Election 2008; Mcain/Palin and Obama/Biden

With the first debate under our belts, whats everybody think? A lot was said about how this first debate could bring McCain, who is the superior debater, up in the polls. Other polls list Obama as having won the debate, and McCain’s numbers haven’t started rising just yet.

(As far as winning goes: I don’t think these things are winnable. I think the format is such as to allow the people to hear the candidates respond to one another, but I’m not sure you can win against someone who, on several subjects, is not going to agree with you)

On the debate: I was a little disappointed. In that poll I mentioned, twenty percent said that neither candidate performed as well as they had hoped, and I believe I fall into this category. McCain slipped into his pork barrel and earmarking rhetoric and Obama hung himself up on the mistakes of the past rather than the direction of the future. In one question regarding the 700 billion bailout the candidates were asked about what programs would suffer under thier administration because of the money lost to the bail out and neither candidate really answered the question, instead focusing on what programs they wanted to expand on. It struck me as a political tap dance designed not to shed a negative light on the bailout and to not give the media any negative sound bites to play over and over. Unfortunately I feel I didn’t learn anything new, but the candidates were well behaved and curteous, even if Barack Obama called John McCain by the wrong name.


These debates are heavily rehearsed. Its nothing but a dog and pony show. A real debate would be unrehearsed and not tolerate candidates throwing slogans but supporting their claims in any substantial way. From what I could read, Obama came out looking slightly better but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Each candidate pandered to his supporters. The Palin - Biden debate will be an even bigger waste of time because they’re putting even more restrictions than the Obama - McCain debate so that Palin won’t completely be destroyed by Biden.

I didn’t watch the debate, but from what I’ve read, McCain did as expected and Obama held his own against McCain (so I guess a little bit better than expected). I don’t care too much for the debates, but whatever. The debates are really just for those who are undecided.

  1. Purely in terms of appearances, there was no clear “winner.” Both of them performed reasonably well. I suppose one can make arguments about either of them having “won.”

  2. Neither of them said anything of substance about the financial crisis. As I <a href=“http://agora.rpgclassics.com/showthread.php?t=29906”>explained</a> in the other thread, the issue that matters is the issue of whether the US government will honour the banks’ debts to foreign investors. Neither candidate said anything about this.

Instead, they used the issue as an opportunity to repeat meaningless slogans about “oversight” (neither of them explained what that entails – they could have started with explaining their position on Paulson’s proposal to place the Treasury Secretary’s decisions outside court jurisdiction) and excessive spending. But here too, both of them blamed the excessive spending on irrelevant, meaningless straw men. For example, McCain cited some program that earmarked $3 million to study bears in Montana. He then promised to freeze spending on everything…except defense and entitlements! Considering that you can fund millions of bear-studying programs at the cost of one war or bailout, this is laughable. Obama also said that he would cut some programs, but didn’t say which ones. Neither Obama nor McCain would even take a coherent position on the bailout.

  1. The only good thing in the entire debate was that Obama stood by his earlier promise to negotiate with Iran, even after McCain attacked him for it. Obama also correctly pointed out that Ahmadinejad is not the absolute ruler of Iran. McCain snickered at this, but did not offer a response, because it’s obviously true. Obama again explained the obvious when he said that you can’t tell people that you’ll only talk to them after they’ll agree to do everything you want.

McCain engaged in the usual dishonest scaremongering, and Obama did not call him on it. For instance, McCain repeatedly asserted that Iran is building nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of destroying Israel, and Obama never mentioned that the government’s own NIE on Iran states that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program five years ago. Still, even McCain didn’t talk about any attack on Iran, instead he discussed sanctions.

Overall, Obama sounded more reasonable on this particular issue. However…

  1. …when it came to the Russia-Georgia war, there was no difference between them. First, Obama stated that Russia committed “aggression,” which is a lie. But this was not enough for McCain, who accused him of <i>having urged both sides to restraint</i>, because according to McCain, Georgia has never done anything deserving of criticism. Neither of them addressed Saakashvili’s murder of Russian citizens in the disputed territories, they both pretended like it had never occurred.

