VP Debate Final Thoughts

Mr. (T.) Coates writes:

9:49 I’m finding this really hard to gauge. She’s basically bullshitting her way through much of this. I think it all depends how effective the deception is.

Asking basically the same question I had.  I won’t pretend to judge how “regular Americans” will find this.  But she clearly had no substantial inner grasp of the policy workings (outside of Alaska).  Which I wasn’t expecting.  It just doesn’t come that fast unless you have been thinking about these issues in conjunction with say a Gubernatioral position.  [i.e. You know a Supreme Court case other than Roe, remember what newspapers you read, think torture when you think Dick Cheney’s mistakes and not hunting accidents, etc.]

But like I said, VP Debates really matter naught in the scheme of things.

Palin didn’t look as bad as the Katie Couric interviews.  She could as Coates said, bullshit her way through it.  With references to change is coming to Washington, get on the Reform Express (Choo choo!!!), cutting taxes, getting government off our backs.  She got demolished, unsurprisingly, on foreign policy.  No questions about Russia interestingly.  But whoever was on her side, will find what they want to be reassured.  Those who are unsure/undecided, I don’t know.  We’ll see.

Like others, I think Gwen Ifill did a pretty poor job.  The format didn’t help her.  And she asked some interesting questions you wouldn’t otherwise hear (like about the sub-prime).

Biden did fine imo.  He got better towards the end.  What maybe looked like boring-ness at the beginning compared to the Sugar Picky Routine of Palin by the end look like seriousness, thoughtfulness, critical engagement.

Nothing happens is that is going to fundamentally change the nature of the race.

The real issue is that the final McCain Negative Onslaught will commence soon.  This beast that is the Republican Attack Machine is not going to give up its ghost without vomiting forth (I fear) filthy dregs in its last gasps.

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Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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VP Debate Live Thread

I’m also Twittering. [All times PST]

[6:05] Strong first answer from Biden. Brought up economic philosophy and a push to the middle class. Looks relaxed.

[6:06] She brought up the suspension of the campaign? But her first her was well delivered, though on the points it was very unspecific. I imagine pretty much of the same all night.

[6:09] She just said “darn right.” I’m waiting for “darn skippy”. She just used the Holocaust Line (“Never Again”) so that we don’t get screwed on sub prime loans.

[6:12] She talks about Joe Six Pack. Joe Biden actually quotes an actual guy named Joe.

[6:15] Oh yeah, tax time. Start drinking. She’s citing McCain-Feingold?

[6:21] Wow. He just threw out the “bridge to nowhere”. Yikes. Before that, his numbers on the health care plan was spot on.

[6:23] It’s getting a little testy. Palin gets her glancing shot in on bitter gun-gate.

[6:25] Biden has good responses in hand to Palin. He just pegged Palin to a windfall tas while at the same time saying McCain wants to cut taxes. No follow up.

[6:26] Interesting question on bankruptcy. She says she will not vote for regulatory bankruptcy laws and then says we need more reform. WTF?

[6:29] She gives an answer but with no evidence to support it on the bankruptcy/foreclosure issue. She wants to go back to energy. The question is about foreclosure and she is talking about drilling off shore.

[6:32] She says she doesn’t want to talk about the causes of climate change. And then says she wants to reduce emissions. Sentences after she said we need off shore oil drilling. We will reduce emissions by off shore drilling.

[6:34] ugh. clean coal from biden.

[6:35] NUK-ULAR.

[6:37] The Format is not helpful.

[6:39] oooh.  she just blew that one.  She tried to deflect away from her stance of gay civil union and then went to the “neither of us want gay marriage” route.

[6:42] Did she just say that Iraq would affect Afghanistan?

[6:44]  She had a hiccup there.  Interesting phrase….Maliki and Talabani working with us.  Not us working with them?  It is their country right?

[6:46] Interesting Biden spin on his war vote (which not incorrect) is an interesting split.

[6:47] FP Dumbass Alert:  bin Laden said that Iraq was the central front in the War on Terror in order to GET US INTO IRAQ and Bleed Us Dry.  Which was his STRATEGY.

[6:49] F(@# They hate our freedoms is back.  Even W. does push that bullshit anymore.

[6:52] He just dropped the Spain Card.  Viva Aragon y Castila.

[6:53] Wow.  She just dropped the No Second Holocaust card.  [She alredy referenced the NEVER AGAIN–with regard to the housing market????!!].  She’s on a roll.

[6:54] Biden had a good point there on predicting the elections in Palestine were a mistake.

[6:56].  She just said one day we will have to get beyond the Bush adminstration.  Baby that day ain’t come yet.

[6:58] oh s–t.  she just said that Obama lied about the civilian air deaths in Afghanistan.  Sorry honey.

[6:59] Biden is taking her to town on this one.  He just blasted her “Surge in Afghanistan” Theory.

[7:01] Not a very good answer there by Joe.  Second round on Afghanistan.

[7:03} Did he just call Bosnians Bosniacs?

