Debate: Brilliant young crusader Obama crushes leathery “maverick”

No, not really. That’s the headline I was hoping to write. But now that you’re looking….

I only saw a small portion of the debate live, and that was via my PC, followed by lots of pre-recorded bits and piece later in the day. Based on that, I would have to join the consensus and call it basically a draw, with Obama “winning” because he seems to have won over more undecideds than McCain.

Both did well (or well enough) and both achieved their most necessary goals:

McCain showed he is basically in control of his faculties and bodily functions (the Palin selection made a lot of us wonder), and that he has a decent grasp of the issues.

Obama showed he can speak articulately without a teleprompter, and succeeded in coming off as an erudite, likable and trustworthy centrist. Personally, I don’t think this is the right time for a centrist, but here we are.

No matter what we thought about the debates, one inescapable conclusion all of us can agree on is that McCain’s behavior prior to the debates was unsettling, to say the least. Maybe “deranged” would be more like it. Canceling the debate on the grounds he’s needed for the economic emergency (he wasn’t) – such a dire emergency for an economy he just said was fundamentally sound?? Flip-flopping and doing the debate?? Canceling his appearance with Letterman at the last minute?? (I presume all of you have seen the hilarious Letterman responses. Talk about backfiring.)

There’s a reason why McCain seems to be losing his mind: The day of the debate and the day prior brought to the foreground the most galling and unforgivable of McCain’s excesses, namely the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Thanks to the interviews she held on TV, I no longer need to tell anyone why I feel she is unacceptable and even dangerous. She can tell you that in her very own words:

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? Allow them to spend more, and put more money into the economy, instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in. Where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it’s got to be about job creation, too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade — we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation.

I want everyone to go over this sentence and savor each syllable:

But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it’s got to be about job creation, too.

She has a list of talking points, and she is frantically trying to pluck the right one, but she jut can’t do it. She simply doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge or depth of understanding to play global politics. This is not a one-time fluke. If you check around, some of the most outspoken (and irritating) female conservative bloggers are saying Palin was and is an out-and-out disaster, and unfit for command.

But as always, I want to put the blame where it squarely lies – on McCain, not Palin. Like his temperamental on-again/off-again decision on the debates, his selection of this profoundly unqualified amateur underscores a dangerous predilection for shooting from the hip and thinking through the consequences later, if at all.

No complaints. Poison pill Palin is now McCain’s kiss of death, a very heavy albatross tied tight around his neck. As conservative Kathleen Parker says:

It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

…Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

I said within a day of her being named that she would self-destruct and take McCain down with her. One needn’t be a seer to predict the obvious, but I remain baffled as to why so many people actually saw her as an asset, as a great choice to possibly be president of the United States. Aside from the announcement’s surprise effect, it was clear from the first that this was going to be a catastrophe. Still, I’m sure it was purely coincidence that McCain’s first suggestion was to cancel the vice-presidential segment and replace it with one of the postponed presidential debates.

Read the Catie Kouric interview again. Better yet, watch the whole thing. Imagine what’s going on in McCain’s head as he visualizes her standing up in front of a hundred million people and matching wits with Biden. As he looks at the Couric interview, does he think he made the best possible decision? Do any of you?

Update: As The Duck presciently noted back almost a month ago in this comment, this was sooo predictable:

Meanwhile, the big story here, as stated earlier, is about McCain, not Palin. Watching them scramble now to vet her is kind of amusing and definitely pathetic. They fucked up with their first major decision, and now much of the election going forward will be about defending Palin. Will this make her a sympathetic figure? To some. But in the light of America’s economic catastrophe, two wars, lack of health insurance, rising unemployment and in general a country deep in the shitter, it’s just a distracting sideshow that will further keep McCain from articulating why he would make the better president.

Truer words were never spoken.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 56 Comments

Canceling the debate on the grounds he’s needed for the economic emergency (he wasn’t)

Didn’t the Democrat finance/banking chairman say that he was needed? And then as soon as McCain showed up started saying that he was a hindrance?

I presume all of you have seen the hilarious Letterman responses. Talk about backfiring.

You’re suggesting that Letterman didn’t look like a baby throwing his toys out of the pram.

September 27, 2008 @ 4:56 pm | Comment

I must agree with the premise of this post – in my opinion, McCain, as a old man who has undergone severe mental trauma during his life – is not capable of the sound and steady judgment needed to run the US, and Palin is a confirmation of this lack of judgment.

Quote of the day:

“If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.”

Haha, I love it!