Then McCain falsely claimed that Russia had planned the war in advance. Not only did he fail to address the conclusive evidence to the contrary (Russia withdrew its military bases from Georgia ahead of schedule, and repeatedly ignored Saakashvili’s provocations for years), but the evidence that he did bring up actually proved the opposite of what he claimed. He said that, when he visited South Osetia in the past, he saw a billboard on the street that showed a portrait of Putin with the caption “Vladimir Putin, our president.” McCain then feigned shock that such a billboard could exist in “a part of Georgia.” However, the fact is that Osetia is a <i>disputed territory</i>, and <i>not</i> “a part of Georgia,” and the existence of this billboard shows that the population of South Osetia had never thought of itself as Georgian, is ethnically different from the Georgians, and always wanted to join Russia, for years before the war. McCain did not mention the ethnic conflict at all. Yet he obviously knows these facts – therefore, his speech was meant to deceive people who are ignorant of them.

However, on a practical level, there was no difference between the candidates. McCain took a hostile, sneering tone, and once again told his nasty little joke about Putin’s KGB past, whereas Obama sounded like a lecturing schoolmarm, but they both said essentially the same thing. Both Obama and McCain called for expanding NATO to include Georgia and Ukraine – despite the fact that the vast majority of Ukrainians opposes such a move, and despite the fact that NATO rules don’t allow countries with outstanding territorial disputes to join. Both Obama and McCain praised Latvia and Estonia for being “democratic,” whereas in reality they are racist ethnocracies that practice apartheid against ethnic Russians.

I find this part of the debate very troubling. In the <a href=“http://agora.rpgclassics.com/showthread.php?t=29906”>other thread</a>, I argued that there is only one way to deal with the financial crisis, namely allowing Chinese and Russian investors to recapitalize the banking system. This would preserve much of America’s ability to attract investments, but it would seriously decrease America’s ability to control the world. However, the government wants to retain America’s global dominance, so they won’t take this way out. They won’t want to raise the money by increasing taxes, either. But then, the only remaining alternative is to find some excuse to write off their debts, to refuse to pay them. The only crisis big enough to provide a cover for such an operation is war, and at present there are two possible scenarios – either a direct invasion of Iran, or a proxy war against Russia, which is one of the US’s largest creditors. Obama took a relatively conciliatory tone on Iran in the debate. <i>But both candidates unconditionally support giving money, weapons, and military guarantees to authoritarian, virulently anti-Russian proxies.</i> Furthermore, one of these proxies has <i>already</i> started one war against Russia just last month. Both candidates support giving him a blank check to start another war with Russia, and they support giving him guarantees that the US will join that war on his side when it happens.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, I will not be voting for either of them. I will watch the other debates in case Obama says something that can change my mind. But, as of right now, I don’t see a substantial difference between Obama and McCain on the issues that matter.

Palin says something unscripted while getting some food, the McCain camp quickly retracts it.

This reminds me of a blog that I saw linked on another forum, Has the McCain camp broken Sarah Palin.

I know I’m not even American, and I certainly disagree politically with her in many, many ways. But thinking about her situation like that, I almost feel sorry for her.

Almost. Then I remember she thought about banning books from a library, and that vanishes.

The Couric interview with Palin hurt to watch. Her answers didn’t really relate to the questions, they were general (and still didn’t relate), and she just didn’t seem to know anything. I see why the McCain campaign is trying to avoid the VP debate. If she can’t even hold her own in an interview where someone is just asking questions about her and her stance, then how is she going to handle someone countering her stance? She is really starting to backfire on McCain. McCain can’t really even back away from her as VP since it’ll make him look like a poor leader who can’t make simple decisions. It was a good decision to pick a woman, but Palin definitely was not the one to pick. I think Stephen Colbert said it best: “Who the fuck is Sarah Palin?”

EDIT: Also, I was thinking, this is one election where the VP actually matters since each candidate does stand a chance of not making it through the term. McCain since he’s already up there in age and President does take a toll on you. Obama since there are still some that don’t want a black President. Palin seems more like a McCain cheerleader or spokesperson rather than a person he’s sharing the ticket with. Everything she says is basically “…the leadership of John McCain…” It is like, ok John McCain is a great leader, what about you? Then Palin replies “John McCain!” I already don’t favor McCain, but I dislike Palin even more and the thought of her being President scares the shit out of me. I find it funny that McCain’s big stance is on ending wasteful government spending and vetoing every earmark that comes across his desk, but yet he picks someone who is one of the biggest abusers of earmarks as his VP. I love The Daily Show’s thing where it compares McCain to Bush and shows them to be almost the same person.

