Friday, October 03, 2008

VP Debate

Let's see what I've heard in my very limited perusal of commentators:

- Palin stood toe-to-toe with Biden
- Palin was confident and comfortable
- Palin won the first half, Biden the second

Really? Fuck me, Palin was an embarrassment and did nothing but cause my stress level to rise. It seemed to be the case with every tweet and IM from others that I read too.

I'll go through the transcript and translate... maybe I'm wrong. I was going to avoid commentary, but just can't. This is going to be loooooong.

Q1.- Bailout didn't pass - was this the best or worst of Washington that we saw?

Biden - (pleasantries), neither best nor worst, but it reflects that the Bush administration fucked up huge and this is the result. All the deregulation and such is a disaster. Obama has laid out his plans - oversight, focus on homeowners, protect taxpayers, CEO pay control. We look at middle class, McCain/Palin want to help wealthy.

Palin - (pleasantries), go to a kid's soccer game and ask parents how they feel about the economy. I bet they'll be afraid about a bunch of family-related financial concerns. Government has failed with oversight , we need to reform. McCain represents reform, he pushed for Fannie and Freddie reform 2 years ago, but nobody listened. Now he's bringing people together this last week, even suspending his campaign and will bring greater oversight.

Me - So they both agree with the obvious that the economy is messed up and the government is to blame for lack of oversight. Obama has a defined plan, McCain is a reformer, and we're supposed to swallow the "suspending his campaign" line as believable.

Q2.- How would you shrink the gap of polarization in Washington as VP?

Biden - I've done that my whole career on many controversial issues. I've reached across the aisle and and made friends on both sides. Oh, but now I'll go back to the previous stuff Palin was saying - McCain said the fundamentals of the economy were strong, and praised Bush's policies 2 weeks before that. In two hours, the economy went from strong to a crisis according to McCain. He's not a bad guy, just out of touch. Those parents on the sidelines knew that 2 months ago.

Palin - McCain was referring to the American workforce when talking about the fundamentals being strong. The workforce is the greatest in the world (praises workforce some more). As governor and mayor, I have a track record of reform, joined the mavericks of team McCain, putting partisan politics aside. Obama has only voted along party lines, 96% of his votes have been with his party, this shows he's not putting partisanship aside, and special interests, and stuff. Tired of old politics as usual, people want something new and different and not Biden, but a maverick like McCain.

Moderator - Neither really answered the question.

Me - True, but they at least pointed out how they feel they've shown this ability in the past. Kind of. Biden brings it back to a rebuttal to Palin's previous statement by saying McCain is out of touch. Palin defends her running mate as she should (although it came off a bit weak), and begins the maverick run. Obama voting with his PARTY 96% of the time just says he agreed with them. I mean, McCain voted with the president, what, 95% of the time or something? Then she stumbled with some verbal diarrhea, and suggests that McCain is somehow "new" and Biden is "old"... really? Putting McCain up as new politics these days is nuts. He's 72 years old! He's been in government nearly as long as Biden!

Q3.- Subprime lenders - who was at fault? Greedy lenders? Risky home-buyers who could't afford a home? What should you be doing about it?

Palin - "Darn right it was the predator lenders..." They fooled Americans into spending way more than they could afford. We need to stop that corruption, McCain and I will do that. Then a "stirring" bit about Joe Sixpack and Hockey mom's saying "never again", to not be exploited by those managing our money, we need strict oversight from the federal government. Don't live outside our means. Personal responsibility... but totally not our fault.

Biden - Obama warned about subprime two years ago. McCain said he was surprised about the problem shortly after that. McCain was all for cutting regulation when Obama was warning. McCain's a good man, but likes deregulating. 20 different occasions of McCain pushing for deregulation, and wants to do the same for health care industry. Story about a guy who can't fill his gas tank.

Me - Both seem to be on the same side here. Blame the deregulated industry, but Biden turns it on McCain while Palin attacks "Wall Street". I've ranted endlessly about where I stand on this - personal responsibility. Yes, there were liars and predatory lenders, but if you're going to borrow $200k, you damned well make sure you can afford the costs. But I'm not in the debate. The fact that Palin so vehemently blames the lenders and then ends with saying people can't let this happen again is a mixed message. This is also where she starts pouring on the "folksy" with "Darn right" and "Joe Sixpack". I personally found this endlessly annoying. Biden turns it into an attack on the McCain campaign, which wasn't the question, but is standard fare for a political debate. He's old school. Oh, and isn't "never again" usually said about the Holocaust?

