Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welfare Whiteys

Don't judge them too harshly…

The Morning After

More Debate Reax from the blogosphere:
Why Obama Won Big
Nate Silver is a must-read. This is a fascinating nugget:
The CBS poll of undecideds has more confirmatory detail. Obama went from a +18 on "understanding your needs and problems" before the debate to a +56 (!) afterward. And he went from a -9 on "prepared to be president" to a +21.
The more it sinks in, the more I think Obama actually knocked it out of the park last night. He is, in some ways, the inverse McCain. McCain is all drama and explosions but then ... the air smells like damp, finished fireworks smoke. Obama seems calm and cautious but then ... you realize he cleaned your clock.

A few more morning after thoughts: the body language matters. McCain couldn't look at Obama as if he is offended by even having to share a stage with him. But Obama engaged him directly several times. Check the photo below. Even when shaking hands, McCain looks away. This is, in fact, a sign of insecurity.

So Angry
McCain's unwillingness to make eye contact with Obama through the debate seems to be getting picked up by a lot of observers. Here's an interesting exchange on the subject between Chris Matthews and the Post's Eugene Robinson ...

I took a million notes during the debate....
... but let me boil it down to this:

When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.

In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan's case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the "four more years" option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test -- not necessarily by "winning" the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.

And a bunch from The Daily Dish.

Obama Takes The Night

Well, I thought last night was tie and therefore went to Obama, but it looks like the lion's share of viewers give Obama a win. Most importantly, Independents favored Obama to McCain by a large margin. Even Fox's focus group preferred him. 

Works for me. 
That was my impression too. I was much more impressed with Obama's performance than many other bloggers. Here's the CNN poll:
Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one better described Barack Obama or John McCain during tonight's debate:
• Was more intelligent: Obama 55%, McCain 30%
• Expressed his views more clearly: Obama 53%, McCain 36%
• Spent more time attacking his opponent: McCain 60%, Obama 23%
• Was more sincere and authentic: Obama 46%, McCain 38%
• Seemed to be the stronger leader: Obama 49%, McCain 43%
• Was more likeable: Obama 61%, McCain 26%
• Was more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you: Obama 62%, McCain 32%

There's more here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Debate

Well, that was a lackluster debate. A few sparks, but not much that was informative. McCain was a better debater than I thought he'd be. Obama was so-so. It's never been his strength, I guess. 

Obama did do a good job of tying McCain with Bush several times and did appear and sound sufficiently presidential. He held his own on foreign policy despite McCain's contempt toward him. 

McCain was much stronger on the economy than I'd expected. Didn't really appear presidential though. 

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few days, but I think it's basically a wash. Though MSNBC peeps are giving it to McCain, at least on points. 

Debate Live-Blog, part 8

McCain filibusters segment change. Obama corrects McCains attacks on him. 

Cross talk. 

Likelihood of another 9/11 attack. 

McCain: Nation is safer, but not safe. Worked across the aisle. Invokes Loserman and their work on bipartisan commission and the wonderful Dept. of Homeland Security. Wants restrictions against torture. Now, he does?

Obama: We're safer in some ways. But....mentions transit and ports. Mentions suitcase bombs. More al Qaeda. Supports missile defense shield. What??? News to me. Yipes. Brings up America's standing in the world. Greatest country on earth, yada, yada. 

McCain is back to talking about withdrawal from Iraq and other defeat talk. When he lowers his volume and raises pitch to underscore his points, he makes my ears bleed. 

Obama again ties McCain to Bush administration. Reminds us that bin Laden is still running free. 

McCain: I've been involved in everything over the years! Everything. Now calls Obama stubborn and ties him with Bush! Major jui-jitsu, Daniel-san. Embraces veterans. Reform. Prosperity. Peace. Now he's talking so that Americans can understand him. Ungha. Buhnga. Boo. 

Obama invokes his Kenyan father. This is a good idea? Hmm. 

McCain: You may not know this, but I was a POW! 

Debate Live-Blog, part 7

On to Russia.

Obama: Their actions in Georgia were unacceptable. Can pronounce those crazy country names. Affirm fledgling democracies. Won't return to Cold War posture. 

McCain: Attacks Obama; calls him naive. Another lame joke (Looked into Putin's eyes and saw three letters: a K, a G, and a B). Got he should just stop with the dumb jokes. Tougher language on Russia than Obama. Ties it all in with oil pipeline. 

We now know both of them can pronounce mutli-syllabic Slavic proper nouns. 

Obama and McCain basically agree. Obama defends against McCain "naive" attack. Must have foresight and judgement. He warned administration about a situation. Did he? Who knows? 