Originally Posted by Infonick
I love The Daily Show’s thing where it compares McCain to Bush and shows them to be almost the same person.

I found The Daily Show’s thing where it compares McCain to Past McCain and shows them to be almost completely different people to be funnier myself.

Otherwise I agree that it’s basically down to the VPs thanks to, among other things, this past administrations VP showing how much power is actually in the position. And not that I don’t believe that McCain could last for both terms in office, but frankly I just don’t feel like I could take that chance.

As for the debates, these things are so scripted, and neither candidate is going to say anything that could jeopardize their chances at the polls at this point, that nothing meaningful is really going to come out of them. We won’t find out about their true agendas until one of them is sitting in the Oval Office.

Ah, I haven’t seen that, that would be great to see (especially since I wanted McCain in 2000). It is interesting to see how much McCain has changed over the years.

I just watched SNL’s parody of the Palin/Couric interview, damn they did a good job on that. Hell, some of the stuff I think they quoted exactly (like the part about the bailout), which makes it even funnier.

Personal question for you then, if you don’t mind. I remember you supported Ron Paul during the primaries. Barring that Obama turnaround you mentioned, will you now be not voting in the presidential election or will you be casting your vote for a third party? I don’t care who; I’m just curious in general.

I think not voting because you don’t like the candidates is silly. At the very least you can write someones name in.

If nothing happens to change my mind, I suppose I’ll vote Libertarian, or whatever third party appears to be the least obscure.

I’m uncertain who I am voting for. I cannot support in good conscience either majour party, and have severe misgivings about Bob Barr as a libertarian candidate. The green party candidates sort of came out of nowhere and generally would be acceptable only be virtue of how disgusting all other options are. Nader would be palatable were it not for the relatively small number of states in which he will even be on the ballot making a vote for him essentially identical to throwing away one’s vote.

Do not vote for Cynthia McKinney. That woman is… just… yeah. Sorc knows what I’m talking about.

Cynthia McKinney is running for president? Oh thats high-larious.

Yeah. She’s the Green Party candidate.

So I gotta ask: why don’t you guys like her?

She had been the standard “that crazy black representative from Georgia.” She thought the Supreme Court was racist for ruling her old district was unconstitutional when it stretched from Atlanta to Savannah to be 64% black. If you know Georgia geography, you would know that’s an absurd district. She essentially said Al Gore didn’t like black people.

After 9/11, she was one of the people that said Bush had specific knowledge of what was going to happen preceding the attacks but didn’t warn anyone because of Sr.‘s business interests. During the month after 9/11, Giulliani refused something like $15 million from a Saudi Prince which wanted acknowledgment that the US bore some responsibility for the attacks because of our stance on Israel; McKinney wrote an open letter stating she would accept it on behalf of her constituents because she and they believed in the Palestinian cause and the US’ fault. Whether that’s an appropriate view or not is a different debate; the outrage was that she said this not 30 days after the attacks.

After she was defeated in her primary in 2002 by Denise Majette, her father blamed her loss on the Jews. She tried taking her loss to the courts because Republicans in her district voted in the Democratic primary. Georgia has an open primary, and she had one of those like 70% Democratic districts. They had no chance of beating her in November, so they used the system to get a Democrat they felt would better represent them. She contested in on grounds like violation of the 14th Amendment and violation of the Voting Rights Act.

She was/is one of the 9/11 Truthers. She made allegations that the Democratic Party wanted her out of office because they were a bunch of old white men that wanted the black woman to sit at the back of the bus.

When she got back into office in 2004 (after Denise Majette attempted to run for Senate for some strange reason), the Democrats actually didn’t reinstate her seniority. Usually when a Congressman is defeated in primary then gets back, he gets his seniority back. Hers was refused. Later, she had an incident where she punched a Capitol building officer when he tried to detain her because she wasn’t wearing her congressional pin. She lost in primary again in 2006, and instead of congratulating her opponent, she used her concession speech to praise people like Hugo Chavez.

Basically, she’s that crazy socialist woman from Georgia. Voting for a socialist is fine. She’s just a crazy one.