Moderator - Palin - respond re: health care.

Palin - "I would like to respond about the tax increases." "darn right we need tax relief" to create jobs. Obama and Biden voted for largest tax increases in history... Obama 94 times. We need the private sector to keep more of what we earn and produce. Lean government, but tax relief. Obama supported increasing taxes last year for families only making $42k.

Me - UGH. What the fuck are you responding to? Nobody's mentioned tax increases! Are you reading another debate transcript as you go? Biden mentioned that people need tax relief in one sentence. The private sector keeping more of what we earn rankles me. I'm a firm believer that the private sector works for 99% of things, but certain areas shouldn't be subject to profit-driven motives. On top of that, I don't think the private sector should keep any more of what I earn... neither should the government... *I* should.

Biden - Totally not true, Obama didn't vote to raise taxes. McCain voted the same way as Obama in the vote she's referring to - it was a budget procedural vote. Using that standard, McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes - but it's a bogus standard... she also didn't answer the question about deregulation or defend McCain's stance on it because she can't.

Me - great turnaround by Biden. This is where his debating acumen starts to come through. He's put her on the ropes and refocused on his attack on McCain.

Palin - "I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again." She then goes into a rundown of what she did as mayor and governor. May not answer the questions the moderator or Biden want to hear, but will "straight talk" to the American people. I reduced taxes every year as mayor, and suspended state fuel tax as governor, knowing that was how to strengthen our economy. As for McCain and deregulation - look at this shiny penny! No.. wait, baseless rhetoric on him being known for pushing for harder and tougher regulations and holds up non-economic industries for example (tobacco and campaign finance).

Me - "I don't want to talk about that because I can't and you've beaten me, so I'll change the topic to something else entirely and sound good while talking about my resume." I'm sorry that this is getting so one-sided, but just reading this is pissing me off. Palin is floundering but covering well with distraction and topic changes. She's been trained reasonably well to survive, knowing that she can't outdebate a 3-decade senator. But for fuck's sake, you don't admit to dodging questions after being called out on dodging the questions, and then KEEP DODGING THE QUESTIONS.

Q4.- Taxes - Obama/Biden want to raise taxes on $250k+ earners, and McCain/Palin want to tax health employer benefits, which largely affects the poor. Why isn't this class warfare?

Biden - It's called fairness. Middle class is struggling. McCain's plan helps nobody in middle class. Obama's plan doesn't affect anyone making less than $250k, and if you're earning under $150k, you get a tax break. Middle class is the engine, blah, blah. McCain wants to give $300 billion in tax cuts to corporate America and the super-rich. Our plan has the rich paying no more in tax than they did under Reagan.

Me - Not exactly specific on what those breaks are for the sub-150k class. Amazed it was the democrats who first invoked the name of Reagan. Only kind of answers why it isn't class warfare (because it's "fair")... but rich get more taxes, middle class get breaks... not sure if that's fair.

Palin - You neglect the millions of small businesses that fall into Obama's plan, which would mean fewer jobs. Also don't agree with your idea of wealth redistribution. You said that paying higher taxes is patriotic, but my husband and I have always been middle class, and taxes isn't patriotic. Patriotic is telling the government to get the fuck out of your life and tax us less. Also, Obama will spend nearly a trillion dollars in new spending.

Me - Hey, nice rebuttal from Palin re: small businesses. Smacks Biden right in his "middle class engine". The patriotic spiel would be more impressive if the Republicans hadn't grown the government into a monolith that invades everyone's lives and weren't currently talking about a $850 Billion bailout package for Wall Street.

Moderator - want to defend McCain's health care plan?

Palin - McCain has good detailed plan. Here's some details. $5k credit for families so they can buy their own coverage. Doesn't cost government anything opposed to Obama mandating coverage and having a universal government program, and we know the federal government sucks at running things. McCain also wants to erase those pesky invisible state lines so you can shop around.

Biden - "I don't know where to start." McCain wants to give Exxon another $4 billion cut this year, I want to give it to the middle class family so they can send their kid to college. 95% of small business owners make less than $250k a year and therefore zero increase in taxes. Health care - mixes up Obama and McCain for a second (whoops!) - McCain will tax your employer benefits for that $5k and it will go straight to the insurers, not you. You're swapping a $12k employer package for $5k, and 20 million people will be without employer coverage all of a sudden. "Ultimate bridge to nowhere" (laughter from audience)

Me - And advantage right back to Biden. I have no idea if any of these stats are true, but by the time people find out or not, it'll be too late. Corporate tax cuts = BOOOO (especially right now, although I believe they serve a purpose). Most small businesses are safe from tax increases. The health plan will cost you MORE in the long run for less coverage. He took each of Palin's points and broke them. Once he made the bridge crack, I knew he was feeling pretty sure of himself. Palin very blatantly didn't mention why the $5k was budget neutral for an obvious reason. She also bashes the current government (fine, everyone's pissed with them) and lauds the erasing of state lines... wait, isn't she pro-states?