September 27, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Comment

Yeah, Letterman sorta loses it when he gets into politics. I saw him unload on Bill O’Reilly, who deserved it, but it ended up making Letterman look immature and petty.

If Palin drops out, I like Bobby Jindahl from Louisiana. Very competent guy; unfortunately he looks more like the president of the high-school debate club than a national leader

September 27, 2008 @ 5:36 pm | Comment

I don’t know, Richard. What seems centrist to you is defined as “the most liberal member of the Senate” by McCain and other rightwingers. At this point just talking about healthcare and solar energy and funding for education seems radical in this country after so many years of Republican mayhem.

On foreign policy I think Obama is a straight-out realist, with the aim of advancing the interests of his country. I hope he has read enough Morgenthau (and ignored Kissinger and Machiavelli enough) to know that this doesn’t mean giving up all moral bearings to accomplish that end.

My worst-case scenario – Obama will be the Sun Yat-Sen of our times, revolutionary within the context of his own society but overcome by extremists from both left and right. The moderate center never seems to win out anywhere in history…

September 27, 2008 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

Curious. CNN and BBC says that McCain won by point the debate.

Hhhmm….What are antiCNN and antiBBC web sites saying? ;-)

September 27, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

“But in the light of America’s economic catastrophe, two wars, lack of health insurance, rising unemployment and in general a country deep in the shitter, it’s just a distracting sideshow….”

The current circus atmosphere of the US political system reminds me of the joke about the 2 Chinese blokes squatting next to each other, leasurely reading their newspapers and smoking cigarettes, on the public squat toilet:

Bloke to his friend: “How’s it going?”

Friend: “My wife thinks that she’s a chicken.”

Bloke, after a long pause: “So why don’t you take her to talk to a psychiatrist?”

Friend: “I would, but I need the eggs.”

September 27, 2008 @ 6:07 pm | Comment

Given the controversy about Obama and alleged Muslim roots, I find using the term crusader funny.

September 27, 2008 @ 6:08 pm | Comment

Guys, Letterman came off looking spectacular. He was lauded by all, conservative and liberal alike. He is a Titan, nothing less. He was brilliantly, wickedly, savagely funny. Did you hear the rollicking laughter and applause? Newsflash: Letterman is a comedian. That hysterical laughter, which included my own and that of millions with a sense of humor and a keen mind everywhere, are the proof of his skill. Was he barbed and cutting? Damned straight he was. Why shouldn’t he have been pissed? McCain said he was so pressed, he was needed so urgently he had to cancel, while at that moment he was getting made up for another TV interview. Admire McCain all you like – I used to myself. Not anymore. A loser, selected by losers and voted for by losers, running in the loser party, the ones who lost America in the most losing year of America’s history. Losers all. If you think Letterman was the one who came off looking bad and not Manic McCain, there’s no hope. Sigh. Republicans. The party of losers. (Partly funnin’ with you, Sam – I don’t really think you’re a loser, just a good guy who’s lost his way and needs some guidance. And that’s what we’re here for.)

Raj, no one, absolutely no one said McCain needed to discontinue his campaign and cancel the debate. No one except for a voice in McCain’s head, the one he listens to as his arteries go pop pop pop. The voice that told him, “Sarah Palin is The One.” No democrat ever gave him counsel anything even close to what you assert and I have virtually no idea where you are coming from. Presidents have to deal with multiple issues at once, something McCain is incapable of. Needless to say, only you are excusing McCain’s inexcusable decision followed by a complete u-turn; even National Review’s Rich Lowry says it was an egregious error. Oh, by the way, what did you think of St. Sarah’s interview with Katie Couric? (Are those crickets I hear chirping?)

Lori, agree that the Neanderthal republican theocracy we’ve suffered under all these years has indeed reset the goalposts, so what would have been seen as sensible 10 years ago is now seen by some as leftist radical. I disagree about the “moderate center,” which has done fairly well in America. Clinton and even Bush I were moderates, as were Carter (a very ineffective moderate, unfortunately), Eisenhower and Kennedy.

Sam, are you still up for that bet on the economy you proposed? I’ve brought it up a few times over the last few days in the comments, but alas, no response from you. Anybody home?

September 27, 2008 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

Funny, Buck.

Eco, good catch – I promise, it was unintentional.

September 27, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

My subjective impressions.

McCain is the old America, Obama is something new. Is this something new better? I do not know. But when I look at McCain I also feel that old America is getting already too old.

