August 16, 2008

Let's watch the Saddleback Presidential Forum together.

Saddle up!

7:00 CT: CNN's John King pauses to let other networks join, and when he does, we can hear a voice saying "God who gave us life, gave us..." King drowns that out with the info that this "is not a debate... but the candidates will be questioned about their faith... about their compassion..." Bizarre.

7:01: Rick Warren tells us "we believe in the separation of church and state" but not "the separation of religion and politics." [CORRECTION FROM THE TRANSCRIPT: "... we do not believe in the separation of faith and politics..."] A coin was flipped and Barack Obama is going first, so John McCain will be kept "in a cone of silence." Warren wants us to disagree without demonizing each other and to restore civility to our political discourse. Now, here's Obama, with an open collar and no tie, and he hugs Warren, then finds his way over to the desk for the interview. [ADDED: Warren is also tieless.]

7:04: Warren wants to know who are the 3 wisest people he's known in his life [ADDED: to whom he will turn for advice]. First: Michelle. She can "get up in [his] face." Second: His grandmother. (Hauling her out from under that bus.) Grounded. Common sense. Third... No, now he's talking about political advisors, and he's not going with rankings anymore. He wants "a table where a lot of different points of view are represented."

7:07: Asked about his own failures, Obama talks about his troubled youth: drugs, drinking, "I couldn't focus on other people." But growing up, he realized "it's not all about me." Failure comes when he's selfish and doesn't think about "God's work." America's failure comes when we "don't abide by that basic precept in Matthew, that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me." For the uninitiated: the "me" is Jesus, but he's quoting, people, so please don't say he's talking like the Messiah.

7:09: Obama looked overpowdered and unnatural when he came out. (Except his ears, which looked shiny.) But he's sweating a little now, so he looks more normal. The Hawaiian tan is becoming.

7:11: Asked about "flip-flopping"/changing his mind, Obama talks about welfare reform, which worried him back when Bill Clinton signed it into law. But it worked better than he'd thought. "We have to have work as a centerpiece of any social policy." I think he sounds lucid and fluent. He's gotten the message that he shouldn't say "uh."

7:14: What tough decision has he had to make? He decided to oppose the war in Iraq. His critics can say he's never really had to make a tough decision. Certainly, there were no consequences (except to his own political future) of opposing the war, so this answer exposes his inexperience.

7:19: What does faith in Christ mean to him? He believes that "Jesus Christ died for my sins." He's "redeemed." He knows he doesn't "walk alone" and can carry out "in some small way, what He intends." Deeds matter, but he knows he'll fall short each day. It gave him the confidence to run for President.

7:21: Warren notes that there are 40 million abortions and asks when the unborn should be considered human. [ADDED: More specifically: At what point do the unborn have "human rights"?] Obama says that sort of decision is "above my pay grade," which sounds too cold for most people, I would guess, and then he moves quickly to the idea of the "moral difficulties" of abortion and the need for the woman's choice. "I don't think women make these decisions casually." And then on to the "common ground": reducing the number of abortions. He wants to provide resources and support that help women decide to keep a child. [ADDED: I revise my opinion here.]

7:25: Define marriage. It's "the union of a man and a woman," and for him as a Christian, it's "sacred" and "God's in the mix." How about a constitutional amendment saying that? No. The tradition has been to leave this to state law. He admits that there is a concern about same-sex marriage, which he doesn't support, but he likes civil unions. He seems a little robotic intoning this position. I'm sure in his heart he supports full rights for gay people, but obviously, at this point, he can't say it.

7:28: Stem cell research. Go ahead and use those embryos that you'd be throwing out otherwise. People don't think "boy, let's go destroy some embryos."

7:31: Warren asks "Does evil exist?" and what do we do about it. And it's at this point that I decide Warren is doing a terrific job. But of course, Obama says evil exists. But then what? "Confront it." But he must be thinking about how George Bush talked about evil, and he goes on to add that we have to be "humble" about what we do, because harm can be done confronting it. He doesn't have anything to say about how he'd balance between confrontation and humility in the face of evil. And in fact, I don't think he says anything here that George Bush himself wouldn't say.

7:32: Warren really wins me over with his phrasing of the Supreme Court question: "Which existing Supreme Court Justice would you not have nominated?" Obama knows he's been boxed in, as he says "That's a good one." He says: "Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation, setting aside the fact that I disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the Constitution. I would not nominate Justice Scalia, although I don't think there's any doubt about his intellectual brilliance, because he and I just disagree..." John Roberts? He says that's a tougher question. Oh come on. You voted against his confirmation! Obviously, you wouldn't nominate him.

7:33: Would you make faith-based organizations give up discrimination based on religion in their hiring for social programs that receive government funding? In a lot of words, the answer is: yes.

7:37: Merit pay for teachers? Yes. (But pay all teachers more.)

7:45: When is war justified? He sounds dry and cold answering this. "Well, uh, obviously, American freedom. American lives. America's national interest.... We also have forged alliances...." When would you end a genocide? He says there's no "hard and fast line." We "should act" when we can, if we have the "international community" with us (but not necessaily the U.N.).

7:47: "Define 'rich'?" $150,000 or less — for a family — is middle class (or lower). If you're making more than $250,000, "you're doing well." I'm not sure what happens to all those in that gap between $150,000 and $250,000 or those who are not supporting a family with their income.

7:48: What will he do for the world's 148 million orphans? Obama indicates that he will look into it and shifts over to talking about preventing orphans. What will he do about religious persecution around the world? Obama would: 1. "speak out," 2. "lead by example."

7:51: There are 27 million slaves in the world. What will he do about that? Give prosecutors "the tools to crack down" in this country. As for the rest of the world... I'm not sure he has anything other than concern.

7:53: Warren asks the question asked by that 7-year-old girl the other day: Why do you want to be President? His answer is that his mother would get mad at him if he was ever mean. He wants to apply that standard to America. We're "slipping." We're "at a critical juncture." He wants to bring people together to find common sense solutions to problems.

7:54: How does he like this forum? Obama thinks it's good.

7:56: What would you tell Americans if you knew there'd be no repercussions? Answer: It's going to be hard to solve our energy problems and we should sacrifice for the next generation. That's the end, and the audience is told to give him a standing ovation, which it does pretty enthusiastically. Now, welcome John McCain. McCain comes out. He's tieless. John and Barack hug. They wave.

8:01: Leadership. The 3 wisest people you know, whom you'll rely on. First: General Petraeus, "who took us from defeat to victory in Iraq." So McCain starts off in a much more serious way. Second: John Lewis. He can teach us about "courage and commitment." Third: Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay. She represents free enterprise to him "in these economically challenging times." That was a much more presidential answer than Obama's. Really, why would a President have the members of his family as his main advisors? And Obama's political advisors were an unmemorable jumble of — what was it? — Senators? You know, I initially thought it was an advantage to go first, but second is interesting, because we immediately contrast each statement to Obama's. Knowing that McCain didn't hear Obama's answers makes it even a bit thrilling. If they had been on the stage together, McCain would have had to think about whether to honor at least one family member to match Obama. This way, we see that the notion doesn't seem to have occurred to him.

8:03: Your and America's greatest moral failure. His greatest moral failure is his first marriage. He doesn't expand on that, but listening at home, we can't help thinking of all the talk about John Edwards in the last week and how it made many people bring up McCain's old failings. America's greatest moral failure, McCain says, is not being devoted to more than our own interests. After 9/11, instead of saying we should go shopping, we should have encouraged people to join the Peace Corps or join the military. "Serve a cause greater than your self-interest." I note that he didn't talk about the U.S. government there. For him, "America" signified Americans. But Obama took it the same way. Serve others. Don't be selfish. One distinction: the military springs right to mind for McCain, but not Obama.

