Monday, October 06, 2008

VP Debate Continued

Okay, I'm reseted, caffeinated, took a weekend off, and am back.

Q8.- Do you support same-sex benefits to couples?

Biden - "Absolutely." No distinction from a constitutional standpoint. Should be able to visit hospitals, jointly own property, life insurance, etc..

Palin - "Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage..." But I'm totally tolerant and have a "diverse family and group of friends". But we wouldn't "...prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed...". But I straight up (nice pun) don't support redefining marriage.

Me - Oh boy. The question avoided the "redefinition of marriage" aspect, and Biden unconditionally said that he supports same-sex couples having the same rights as hetero couples. Palin never actually says she's does, but stumbles all over the place about making sure everyone knows she's totally not going to "redefine marriage" and then offers a weak-ass repetition of Biden's specific examples, but stops short of a blanket promise to provide equal rights. I get it, the "base" doesn't support gay marriage and she can't risk alienating that base. I can't say I know if she actually supports the idea or not. Her "diverse family and friends" is laughable - why not just say "Hey, I have nothing against the gays, I totally even have gay friends!" Except I can't see her keeping any of them if she doesn't believe in them having equal rights...

Moderator - Do you support gay marriage?

Biden - No. Obama nor I " redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage." Leave it to the faiths. I'll expand Palin's response to take it that she supports equal civil rights for gay couples, even though she didn't necessarily say that.

Moderator - Is that what you said?

Palin - "Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not."

Moderator - "Wonderful. You agree."

Me - FUCK ME WITH A CHAINSAW. Okay folks, my blog, my opinion - please SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE REDEFINITION OF MARRIAGE! It's a fucking WORD. There's a 50% divorce rate, spousal abuse, spousal rape, children with broken homes and fighting parents, disposable 1-day marriages, and countless other things about "traditional" marriages that are so fucked up that the word is useless. I'm 31 years old and have seen 3 friends go through marriage and divorce, and one of them remarried since. Gay people getting married won't change a damned thing about YOUR straight marriage. It won't affect the "institution" of marriage AT ALL. Drop your atomically thin veil of homophobia and shut the fuck up. If gay people want to be as miserable as every other married couple, more power to them. Calling it a "civil union" is idiotic. If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck, it's a FUCKING DUCK. Faith has NOTHING to do with this. If you can go to city hall and get married, or get a secular justice of the peace to marry you wherever you want, then religion is OUT OF THE PICTURE. The government can't dictate what a religion does, but it can damned well call two people standing in front of a judge and making vows a MARRIAGE regardless of their sex. Why is this so hard to understand? You're gay and want to get married? Go to a judge. You want it in a church? Tough shit, that's the church's decision, not the state's. /rant

Back to the debate - Biden putting words in Obama's mouth (I don't know if he has publicly stated this or not) could be terrible for them in terms of the gay vote. Palin then clumsily dodges the question of her agreement and everyone smiles and goes on like she said "sure I do!" Why put this question in there if you don't have the balls to follow through?

Q9.- You both of sons who are/will be in Iraq. Palin, you've said you'd like a plan for an exit, what would that be?

Palin - We have a good plan, and the surge has worked, general Petraeus is a hero, and so is McCain. Obama/Biden opposed the surge and opposed troop funding. Obama voted against it, and Biden called him out, good on you Biden. We have a withdrawal plan. Can't leave Iraq early, because we'd lose and have to win. We can put more troops in Afghanistan now that the surge has died down, and we need to grow our military, can't lose to al Qaeda, etc..

Biden - I didn't hear a plan. Obama offered a clear plan. Shift responsibility to the Iraqis over the next 16 months, draw down our troops... same plan Maliki and Bush are negotiating. McCain's the only one not behind this. McCain voted the same was as Obama in the vote. We spend $10 billion/month and Iraq has an $80 billion surplus. Let them spend their own money and use their 400k troops we've trained. We see an end, McCain doesn't.