The country seems to be at the threshold of a change. Will it remain with the old still for sometime more with McCain and wait for a different option to change, or will it take the change today with Obama?

Interesting elections.

September 27, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

Ecodelta, wonder no more: It will take the change with Obama. (St. Sarah will see to that!) Issue settled.

September 27, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

Newsflash: Letterman is a comedian.

That doesn’t mean that he can’t be childish. If anything I find that comedians can be more petty than normal people because they think that they’re better than others.

Oh, by the way, what did you think of St. Sarah’s interview with Katie Couric?

I don’t know who Katie Couric is. I heard there was an interview but, strangely enough, it wasn’t shown on prime-time UK TV.

(Are those crickets I hear chirping?

It usually helps if you wait longer than a millisecond for someone to respond. Or indeed if you wait at all.

A loser, selected by losers and voted for by losers, running in the loser party

Like John Kerry and the Democrats in 2004? The guy you said would win no worries?

Are those crickets I hear chirping?

September 27, 2008 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

Kerry probably did win if Bush hadn’t stolen Ohio. I never said Kerry would win with no worries, though I did predict toward the end he would win. Kerry, I’m afraid, does fall into the loser category with McCain. He should not have been selected as the nominee. I also predicted Clinton would win over Obama. Modesty forces me to admit that I have been wrong in the past, though only two or three times, ever.

Raj, just wondering, do you have any sense of humor – any at all, like even a trace? Leave the frumpy old manisms to McCain!

Google Couric + Palin and you can find the interview. But you already read my post with the quote above. Any thoughts on that part? Do you think she sounded like the one to lead the free world and fight Al Qaeda and handle the global economy? Ya think?

ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy

Heh indeedy.

September 27, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

Kerry probably did win if Bush hadn’t stolen Ohio.

Like Obama stole the Democrat ticket (when originally wanting to become a senator)? It’s easy to accuse people of “stealing” victory – I personally was hoping that Gore and Kerry would win, but still put aside the temptation of blaming their loses on cheating.

Modesty forces me to admit that I have been wrong in the past, though only two or three times, ever.

On a point of information, how many predictions have you made about political elections on the PD in total? I defer to your correction, but of the major ones I can only remember you saying that Kerry would win and that Clinton would win (the nomination).

Raj, just wondering, do you have any sense of humor – any at all, like even a trace?

Comedians can, within reason, joke about almost anything – if Letterman had been commenting on McCain missing another show that would have been ok. But he was doing it purely because he has a stick up his backside about his own profile – (in part demonstrated by the fact he did it more than once). He might be exceptionally funny, but I never find arrogant pricks to be amusing.

Generally I prefer people like Al Murray who take the piss out of themselves as well as other people/the audience. It’s interesting that when the US TV networks tried to put on their version of the UK series “Red Dwarf” they had to get the English actor over because no American comedian would accept playing a role like Rimmer as it should be done – because they were too proud. I won’t suggest all US comedians are like that, but I have heard comments from Americans that fewer of them like to make themselves out to be the figure of fun than in the UK.

However I did find two jokes just for you:

“What a historic night. The first time an actual black person is leading the charge for a major American political party. I think that says something pretty great about America: we will accept a black man to lead us if the only other choice is a woman.”

“Actually, it was kind of a smart choice. McCain went with a woman because hedidn’t want to have to be in a position to have to get CPR from Mitt Romney.”

But you already read my post with the quote above.

I hadn’t, but I have now.

Do you think she sounded like the one to lead the free world and fight Al Qaeda and handle the global economy?

I can think of better people, but she’s not standing as president. Unless you’re saying that McCain will drop dead within three months, she’ll have time to adjust. On the other hand Obama will be president for day one and has said that he’d be willing to send troops into Pakistan if they didn’t sort the Taleban/Al-Q out. He seemed to say the same thing again during the debate.

I guess, being the hawk that you are, you’re just lapping that up. Or should we just ignore that because he didn’t mean it. Which begs the question – does he ever mean anything he says?

September 27, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

Sam, are you still up for that bet on the economy you proposed? I’ve brought it up a few times over the last few days in the comments, but alas, no response from you. Anybody home?

I don’t drop by quite so often in the height of silly season. Sooner or later we’ll have some bimbo referring to TV personalities as “Titans”, and I’ve already cleaned my keyboard once today.