8:06: When did he go against his party's interest for the good of America? He has a long list, but he concentrates on saying that, despite Reagan's preference, we shouldn't send a few hundred Marines into Beirut to keep the peace.

8:07: What has he changed his mind about in the past 10 years? He pauses a while, then jerks to attention with his idea: "Offshore drilling! We gotta drill now and we gotta drill here." This gets the biggest applause of the night (to my ear).

8:08: McCain grabs some time to say we need to develop nuclear power.

8:09: What is the most "gut-wrenching" decision he's ever had to make? He says it was facing the offer to leave the prison in North Vietnam, which he refused because the code of conduct forbade leaving before an earlier-captured comrade, though he was in "bad physical shape" and the refusal meant that it would not "be easy" for him after that and it wasn't. He adds, "It took a lot of prayer." This corresponds to Obama's tough decision to oppose the war in Iraq.

8:15: What does it mean for you to be a Christian? "It means I'm saved and forgiven." He gets through that super-fast, then claims time to "tell a little story." The story is about how the North Vietnamese tied him up tightly in ropes, and a particular guard loosened the ropes, then hours later retightened them. Later, on Christmas, that guard marked a cross in the dirt for him.

8:18: At what point is an unborn child entitled to human rights? Without hesitation, McCain says: "At the moment of conception." (Remember, Obama said, that's "above my pay grade.") Big applause in the Saddleback Church. "I have a 25 year pro-life record."

8:19: Define marriage. "A union between a man and a woman." Then he pushes to talk about the Supreme Court. (McCain, unlike Obama, tries to break out of the questions.) Warren adjust by asking about whether the California Supreme Court was wrong to find a right to gay marriage in the California state constitution. McCain says they were. He believes the states should make the decisions — "I'm a federalist" — but he wants to preserve traditional one-man-one-woman marriage. If a federal court were to say the states must recognize same-sex marriage, then he would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but until then, he would leave it to the states.

8:21: Stem cell research. It's "a terrible dilemma," but he supports it.

8:22. Evil: "Should we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it, or defeat it?" "Defeat it." He repeats his old statement that he'll follow Osama bin Laden "to the gates of Hell." He speaks passionately about defeating al Qaeda. Obama spoke only abstractly about evil, while McCain instantly limited the question to al Qaeda.

8:24: "Which existing Supreme Court Justice would you not have nominated?" "With all due respect, Justice Ginburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Souter, and..." — with some hesitation — "Justice Stevens."

8:26: Faith-based organizations and religious discrimination in hiring if they accept federal funding. He "absolutely" rejects imposing this non-discrimination requirement. Speaking with some passion, he says it would mean "a severe crippling" of their ability to function. He speaks of the work of Baptists in New Orleans after Katrina. Again, McCain is both more specific and more passionate than Obama (who is more cool and abstractly cerebral).

8:28: Merit pay for teachers? Sure. And he's shoehorns in the topic of school choice. "Choice and competition" works. "Give everybody the same opportunity."

8:30: At what point is someone rich? He doesn't state a number but a standard — fuzzily about taking care of the next generation. A good line: "I don't want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich." He adds that he doesn't believe in "class warfare" and "redistribution of the wealth." Clearly, this is a big difference from Obama. Obama wants to say there are these rich people over there, who are not you, and we can safely tax them more and give more to you. McCain says he's not dividing people up, but wants to keep taxes low for everyone and encourage moneymaking. He also shoehorns in an opinion on health care (a subject Obama never got to address). Finally, he comes up with a number for rich: $5 million. Compare that to Obama's $150,000 or $250,000! But he was kind of kidding. Now, he's shoehorning in the issue of spending.

8:40: What is worth fighting a war for? "Freedom. National security.... We can't right every wrong, but we can... be a beacon of hope... a shining city on a hill." What about stopping genocide? We need to stop genocide "when we can." It's "complicated," but we could supply the equipment for to be used by Africans in places like Darfur. McCain also speaks in detail about Georgia.

8:46: Religious freedom around the world. The President has "the bully pulpit."

8:48: The world's orphans. Warren is pushing for spending, I think, but McCain stresses adoption. Make adoption easier. He tells the story of his wife surprising him with a baby she brought home from Bangladesh.

8:51: "What would you say to people who oppose me asking you these questions in a church?" "Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. I'm happy to be here.... I'm honored to be here." And that's the end. Another standing o.

8:55: Rick Warren lectures us again on the importance of civility and blesses us. Back to John King. Analysis to follow. But that's all for me for now. I'll just say the forum — and I was skeptical — was very nicely handled by Rick Warren and the 2 candidates.

IN THE COMMENTS: Lots of folks think McCain won clearly. A telling comment from XWL: "McCain has the advantage of just being able to say what he thinks."

204 comments:

1 – 200 of 204   Newer›   Newest»
Ben (The Tiger) said...

First!

No ties?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Obama looks fresh and great, very relaxed after his "exotic" vacation in Hawaii.

His wisest three: Michelle, Grandma, and...and...Rev. Wright? No! You can't have just three. You have a bunch, from Kennedy to Coburn.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

It'll be interesting to compare the two men's speaking style -- my impression going in is that Obama will try to talk around the questions, whereas McCain will answer them directly.

We'll see if that impression is accurate.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama looks tired and drained.

AJ Lynch said...

Ten years ago welfare reform? I thought that happened in 1994 or 1996.

Alan said...

This is very painful to watch. Dear G-d, I wish Obama had a TelePrompTer to read from.

XWL said...

Really, McCain-Feingold was a 'brave' position where he opposed his party? Really? Really, really?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Ann: Warren said he didn't believe in "the separation of FAITH and politics"...not religion and politics.

"faith is a world view," he said.

I hope poor McCain is ok in that weird cone thingy! I wish I could fast forward to the McCain part....it's going to be hilarious.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

I can hang out her for 1 hour but then I am headed out for dindin at a fabulous new brasserie in Chelsea.

What did I miss?

Obama looks awful? OK, got it.
Great.

During commercials I am applying product-in case you are interested.

Baron Zemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
XWL said...

And I'm snark-blogging this, too.

Since I really don't like any of the three people involved, I'll probably treat them all very badly.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

Rick Warren's fat.

Actually, Obama does kind of look bad tonight. Kind of puffy. Maybe too much food on vaca?

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

Actually, now that I get a closer look at Obama he looks fine.

I would still do him.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Trick question! "At what point does a baby get human rights?"

Uh, when it's a BABY. When is it a "baby?"

Paddy O. said...

Warren was criticized for likely to be soft on Obama. He's being pretty direct here.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

Define marriage. Oh God, I don't think I can watch much more of this.

Absolutely painful.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Speaking very slowly.

Thoughtful or careful?

(Depends on one's view of the man.)

Zachary Paul Sire said...

We're at the half way point folks...has there been ONE SINGLE FUCKING QUESTION regarding real problems affecting the majority of Americans?

"Does evil exist?"

!!!!!! I'm about to turn off the TV. Jesus Christ.

Paddy O. said...

I think thoughtful and careful.

These aren't surprising topics, and he's prepared well. Answering quite good for this context without making any policy commitments.

Obama would be a very good Bill Moyers guest.

And he's sounding good as a candidate.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Oh no! Clarence Thomas!!! Great answer!

Alan said...

This is just awful. I can hear it now. Rush will have a tape of all the "you know"'s proving how incapable Obama is without a TelePrompTer.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Ooh... insults Thomas's qualifications.

Paddy O. said...

The most important job of the SC is to constrain the Executive branch?

I suspect he might change that priority if elected.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I hope Rush has a tape of all the dead air and awkward silences when McCain is up.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

There is no fairness doctrine on Limbaugh. :p

Paddy O. said...

He didn't prep as much for the faith-based charities question.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

People on this blog listen to Fat Limbaugh?