Me - Biden's right - Palin didn't say shit about a plan in her response. Lots of rah-rah and "we can't lose". Calling out Obama on a vote that McCain voted the same way on (not the first time this debate) is poorly thought out. Empty speak from her once again when she doesn't understand what's going on. Biden laid out an actual plan. If you agree with it or not is another question, but it was there and plays well. I'm sure all the recalled soldiers will be thrilled to hear how they might get called back for the umpteenth time to fight in Afghanistan again. Oh, and the surge working is debatable at best.

Palin - Your plan is a white flag, and not what the troops need to hear. The surge worked. The surge worked. The surge worked. We'll know we're finished when the Iraqi government can govern and it's forces can manage on their own. Our commanders will tell us when that is. Biden said he wanted to run on McCain's ticket he supported his war effort so much, and that Obama isn't ready to be commander-in-chief. Biden is awesome and has all my respect for his past war stance even though he supports Obama now.

Biden - McCain voted to cut off troop funding. McCain voted to cut off troop funding. McCain voted to cut off troop funding. I told McCain and Cheney that Iraq would be a disaster, but they didn't listen. McCain said all the Sunni and Shia get along fine, and there'd be plenty of oil. I love John McCain, but he was wrong. Obama was right.

Me - So you don't support gay marriage Joe, but you love John McCain? WHO THE FUCK SAYS THEY LOVE THE PERSON THEY'RE RUNNING AGAINST? The Dems need to grow a big fucking pair. Of course, Palin bent over backwards to say how much respected Biden here too. I'm so very confused. Palin basically says just what Biden did, but doesn't put a timeline on it.

Q10.- Greater threat - nuclear Iran or unstable Afghanistan? Why?

Biden - Both are dangerous. Focused on Pakistan. Pakistan already has nukes and can hit Israel. Iran getting nukes would be bad. Both are dangerous. John keeps telling us terror is in Iraq, but it's not, it's in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that's where we'll be attacked from. Pakistan needs a stable government. We should build schools in Pakistan to compete for the hearts and minds of those kids going to madrasses.

Palin - Both are dangerous. Petraeus and al Qaeda dubbed Iraq as the central war on terror. Nuclear Iran is very dangerous. Israel in danger when you've got Ahmadinejad as Iran's leader. Him, Kim Jong Il, the Castro Brothers, who Obama said he's willing to meet with are all dangerous dictators. That's beyond naivete and poor judgment - it's dangerous.

Me - Okay, so both are dangerous. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Obvious. Now Israel gets brought in. "The Castro Brothers?" Really? Sounds like a 50's sugarpop group... and if you think CUBA is a threat these days... wow. What's Fidel gonna do? Weakly throw a mean look north? Neither person says much here, but both get their digs in against the opposing candidates.

Moderator - Baker, Kissinger, and Powell have advocated engagement with enemies, do you think they're wrong?

Palin - I just talked with Kissinger! He's very passionate about diplomacy. McCain and I would engage in that. But the really bad guys can't just be sat down with like Obama wants to do. Diplomacy first, but it's really hard and serious, and having backup and sanctions and stuff.

Biden - Obama didn't say he'd sit down with Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad (damn that' long to type)doesn't control Iranian security, that's the theocracy, not him. Five secretaries of state said we should sit down and talk. Our friends and allies have said to sit down and talk. McCain said he'd go with an agreement, but wouldn't sit down and talk. How do you get the former without doing the latter? Bush is finally trying to sit down and talk... everyone wants to sit down and talk except McCain, who won't even talk to Spain.

Me - Everyone's for diplomacy it seems. Except that Palin says they are and then says they aren't... or only for selective diplomacy. So if you guys are against, say, France, you'll talk? Biden nicely singles out McCain as a maverick of the worst kind in this case, and Palin doesn't respond.

Moderator - You support Israel. (not really a question)

Palin - Yes.

Q11.- What's the administration done right or wrong about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Is a two-state solution the solution?

Palin - A two-state solution is the solution. Condi's been meeting with both sides even now and is trying to forge peace. It's a top of the agenda item for us too. Israel is our strongest ally and he have to assure them there won't be another Holocaust despite what Iran and others threaten. We support Israel, who has forged peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt.