Dammit, he's conceded the offshore drilling point. Nuclear and clean coal, too. Smart politics, but disappointing. More focus on green energy please. Knocks McCain on voting against alternative energies. Mentions climate change.

Next segment...

Debate Live-Blog, part 6

On to Iran.

McCain says Iran is existential threat to Israel and region if Iran gets nukes. We can't allow second holocaust. Pander to Jewish community. Takes on Russia. Proposes league of democracies to impose pain on Iran's regime. Warns us about Iranian threat. Boo!

Obama does believe Rev. Guard is terrorist organization. Correctly points out that Iraq War has strengthened Iran. Cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. Panders to Jewish lobby himself. Wants to engage in tough diplomacy with Iran. Repeat when I am president of the United States for, what, the sixth time? Excellent. 

McCain stumbles over Ahmadinejad's name. Thinks talks with him will lend him and his anti-Semitism legitimacy. Invokes Reagan and Kissinger. Wants preconditions. 

Obama defends. Claims Ahmadinejad's not most powerful person in Iran. Doesn't back down on preconditions. Points out that Kissinger agrees with him on the point. Uses Bush's approach to N. Korea as to underscore his point. Nails McCain on his Spanish president comments from last week. 

McCain tries lame zinger in response. 

Obama claims McCain is mischaracterizing his position. 

McCain gets in a good zinger. 

Finally some sparks.

Debate Live-Blog, part 5

Apparently, McCain has a record. He keeps telling us so anyway. Ugh, the inevitable and execrable story of the little guy imploring him to do something or other. 

Obama counters with his own human interest story. C'mon guys. 

Obama reiterates importance of judgement. Blames Bush admin. for taking our eye off ball again with Afghan., Iraq, Pakis., etc. Attacks McCain for talking about muddling through Afghan. 

McCain starts to sound pissed.  

Debate Live-Blog, part 4

Oooh, Obama nails McCain with record of voting with Bush 90% of the time on the "orgy of spending". Good segment. 

McCain uses "miss congeniality" for second time. Used that one already grandpa.

On to Iraq...

McCain begins will odd Palinesque response. Brings it back to success of surge. Cloaks himself in Petraeus's garb.

Obama goes back to initial question of whether we belong in Iraq to begin with. McCain and Bush reference again. Keep that up. "We took our eye off the ball." Looks directly into the camera and says "We must use military wisely." Good stuff. 

McCain attacks Obama for not going to Iraq and not holding a hearing. Obama defends, praises military and Petraeus. Attacks mismanagement of the war. Addresses McCain directly and attacks. Repeats "You were wrong" three times. Brings judgement into it. 

McCain claims Obama doesn't know diff between tactic and strategy. Claims surge is strategy instead of tactic. Claims Obama cut funding from troops.

Obama defends himself, attacks McCain's own funding opposition. Reminds people of timetable. Ties bin Laden's freedom to McCain. Wants to capture and kill bin Laden and "crush" al Qaeda.

They argue about Adm. Mullens. 

McCain: Surge is strategy. Obama: Surge is tactic. McCain: Strategy. Obama: Tactic. Etc., etc. 

Obama wants more troops in Afghanistan—two to three brigades. Again calls Iraq a strategic mistake, underlining strategic verbally. Nice touch. Bush and McCain again in failure in Afghanistan. 

McCain admits mistake in leaving Afghanistan in 1980. Doesn't want to talk about attacking Pakistan.

Obama defends his statements on Pakistan, attacks McCain's temperament. 

Debate Live-Blog, part 3

So far, I think McCain is looking better. Yipes.

Obama talks energy independence, health care, and education, in re: adjusting plans because of financial crisis. He's back to looking at moderator too much. We're out here, Barack, right here. 

McCain zings Obama (hard to reach across the aisle from so far to the left); Obama laughs. Good, it serves him well.

Lehrer tries to hold their feet to the fire as they talk circles. Obama is getting in some good specific points, though. 

Can't keep this up. Will check back in later for overall assessment.

Debate Live-Blog, part 2

Ugh. McCain botches his "paternity/criminal issue" bear joke. Second reference to age. Not good. 

Obama, for all of his strengths, is not a great debater. Good news: McCain is worse. 

So far, this lacks the electricity of the primary debates, but hey, it's early yet. 

Split screen as McCain talks. Obama looks angry rather than thoughtful. McCain should stop with the jokes. He sounds like everyone's lame grandfather. 

Oh, Obama has just interjected with an objection. Smile more, Barack. His makeup sucks. Hate to mention it, but in this arena it all makes a diff. 