Shocking.

Paddy O. said...

Obama does have a sense of humor!

That was quick wit with the books sales of 25 million answer.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

I'm out. This is gross and Rick Warren is physically repulsive. You don't know where the chin ends and the neck begins.

Paddy O. said...

He seems relaxed.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

I believe that the keeper of this weblog is a Rush 24/7 subscriber.

(Though she loses out by listening to the podcasts -- no music, no parody songs, just Rush. Listen to the Windows Media stream, Althouse!)

As am I. I've got a dry as dust desk job this year, and it needs something to liven it up.

Obama's doing well enough tonight to reassure his sympathizers in the crowd...

XWL said...

The Thomas answer was a bit rich, coming from Obama. Basically, he implied that Clarence Thomas was purely an affirmative action hire.

PrestoPundit said...

Obama has come out in favor of gay marriage in California, supporting a vote on the proposition which will keep it so on the fall ballot -- something both Rick Warren and Barack Obama knew, but suppressed from their audience.

Wade said...

Real reason for this program: see the ad for APDL inbetween segments...

Paddy O. said...

"but suppressed from their audience."

Warren isn't really pushing on any point. He's just asking questions without too much followup, staying out of it.

Obama is doing what he does best, fitting into the crowd.

But, I think his danger is going to be how his answers here are followed up with his positions. Christianity Today weblog just hit him pretty hard on the fact he's opposed to Prop 8 in California, which does leave it up to the states.

PrestoPundit said...

Obama is for reducing the number of abortions, accept when the baby has survived a failed abortion, and is lying alive on a hospital table. Then he's actively worked to make it legal to make sure the baby dies.

You can google it, or go to National Review for a series of stories on this bit of Obama political history.

Paddy O. said...

Rick Warren is absolutely nailing the topics that I hear Evangelicals talking about in all kinds of places.

This is stuff I'm hearing talked about at seminaries, conferences, a lot of churches.

Joan said...

I'm sure in his heart he supports full rights for gay people, but obviously, at this point, he can't say it.

How can you be sure you know what his true position is? The man is a cipher.

I'm sure that you're sure in your heart that in his heart he support full rights for gay people. I just think your heart ought to listen to your head, and your head should pay attention to the fact that this man has never once taken a firm position on anything controversial. How can we know if he has the courage of his convictions if he has no convictions to begin with?

Paddy O. said...

Mom is back out from under the bus!

Don't be mean to people!

That's the reason to be President. We're getting mean. And we need to stop being mean.

Paddy O. said...

"What do you say to people who oppose me asking you these questions?"

Where's ZPS? He's getting an answer.

Paddy O. said...

"If are both known, I trust the American people.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

The man's a liberal Democrat. He's come out against Prop. 8 in CA. Of course he actually would support gay marriage, if he could follow his heart.

He also supports in his heart banning handguns, reducing the size of the military, and increasing the pace of redistribution of wealth.

Paddy O. said...

"Everyone is going to have to get involved" is a lot better than "everyone has to make sacrifices"

But oops, he said sacrifices are involved. That kind of language gets candidates in trouble.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Obama did as good a job as he could have hoped in this forum, with this audience.

Paddy O. said...

Obama did do a good job with this audience.


"Obama's doing well enough tonight to reassure his sympathizers in the crowd..."

I think that's exactly it. I've noticed a lot of Evangelical Obama supporters getting farther away from Obama over the last few weeks. Not supporting McCain, but there's been a lot of 'national politics doesn't matter' buzz and disappointment expressed.

Of course there are some big holes in Obama's answers, but you have to look deeper to see them and that requires work. Obama has some good lines that will be used to reassure and answer quick challenges.

Paddy O. said...

greatest moral failings:

Himself--breakup of his first marriage.

The Country. Often not acting beyond self-interest.

Good answers. The second one started off a little weak, but he turned it out good.

Paddy O. said...

McCain is joking and seems comfortable early on.

...

McCain is criticizing Reagan!

Ben (The Tiger) said...

The early questions are tailor-made for McCain.

He ought to be able to hit several home runs.

But he can be uneven.

Paddy O. said...

What issue has he changed his mind?

He thought. Then came out with what he immediately realized was a strong campaign issue.

Drill! No foreign oil.

He smiled as he said it. He realized he turned a hard question to a solid answer.

He's following Paris' plan.

Nuclear power!

"We love to imitate the French!"

McCain became animated with this answer.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

John Mccain is doing very well.

The crowd likes him.

He had a good sense of humor.

Paddy O. said...

"I'm glad I didn't know the war would go on another 3 years."

A great admittance of humility.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

Watching Mccain tonight makes me think about voting for him. Maybe.

He's not an idealogue and I like that.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I'm sure Obama wishes he were still in Hawaii.

Oh, herrrre's Johnny! This oughta be great.

McCain's wisest:
1. General BETRAY us!
2. Who is John Lewis?
3. Meg Whitman is the CEO of ebay!

Oh yes! I remember the McCain people talking about how ebay will save the US economy. Love it.

Greatest moral failure:

Cheating on his wife? Come on...get to it...YES!

America's moral failure: We've been lazy bastards.

"My friends."

Invoking Reagan (a must).

Offshore drilling! Drill now! LOL. Problem is, he was against it 6 months ago, not "10 years ago."

I will say that McCain is doing a much, much better job at switching up Warren's questions in order to talk about and inject relevant, topical issues...he's playing his own game and barely listening to Warren. Obama played Warren's game and stayed whimsical...McCain, that crazy old bastard, is being very smart.

TitussaysRelax, dont do it, when you want to cum said...

I like the fact that he has reached across the aisle to get things done.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

McCain has the measure of the crowd.

Using some of his old lines, but if you know enough to know him, this forum isn't influencing you anyway.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

(to know THEM, I meant)

Paddy O. said...

"For a minute there it was two Christians worshipping together" McCain and a Vietnamese guard.

That was a brilliant story.

That's going to be passed along in emails all over.

Paddy O. said...

The quickness and directness of the abortion question just got him the Evangelical vote.

Paddy O. said...

Boo!

Warren asked McCain about Prop 8, didn't ask that of Obama.

My view of Warren stumbles a bit.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

"Defeat it."

Paddy O. said...

"McCain comes out. He's tieless."

McCain knows his audience.

EnigmatiCore said...

"General BETRAY us!"

Lunatic fringe, we all know you're out there...

I did not think there was anyone who could possibly replace Doyle as Althouse's worst commenter, but damned if ZPS hasn't pulled it off (Cedarford at least occasionally mixes in a cogent point amongst his Jew bashing).

Paddy O. said...

McCain is showing real, authentic passion.

I didn't see that in Obama.

Paddy O. said...

He would have nominated Kennedy?

Hilarie said...

So far, McCain is owning this audience.

Paddy O. said...

Rick Warren is cementing his position as the spokesman for Evangelicalism.

Dobson is going to be scrambling to get some influence back, but it's not going to happen.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I'm sure in his heart he supports full rights for gay people, but obviously, at this point, he can't say it."

Why can't he?

I don't want a President that is afraid to speak the truth as he sees it (unless the truth risks national security).

Afraid to speak truth to power? Bah.

I still don't know what is right or wrong with regards to gay marriage, but Obama is a complete and utter phony (claiming to be for states' rights on the issue but opposing the DOMA and opposing Prop 8) on the issue and a complete and utter coward as well.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Lunatic fringe, we all know you're out there..

Oh shut it. The "BETRAY us" line was a joke and a jab at those who used that stupid nickname. I don't subscribe to the "Betray Us" crap.

Paddy O. said...

"Find bad teachers another line of work"

Ha! Great answer.

McCain is giving good answers, but he's also hitting with passion and quickness that says even more.

dac said...

