming anyone and everyone other than themselves for it. The victimhood that began in the Clinton years where Republicans were complaining about the liberal bias in the media, and that the liberal elites were attacking them, have extended now to an art form. Despite Rupert Murdoch (R-Media) owning a large chunk of the news stations (FOX!), newspapers (WSJ), and other media outlets the Republicans complain of media bias and thereby make it so that any criticism of their policies, even their outright lies, are swept under the rug. The Orwellian mantras of the novel 1984 seem to come to life more every day.
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
And might I add another, “Weakness is Strength.” And all the sheep come together to bleat “Four legs good! Two legs bad!” in unison. Cause if you vote Democratic the farmer, er the Terrorists rather, will come back. Cause after all, Fear is Bravery too. If we don’t throw away the freedoms our soldiers fought and died to gain for us and support the Patriot act, warantless wiretapping, and the suspension of Habeus Corpus then the Terrorists will be enboldened. They might kill you and all you hold dear! And if you hold your freedom dear, well we can find a replacement for that or at least take your mind off it. Look! Our new VP candidate has boobies!!
I consider myself a centrist. I believe that America is Purple, just like it says in the title, and that the greatest wisdom is found in the center between the right and the left but this election is making me so mad I’m about to turn blue. To be quite honest, I think the Republicans are going to win this one. I hope not, but their attack machine is too good at what they do. I saw it at work tonight at day two (well, one and a half) of the RNC. I’ve heard of double standards, but the Republican standards machine makes the IRS’ tax code look like a children’s book. “Experience matters when it’s our candidate that has the experience. If our candidate has little experience, then the type of experience they have is worth more than the experience the other guys have even if the experience the other guys have is the same as our other candidate.” It’s mind boggling.
A liberal blogger wrote the other day on the nomination of Governor Palin that democrats should be very careful in attacking Palin because the Republicans are experts at making weakness appear to be strength. That was in full force tonight. My first thoughts after reading up on Palin were “It’s a Trap!” I call it Rovian judo. You get a candidate that is likable and relatible for the segment of the country that falls for such things, then anytime anyone attacks them, it becomes an elitist attack from those damn liberals that think they’re so much better than you with their “Experience” and “Judgment.” It’s how Bush got elected twice. Weakness is Strength. And if the media, even the conservative owned portion which is quite large these days, attacks your candidate with facts about them that you don’t like, well it’s that damn liberal media attacking good people just like you again. Aren’t they mean? I counted several caustic statements in tonight’s speeches directly aimed at painting the media as being friends of the democrats despite the study showing that the media is critical of Obama 78% of the time. If everyone thinks the media is biased, they’ll ignore even legitimate questions about your candidate’s character or experience. So it pays, even when the media is on your side, to always attack the media.
And in the other game I played tonight, which had it been a drinking game I would have stayed quite sober, I counted 5 minorities in the crowd at the RNC. I’m not sure, but I may have been counting the same one a couple times. I’ll have to get some drinks for tomorrow night. Not sure it’d make watching this any more bearable.