McCain is on a roll with a diatribe against earmarks. Sounding fired up and understandable. On to his pander list. 

Obama looks directly into camera and says 96% of us will get a tax cut. Starts drilling into McCain's facts and loopholes. Nails McCain on his tax plan.

McCain makes good use of metaphor. Nails Obama on voting for earmark-laden bill. 

Obama fires back using big oil as a bludgeon. 

Debate Live-Blog, part 1

Obama gets the first question about the financial crisis. So far, so good. I'd heard on NPR earlier that he's been drilling methodically for this debate, practicing making his answers more concise. You can see it. He's also looking directly into the camera more than usual. 

McCain's response is lame so far, beginning with a gratuitous nod to Ted Kennedy who entered the hospital earlier today. Sounds crass and fake to me. 

Ooh, now Lehrer invites them to cross talk for five minutes. Who nows, maybe it could get interesting. 

Obama more or less dodges direct question, but starts in on the causality of the situation, hammering the conservative ideology. 

McCain "hopes" to vote for the plan. Begins going on about Eisenhower and accountability. "Somehow" greed and corruption are rewarded today in Washnigton and Wall St. Somehow? He's been a huge part of it for 26 years. 

Obama calls McCain out of the "fundamentally sound" remark. Lehrer awkwardly insists Obama address McCain directly. Weird. 

Now, Lehrer asks McCain to address Obama directly. He doesn't. This debate experiment isn't going to work. 

It's On

The first presidential debate of 08 has just begun. Woo hoo!

George W. Bush: Liberal Hero

Really. He and his cronies continue to ruin the Republican "brand," and the country reaps what 30+ years of trickle-down policies have sown—their rancid, social Darwinistic ideology and neo-conservative strategies are thoroughly discredited and will likely remain so for at least a generation. 

One more piece of anecdotal evidence (and I've seen scores of these types of e-mail throughout the past year) from U.S. News & World Report
Economic conservatives may be horrified at the thought of a trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street, but the GOPers on Wall Street seem horrified that they are being left to wither on the vine by Washington. Take a look at this email I just got last night from a money manager:
I am a lifelong ( 51 years old) "rock-ribbed" conservative.... What an eye opener this week has been! I now realize what a blowhard Newt truly is by advocating the GOP bail on the Paulson Plan. As a professional money manager I can tell you I am shocked, dismayed and depressed that the Speaker would excoriate the GOP to abandon this plan which is URGENT and necessary to avoid a financial catastrophe that once commenced may be irreversible. The level of ignorance of financial and economic reality displayed by the Speaker, Rep. Boehner, Sen. Shelby , et al, has been frightening and sad. I thought the GOP had a better grasp of such matters than the Dems. Apparently not. And if this has been pure election gamesmanship as I suspect? The willingness to play politics with the U.S. financial markets is appalling and disgusting.

I am a huge Reagan fan and admirer. I have voted GOP every election since 1976. Until now. Today. September 25, 2008. As soon as I finish this email I am going to try and get my $1000 McCain/Palin credit card donation back as I will not be voting GOP this year after watching this circus and the theatres passing as leadership displayed by the GOP. I am embarrassed to have been an erstwhile supporter of this gaggle of self-serving jerks. I hope the GOP lose their asses come November. They shall deserve it.
I'd ask what took him so long, but, hey, he's a conservatives, and they're slower to move than the rest of us (and they need to feel the pain in their wallets). Welcome to reality, my friend.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Vote For McCain…

…to me you're a shit stain." 

Sarah Silverman exhorts Jewish kids to visit their grandparents and convince them to vote for Obama.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Yes, she's proud of herself.

I'm Back

Wow, has it really been nearly a month since my last post? Let me retroactively say that I felt the need to suspend this blog until this financial crisis gets taken care of. 

But now that John McCain's on it, I can get back at the wheel. So for your viewing pleasure, I'd love to call your attention to an excerpt of a recent interview with McCain's choice for veep. Enjoy.

Okay, that's harsh. But decidedly not unfair. As you'll see from these excerpts from Katie Couric's interview with Palin yesterday:

"I'll try to find ya some and I'll bring 'em to ya." Ahem. You know, Couric has taken a beating over the years for being a lightweight, but look how she draws Palin out with her light touch. Nice.

But wait, there's more:

In the spirit of bipartisanship, I'd like to say I'm sure we can all agree that reducing taxes must accompany tax reductions. 

Watch CBS Videos Online

Still wondering why McCain needed to create the distraction of "suspending" his campaign yesterday?