Paddy O, you are correct. The truly reformed hate him, but for most evangelicals RW is the new pope after tonight

Paddy O. said...

"What kind of opportunity is it if you have to send them to a failing school."

Host with the Most said...

Zachary,

You're out of your league here bro. All the questions you want answered have been asked and will be asked in the network debates. This one is mainly representative of evangelicals - and there's millions of us, and we vote.

If the candidates are at a forum at the NAACP, do you criticize them for asking some questions that are likely to be of interest to African Americans?

You are protesting too much about soon-to-be-the-next President John McCain. He must be doing really well for you to be this worried.

Paddy O. said...

McCain is scoring points with succinctness.

It indicates honesty.

But this is his audience, which wasn't necessarily a given beforehand.

fred said...

goodie! 101 let's run a precis on what the NY Times will give us in full in case we were too buisyh to watch this inane show, in which dumb questions were asked as though each candidate were being admitted to the priesthood. Does Evil exist, asks our host! goody. Let me take a chance on that one: YES.

EnigmatiCore said...

"There are 27 million slaves in the world. What will he do about that? Give prosecutors "the tools to crack down" in this country"

Thank God someone is finally going to outlaw slavery in our great land.

I'd hate to think all of those people died for nothing during the Civil War.

Reading this, I have decided I just can't do it. I was going to sit at home because McCain hasn't given me a reason to vote for him. But Obama really is that bad. He's the worst kind of empty suit--- one who makes people think he's a fellow traveler but in reality he's just a say-anything do-anything to get ahead unprincipled jagoff. He hasn't earned me staying at home. He's earned my veto.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

He's treating his audience like adults, and it's working.

Paddy O. said...

Hilarious bear DNA study answer.

"I don't know if that was a paternity or criminal issue."

The problem isn't taxes, it's spending.

That's a great, great answer.

McCain is really alive here.

Before this, we thought of Obama as the passionate and inspirational one, McCain is the measured and slow one.

This forum completely overturned that.

EnigmatiCore said...

"The "BETRAY us" line was a joke and a jab at those who used that stupid nickname"

You're a funny guy!

And still the worst commenter on Althouse. Congratulations!

Paddy O. said...

"When our right to privacy and right to security collide, how do we determine priority?"

Great question.

Paddy O. said...

"And still the worst commenter on Althouse."

I don't think that's at all true. I like him. :-)

dac said...

McCain is owning all the questions, especially with this audience. I am really impressed.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

He must be doing really well for you to be this worried.

He is doing really well in this environment, look at how he's talking more to the audience and not to Warren. He's good at this.

But he's dead wrong. Especially his riff on "failing schools." What does he propose we do with them then? I liked Stephen Colbert's answer a while ago...drop a bomb on the failing schools! He just lost every public school teacher's vote with his education bullshit.

Salamandyr said...

Does anyone have a full quote of Obama's response to the slavery question? Did he even recognize that the overwhelming majority of those are overseas? Or is this some kind of boilerplate response? It just doesn't seem to make sense on the face of it.

EnigmatiCore said...

"What does he propose we do with them then?"

Here is what I would do.

If a school is failing-- shut it. Send each and every kid to the nearest school that isn't failing. Let those schools get the additional funding, and let them hire teachers that they determine are qualified (so that the failing teachers at the failed school don't get hired).

If something isn't working, and the people running it can't turn it around, it is time to clean house. Shut it down, and maybe in a few years start it up again with new people.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Thanks Paddy! And Enigmatic...get over yourself.

Host with the Most said...

fred,

What part of a church pastor holding a forum in a church and asking questions that are important to church people do you not get?

So, because the church pays for and puts on a forum that both candidates freely agree to, YOU think questions important to church people don't have a place?

Take a breath, turn off the TV - this obviously isn't something you're capable of "getting" - and wait for the network debates.


Sheesh - why do people who don't want the church's influence in politics want so badly to control what churches do?

dac said...

As a spouse of pub school teacher, your wrong zps

EnigmatiCore said...

"Enigmatic...get over yourself."

I'll try, but it is so hard to do in light of my awesomeness.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

The public school teachers who are against vouchers and against school choice are solid Democrats, anyway.

Host with the Most said...

He just lost every public school teacher's vote with his education bullshit.

No, he lost only the bullshit (read NEA supporting) teachers. My wife is not one of them.

McCain's point is right - HomeShcool, Charter Schools, Vouchers are all working - the evidence is in, and continues to grow stronger every day.

This issue - and the stranglehold of the Socialist NEA - is finally starting to be broken. Th next generation will complete it. Good!

Paddy O. said...

McCain is showing his mastery of global issues.

He even knows the history!

Of Georgia!

EnigmatiCore said...

"He even knows the history!

Of Georgia!"

Only because he reads Wikipedia.

chickenlittle said...

ZPS said: "He just lost every public school teacher's vote with his education bullshit"

He never "had" that segment to lose. I'll bet he gained a fair number parents though and given that they outnumber the teachers at least 10 to 1, I think the math works.

Paddy O. said...

"Only because he reads Wikipedia"

That's a step more than a lot of people.

And there's an even chance it might even be true history.

Paddy O. said...

Does Obama get to hear McCain's answers?

AJ Lynch said...

ZPS:

FYI - republicans usually don't get too many union teacher's votes.

Paddy O. said...

"We have to make adoption easier"

Very solid answer. He knows the subject and the key issue. It's not about money raising orphans. So, so many people I know have been able to raise orphans, wanted to, but couldn't afford the process or get past the red tape.

MPH said...

"He just lost every public school teacher's vote with his education bullshit."

He never had their votes -- so who cares?


I don't know how many people have cared to watch through this boring forum -- but McCain obviously is doing better. This has been the fear since day one -- get Obama off the teleprompter and you've got a snooze fest.

chickenlittle said...

P.O. said: Does Obama get to hear McCain's answers?

All day tomorrow and next week

Wade said...

I think people are surprised about McCain's good performance because they have been shielded from him by the media...hmmm

Paddy O. said...

America wants hope. America wants optimism.

I have a record of working across the aisle to put America first.

He takes Obama's slogan and asserts that McCain is the one with the record to actually accomplish it.

But does he say why he wants the job?

EnigmatiCore said...

"And there's an even chance it might even be true history."

He should at least have the courtesy to attribute, or the deviousness to paraphrase.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

A very comforting evening, for McCain supporters.

chickenlittle said...

Perhaps out of fairness, the Rev. Wright could organize a similar Q & A at Trinity United.

Paddy O. said...

"He should at least have the courtesy to attribute"

It's Wikipedia. Maybe he wrote it.

dac said...

I went in thinking that Obama was going to be able to strip away 5 -10 percent of the evangelical vote from McCain - I think McCain just energized that base and has come out a big big winner tonight.

Paddy O. said...

McCain did what he needed to do. He showed a lot of genuine passion. He addressed key questions about his positions.

I think he did even more than he needed to, in fact. I think he's going to get a fair bit more support out of this.

Obama did what he needed to, as well. He didn't say anything to lose support and survived what would traditionally not be a Democratic center.

I'd have to say McCain did a lot better, even as I thought Obama did a good job.

dac said...

I think Obama was fine - just that McCain rocked the house.

He is the big winner in flyover land

XWL said...

McCain crushed Obama, if you were to recut this so that their answers were side by side, the contrast would be profound.

(if I were working for the McCain campaign, I'd throw this entire thing up on YouTube bit sized pieces just like that, I might do it any way, let's see if CNN will force me to take it down)

EnigmatiCore said...

"Maybe he wrote it"

Never thought about it.

Here's where I struggle with McCain. Why him? What compelling reason is there for me to vote for him, other than sheer opposition to Obama? If it is his service as a POW, we should have elected him President years ago. Is it his judgment? Mixed bag there-- some very good (the surge) some bad (McCain-Feingold).