Biden - Joe Biden is Israel's BFF. This administration has failed miserably with Israel though, but Condi's trying her best now... just a bit late. Bush insisted on West Bank elections, I said Hamas will win. Hamas won. We booted Hezbollah out of Lebanon, Bush didn't put in troops, now Hezbollah is legitimized there. Iran has more power under Bush's watch. Bush has blown in regards to Israel.

Me - Everyone loves the Jews. Good on ya. A second Holocaust would be bad. The obvious twins strike again. Biden seems to support more direct involvement, while Palin seems to be happy with letting Israel get along on its own unless they want help. I think somewhere in the middle is a good line.

Palin - The administration's policy hasn't been a disaster. Glad we both love Israel, I respect your position on having the same opinion as me. Stop looking backwards at Bush. There have been huge blunders, and there always are. But if you want change, you have to stop pointing fingers and looking backwards. Reform is-a-comin'! We'll learn from past mistakes. Government back on the side of the people, McCain is a maverick, yadda, yadda.

Biden - "Past is prologue." Is McCain's policy different than Bush's? I don't know.

Me - "Stop looking backwards?" Here's a quote for you "Those who fail to learn from history..." I'm sorry, but this attitude SCREAMS ignorance and the same blindness that Bush has shown for his entire administration. Then you say you'll learn from past mistakes while chastising those who look back at them? Huh? Biden sums it up with 3 words, and then proceeds to say nothing.

Q12.- What's the trigger for nuclear weapons use?

Palin - "Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be all, end all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet, so those dangerous regimes, again, cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, period." But we use them as a deterrant, which is the right way to use them. Hey, can I "talk about Afghanistan real quick, also, though?" McCain's policy being the same as Bush's isn't accurate. Surge principles need to be used in Afghanistan, and that's perhaps different than Bush. Obama says mean things about us in Afghanistan that aren't true if you reword them differently and add some stuff.

Biden - Or Afghanistan general today said a surge wouldn't work. We need more troops and government-building and infrastructure. We spend more in 3 weeks in Iraq than we have in 7 years in Afghanistan. McCain's voted against nuclear test treaties. Obama's superfly.

Palin - McClellan (general in Afghanistan)didn't say that definitively. But, uh, yah, it's different there, but the counterinsurgency stuff COULD work, he didn't say anything about the counterinsurgency stuff... yah, what Biden said about building infrastructure.

Biden - Yah, he did say that definitively. But McCain's said that Afghanistan has succeeded and we're done with it. Obama's saying we need more troops there.

Me - And Palin goes back to verbal diarrhea and talking about things unrelated to the question at hand right off that bat. Then she gets the Afghanistan argument wrong enough that Biden can knock down her argument, forcing her to stumble as she tries to recover by saying exactly what Biden just said.

Q13.- Biden - you're an interventionist. Bosnia, Iraq, Darfur... can Americans stomach this?

Biden - I think so. My recommendations for Bosnia saved tens of thousands of lives. McCain opposed it. I opposed going to war in Iraq, but thought Bush would just use the powers for good. No stomach for genocide in Darfur, but now we can enforce a no-fly zone and lead NATO, I've been to Chad and seen the camps.

Palin - I'm such a Washington outsider who doesn't get it! You voted for the war and now you oppose it? That's flip-floppy! Americans want straight talk. You supported McCain's war strategies until this campaign and opposed Obama's until now. I agree on Darfur though. Since Alaska has so much money, I did.. umm.. well, I don't say what I did with it to help Darfur, but I did call for legislation to make sure our money in Sudan wasn't helping the bad guys.

Me - Biden comes off as a politician here. He makes good points, but the "I though Bush would only use the powers for sanctions" bit is a stretch. Palin nails him, but unfortunately does it with the "Washington outsider" preface, which will play VERY well with some people, but turns me off. Guess that's a win for her. She also talks around the Darfur bit well, but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny when being read.

Moderator - Is there a line to be drawn?

Biden - Absolutely.

Moderator - What is it?

