Thursday, October 02, 2008

And Da Winna Is....

From the insta-polls taken right after the debate, Biden won by a 2-1 margin. I got through most of it, but tired of both candidates avoiding the questions. Palin had a bunch of pre-planned things to steer the conversation toward (whoda thunk Alaska was a big energy state? Whoda thunk that Donald Rumsfeld would reappear as a hockey mom in heels - Goldarn him anyway!). Biden was a bit talky, but went mostly after McCain. Since the Right's only real focus group issue with Obama is his lack of experience, it wasn't like Palin could go there. 

Oh, and by the way, apparently there will be big changes after the election. Right. 

Palin's team had set expectations so low there was no way she couldn't exceed them. She got nervous in a couple of places, and I actually expected her to crack at least once. However, whoever prepped her did a good job - she stayed on her talking points throughout, made the right nods to the constituency she was supposed to (she's "tolerant" of gays, but no marriage for you from either party), and she evinced the sort of folksy cheery attitude that works so well for salesmen but scares the holy bejeezus out of the "elite". I don't know about you, but we've had 16 years of folksy cheery attitude. 

Amazingly, she pronounced the word as "nu-cue-lar". Must have been busy field dressing a moose when that particular faux pas escaped Fearless Leader's lips. I could swear Biden said "Biden" at one point when he meant "Obama", which is an Oedipal slip if I ever heard one. 

Like most people, this debate will change few minds, but it will also not seriously affect any trends, which are moving in Obama's direction. The Obama camp was smart to get the foreign policy debate between him and McCain out of the way early, now they can focus on McCain's glaring weaknesses on the economy and domestic issues. Of course, I don't expect those debates to change things much either. The candidates are under no requirement to actually answer the questions, and most of the time is spent arguing back and forth about who voted for what and how many times. 

For God's sakes, people, a voting record is a joke. There are so many votes conducted on minutiae on the floor, and so many amendments and sweeteners thrown into legislation that complaining about someone's record is like quoting the Bible: you can make just about any argument you want to. If I were president (and I am in no way interested in that job), the first thing I'd do is introduce legislation requiring that every law voted on by Congress could consist of no more than five pages of 12 point text and could only contain related laws as determined by me. 

The longer this goes on, the more depressed I get. 

Who won? Depends on who wins in November. Just like you don't know how much your house is worth until you sell it. Especially now.


Matthew said...

The next two debate moderators, Brokaw and Schieffer, are McCain guys who will go at Obama hard, but I don't see much changing the fundamental dynamics of this race. It's a change election and most of the voters aren't buying the reformer/maverick meme no matter how hard it's pushed. McCain has been put in the position of having to run against his own party. McCain could have decried the pork in the Senate bailout bill and voted against it on Monday, but didn't. Probably his last opportunity at a game-changer.

I mostly tuned out after Palin actually stated that she wasn't going to answer the moderator's questions and started winking at me.

Biden has always been fun to watch in attack dog mode grilling some hapless testifier on C-SPAN, but then often disappointed, voting for the thing he spent his time castigating in front of the cameras. Hearing him talk about giving judges flexibility to help mortgage defaulters after his vote on the bankruptcy bill was a little surreal. I am not comforted by Senator Credit Card's presence on the Obama ticket heading into this economic fallout, but things might get so bad all kinds of options will be on the table.

Who won? We all lost today: 263-171.

Ken said...

Hi Doug,

Just read your last few posts. Cheer up! I've been politically sentient for roughly 40 years. My first real memory is the JFK assassination. Since then, there have always been gloom-merchants peddling the "America is doomed" line. Don't join them; they've always been wrong.

It's solid American tradition to whine about our leaders and their shortcomings. Go for it. But remember, we always pull through.

Whoever wins, I'm going to get behind them and enjoy life and some wargames!

Ken Crangle

Matthew said...

Ah, American exceptionalism! Now there's a paradigm that's always been wrong...

It's true that doom and gloom apocalypticism is an American, and more generally, a human tradition going way back. But the people who've been saying "things are getting worse in this country and we really should do something about it" have been right for quite a while.

By most indicators we can measure, most people in the US are not doing as well now as they were going back to a turning point of ~1974. And the closed ecosystem we'd all like to continue living in is certainly worse off.

But I'm definitely on board with you, Ken, that we should keep our chins up and enjoy gaming and life. Things are rarely as bad as they seem to cynics like me. You've the healthier attitude.

Anonymous said...

Not bad! I will come back to read more soon!!!