Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tonight's Debate

I am really looking forward to tonight's Vice Presidential debate.

In an election that Senator McCain has tried to make all about experience and readiness, I suspect that Governor Palin is going to expose herself yet again as completely unprepared to even be Vice President.

Her performance in the few interviews she has been allowed to do has been somewhere between dreadful and funny. Its interesting to me that the McCain campaign is trying to spin the questions she has been asked so far as gotcha questions. The question she was asked about the Bush Doctrine was something of a gotcha question, but the question about what she reads and supreme court decisions she disagrees with, and the whether her Campaign Manager's relationship with Fanny Mae is a conflict of interest, those weren't gotcha questions and she literally had no answer.

When asked about Global Warming/Climate Change, she acknowledged that temperatures are increasing and that governments needed to respond. She talked proudly about the things that Alaska is going to address the results of Climate Change. But she also said it wasn't important to understand the cause of this crisis. She has stated in the past that she doesn't believe that human activity is making Global Warming worse. But she lacked the courage to say that in this setting. Why? In addition to being a coward's response, its also stupid. Climate Change is real. She even seems to acknowledge that. Understanding the cause can be critical to dealing with the issue, saying the cause doesn't matter just doesn't make sense.

I am sure her lesbian friend will be glad to know that she somehow chose to be a Lesbian.

The answer that she gave that I found most interesting was in response to Katie Couric's question about abortion. Governor Palin is very clearly on record as believing that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder. She has publicly stated that she opposes allowing abortion even in the case of rape or incest. But when asked if she would ban abortion in the case of rape or incest, she dodged the question. She told Katie she would counsel the woman to keep the child. On the issue that seems to be most important to her religious conservative base, she basically said its a choice. A choice she would counsel against, but a choice.

This coming from this woman who claims she will take on the establishment in Washington and lead towards change lacks the courage to clearly affirm her previously stated position on this issue.

Sarah Palin isn't what she claims to be. She isn't a reformer in any broad sense. She ran a throw the bums out campaign against the most corrupt governor in Alaska history. And she did institute some ethics reforms as a result. But she loves her some earmarks. Under her leadership, the State of Alaska took some of the money that was originally intended for the fabled Bridge to Nowhere and built a $25Million road that literally goes no where. As mayor she actively pursued earmarks for her town in ways no previous mayor had. As governor she was more than willing to take Hundreds of Millions of dollars of earmarks. Far more earmarked dollars per capita than any state in the Union.

Joe Biden, for all is mis-speaks on things, knows who he is and isn't trying to be someone else.


Matty said...

To say that Palin is vastly less experienced than Biden is an understatement, but based on Biden's record during that time, I don't see that necessarily as a negative. Compared to Obama though, her roughly equal time in the executive branch to Barak's legislative time is somewhat striking. True, Obama was in a more populous state and was a national legislator but he did NOTHING during that time. He employs FannieMac (shorthand) folks and he can't even be bother to vote yes or no on this bailout bill?!? You want to talk about not taking a stand. He has barely even participated in the legislative process since he's been campaigning and he was in congress for about 7 minutes before that. I flipped through his voting history and he has A LOT of missed or non-votes. Yeah, he's been in Congress but only in the sense that he has an office in the building.

I'm with you on this Palin critique in many ways. I wasn't impressed with her interview with Couric but I also assume that she was playing it pretty guarded, not intending to break any new ground on her opinions and policy ideas. I expect that she was counseled to do this by the McCain camp because she is worth more to them with her mouth shut than open. This brings me to my next point...

I am not thrilled with the identity politics that are behind her selection. Ideally, if you want women to vote, appeal to them cerebrally and inspire them through the power of your arguments and quality of your policies. Of course this isn't an ideal world and thus presidential elections get a bit like complicated and expensive student council elections.

The debate may be funny in the sense that you never know when Biden is going to have a howler and Palin may be too up-tight to answer anything.

Good post and I hope that you are ok with taking a little criticism, delivered with respect and love... that's what makes this format so fun!!!

Uncle Walt said...

I have never claimed that Obama has a compelling resume. He does not. But he isn't running on his resume. He is running on his Vision. The McCain campaign (and Hillary's before that) have tried to make experience the issue. And that argument wasn't working for most people. They would hear Senator Obama and understand that he had a vision and an inspirational ability and they chose that.

Experience is not a great predictor of Presidential success. Pappa Bush had a great resume and he turned out to be a mediocre President. Lincoln had a very thin Resume and he turned out to be a great President.

If you are voting purely on experience, the you will vote for Senator McCain.

But its contradictory to claim that experience is so important and then to nominate Governor Palin. Her resume has more executive experience that Senator Obama's, but its not impressive. And since being nominated she has not demonstrated any depth of knowledge or intellect.

And, as an aside, Senator Obama voted Yea on the Bailout bill.

Senator Obama has made as many votes in this Congress as Senator McCain. They have both mostly been absent working on their compaigns.

I am fascinated at the concept that the McCain is deliberately asking Governor Palin to play stupid in the interviews she has done so far. That makes no sense. Right now she is a drag on the ticket with the vacuousness of her responses so far.

For Democrats, Governor is a gift that just keeps on giving

Discussion is what this is all about.