But sure, make it $10,000 US dollars. There’s a condition now, though. We’ve only had one of the 3 preconditions for a deep depression; the yo-yo-ing of the money supply (M3). Now that he’s finally clarified a bit of his economic policy, Obama is actually campaigning on the other 2 requirements for a depression: trade restrictions and tax increase. If he gets in, all bets are off. Since McCain probably won’t win, it’s not much of an opportunity for a bet now. Shoulda got in for an easy grand when you had a chance.

September 27, 2008 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

Right, Obama doesn’t mean anything he says, while rock-solid McCain always does. Pro-abortion rights, anti-Roe Wade. Anti-torture, pro-torture. Anti-tax cuts, pro-tax cuts. I can go on and on. Leave it to you to find one item, focus on it as if it defines everything about the candidate, and then try to use it as a “gotcha.” Won’t work. Each candidate has said things that bug me. I try to see them from a broader perspective. And from that perspective, McCain totally sucks. From that perspective, Obama is imperfect but a far better choice.

Glad you think Palin is so capable. She’s all yours. Obama proved he can at least converse under pressure and hold his own. Palin cannot. She is incapable of original thought, ignorant of basic facts and wholly unfit for command. Watching the interview, the word “birdbrain” kept popping into my head, much as I wanted to cut her some slack. She just wouldn’t let me. That word never once popped into my head watching either Obama or McCain. McCain actually did quite well today. He was quite mavericky.

Do you have to comment on the US threads? Maybe you’d be happier if you just stick to the China ones? You seem so bitter. It’s like arguing with Scott Loar or Hong XIng. Such a downer. At least with Sam it’s fun, and, as my old senator Barry Goldwater used to say, in his heart he knows I’m right.

September 27, 2008 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

Sam, alas, too late. I was stupid. $10K is out of my league now that I’m off work for a few months.

September 27, 2008 @ 7:31 pm | Comment

Ah, well, there’s always blogging. Wish I had the time. Did you know your man is proving to be an economic illiterate like the rest of them? That, or he assumes his audience is (I suspect the latter).

There’s a promise now to “reduce taxes for 95% of American workers”. What percent of American workers would you guess even PAY income taxes? Why tell such a bald-faced lie that a 5th grader can figure it out?

September 27, 2008 @ 8:10 pm | Comment

I note you have nothing to say about how Obama became a senator.

Right, Obama doesn’t mean anything he says, while rock-solid McCain always does.

One would hope that McCain doesn’t mean everything he says – and I don’t think he does. But I would hope that invading Pakistan would do more than “bug” you, even if you’d still vote for Obama (rather than abstain or whatever).

Glad you think Palin is so capable.

I said quite clearly that I thought other people could do the job better. The point was that she isn’t running for President.

You seem so bitter.

Richard, you come across as being highly bitter yourself when talking about people like McCain, Palin et al. On the other hand I have repeatedly said that I would welcome the victory of either candidate.

Maybe you’d be happier if you just stick to the China ones?

Perhaps we could mix the two. I don’t know if China was discussed during the debate, but perhaps you’d like to say:

a) whether you think Obama will unblock the “arms freeze” that Bush reportedly imposed on Taiwan and/or sell other stuff;
b) whether you would like him to unblock it/maintain it;
c) what else you think he will do/what you would like him to do on China/Taiwan.

September 27, 2008 @ 8:25 pm | Comment

We are facing a great depression in this nation again. Neither of these candidates have a clue. And yet all the political blogs and television commentators mindlessly carry on about debating style. Barack Obama and John McCain had absolutely nothing to say about what to do to get the nation out of this disaster. Who lost the debate? America.

September 27, 2008 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

Raj, you read Palin’s answer, and all you said was “I can think of better people, but she’s not standing as president.” Um, have you heard she will be a single heatbeat away if the cancer-surviving, 72-year-old tired old fellow she’s running with wins? If that’s all you have to say after reading words of monumental stupidity, unfathomable vacuity and infinite birdbrainism, then you aren’t capable of commenting honestly. That quote and 99.99 percent of the interview around it was fucking moronic and you know it.

I have not one ounce of bitterness toward McCain. I see what he does, see what he says and i call him on it. I am sure I would have a smashing time hunting moose with Sarah or enjoying a beer with McManiac. But their actions and words have been appalling.

Anyway, I strongly recommend you reconsider and start to comment in favor of Obama. Each comment should include at least one praiseworthy remark, either about his excellent speaking abilities, the fashionable clothes he wears, how lovely Michelle looked at their last public appearance – that sort of thing. I can make a list if you’d like.