[7:04] eek.  She’s her “I”m an outsider”. Her trying to be cutesy is pretty annoying.  She is trying to goad Biden into him blowing up and shooting his mouth off.  He’s holding it together so far.  But that vein on the side of his head is starting to pulse a bit.

[7:07] She is stumbling a bit.  Oh yeah, “He knows what evil is.”  Solid.

[7:10] Biden with “Ladies and Gentleman” start drinking.  But nice finally someone say we get rid of the Bush Doctrine of “Pre-Emptive Regime Change”. The one Palin couldn’t remember with Charlie Gibson.  Biden is still too interventionist for me.  But compared to McCain, it ain’t even close.

[7:11] right-wing boilerplate.  And ponies for everyone (“winning the war”).  Says that Congress isn’t working.  Uh, it was the Republicans that voted against the Bailout Bill in the House yes?

[7:13] Biden missed a chance there to hit them on social security.

[7:14] Careful Sarah.  Talking about Joe’s wife (his current one) having her reward in heaven might bring up the wife of his who is in heaven.

[7:16].  oooh.  subtle snap (unintended? intended?).  Biden says, “I’m sure she had like I did a very long talk with her running partner.”  Some random education left-wing boiler plate from Joe.  But he does have a nice answer on his role as a kind of advisor/patriarch in the administration.

[7:17].  Uh oh, somebody don’t know the Constitution.  She is agreeing that the Vice Presidency is in the Legislative Branch.  Watch for the commerical for that one.  McCain=Bush, Palin=Cheney.

[7:19] Biden says the notion is “bizzare.”  Nice.

[7:21] “We are unapologetic even though we make mistakes.”  That says it all.

[7:23] America as the city shinning on the hill.  Is actually speaking as a Christian, totally heretical.  [Sorry Ronny R.]  Jesus was speaking about the followers of his way.  Not a country.  When John Winthrop quoted it in Mass Bay, he was talking about a theocracy.

[7:25].  Biden is hitting McCain qua Maverick theme.  This is smart and could be a sound-byte for commercial or the night.

[7:27] Biden manages to bring in his effort to stop Bork from being nominated while answering how he has changed his mind.  That was interesting.  Palin had a good answer on her budgets as a counterexample. Showing yet again pretty decent on small baseball insider-Alaska politics.  She just has no idea of national and esp. foreign policy.

[7:29] TalkingPoints Memo is going to fact check I bet that last statement about how she hired people not based on their political affiliation.

[7:30] Took all the way til the end, with a rambling discourse, for Palin to get in the “MSM”.  No Liberal Elitists Gov?  Takes a subtle shot at Michelle Obama (“I’ve always been proud of being an American.”)

[7:36] Pretty weak closing statements by both of them.  Biden landed awkwardly.  Further thoughts in a few minutes as I ponder.  But basically at worst (for Biden-Obama) a tie.  Biden certainly did no major damage.  We’ll see what the CW becomes and whether Palin’s shitick was considered preaky and fresh or nasty and unattractive.

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review Dem Speeches Last Night

Last night a bunch of big guns took the stage: President Clinton, John Kerry, and the VP Nominee Joe Biden. Also the convention finally got its legs and momentum. Tonight will be at the very least interesting.

1)You can (and should) watch Bill Clinton here. While he looked flummoxed and past his prime on occasion during the primaries, this was the Big Dawg in true form. It reminded me of the lovable Bubba side with the tongue (repeatedly and literally) in the cheek. And he unlike any politician I’ve ever seen could deal with vastly complex issues in a clear way to the average listener. Clinton has always been able to make people feel intelligent and part of a bigger solution–amazing gift. Obama doesn’t really have that particular skill.

As even Andrew Sullivan admits, Clinton looked great in the role of party patriarch. It’s the role he should have been playing since the primaries began. He should have stayed out of the race and let Hillary run on her own terms. B. Clinton would have refrained from saying things that hurt his image–which it was nice to see restored last night.  As I’ve said before, I think it was Bill that disqualified Hillary from being VP.  Had he gone the stay out of it/patriarch role instead of so clearly wanting to be back in the White House, I think she would have very likely got the nod. Hopefully his speech and Obama’s shout out to him in his surprise appearance will help heal some of the anger.

2)Joe Biden. Biden’s speech here, here, and here.

Biden is Biden. He stumbles over words,he isn’t the polished Bill Clinton. But he can hold your attention and make his point. He’s got gravitas and it’s clear he’s no bullshitter. As someone raised middle class Catholic Biden is very recognizable to me as Midwestern Catholic working class guy. When he talks about how he is only around still for his kids and grandkids, he’s being sincere. He’s an excellent match for Obama.

3)But the speech that was probably (and unbelievably) the best of night belonged to John Forbes Kerry. Watch this speech–which unfortunately I’m told was cut off by Cable Analysis—where was this guy in 2004? If this dude had shown up against Bush he would be president accepting his nomination for his second term.