Biden - Do we have the capacity to do anything? Also, when you start committing genocide, or harbouring terrorists, you lose your right to say we can't intervene in your country. Obama agrees. Oh, and I never supported McCain's war strategy. I said if we went, we wouldn't be greeted as liberators, but McCain said the opposite - he was lockstep with Cheney. He's been wrong from the start.

Palin - I beg to disagree. You're saying this a month out, but we listened to the debates. Tomorrow the pundits will find the truth and debate who said what. McCain knows how to win a awar and knows what evil is. He knows how to learn from the mistakes and blunders in Iraq. He will know how to implement strategies, he'll know how to win a war.

Me - An interesting stance from Biden on the right to intervene. It's kind of hard to disagree with the idea of stepping in when a genocide is going on outside of a slippery-slop argument. As for Palin - wow, what a load of bull on this one. She once again avoids the question (a pretty easy one this time) and pushes McCain. He knows how to win a war? When did he show this? When he crashed twice in Vietnam? Remember, the States lost that one. There's a lot of "he WILL know" and other assumptive statements that don't read or sound good. She also stumbles on being confident about Biden's voting record and dumps it on the "pundits" tomorrow to figure out if she's right or not. Considering Biden's argument was that McCain's been wrong all along, saying he'll know how to learn from mistakes looks doubly bad - 1.- he's made mistakes, 2.- he hasn't shown that he can learn from them.

Q14.- If the president dies and you take over, how would your administration be different since you disagree on things?

Biden - It would be a national tragedy if that happened, God forbid it. But if it did, I'd carry out Obama's policy. Bring back the middle class, a fair break, affordable health insurance, tax breaks, kids in college, etc.. (basically restates the platform). Would reject the Bush Doctrine. I agree with all his major initiatives.

Palin - Heaven forbid that would ever happen with either party. As for disagreeing with McCain - well duh! We're a team of mavericks and won't agree on 100% of everything. I'll keep pushing him on ANWR, and he's never asked me to check my opinions at the door. I'd continue the good work he is committed to of putting government on the side of the people and getting rid of greed, corruption on Wall Street and Washington. A bit or reality from Main Street Wasilla. Every-day Americans telling the government to get out of my way. Choose your ticket - create jobs or increase taxes.

Me - Biden recites the platform. I guess it's as good a place as any, and how do you answer the question in any other way? Palin launches another maverickbomb and recites the shortened buzz-word version of the platform. Same difference from both of 'em. The Biden "Bush Doctrine" jab was almost too easy.

Biden - I'm a small town guy too, and ask the people in MY town if the policies of the last 8 years have been any good. Ask them if McCain's any different. Obama will change things for the better.

Palin - "Say it ain't so, Joe..." Pointing backwards again, doggone it. Your wife's a teacher, her reward is in heaven. More focus on education and funding of schools. My family was all teachers. Shout out to 3rd graders at Gladys Woods Elementary - extra credit! No Child Left Behind isn't working - it needs flexibility.

Me - Biden playing small town is perhaps not inaccurate, but hard to swallow for a 29 year senator. Palin quoting John Sayles made my stomach turn. She crammed more "folksy" in this part than the whole debate. It almost gave me a cavity. Also, once again Biden used education in one small part of a list in a sentence and Palin dedicates rambling paragraphs on it as a "response".

Q15.- What do you think the VP is worth now since you've both made cracks about it in the past? (Palin - what does a VP do? Biden - I would never be VP)

Palin - It was a lame attempt at a joke, and I think Biden's was too I guess, but nobody got it. Of course we know what a VP does.

Biden - They didn't get yours or mine? Which one?

Palin - Of course we know what a VP does... it's not only to preside over the Senate, and will take that position very seriously. Constitution allows a bit more authority for the VP if they want it in working with the Senate and being supportive of the President. McCain and I have had good conversations about his agenda. I'd be all over energy independence and government reform, and then working with families of special needs kids. McCain's already said he wants me there.