Sam, I was troubled long ago by Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle classes, considering all the goodies he has promised. Paul Krugman called him on this during the primaries and I totally agree. It’s BS. It’s a promise he can’t keep (unheard of in a presidential campaign, I know). And he’s not “my man” – he’s ours. We are all in this together, and we all need to vote for him to keep the Unholy Duo from getting anywhere near the White House. I’m counting on you, Sam.

September 27, 2008 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

Thing, you may be right. But want to know the sad truth: there is no way out. We are dug in too deep, thanks mainly to the Grand Old Party and the greedy money masters who created the biggest pyramid scam ever, with some (but limited) help from their friends across the aisle. The only solutions that can work will be so drastic and constitute such a total reorganization of existing structures that most American can’t begin to understand it. And it hasn’t even hit yet. If ever there was a need for Sarah Palin, this is it! Roosevelt’s “All we have to fear is fear itself” sounds like schoolboy drivel compared to the wisdom of St. Sarah:

ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy

Yes, just what we need right now.

September 27, 2008 @ 8:56 pm | Comment

Um, have you heard she will be a single heatbeat away if the cancer-surviving, 72-year-old tired old fellow she’s running with wins?

So what you’re saying is that it is more likely than not that she will become president because McCain will die in office or be forced to retire permanently due to ill health? I don’t buy that.

If that’s all you have to say after reading words of monumental stupidity, unfathomable vacuity and infinite birdbrainism, then you aren’t capable of commenting honestly.

You keep asking me “is she the one” to be president. I keep saying, no as in not at this moment – she’d grow into the role as VP.

If you want me to comment on what she said, then yes it was terrible. And I think that Biden has said plenty of terrible things recently, like that he was not supporting clean coal – except that the campaign website says that he is. You don’t see me going on about that either.

Now that I’ve answered your questions, perhaps you’d like to answer mine on China and Taiwan?

Anyway, I strongly recommend you reconsider and start to comment in favor of Obama.

Fair enough. I think it’s great that he’s articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

September 27, 2008 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

she’d grow into the role as VP.

She’s over 40. She is not going to grow out of being a moron and a birdbrain. (And I deferred from calling her names like that until today, after I was really convinced it was so.) The presidency isn’t a new pair of shoes.

And if you show me a single comment Biden has ever said that approaches Palin’s level of birdbrainism, I’ll acknowledge and condemn him. I don’t mean silly or wrong – I mean flat-out incoherent and so batshit crazy it frightens the shit out of everybody, the way Palin did this week. The right is as freaked out as the left. Now, what was it again that Biden said that you would hold up to Palin’s idiocy, the quote that was so blatantly nuts that even the left expressed its horror? I heard him put his foot in it many times. But “terrible things” – where are they? This had better be good.

Thanks for putting in the praise for Obama. He does have that GQ look.

Re. China/Taiwan: I don’t owe you answers about a topic just because you bring it up out of thin air. This thread is not about China and Taiwan, which weren’t mentioned once in the debate.

September 27, 2008 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

“But want to know the sad truth: there is no way out. We are dug in too deep, thanks mainly to the Grand Old Party and the greedy money masters who created the biggest pyramid scam ever, with some (but limited) help from their friends across the aisle. The only solutions that can work will be so drastic and constitute such a total reorganization of existing structures that most American can’t begin to understand it. And it hasn’t even hit yet.”

That’s probably about right. I’m afraid that The System is breaking down. Or, more specifically, various systems are breaking down at once: The US has lost its moral credibility (no ideas); the US consumer can no longer be the world growth engine; a US economy dependent on military spending is dysfunctional, etc., etc.

I read somewhere that it’s estimated that the average cost to the US taxpayer of the Wall Street bailout will be around US$4,500 per person. That’s a huge hit for a single parent mother struggling to survive and raise a child. And these CEOs get paid hundreds of millions of dollars. How obtuse can they be?! It’s as if they’ve gone MAD, and they don’t see how MAD they are. Terrifying!

September 27, 2008 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

I suspect that the extended period of peace in the US and a consumer culture in which people are merely systems of wants has created a massive moral void in which people are just consumers, morally empty shells without the individually necessary to resist advertising. People are nothing without their “stuff” and their “place” in the institution. China may be in the same predicament. The society just collapses morally.

September 27, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

The presidency isn’t a new pair of shoes.

Then God forbid the first year of an Obama presidency. We’d better hope he doesn’t have any f-p challenges to deal with then.

I don’t owe you answers about a topic just because you bring it up out of thin air. This thread is not about China and Taiwan, which weren’t mentioned once in the debate.