Q5.- What promises can't you keep now that there's this bailout plan?

Me - Good question.

Biden - Going to cut back foreign assistance. No tax cuts. But we will pursue energy policy, education, health care. Eliminate waste, especially the tax dodge (move a non-residency address off-shore to avoid taxes) - which is unpatriotic.

Palin - McCain doesn't "tell one thing to one group and ... tells something else to another group". Will make bailout plan even better! Obama voted for energy plan in '05 that gave oil companies tax breaks. I told those companies "no" in Alaksa and stopped greed. Kisses oil CEOs asses and then says they don't like her because she broke up a monopoly. We're giving those taxes to the people of Alaska... I'm an expert in energy.

Moderator - umm... so you wouldn't take any promises off the table?

Palin - Nope. I've only been here five weeks and haven't promised much except do what is right for Americans. McCain will keep all his promises too.

Biden - Obama voted for the bill because it supported alternative energy. When the tax breaks were separated, he voted against them, McCain didn't. Good job on the tax windfall in Alaska, I'd like to see that everywhere, but McCain doesn't support that. I think that proves my point, and hope Palin can convince McCain to support our shared goal.

Me - As soon as the question was asked, I said "Palin won't drop any promises of course!" Biden picked some easy targets to pull and spent more time talking about what wouldn't be cut. Palin misdirected with the two-faced implication towards Obama and talked up herself. Again, I don't know how true that is, but it sounds good and the truth won't matter tomorrow, but I'd hope after her Bridge to Nowhere snafu, she's toeing the honesty line about what she's said "no" to in Alaska. Biden then once again takes the heat off her attack and PRAISES her past efforts, and points out it's at odds with her running mate. The guy is smooth.

Q6.- Congress passed a bill that would make it harder for debt-strapped mortgage-holders to declare bankruptcy. McCain supported it, would you Palin?

Palin - Yup! But there's been so many changes and we know more about the greed and corruption on Wall Street. Praise McCain for the Fannie/Freddie stuff 2 years ago. In fact, this is a practically verbatim rehash of what she said at the start of the debate. Gotta make sure credit markets don't seize up.

Moderator - Biden - same question, kind of, except you DID vote for the bill and Obama voted against it. Mortgage-holders suffered.

Biden - Naw they didn't. 10% affected by switch from chapter 7 to 13... it's complicated. Obama was a pessimist, I was an optimist. But Obama was right. I and Obama think courts should be able to readjust the interest rate and the principal you owe to stay in your home. I don't think McCain supports that, but not sure.

Me - It was like Palin was reciting from a script again. Seriously, she said the same shit at the start. Credit markets are seized up, but will open up eventually, albeit with higher rates. As for Biden - he seemed unprepared. Gave the impression he got it, but there wasn't time to explain it all. This readjust the principal and rate stuff though? Fuck that. Readjust amortization periods, payment schedules, and MAYBE the rate SLIGHTLY, but don't bailout homeowners simply because they can't afford their place they never could (different story for those who have extenuating circumstances like death, injury, etc..).

Palin - Not true, and now that I answered that, I want to go back to my record on energy vs your record on energy. We have to do all we can to be energy independent - we need to drill!! Fuck the East Coast politicians! We're giving $700 billion to foreign oil! We aren't giving oil companies tax breaks.

Me - What. the. fuck? Hello tangent. Drill! yah, that'll help... no, wait, it won't... but at least ANWR will be fucked up, wait, that's bad.

Q7.- What's true and false about climate change?

Me - What a dumb fucking question.

Palin - I'm the governor of Alaska, and it's the only Arctic state. Climate change is real. I don't blame every activity of man though... there's also cyclical changes. I don't want to argue about causes, but how we fix it. We need to clean up the planet and get other nations to come along with us. I was the first governor to form a climate change sub-cabinet. Got to reduce emissions. McCain agrees. So we need to become energy independent so other countries won't use our money to pollute.

Me - How can you fix something without knowing what causes it? Then you go on to propose fixes that ALL focus on human impact on the environment. Try not to trample all over that line you're trying not to cross. But okay... other than that bit of stupidity, a reasonable answer.