Biden - I hope we get back to education because I don't know of any program McCain has. I assume we can get back to that. As for VP - I have a history of getting things done, and had a long talk with Barack. Obama wants me to help him govern, but I don't want a portfolio, so I'll be in the room giving my advice for everything to the president. He wanted someone who wasn't afraid to disagree with him.

Me - Awkward moment to start this one, quickly brushed aside. I got a bit of a kick out of Biden not just laughing along and putting Palin on the spot. Whoops! We're not friends. Palin recites grade 2 knowledge of the VP and then brings in Cheney-like interpretations. Scary. McCain gives her 2 jobs that won't see fruition until 3 terms from now and a pet project? Yup, she'll be marginalized if the GOP wins. Sure, they SOUND big, but they're long-term goals. Biden takes another jab with the "I don't want a portfolio, I want to be involved in everything" bit. He also sounded way more capable of stepping into the presidency if need be. (God/Heaven forbid of course).

Q16.- Do you interpret the VP position the same way Cheney does?

Palin - Well, our founding fathers were very wise in allowing flexibility in the office of VP. We'll do what's best for Americans. Yeah, I do agree with him. My executive experience is key.

Biden - Cheney's been the most dangerous VP in American history. He doesn't realize Article I of the Constitution defines the VP as part of the executive, not legislative branch. Everyone should understand that. Primary role is to support the President, offer advice when sought, and settle ties in the Senate - it is explicit. No power relative to Congress, Cheney invented the bizarre notion of being part of the Legislative branch.

Me - And Palin gets creamed. Does anybody like Cheney? Has anybody SEEN ol' Dick in months? It's been pretty generally recognized tat Cheney's overstepped his boundaries as VP tremendously, and Palin AGREES with him? Oof.

Q17.- Palin - conventional wisdom is that your Achilles heel lack experience. Biden - you lack discipline. What is it really?

Palin - I have executive experience - mayor, business owner, oil & gas regulator, governor of a huge state. But that wasn't all that was tapped into, it was my connection to the heartland, and being a mom, with a son at war, and special needs child, and kids going to college, and paying tuition. Todd and I didn't have health insurance once, and we know others worry about that. I share McCain's world view, America is a nation of exceptionalism, and we're a shining city on a hill, like Reagan said, beacon of hope. We're not perfect, but we represent a perfect ideal. blah, blah, rah.

Biden - Very kind to suggest my only Achilles heel is my lack of discipline. Others talk about my excessive passion, and that's not going to change. I'll put my record of change, and Obama's, against McCain or anyone any day. I know what being a single parent is like. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravelly injured, I know what it's like wondering if your kids will make it. I understand what it's like to tell your kids you have to go find a job and they can join you when you have money. I'm better off than most Americans now, but I understand what it's like. The notion that because I'm a man, I don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone... [voice crack here]. I know people need help.

Me - Umm... Governor Palin? You were asked a question about what your weakness was. It's pretty standard in a job interview. You avoided it entirely and went on some rah-rah tangent about how much you connect with everyday people and invoked the name or Reagan (Biden beat you to it an hour ago). Joe gave the standard response of "Oh, I'm too passionate", but at least he ANSWERED THE QUESTION. Then was possibly his most brilliant move of the night - the voice crack when talking about his family, and being a single parent, and going through tough times. It humanized him after being a politician all night. And then Palin follows up that emotional moment with...

Palin - People aren't looking for more of the same. They're looking for change. McCain's a maverick. He's taken shots from everyone because he's taken on his own party. I've also done that. McCain's a maverick, look at his diverse group of supporters. Got to win wars, economy, greed and corruption, etc.. McCain is a leader of change.

Me - HUH? What the fuck does this have to do with anything? Did you realize it had been 5 minutes since you said this EXACT SAME THING?

Biden - Let's talk about the Maverick McCain. I love him. He's been a maverick on some things, but not on the important stuff. He voted 4/5 times with Bush's debt-inducing budget. He's not a maverick when it comes to health care, or education, or war, or helping those in need. No, he's not a maverick when it counts.