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm not sure I can take seeing that cheek for four to eight years. Apologies for being so shallow, but I am.

Or years of "my friend." I'm not your friend. You're applying for employment. Let's understand that relationship.

dac said...

I liked the format also. Good questions.

M. Simon said...

General BETRAY us!

I take by us you mean Democrats. By screwing your plans for defeat.

Host with the Most said...

My liberal next-door neighbor - who is a great guy but likes to remind us he has NEVER voted for a Republican - just called to say that he's mad that Obama agreed to this and then looked so bad compared to McCain.

If there were 2 more Q&A's like tonight, we wouldn't be wasting time worrying about Obama.

Barack Obama is the least qualified major party candidate running for President in the entire history of the United States.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I take by us you mean Democrats. By screwing your plans for defeat."

No, you misunderstood. It was a joke. A subtle one, perhaps a bit ironic. Like rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you're already there, some good advice that you just didn't take.

Hmm. Those aren't ironic at all. Go figure.

M. Simon said...

My mate teaches in the public schools.

McCain had her vote in the Illinois primary. She hasn't changed her mind.

dac said...

NBC (MSNBC) has abandoned discussion on the talk. CNN and Fox talking heads are still going at it.

EnigmatiCore said...

"NBC (MSNBC) has abandoned discussion on the talk. CNN and Fox talking heads are still going at it."

If MSNBC has moved on, then that means they think Obama lost.

SwampWoman said...

There are a lot of schools where teachers are assaulted and it is kept quiet by administration who are busily hiding how bad it (the school) is.

If you only knew how many times teachers have sent uncontrollable students to the office for disciplinary action only to have them sent right back to class. After awhile, teachers stop trying. What is the point when the classes are disrupted constantly and nothing is ever done about it?

I prevented a stabbing in an elementary school once. The principal said we must keep it quiet because admitting that the boy was a problem could leave us liable. I resigned that week.

It is a jungle, and the teachers aren't the cause. Most teachers would LOVE to be able to teach without being in fear of their personal safety.

Personally, I think it would be more cost effective to remove the problem students from the school system instead of relocating the good ones.

Host with the Most said...

My favorite comment elsewhere in the blogosphere tonight:

Without a doubt, the lowest moment of the night was Obama's smear of Clarence Thomas. He, like Harry Reid, can't simply disagree with Thomas, he has to try to degrade him. On Obama's best day he can't hold a candle to Thomas's intelligence. Obama can barely make it through a press conference and ducks town hall debates with McCain because of his inability to speak in complete sentences when pressed to show his much noted but usually absent brilliance.

I certainly do disagree with John McCain on some big issues, but tonight he was outstanding in ways Barack Obama is not and cannot be. McCain was substantive, clear, concise, and relaxed. Obama seemed a bit nervous, some of his answers seemed contrived, and most of all it was clear that he is simply out of McCain's league when it comes to substance and experience. Score it a big McCain night.



National Review The Corner

mschaff said...

Education wll be "solved" when the NEA and the DOE are gutted, trashed and reduced to rubble.

Next, but not least, is getting parents to give a rats ass about their kids education.

Chip Ahoy said...

Irony 101

dac said...

Fox is doing a terrible job on the follow up. TONS of technical glitchs.

CNN is doing better technically

Giddy Up said...

McCain mopped the floor with Obama.

Hillary would never have looked so weak and naive as Obama did. He needs 8 years of seasoning under a Hillary presidency; then he will be ready.

this is going to be a disaster election for the dems based on this poor showing by Obama.

oh well...too late now.... or is it?

Stupid democrat party.

Host with the Most said...

CNN just called it unequivocally for McCain.

P. Rich said...

Substance

McCain 1
Captain Zero 0


Gravitas

McCain 1
Captain Zero 0

Stung by his lame showing, the masked crusader retires to sulk. 1,455 advisors are replaced. Hillary chuckles, while Bill smiles into his double-with-a-twist. A glass is raised high.

Simon said...

"8:06: When did he go against his party's interest for the good of America?"

That's an easy one for me - the Gang of 14. He threw himself in front of a bullet aimed sirectly at the Constitution that would have done serious damage to America, and although I believe it was clearly in his party's interest in the long term, he was fought bitterly by the short-sighted in the party over this.


"[Warren asks] whether the California Supreme Court was wrong to find a right to gay marriage in the California state constitution. McCain says they were. He believes the states should make the decisions — 'I'm a federalist' — but he wants to preserve traditional one-man-one-woman marriage. "

Sadly, the clueless will see this as contradictory.

D said...

McCain slayed him. If he does this in the debates the election is his. Hell, I am beginning to believe it already is.

Simon said...

XWL said...
"Really, McCain-Feingold was a 'brave' position where he opposed his party? Really? Really, really?"

Absolutely. There are people in the party who will never forgive him for that.

Simon said...

(I'm late to the party, can't you tell.)

Simon said...

Follow-up question that Obama should have been asked: had you been President in 1992, you wouldn't have nominated Thomas on Marshall's retirement; who would you have nominated? Which black jurist would you have promoted - or would you have been happy to by another liberal vote at the cost of going back to an all-white court?

Seven Machos said...

Personally, I think it would be more cost effective to remove the problem students from the school system

I have an idea. Most of them are poor and can't afford private school and come from failed families and tend to live in the same areas. Let's just trap all the bad students in the same schools so that they won't have the ability to affect the good ones/

What? That's the current system? Oh. Well. Never mind.

PatCA said...

McCain, by a KO.

He won because this was all about underlying values, and Obama doesn't have any. We should make him ambassador to the UN; he's very attractive, world-citizen-ish, and morally vacuous.

Middle Class Guy said...

mschaff said...
Education wll be "solved" when the NEA and the DOE are gutted, trashed and reduced to rubble.

Next, but not least, is getting parents to give a rats ass about their kids education.


I whole heartily agree. Based upon my experience.

Simon said...

It's interesting to compare Paddy and Zach. Paddy said: "Rick Warren is absolutely nailing the topics that I hear Evangelicals talking about in all kinds of places. This is stuff I'm hearing talked about at seminaries, conferences, a lot of churches." But Zach complained that even at the halfway point, there hadn't "been ONE SINGLE FUCKING QUESTION regarding real problems affecting the majority of Americans...." The former is the answer to the latter. People care about these things - maybe not you, Zach, but for other people -- people but for whose votes Obama will be spending two more years in the Senate followed by an inglorious career in private practice -- these are real issues that they want to know the answers to.

As much as it may annoy Obama and his supporters, they don't get to decide what issues are important to voters. You really saw this attitude in the Philadelphia debate where Clinton washed the floor with him and wrung him out - the desire to say that those things that he doesn't think are important (or that hurt him) are issues that the general public isn't interested in. Well, guess what: you and the people you know don't have unilateral domain over America, Pauline.

Seven Machos said...

Next is to stop pigeonholing the 60 percent of all kids who have no desire to study academicky crap into academicky crap and insist that they go to college.

Montagne Mointaigne said...

While you sit here crowing about how passionate McOld sounded tonight, millions of Obama volunteers are out registering voters in swing states. That's the thing about competent leadership. It's quiet but it works. Conservatives are in denial about what's happening in this country... but will have to face the truth soon. It's ok-- there'll still be papa Rush with a teat out to suckle on!

Seven Machos said...

But will get the Pauline reference? That is the real issue.

Simon said...

I want to know if anyone's view on my prediction that Obama will not do debates, plural, with McCain in the fall -- that is, that Obama will back out, and his supporters will rationalize it -- has changed in view of his performance tonight.

XWL said...

PatCA wrote above, He won because this was all about underlying values, and Obama doesn't have any.