Thin air? The debate was primarily about foreign policy. This thread is, amongst other things, about the debate. China and Taiwan are big foreign policy issues. If anything the fact they weren’t covered in the debate is an even better reason to discuss them here.

For a blog that is heavily about China, I find it astounding that you don’t want to talk about your favourite candidate’s position on it. If you really, honestly think this isn’t the right thread for it perhaps you could set one up in the next week or two. It would be most interesting, I’m sure.

September 27, 2008 @ 10:24 pm | Comment

As I said, we’ve seen Obama since 2004 under the microscope. Perfect? No. But we know he can speak a complete sentence. Is he my No. 1 choice? No. But Raj you know this, so at this point I and some others see this back and forth as a form of trolling. We have discussed it a trillion times.

This thread is, amongst other things, about the debate. China and Taiwan are big foreign policy issues. If anything the fact they weren’t covered in the debate is an even better reason to discuss them here.

Cut the crap, okay? This is not a thread about China or Taiwan and you know it. And I really don’t want my blog to be a back and forth just between you and me as you continue driving readers away. How many hints do I have to drop before you get it? This is a liberal, pro-Democrat blog. You can make your case, you can share, but you can’t dominate. Really, I’ve had about enough. But thanks for dropping by.

Buck I am not sure about America being a “moral void.” That just applies to the Republican Party in the Age of Bush. There’s hope for them yet, but only if the Dems win the election and redeem them.

September 27, 2008 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

I think that the US System is indeed a Moral Void to the extent that (a) profit/cost is the sole criterion for decision making, and (b) the way that we live is at complete variance to the values that we claim to profess. Truth is dead; I suspect that many people would have a very difficult time articulating why it is important to tell the truth. Education is only valued as a way to pad one’s resume (thus, people become wilfully ignorant). Work/Education is without spiritual content, and, hence, alienating to the individual. The US has consciously rejected liberalism in favor of maldistribution of wealth and raw power, and, therefore, has lost all credibility in the world. We’re just vainly clinging to our empire.

September 27, 2008 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

Buck, that is pretty harsh. Despite what you may think, many people still devote themselves to public service, join the Peace Corps, or at least work on making some contribution to the world, and with other goals in mind aside from personal enrichment. Much of the culture sucks but we are increasingly becoming more liberal – pendulums swing both ways. The younger generation is far more tolerant (though not necessarily as well educated, simply because of a shorter attention span thanks to technology; does anyone read books anymore?). Be more optimistic – all is not lost. The Dems really are going to win.

September 27, 2008 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

Rich, did you notice that under Raj’s ‘logic’ anyone at all would make a fine choice for VP? Do they sound like an idiot? No problem. Just swear ‘em in and they will grow into it! How cool is that? Mass murder? Makes no difference. They’ll grow into and they’ll do just fine. He is actually saying it doesn’t matter one bit. Why not just pick a bum from the street?

[edited - a bit too personal]

September 27, 2008 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

As I said, we’ve seen Obama since 2004 under the microscope.

I would say other people have had a tougher ride, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Cut the crap, okay? This is not a thread about China or Taiwan and you know it.

As I said, it was in part a thread about the debate which was focused on foreign policy. You’ll have to forgive me, but I saw nothing wrong with asking a foreign policy question as a point of interest. That’s why I asked that if you don’t want to talk about it you put up a thread about the “elephant in the room” at some point. I hope that isn’t too much to ask.

This is a liberal, pro-Democrat blog.

Absolutely, and as Michael Turton says it’s a scandal that Democrats have ceded so much of the discussion over Taiwan to the Republicans in past years.

September 27, 2008 @ 11:19 pm | Comment

Nice, now Palin is being accused of being a mass murderer. What next – the cause of global warming?

September 27, 2008 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

Oy. No comment. This is called thread derailing.

So, what did you all think about the debates, and the Palin interviews that aired shortly before them?

September 27, 2008 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

I think the point he was making – and correct me if I’m wrong – is that you’re saying it’s okay if she sounds stupid, she’ll grow into her job. Thus it’s okay if she has a history of mass murder, she can learn on the job and become a new person. There was no accusation that she herself committed mass murder, or at least I didn’t see it. Are you always this dense?

If your mission was to destroy this thread, it was successful.

September 27, 2008 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

Palin, Dan Quayle with a vagina

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8__aXxXPVc

September 27, 2008 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

Tree, that is awesome! Jack Cafferty made a fool out of himself over Tibet back in March where he sounded like a Free Tibet brochure. This restores some of my respect for him. Thanks for that gem.