Biden and Clinton both made clear how stark the difference between Obama and McCain is. Bill focused more on McCain being the last in a long and exhausted line of Republican orthodoxy (supply side economics, fiscal mismanagement, politicization of science, etc.) while Biden focused more on a point by point foreign policy event by event take down of how Mccain was wrong on X (e.g. Iraq), Obama was right on X. McCain wrong on Y (Afghanistan), Obama right on Y.

But Kerry gave voice to the anger in the party and among independents. He gave voice to McCain’s flip-floppery (and coming from Kerry that’s pretty harsh). He gave voice to how really God awful McCain’s campaign is. Check it:

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Christmas Might Come Early–VP Edition

(Photo of Sen. Joe Biden [D-Del.] shaking hands with Sen. Chuck Hagel [R-Neb.] wearing a Biden mask and Biden for Prez T-shirt on Halloween in the Senate).

All signs in Camp Obama point tomorrow to the announcement of Joe Biden as VP. Rumors are also swirling that (please God yes) McCain is going to pick Romney.

The advantage (among many others) of Biden is that this stupid far right lame meme of Nobama can be turned into “Jo’-bama”.

JOBAMA in ’08 Sucka, Recognize!!!

Published in: on August 22, 2008 at 7:56 pm  Comments (3)  
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Pick Biden

Readers of this blog will know of my long standing affection for Joe Biden–including but not limited to the Biden-Gelb Plan, his views on aid to Pakistan (now picked up by Obama), and his blunt sarcasm. He runs his mouth off no doubt, likes to hear himself talk, but overall I dig the guy. Looks like he was smart to tamp down the Sec of State rumors because it just may get him the VP slot.

If picked, deploy him to Michigan and Ohio and blue collar workers. Full time.

One of my secret longings is that McCain will pick Romney and Obama Biden so we can watch Biden absolutely tear the bark off Romney. Can you imagine a debate between those two? There would be nothing better than to watch Biden’s estimation of The Robotic One (guaranteed it’s not high) particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

Do it Obama.

Courtesy Jonathan Cohn at TNR, this video of Biden clips (including his legendary take down of Giuliani)

If he doesn’t go with Biden, I guess the next best choice is Sebelius. That moves it more into the realm of the back up your story/message (change), but I just don’t see it happening. But who knows. I will have to learn his pick the new old fashioned way of the intertubes (I’m not getting texted the message).

Published in: on August 19, 2008 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Obama v. Petraeus in 2012?

Did we get a preview of the next Presidential Election (after this one) this week at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (it’s never too early to start crazy theoretical speculation in my book)?

If so (and even if not), check out this column by Joe Klein on the Hearings.

The short version is that Obama took a kind of “allright you say the surge is working, fine, so let’s get out” James Fallows-esque gambit. Very interesting move on the Senator’s part. What Obama managed to do was make clear that the strategy as currently laid out is either A)un-winnable & unrealistic and/or B)already in place. Either way why continue on the current course?

Obama was good but not quite as cagey as Senator Biden in getting Ambd. Crocker to admit uncomfortable truths. And in the spirit of Democratic ecumenism, Sen. Clinton shrewdly hit back on the notion of non-Congress approved signing of a permanent bases contract with the Iraqi Government.

PS It doesn’t help to lessen this Obama is the Messiah meme if the picture they provide has him back lit with a halo.

Update I:  Petraeus says he is not interested.  For now he certainly isn’t and he could very well become the next NATO Commander. But he is known to be highly ambitious.  Question is in which direction (Joint Chiefs?).  If he wants to continue to push for Counter-Insurgency in the Army (over big Air Force and Naval style conventional war) maybe staying within the system is better. Don’t know.  I’ll be interested to see where he goes post-Iraq.

Published in: on April 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm  Comments (3)  
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Biden on the Surge

It’s a failure.

Finally somebody has the guts to say this.  Obama needs to learn this response.  It was created to afford political reconciliation.  In light especially of the recent failed offensive against the Mahdi Army, the surge is dead.  There is no reconciliation coming.

This says it all:

“I believe the president has no strategy for success in Iraq,” Biden said. “His plan is to muddle through, and hand the problem off to his successor.” Republicans say they are satisfied with the recent drop in violence and that more time is needed to improve the situation there.

Here’s the crux of the issue.   The surge was no surge but an escalation and a further embedding in Iraq which will now be harder to extricate from.  No words exist to make clear how pathetic the president’s handling of this has been and his desire (as Biden correctly notes) to dispense with any responsibility and leave this to someone else.  Just like the rest of his life, rich boy son who messes things up and someone else has to fix his screwup while he floats to the next opportunity, never held responsible.

Published in: on April 5, 2008 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Profile Joe Biden

Here from NyTimes.

On his personal life, his tragedies, the highs/lows of his political career.  And how he is now running as a man released.  A sage almost to Obama’s prophetic-quasi messianic role.

He’s been head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  If experience were the only factor in a presidential race (and it is not), he’s miles ahead of anyone else.

Published in: on December 14, 2007 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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