I disagree, Obama has plenty of underlying values, it's just that they're a mix of marxism and liberation theology, and he knows that wouldn't be too popular, electorally speaking, if he presents them uncut.

Instead he has to be thoughtful, and measured, and think of ways to seem like he's saying what he thinks without really saying what he thinks.

McCain has the advantage of just being able to say what he thinks.

Seven Machos said...

Montagne -- Connecticut is an instructive test of your theory. The left was fired up about its Senate candidate. What was that dude's name? I honestly cannot remember. Anyway, they pounded Lieberman's ass in the Democratic primary with hardcore ideological voters. New voters. Young voters.

What happened in the general election?

If you can't win as a leftist changer in Connecticut, you can't do it anywhere.

Paddy O. said...

millions of Obama volunteers are out registering voters in swing states.

And more debates like this, all these new voters will be picking McCain.

Unless, you're telling us that all the volunteers are signing up people who will be guaranteed to vote for Obama... like dead folks and such.

The surest sign Obama lost even in the eyes of his supporters: "Debates don't matter! Quick, look over there!"

Funny thing is I actually like Obama better after tonight. McCain just really came out on fire.

Paddy O. said...

Ann, thanks for hosting this liveblog. I wasn't planning on watching it, as cynicism got the best of me. Your comments got me to turn it on, and I've very glad I did.

EnigmatiCore said...

I want to put the challenge to McCain's supporters-- why?

Why should I vote for him? I am skeptical in a lot of ways. He claims to be for the type of judges who would invalidate many of his pet legislation. He claims to be a tax cutter but opposed the last round of tax cuts. He's for getting the money out of politics but is fuzzy on how that squares with free speech and has a checkered past (Keating) on the matter.

Why should someone like me vote for him, as opposed to voting against Obama or staying at home?

Simon said...

EnigmatiCore said...
"I want to put the challenge to McCain's supporters-- why? Why should I vote for him? I am skeptical in a lot of ways. He claims to be for the type of judges who would invalidate many of his pet legislation."

BCRA is something of an outlier. I don't see any reason to suppose McCain will nominate judges like Scalia and Thomas, but I think he will nominate judges like Rehnquist, Roberts and Alito, which is what he's promised.

"He claims to be a tax cutter but opposed the last round of tax cuts."

That's become something of an urban myth. He opposed the last round of tax cuts because they weren't matched with spending cuts. It's hard to see how fiscal conservatives could object to a position that emphasized that balancing the budget has to rest primarily on spending less not just tax cuts.

"He's for getting the money out of politics but is fuzzy on how that squares with free speech...."

"Why should someone like me vote for him, as opposed to voting against Obama or staying at home?"

Because Obama would be an apalling President who would do immense, lasting and possibly irreparable damage to this country. Remember Reagan's joke about government programs being the closest to eternal life? Yeah? Well, think: why was that funny? It was funny because it's true. Don't make the mistake of assuming that in four years we can elect someone who will roll back the damage that an Obama administration and a pliant - supine, even - Congress can do.

Seven Machos said...

1. Vote for McCain.
2. Stay at home.
3. Vote for Obama.

Is McCain bad choice? Yeah, in the sense that I wish better choices would be available. Yeah, in the sense that McCain-Feingold is horrendous law. In the sense that his immigration policy will solve nothing. Is it the worst bad choice? No, because Obama is worse.

Obama will nominate radically left judges. He will raise taxes much, much more. He has no past whatsoever.

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

XWL said...

I'd like to see Bill Maher host the same format. I'd think he'd do well with it, so long as he really sticks to asking the same questions of both.

The primaries might have gone differently if they could have worked out a way to do something similar to this before (with multiple candidates, much harder, but I think there are work arounds).

EnigmatiCore said...

You attacked my concerns, but didn't give me a reason to vote for McCain. Then you followed it with a reason to not vote for Obama, which I think is where I am already.

Why vote for McCain, other than to keep Obama out?

Seven Machos said...

People up-thread bitch and moan that religion shouldn't be involved in politics, even though it has been since time immemorial and always will be. You know who I'd like to see get the hell out of politics? Comedians, like Bill Maher.

Can't we all agree on that?

Seven Machos said...

Why do you need a reason to vote for McCain if you have reasons to vote against Obama?

This is a distinction without a difference.

Simon said...

Seven Machos said...
"Connecticut is an instructive test of your theory. The left was fired up about its Senate candidate. What was that dude's name? I honestly cannot remember."

Ned. His name was Ned. George Carlin has a whole skit that should have warned them that he was doomed to failure. And the funniest thing is that I still see some lefties bitching that the leadership should strip Lieberman of his committee posts, as if they don't understand what happens if they piss on Lieberman's leg! Strip Joe of his assignments? Harry Reid will do literally what the media has been metaphorically doing to Obama for months to keep Joe's vote.

vbspurs said...

Instead he has to be thoughtful, and measured, and think of ways to seem like he's saying what he thinks without really saying what he thinks.

McCain has the advantage of just being able to say what he thinks.


That's almost always true of conservative candidates v. liberal ones in the US, yes?

Conservatives have it easy though.

They love or aren't as bothered by all the right things: their country, their God, the importance of families, of hard-work, of tradition, of the military.

Whereas liberals have to sell skepticism of all of the above to their fellow Americans.

No wonder they lose the Presidency so often. I don't see that changing in '08.

Cheers,
Victoria

Chip Ahoy said...

Professor Ann Althouse, best live blogging ever! I'm stunned.

*wets self*

*changes clothes*

EnigmatiCore said...

"Why do you need a reason to vote for McCain if you have reasons to vote against Obama?

This is a distinction without a difference."

I have to admit, I've been waffling on this lately.

My original stance was that if a candidate did not give me a reason to vote for him, then I would sit it out and let those who cared do the voting.

Wright was when Obama lost me, and lately I have started to think that I actively want to see him defeated as opposed to passively not care. But I am not sure I am all the way there yet. I do not think Obama can earn my vote at this point, though. Either he will convince me I have to vote against him, or McCain will convince me I want to vote for him. I know I am not all the way there on that, though.

Simon said...

EnigmatiCore said...

You attacked my concerns, but didn't give me a reason to vote for McCain. Then you followed it with a reason to not vote for Obama, which I think is where I am already.

I didn't attack your concerns, I explained why I think they're misplaced. And I did give you a reason to vote for McCain. Either McCain or Obama will be the next President, thus, if Obama will be a ghastly President, that is a reason - an extremely strong reason to vote for McCain. I reject wholly the idea that the only reason to vote for someone is because they have a positive agenda that you agree with. In any scenario where the winner will be one of two people, opposition to one candidate is a reason to vote for the other candidate. Even the French left - not the sharpest knives in the draw - figured this out a few years ago, deciding to hold their noses and vote for Chirac, a man who was to them what George Bush is to the American left.

Seven Machos said...
"People up-thread bitch and moan that religion shouldn't be involved in politics, even though it has been since time immemorial and always will be."

Anyone who actually thinks that religion and politics are separable - let alone separate - is so clueless about religion that they could be a columnist about it for the Washington Post.

Simon said...

Victoria - yep.

Fen said...

EnigmatiCore: I want to put the challenge to McCain's supporters-- why?

Bear in mind, I left the GOP last year, due in large part to McCain's amnesty/border security sham.

Why should someone like me vote for him, as opposed to voting against Obama or staying at home?

Smart foreign policy. McCain knows who the enemy is and isn't hampered by false equivalence. He will continue the Bush Doctrine, but with the moderation of someone like Powell. Look at his championing of the surge, as well as his reaction to the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Simon said...

Fen - I don't agree with McCain's reaction to the Georgian invasion, and even I will say that he quite clearly handled that better than Obama. It was quite hilarious watching the News Hour on Friday in its desperate attempt to manufacture a storyline where McCain and Obama both responded to the crisis and were paying close attention.

vbspurs said...