September 28, 2008 @ 12:06 am | Comment

I have to make one more comment:

Rest in peace Paul Newman.

September 28, 2008 @ 12:31 am | Comment

I think that the moral breakdown in society is inevitable given that the nature of mass production is low cost production. Since everything is produced to maximize profit, costs are minimized and, thus, everything has that “cheap” quality to it. We surround ourselves, literally cover ourselves with “cheap” shit. Because we work for other people, the fruits of our labor are not our own, and, thus, we are spiritually alienated. On top of that, the state endeavors to smash all competing loyalties except those to the state. Even in the US, religion (i.e, man’s relationship to God) is a taboo subject, only discussed obliquely or for 2 hours on Sunday. Society becomes a moral vacuum. That’s probably why we see people like Cheney and Sec. Paulson looting their companies and the US treasury: they’re like the rat in the experiment that keeps injecting itself with ever greater doses of morphine to get the same high. We’ve all gone MAD.

September 28, 2008 @ 12:39 am | Comment

Buck, youre too pessimistic. Cheer up! I agree with richard on 30.

cool blog btw

September 28, 2008 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Actually, I’m pessimistic for globalism, but I suspect that society, particularly US society, will prove highly resilient and will reconstitute itself quite rapidly, but through local initiative, once the systemic breakdown starts to snowball. It all makes sense—grow food locally, local job creation, locally produced energy, community based mutual aid. Democracy works better at the local level as my representative’s activities are more transparent if he’s living down the street. In a time when poor people in Haiti are literally eating “cakes” made out of a certain type of clay because the price of flour rose to rapidly and too high, it is unconscionable to ship food around the world. The US empire will breakdown due to financial pressures and the fact that (as H**it.l.er said) force alone (without a powerful idea) cannot overcome a strong idea + force.
It’ll all reconstitute at the local level.

September 28, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Comment

Religion in the US is the cause for the “moral vacuum.” When institutionalized prejudice, institutionalized class separation masquerades as a different “denomination,” religion exacerbates problems rather than alleviating them. The social polarity caused by religions concerning a woman’s right to choose, to vote, to hold slaves, to marry the person on one’s choice, etc. doesn’t provide a framework for sanity and healing.

What we need is the further separation of religion from intruding into the daily lives of people. Those who need to cling to it to deal the their insecurities about death can choose to so privately, but that should be the end of it. The constant public displays of “faith” do nothing more than call attention to the ignorance and superstition upon which they are based.

Morality is the expression of expediency in the long term. It is when short term behaviors without regard to long term consequences become dominant that society start to crumble. The whole point of forming into human society rather than living solitary existences is to reap the benefits of the long term.

The American electorate has lost the ability to think in the long term. That is why infrastructure is falling apart. That is why things like a the Wall St. pyramid con can happen. Even in this critical election, the two choices for leadership can barely utter a sentence without talking about the past or the elusive present with nary a mention of where the US needs to go and how to get there.

September 28, 2008 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Test

September 28, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Comment

You’ll notice, Not-a-SP, I allude to the “Republican theocracy” in a comment above. Never, ever has a US regime so aligned itself with religion. Read some books by Kevin Phillips on this topic. It started with Nixon and culminated with the Bush II administration.

September 28, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Comment

The American electorate has lost the ability to think in the long term. That is why infrastructure is falling apart.

Actually I think that’s more down to NIMBYism (not-in-my-backyard). People are in favour of development, just not near them. It’s generally the same world over except in poorer countries – though I could be wrong. The issue is how government (national and local) can strike a balance between protecting people’s rights/enjoyment of their property and ensuring crucial development gets through.

September 28, 2008 @ 1:10 am | Comment

I think I’m going to back Obama, actually – in part because I want to back a winning US president (and it went wrong the last two times).

September 28, 2008 @ 4:59 am | Comment

I am very surprised that nobody made the link between China and the US so far… Engineered recession anyone ? It always stuns me that such brilliant people spend so much energy on explaining the obvious, but very few actually try to understand the global picture.

I mean, common, what we have in front of our eyes right now is a very bad Hollywood B movie about politic and power… It’s almost a caricature.

September 28, 2008 @ 8:13 am | Comment

I think Palin is a dim bulb who should’ve reached her political peak as governor of a sparsely populated state. And i agree that her selection as VP candidate reflects poorly on McCain. But other than a reflection of his judgement, I think it’s also a reflection of his principles, or weakness therein. Here’s a guy who’s supposed to be a “maverick”, who’s going to bring change to Washington. Never mind that he’s been in Washington longer than most. But he’s picked a running mate out of political expediency (ie appealing to the religious conservative Republican base) rather than merit or ability. That seems like Washington business-as-usual to me, and not the work of a guy who’s supposed to go against the grain.