Biden - Thinks it's manmade. If you don't know the cause, you can't fix it. (hey, I said that!). 3% of world's oil reserves... we consume 25% of the world's oil. McCain has voted 20 times against alternative energy. Obama will support safe nuclear and clean coal. China sucks for polluting and we should export clean coal tech to them. This will create jobs. Drilling will take 10 years for a drop of oil to come out.

Me - I'd be wary of bringing voting records into play after bashing Palin for doing so earlier...

Moderator - Clears up that McCain supports caps on carbon emissions, and Obama supports clean coal, but Biden hasn't always.

Biden - I always have.

Palin - McCain does support caps. Corrects Biden that it's "drill, baby, drill." and they hear it everywhere at rallies because people want oil! Biden and Obama have opposed domestic energy independence, even environmentally friendly drilling. McCain supports alternative fuels... like nuclear. And Biden said there was no such thing as clean coal.

Me - Biden doesn't support his stance of always supporting very well. More of a "take my word for it"... and we all know politicians can be trusted. Palin is fine here, except she pronounced it "nuculer"... what is it with Republicans and that word? Maybe it's just her accent.

Biden - reiterates that he's supported clean coal for 25 years and McCain only supports alternative fuels if the government isn't footing the bill.

Okay... I need to take a break here. Which is good, because this is about the halfway mark.

Re-reading to this point, Palin actually did better than I originally thought. She still avoided topics and dodged and weaved, but did answer a few questions and didn't really fall on her face. But she didn't come close to Biden's debating ability and when she got off a successful attack, he parried and nailed her right back while defending himself and attacking McCain. I was mildly surprised that Biden kept attacking McCain instead of Palin. She was certainly aggravating and vacuous, but I've seen far, FAR worse. She was also obviously, understandably, nervous. Her "folksy" attitude doesn't sit well with me at all, and does nothing to inspire confidence in her as a leader, but it WILL play well with a lot of people, and was possibly a good contrast to Biden's polished politician for those sick of politicians. The rah-rah rhetoric and resume-reading was also transparent to me, but I imagine plays well in some areas.

I can see why some people liked her in the first half, Biden was staid and prepared, but not attacking or that emotional. I wish he didn't praise McCain so much though, I mean... he's running against that guy! Considering Biden's history, he seemed to be on a pretty tight leash himself here.

I'll pick this up when I wake up. It starts with same-sex marriage...

Hell, it just came back on TV, and that line about McCain being "new and different" cracks me up every time.


Unknown said...

Palin thinks that she lost the VP debate.
Watch this interview here:

Riggstad said...

I read the first question and response... I have a meeting to run off to.

you said somethingto the effect that McCain suspending his campaign being believable...

For a guy who has spent is 137 years on this planet as a member of the armed forces, a represetative of congress, and the senate, meaning he spent his entire life serving his coutry...

I believe he has earned at least the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this.

lj said...

great post.

i'm just glad i wasn't playing a drinking game where i had to do a shot every time palin said maverick. i doubt i would have made it to the end of the debate.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I agree and disagree with your views on the debate.

Overall I think Palin did fine. She did dodge a lot of questions, but that's part of running a good debate in one of these things. By far the biggest thing for her is that expectations were incredibly low for her coming in given her previous two weeks' full of bullshit, and she came out and did a good job. Not an incredible job, but a perfectly serviceable job I thought. She had a few low points, but that's to be expected and nothing that was horrible. Other than maybe the "I've only been at this about five weeks so I haven't made many promises I'll have to break" thing. How you say that in a debate -- even if it's totally true -- is beyond me.

But the winner of the debate has got to be Biden. He was professional, he was poised, he seemed smart, knowledgeable. Deep down, I find myself wishing I could vote for Biden for President. I am basically positive that Obama is a know-nothing clown -- I think most of America thinks that but wants to vote for him anyways -- but that man I watched last night inspired a lot of confidence and belief and hope in me. Which is not something I often feel about any politicians these days.

Is there any way we can just switch Obama and Biden on the ticket? Or better yet, just drop Obama and give me Biden and someone who knows what he's doing (like Biden)?

Good post.

lightning36 said...

Gee Astin, if you come to the states, we may turn you into a republican! Actually, although I claim to be a moderate republican, mu son tells me that I am really a libertarian at heart.

I think Hoy makes a good point -- a good number of people would really rather have someone like Biden running for president now. Too bad guys like him can't make it through the primaries.