"Moderation of someone like Powell" worries me. He was a disaster as Sec'y of State.

Thank God he announced his official endorsement of Obama last week.

Proving again you just don't know where you stand with Colin Powell.

Cheers,
Victoria

EnigmatiCore said...

If he'll have the moderation of Powell, why does Powell disagree?

The Drill SGT said...

but didn't give me a reason to vote for McCain.

It's 3AM and the red phone rings at the Whitehouse...

The Drill SGT said...

but didn't give me a reason to vote for McCain.

Or as my Democratic Wife puts it: McCain's the only adult in the race

al said...

Comedians, like Bill Maher

Bill Maher is a Comedian?

Fen said...

Moderation of someone like Powell" worries me. He was a disaster as Sec'y of State.

Yes, I was also disappointed with Powell, but Enigma is the audience I'm speaking to.

And I'm not very excited about this election. Its like I have to choose between losing all of my fortune, or just half of it.

I guess the clincher is that ALL of our enemies, the ones that wish to harm America, are hoping we don't choose McCain as our leader. They know Obama will circular-file them through the UN.

Chip Ahoy said...

Both candidates answered religiously, "he died for my sins." (so that we can have eternal life)

That is total bunk. Any deity worth their salt would know a person cannot be sacrificed to erase the sins of another. Period. It's a real shame the apostles couldn't get past their emotional need for blood sacrifice. That is not what their master taught them. It's become the central feature of church canon and has mislead followers for two thousand years.

If I were running for president, I'd certainly lose. Right off the bat. On that one single issue right there. They'd kick me out. Exile me to a remote island.

Paddy O. said...

Anyone who actually thinks that religion and politics are separable - let alone separate - is so clueless about religion that they could be a columnist about it for the Washington Post.

HA! Best comment of the day! Love it!

Simon said...

vbspurs said...
"'Moderation of someone like Powell' worries me. He was a disaster as Sec'y of State."

How so?

"Thank God he announced his official endorsement of Obama last week."

He did? I had thought it was simply rumored and that he'd refuted it. But if he did, what a total rat. Every passing month makes it harder to accept the intellectual credibility of Obama supporters, I'm afraid.

Simon said...

Paddy, I'm just glad that at least one person gets what I'm referencing. ;)

al said...

Why do you need a reason to vote for McCain if you have reasons to vote against Obama?

This is my situation. McCain was far from my favorite Republican candidate but he's not Obama. He's not going to cater to the lunatic fringe of the Democratic party as I fear Obama will do. Of course here in Illinois my vote won't really matter as Chicago will go for Obama and thus will go Illinois...

Simon said...

Chip Ahoy said...
"Any deity worth their salt would know a person cannot be sacrificed to erase the sins of another."

I think that C.S. Lewis offered a wise commentary on this point by allusion. God set the rules providing that sin must be attoned for with blood, and was then bound by his own rules when confronting the shortcomings of his creation. So he came up with an ingenious way to circumvent the rules in the form of Christ's atonement for all sin. Of course, the necessary implication is that God is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but still. Impressive.

Chip Ahoy said...

Simon, I reject the first assumption.

AJ Lynch said...

Does Obama really prepare hard for these things? If so, it ain't helping him. I suspect he is winging it like a lazy but gifted student would.

Ann must be too embarrassed to even comment on his poor performance.

The ironic thing is the format was great - both asked the same exact questions and had no opportunity to hear the opponent's response.

Why didn't the MSM think of that?? Ha ha frigging dinosaurs have frozen brains.

Host with the Most said...

Chip,

Right this minute, as I write, 12 miles from Saddleback Church, at Anaheim Stadium, the pre-eminent evangelist of today, Greg Laurie, is explaining your very questions to 35,000 people, at the Harvest Crusade. Laurie lost his 33 year-old son in a car accident 3 weeks ago.

Watch here: Harvest Crusade

Simon said...

Chip,
Sorry, which one? I'm not quite sure which you have in mind.

reader_iam said...

Althouse: Good job. Bless your heart!

Fen said...

Any deity worth their salt would know a person cannot be sacrificed to erase the sins of another."

That your deity forgives your sins encourages you to do likewise with your fellow man. Big jump in civilization. Much better than a slew of "honor" killings over something our great-grandfathers squabbled about.

BTW, religion is an excellent tool for teaching humans the concept of Faith.

XWL said...

You're being somewhat cagey Prof. Althouse. In what way was my telling comment 'telling'?

Was it telling with regards to an objective difference between McCain and Obama, that it's pretty obvious McCain was speaking from the heart, and Obama was in an intellectual struggle to conceal his true intentions to a group he wishes to woo, but nevertheless vehemently disagrees.

Or was my comment 'telling' with regards to the way viewers who felt McCain did better are choosing to view this forum, and it's not an objective viewpoint, but merely a common subjective one.

(I'm comfortable with both answers being true, they aren't automatically mutually exclusive)

(and I'm open to a third or fourth possibility that I haven't considered)

(have I ever mentioned that I have a habit of over thinking things from time to time?)

(I'm sure I've mentioned that I may grossly abuse the use of parentheses in posts and comments)

reader_iam said...

When it comes down to it, debates are not about the candidates. They're about the we-the-people who view them--or, at least, talk about them, regardless of having viewed or not.

This comment bears some relation to a piece of what lead me to write my just previous comment.

Only sayin'.

(And again: Good job, Althouse.

That is to say, in this instance: Ann.)

Fen said...

I don't agree with McCain's reaction to the Georgian invasion

Curious as to why. For me, he didn't go far enough.

Fen said...

TalkLeft is a fun place to lurk tonight. Obama fans very unhappy, feel that this was a setup. McCain being branded as far-right extremist. McCain! Damn, these people are so insulated.

Steven said...

Obama didn't even have his political future on the line in 2003. If the Iraq War had been a success on the order of the 1991 Gulf War, he was no more likely to pay for his opposition in 2004 than Bill Clinton did in 1992. If that is in his top twenty of his toughest-ever decisions, he's never made a tough decision in his life.

And let's now quote Obama fully on the SC question; he said "an exper—" before switching to "strong". Well, we know what his honest answer would be, no? Hey, maybe we should demand an exper— strong President?

If deciding when life begins is above the pay grade of a President, then it's above the pay grade of the Supreme Court Justices he appoints, no? So didn't he just denounce Roe v. Wade by implication, saying the Justices decided something they had no business deciding? Or is he ducking a tough decision by saying it's merely above the pay grade of a Senator?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I'm back. I was watching it at my mom's and just got back to my house.

McCain "won" if we're designating a winner. He won because he engaged the audience and hit all the major topical talking points. He was sharp, and almost seemed like he was on speed! I haven't seen him this boisterous in a long time. Good job.

Obama played it safe and acted like it was just him and Warren sitting around being vague. Obama really needs to work on that. I wish we had a different candidate (not Hillary though).

McCain, like Bush, is wrong on education. "No Child Left Behind" has made it harder for public school teachers to actually, you know, "teach." Low income, messed up kids like my mom teaches (all of whom barely speak English in 1st grade) in Santa Ana can't just pack up and go to some all-white school half an hour away in Anaheim Hills. And if they did, they'd just bring the test scores down at the new school!

I don't know what the solution is unfortunately, but punishing under performing schools bombarded with inane "testing" for students who can't even speak English doesn't seem to be the solution. And blaming teachers or calling them "bad" is definitely not helping.

Randy said...

ZPS: What do you think about Obama's answer to the gay marriage question?

Victoria: A source for your statement that "Powell announced his official support for Obama last week" would be appreciated.

Althouse: Your play-by-play was the best I've found. Thank you so much.

Seven Machos said...