September 28, 2008 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

the mccain strangeness i think had something to do with the house republicans attempting to set themselves up to capture the average citizens anger over the bailout to tie the democrats, obama, and bush as being the culprits. it is not clear if mccain was trying to join the house republicans in this effort or defuse the partisan breakdown. it seems he was trying to do both. maybe he does not know himself.

regarding palin. i think her ego is too large for her to bow out on her own. i don’t think mccain would ever admit palin was a mistake so they will plug along.

i am anticipating a palin emotional moment like the one hillary had in new hampshire designed to gain sympathy over being beaten up by the media pundits

September 28, 2008 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

i am anticipating a palin emotional moment like the one hillary had in new hampshire designed to gain sympathy over being beaten up by the media pundits

Hillary really was beaten up. If Palin makes such a claim, just run that Katie Couric clip – Palin did herself in, during a very friendly, calm, professional interview. She was asked the most simple questions, and she sounds bat-shit crazy and hopelessly ignorant. We never need to say a negative word about her. Just play her own videos.

And yes, this was about the dumbest move McCain could possibly have made, and I am pleased to see that the Republican community has seen the light and realizes they’ve been taken for a ride. McCain has lost the election for himself, and he had at least a fighting, if difficult, chance of winning before his idiotic choice of Palin.

September 28, 2008 @ 7:34 pm | Comment

McCain has lost the election for himself, and he had at least a fighting, if difficult, chance of winning before his idiotic choice of Palin.

He took a gamble and lost. But given his chances he had to gamble in some way. Trying to play it safe wouldn’t have helped. Lieberman and Romney would have been worse (automatic GOP in-fighting). Some of those other/former governors might have been an idea. Was there a credible woman or non-white possibility? Two white men against Obama might have looked too conservative.

But, no, with the financial crisis the voters would have been focused on the economy and Obama wins hands down there – that has boosted his campaign to the point where a safer VP wouldn’t have helped McCain enough.

September 28, 2008 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

So I guess Palin out of all the Republicans on the planet was the only possible choice. Kay Bailey Hutchinson would have been a much smarter gamble. This wasn’t a gamble, it was an act of suicide. It would have been much more sane to gamble by picking another conservative white guy or woman, and then hoping Obama would screw up. Picking Palin was stupid, reckless, inexcusable, asinine, deranged and outrageous and it will be studied for years to come as a textbook example of political insanity. And worse.

September 28, 2008 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

So I guess Palin out of all the Republicans on the planet was the only possible choice.

No, I was asking – who were the other choices? I heard Hutchinson’s name before now you mentioned it.

another conservative white guy

That wouldn’t have been a gamble – it would have been middle of the road.

hoping Obama would screw up

As much as you dislike Palin, Obama screwing up would either work or not. I don’t believe that he would make a mistake of a kind that would have boosted McCain-Hutchinson to win but not McCain-Palin. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

September 28, 2008 @ 11:28 pm | Comment

I don’t dislike Palin at all. I just think she’s a birdbrain and an unfortunate victim of sexism who gives bat-shit crazy answers to reporters’ questions and has become the laughingstock of America. McCain had no right to put her in this situation, which he did, as you yourself acknowledge, because he needed a woman. You said he needed “a credible” woman and that’s where he so grandly fucked up. I kind of feel sorry for Palin, but then again I kind of don’t because she epitomizes Teh Stoopid by not realizing instantly that this was a desperate and losing gambit that would inevitably have a tragic ending and destroy her reputation forever. Know Thyself, as the maxim goes, and she should have known she was getting in way, way, way over her head. But as stated many times, it’s McCain I now dislike, not Palin. She is more victim than perpetrator, though that doesn’t make her any less of a birdbrain.

September 28, 2008 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

There is no honour when bush is elected twice. Yes, stolen maybe, but irrelevant. Birdbrain is more of a symptom than cause of the malaise. Not her fault they thought folks would be willing to swallow more regurgitation of “bat-shit crazy” ideology.

September 29, 2008 @ 1:32 am | Comment

Palin was a brilliant pick :) She represents me perfectly and with out her I dont even think I would be voting or at least not out there campainging for McCain. what a brilliant move

October 20, 2008 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

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