Me - Translation - "shut the fuck up about the maverick crap." He provides brief evidence on each of his points, making Palin and McCain look like tools with the maverick speak.

Q18. (the end)- Can you think of a single issue where you were forced to change your long-held view in order to accommodate changed circumstances?

Biden - Yup. Back when I was on the Judiciary Committee, I though that all that mattered in picking a judge was that they had a judicial temperment and hadn't committed a crime of moral turpitude and had been a good student. Then I realized that the ideology of the candidate was important too, otherwise they act in their own interest and not that of the American people.

Palin - When I was mayor and governor, I caved on some budgets because we had to progress the agenda. But I haven't compromised on major principal things. We work together in Alaska, and we'll do that in Washington.

Me - Pretty minor concessions on both sides. Biden takes a jab at the Bush appointees, and Palin pushes bipartisanship.

Q18a.- How do you change the partisan tone in DC as VP?

Biden - McCain would agree with me here - I've been able to work across the aisle a bunch of times and change my party's mind. Here's a story about my first year in the senate when I felt like a jerk and learned a lesson. I no longer question anyone's motive, just their judgment.

Palin - You appoint people regardless of affiliation. Diverse family, lots of views. You get to vote for a party that creates jobs or increases taxes.

Me - Well, neither answered the question... AGAIN. Biden pretty much gave the same response as at the start with a nice story added. Palin gave a response that has NOTHING to do with being VP, and hammered the "jobs vs taxes" point for the umpteenth time, even though its placement here is in DIRECT contrast to a question about partisanship. Glad we're wrapping up.

Closing statements

Palin - Thanks everyone, nice to finally meet Biden. I like answering these tough questions without the media telling people what they just heard. McCain and I will fight for American, for the middle class, average every-day families. I've been there, I know the challenges and joys. We'll fight for our freedoms, economic and national security. Reagan quote. Don't want to be telling our children and children's children about when we were free in America. We'll fight for it.

Me - Irony is lost. I love the Republicans always playing the champion of the middle class when they've shown they are the champions of the rich and powerful for years now. Fighting for freedoms? The Bush administration has curtailed more freedoms and liberty than any US government in history! You AREN'T FREE, so you'll already be telling your kids and their kids about the days when you could travel without fear of unnecessary search and harassment, or when there weren't x-rays at the airport, or people weren't arrested for taking pictures, or protests happened without plants from the cops to stir up trouble. Ugh.

Biden - Thanks everyone. Most important election you've ever voted in. The last 8 years have been crap. Obama and I measure success on if someone can pay their mortgage or sends kid to college, or other parts of our platform. I grew up in a neighbourhood. Hard work pays off. If you get knocked down, get back up America. "May God bless all of you, and most of all, for both of us, selfishly, may God protect our troops."

Me - Pretty vanilla closing statements from Biden. Nothing new or different. The "selfishly" in the final sentence made no sense to me and sits VERY wrong politically. I guess he was talking about his and Palin's sons, but it came off as being selfish to ask for protection of their troops?

And that's it. Biden CREAMED Palin in the second half. He found his footing and took a few surgical jabs to knock her off balance. She kept dodging, and he kept answering. Honestly? He went easy on her. He could have raked her over the coals and called her out on every dodge, every empty statement, and every unfounded accusation. The problem with her strategy of only talking about talking points and repeating the same thing over and over again is that it made her seem... well.. inexperienced. She couldn't have attacked him nearly as much because she didn't give the impression that she had a strong depth of knowledge.

That said, Palin still did better than expected, and without reflection would have seemed folksy (read: annoying if you're me), but capable. Sadly, if you spend any time analyzing what was said, the emperor is lacking some clothes.

Biden seemed the polished debater and politician, with a touch of small town story and one moment of seemingly REAL emotion. If not for those latter touches, he would have still won, but not done anything to change the image of old-school... not that he did much anyway.

One thing that wasn't in the transcript was a sigh that Biden let loose at the start of one of Palin's responses. It was CLASSIC and I loved it. It probably seemed petty though to those on the fence.

1 comment:

1Queens Up1 said...


Love it, keep it up man!