You know what’s really sad? Palin can actually be pretty convincing and effective in a debate. I’ve seen herGubernatorial debatewhen she was running for the position in Alaska. She got better as it went on and if she regains the kind of confidence she showcased here and in her excellent speech at the RNC she’ll regain her footing.

I’ve realized something; Americans are fickle folks. It seems the majority of people just…don’t remember as much as I thought they would. Remember how much trouble Obama was in when Reverend Wright was in the news? Now you don’t hear anyone talking about that. All he had to do was make a really nice speech that didn’t really do anything but…inform me of things I already knew concerning the complexity of race. After that, there was no need to have any kind of public discourse, people just heaped praise and let Obama off clean. Note, I use it as an example, but even as a Republican I think Reverend Wright was a terrible way to attack Obama. There’s a paranoia in the black community that’s a serious issue, he just articulated it in a horrible way…

I digress, however, but my point is that all Palin has to do is perform as well as she did in her Alaska debate and it’ll silence, if not perhaps reverse, the public turnaround. Remember how people were talking about the danger of McCain suspending his campaign? That issue has died down enormously after the debate happened. Remember the outcry against Obama when it was revealed that one of his aides had told a Canadian diplomat that all the talk of redrafting NAFTA was mostly just a ruse? Yeah, it probably cost him Ohio, but people don’t care about it anymore. The ability of Americans to forgive/or forget so easily is an aid to the Republicans as well. One good debate is all it takes and all those excerpts of Palin and Couric will begin to fade from memory.

Now, the people here on this forum and in the country who are against her won’t change their mind no matter how well she performs. Fine. You weren’t going to anyway. The differences between the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden tickets are so stark that the presence of Palin alone wasn’t going to make you switch your vote. This is about energizing the base and silencing the conservative base’s misgivings. Kathleen Parker’s denunciation of Palin, for instance, worries me a great deal more than the common person losing faith. If the base is no longer excited over her then we’re in trouble. We cannot bleed the votes of social conservatives demoralized by McCain aides preventing Palin from being herself in interviews. The social conservative vote is what made the difference in 2004, in 2008, we need them even more because Obama is running a campaign that’s a heck of a lot more efficient than Kerry’s.

Spoony: I don’t understand how you know she thought about banning the books. Palin asked how the librarian would respond if the need arosed for books to be censored. A constituent could have asked her about this and drove her to ask the question or it might have been a rhetorical matter that she asked as she was trying to understand her role as Mayor of Wasilla. No books were banned, so all people really have is conjecture when they go around saying she wanted or had seriously thought about proposing censorship when in truth she had asked how the librarian would respond if she was asked to remove books from the collection. There’s no reason not to believe Palin’s explanation that she asked this in the interest of “understanding and following administration agendas.”

The librarian later resigned and yes, Palin did send a letter to the librarian asking for her resignation; but those letters were sent to numerous individuals who had supported the incumbent mayor rather than Palin during the mayoral campaign. President John Adams tried to keep the department heads left by the previous administration and discovered just how successful that made his policies; I don’t blame Palin for not making the same mistake as Adams.

There is not a need for books to be censored. Ha, they hate us for our freedoms.

Anyway, the expectations have been set so low that Palin could get the better of the VP debate unless she really messes up.

Did you think her speech at the RNC was excellent? I found it openly mean and an “Us against Them” affair. Do you believe she’s the choice for the office of the VPOTUS?

Don’t compare her to John Adams. Firing the head librarian was not going to make her administration run smoother. The head librarian’s most important duty might be what - placing the orders for new books? Purely revenge, it looks. Considering Troopergate (ugh, hate -gate) and her massive history of lying, you can’t possibly give her a pass on it.

Trying to ban books in a public library fits her profile to me. Social conservative, abuses political power, crazy-ass religious history - if you’re not suspicious, you’re not thinking. The question of what to do if there was a need for banning books from a local library is a loaded one. It’s like asking, “if you were fucking a small child, what kind of lube would you use?” No sane person considers the possibility in the first place.

What RPT said.

I’m in the middle of a Masters of Library and Information Science, so I’m a bit sensitive to the idea of any kind of political pressure being put on librarians to censor information. Especially since I’m not ruling out going to the US once I complete the program, but if that woman is going to be half a step away from the Presidency, I’ll be reconsidering it.