And if they did, they'd just bring the test scores down at the new school

Zach -- I appreciate that comment overall. However, the above statement really evinces an ignorance of market principles.

Yes. Of course. That's the idea. Schools with the resources to maximize are going to maximize those resources. Schools that suck are going to have fewer kids and get more resources.

Does it really matter if, say, some grade school goes on a macro level from the 83rd to the 77th percentile because it's taking on some kids from craptastic schools who have parents who care enough about their kids to take the initiative to move their kids?

It doesn't. This is the equivalent of football fans complaining because their school finished 15th instead of 12th. Big deal.

There are always, always going to be bad kids and bad schools. That's not going to change. Ever. The issue -- in a free society -- becomes how do we provide opportunities to those people nevertheless?

Thwacking the education establishment with money is not the answer. Nor is raising teacher pay.

Simon said...

Fen - I don't mind getting into this but I'm reluctant to hijack the thread; my concern is that we have no concerns adverse to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and several in common, and I worry that over the last decade, we're squandered a chance to make an alignment with them based on an outdated notion that they're the enemy. I found particularly baffling Kagan's piece earlier this week insofar as Kagan assumes (contrary to his own book) that if there is a power struggle between Russia and Europe we are naturally going to align with Europe.

reader_iam said...

Simon: It could be that Kagan's positing that notion in real time right now because that's what he's observing. You know, in real time right now.

Seven Machos said...

But we are going to naturally align with Europe for a bunch of reasons:

1. These countries are our bigger trading partners overall (particularly when you exclude things, like oil, we'd rather not even trade).

2. These countries share our political, economic, and cultural heritage.

3. These countries share our form of government.

4. These countries, relatively, are not wicked bastions of corruption.

5. These countries are our military allies by treaty.

6. We have an important geopolitical military infrastructure in these countries.

That's just off the top of my head.

reader_iam said...

Do please note the word-choice of "observing."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Sev- schools that suck are usually in lower class neighborhoods, home to lower class, poor families. These families do not have the wherewithal to send their kids off to better schools. We can provide them with the opportunities, as you say, but how many, if any of them, are able to transition to a "better school?" They are entrenched in their neighborhood, their culture...most of them don't even want to leave.

And it's not just because they are ESL kids. My best friend taught in South Central (she wanted to "make a difference") and the African-American kids there spoke English fine (if you can call it that) but were too busy with gangs and drugs.

The underlying problem isn't bad teachers or bad testing or bad schools, it's the socio-economic conditions that these kids come in with. The problems need to be fixed at their roots, not arbitrarily in the schools with, again, inane testing. It's a tall order that no president can fix in 4 or 8 years. Obama would fail, McCain will definitely fail, just as Bush has.

Oh, and Obama's answer about gay marriage was probably a lie. John McCain's was probably a lie too. These guys are both mostly rational, good guys and I doubt either of them give two shits about who can get married. They shouldn't even be asked about it.

Ann Althouse said...

We're getting close to 200 comments here, so you might want to move this discussion over to the newer post.

Seven Machos said...

Zach -- First, O reiterate: the problem isn't going to be solved. Ever. The poor will always be with us, and their kids will always have meager social capital to work with. The issue, then, becomes what to do about it.

Here's what the current law does, in a nutshell:

1. Allow kids in failing schools to move to non-failing ones.

2. Rain money on the failing school for the kids who remain.

Let's say 10 percent of the kids get out. The other 90 percent get more resources and have fewer classmates.

To me, that's a tremendous outcome.

reader_iam said...

schools that suck are usually in lower class neighborhoods, home to lower class, poor families.

The "usually" choice is significant. Here's a part of a weird thing about life: The good stuff doesn't always (often doesn't, and in many cases, just never does) drip down. The shitty stuff, on the other hand, almost invariably does.

I've observed that crap also floats up, by the way. FWIW, and all that, y'know.

ASmith said...

Obama on abortion ...
“answering that question with specificity … is above my pay grade.”

Well he got that right. Harry "the buck stops here" Truman he ain't.

This was equivalent to Obama voting “present” .. yet again.

tsousley62 said...

Re Obama and McCain hugging between segments. I suspect John McCain really DOES like Sen. Obama. Hard to tell, as usual, what Obama really thinks.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

I think that C.S. Lewis offered a wise commentary on this point by allusion. God set the rules providing that sin must be attoned for with blood,

This was the answer, spoken more gently, that Anselm, circa 1100, gave in his equivalence of God to a feudal Lord using reason to support a reading of the Gospels. Abelard gave the response that Christ offered us an exemplary life to suggest that man, feeling guilty, was still loved; death was a point in life, not the point. Look up Abelard in Constantine's Sword by J. Carroll. In a sense, McCain's answers are, of the two, perhaps more in the spirit of Anselm, more in a love is natural spirit: 'make it easer to adopt,' don't define 'rich' and 'penalty' together or dis the wrong view and black, be in the party and dissident.

Kev said...

EnigmatiCore--I can give you one more reason not to sit out the election: If you do so, you symbolically forfeit the right to gripe about whatever happens the next four years. (And there may be a lot to gripe about!)

If you need another reason to justify voting against a Democrat, there's always this one: Their party platform is bad for men, and fathers in particular.

Kirk Parker said...

ZPS,

"I wish we had a different candidate (not Hillary though)."

Whoa! I never would have guessed you were in the Lieberman camp...

M. Simon said...

I don't know what the solution is unfortunately, but punishing under performing schools bombarded with inane "testing" for students who can't even speak English doesn't seem to be the solution.

And just whose fault is it they can't speak English?

If they want to be a success in America one step on the ladder is to speak English. How hard can it be? Two and three year olds can do it. Kids who can't tie their shoe laces can speak English.

What is the answer? Vouchers.

OTOH maybe make education illegal. That seems to be a motivator for some. Another option: let kids drop out and work after grade school. To make that viable lower the minimum wage.

Or just accept the fact that some are interested in education and others are not. i.e. you can only teach those willing to learn. Otherwise you are wasting everybody's time.

EnigmatiCore said...

"We can provide them with the opportunities, as you say, but how many, if any of them, are able to transition to a "better school?" They are entrenched in their neighborhood, their culture...most of them don't even want to leave."

It is specifically because of their culture that so many of them cannot be educated. That culture needs to be blown up (metaphorically). It is incompatible with success in education. It is incompatible with success in life.

EnigmatiCore said...

"The underlying problem isn't bad teachers or bad testing or bad schools, it's the socio-economic conditions that these kids come in with. The problems need to be fixed at their roots, not arbitrarily in the schools with, again, inane testing. It's a tall order that no president can fix in 4 or 8 years. Obama would fail, McCain will definitely fail, just as Bush has."

Socio-economic? Let's just go with socio. It is not at all clear to me that being poor makes one incapable of learning or that being poor immediately means a culture of disregard for education and discipline.

I believe the problem is primarily cultural. But changing a culture is extremely difficult, and takes a long time. We don't want to just say "to hell with the current kids" as we undertake a decades-long effort to remake the culture, especially since we do not have an agreed-upon and consistent plan for how to change it.

So what can be done in the meantime? How about saving the kids who can be saved, who are failing because the school they are in has faculty that doesn't care or is inept, or because the environment in the school is impossible? We can do that by getting them out of that failing school by closing it and busing them to the nearest school that isn't failing and as such has a capable faculty and has a better environment. This, as opposed to continually flushing money into a failed school.

In order to do this, though, you have to test in order to correctly identify which schools are failing.

Will it work? Has it worked? As you said, probably not, if one defines working as fixing all of the education problems in the inner cities, or truly 'leaving no child behind.' But then, we are never going to be able to do that as utopia doesn't exist. We can just help those who can be helped; nothing more.

And as long as the culture is what it is in the inner cities, the number we will be able to help is depressingly small.

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