October 8, 2008

That was the worst debate ever.

Says Politico:
How the hell did candidates manage to be so timid and uninspiring at a time when American troops are in two problematic wars, the world financial markets are in scary free fall and the Dow has lost 1,400 points since Oct. 1? This is a moment history rarely sees — and both men blew it.
The debate was bad in ways that debates are often bad. The ultra-badness comes from being bad now.

93 comments:

Simon said...

It made me very sad, watching the candidates inartfully avoid answering the questions that were asked and retreat to rote talking points, that Gingrich wasn't our candidate. But I must bow to the political reality that while he would be a terrific debater and a terrific President, the critical link betwixt those two positions - the election - is the problem. I just don't think that the American electorate would vote for him, and if they're not ready to vote for a candidate of that calibre, they're going to be stuck with second tier (or in Obama's case, bottom tier) candidates of this calibre.

Joe said...

I listened to the first 20 minutes of the debate while driving home (worked late.) I then watched an episode of Remington Steele on hulu.com. I then turned on the TV for the last few minutes of the debate with the sound off.

My impression is that both candidates are very small men with giant egos and teeny imaginations. When it comes to the economy, both are morons and have advisers who are just as dumb. The fact remains that they were part of the problem, so how the hell can they be part of the solution?

It pisses me off that I have such idiots to choose from for president. I wouldn't put either man in charge of cleaning up after a picnic, let alone in charge of the country. (And don't bring up Barr--that guys makes the two main idiots look like freaking geniuses.)

Windbag said...

The debate was about what you should expect when two Senators are in it. Brokaw kept whining about the time limits. Two Senators, accustomed to endless resources (our money), had no clue as to how to budget their time. What makes anyone believe that they can demonstrate fiscal restraint, when they can't shut up when the red light comes on?

Obama is the only reason Republicans have to vote for McCain. Ignorance keeps driving Obama's camp.

Eli Blake said...

That's why I've always hated the town-hall format. In any other format the candidates get to exchange with each other, and in some cases even to ask each other questions.

If you want a good, tough debate then choose another format-- any other format.

SteveR said...

There are too many debates going back to the primaries and the candidates and their handlers would rather they be boring and unispiring than do anything beyond providing for the normal mockery from people who hate them already.

We learn nothing from them, I'd rather watch "Destroyed in Seconds" on the Discovery Channel.

Eli Blake said...

Obama is the only reason Republicans have to vote for McCain.

Whereas, as a Democrat, Obama is the first candidate in a generation I've really been excited about voting for.

With the benefit of what I've learned about Gore since the 2000 election he would have been the other, but that year he tried to play things too safe and what it might have gained him in centrist votes, it cost him in energy and enthusiasm.

But here is the difference, windbag:

I know a lot of people who voted for Clinton. I know a lot of people who voted for Gore. I know a lot of people who voted for Kerry. But this year, they aren't just voting for Obama, a lot of them are sending him money, making phone calls, knocking on doors, putting up yard signs, etc.

mccullough said...

People expect far too much from politicians, which is what these guys are.

I don't want to be inspired, I want someone to be practical and competent and tough-minded.

Windbag said...

Whereas, as a Democrat, Obama is the first candidate in a generation I've really been excited about voting for.

Eli,

I'm baffled on this point. What is it that you're excited about? I'm sincerely curious. Political rhetoric aside, what is it that Obama has accomplished that makes anyone think he's remotely qualified to be President? And what position on what issues is it that he takes that resonates with anyone?

McCain has a history of being a jerk, and the McCain-Feingold legislation that he so proudly referenced over and over, provide more than enough reason to reject him. But, Obama is unproven, has questionable ties to questionable people, and largely appears to be an empty suit.

Honest question, what is it he's done, and what is it he proposes that you think qualifies him? Specifics, please.

I hope this comes across positively, because I'd really like to hear some reason, and not engage in another flame war over who's candidate is Satan's evil twin.

rastajenk said...

The whole debate thing has lost its cache. If I were running, I'd do a Michael Jackson crotchgrab and say, "Debate this."

Simon said...

Eli said...
"But this year, they aren't just voting for Obama, a lot of them are sending him money, making phone calls, knocking on doors, putting up yard signs, etc."

That makes me even sadder to see. Most days, I drive home past a union office that has a big "hope" sign outside it with that grimly depressing sunset logo standing in for the "O" and it just makes me fearful for the future of this country. Hope - hope that we'll get through Obama without him doing irrevocable harm - is about all we're going to be left with, and it will be misplaced hope. At absolute best, a long night of missed opportunities and misbegotten policies; at worst, if Obama actually tries to do what he's promised, catastrophe and financial oblivion as mandatory entitlement spending goes past a level of GDP where the economy can sustain it.

Four more years of bitter partisan warfare. What a treat that will be.

Original George said...

They both played it smart. It's apparently going to be a very close election.

If one had come out with bold economic plans or angry charges, the press would've said that guy wanted to do risky stuff in risky times.

It's in the government's interest to keep people calm about the economy.

Simon said...

Windbag said...
"Eli, I'm baffled on this point. What is it that you're excited about?"

Oh, but Windbag, he talks about hope! He talks about change! And he's biracial - isn't that just a dreamy way to pay off our white guilt?

Most of all, I think they're excited because they think Obama can win, and with a Democratic President, they can get revenge. Absent the horrific prospect of a blanket pardon by Bush, I simply cannot imagine how any reasonable person can avoid the conclusion that Jane Hamsher spoke for many when the creamed herself over the prospect of indictments for administration officials. It is as unpredictable and unthinkable as the sun rising in the east, and anyone who tells themselves otherwise, I'm sorry to say, is having their better judgement overwhelmed by... Well, I don't know by what.

bleeper said...

Sad, really, that we as a nation cannot produce an actual leader with political courage. Oh well, four years of either one is going to happen, so there is no use in whining about it.

Impeach now, he's not my president, and so on.

jdeeripper said...

Windbag said...Obama is the only reason Republicans have to vote for McCain.

Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and more than a few others in Congress are added reasons.

Who seriously wants this Democrat party controlling the whole show in Washington?

AJ Lynch said...

Maybe the debate rules could be changed to allow them to ask each other questions? Let's face it the MSM is out of original material.

He who asks the best questions might be judged the winner.

AJ Lynch said...

Or have Instapundit and Chief Daily Kook ask the questions.

former law student said...

I know a lot of people who voted for Clinton. I know a lot of people who voted for Gore. I know a lot of people who voted for Kerry. But this year, they aren't just voting for Obama, a lot of them are sending him money, making phone calls, knocking on doors, putting up yard signs, etc.

I cannot remember this much excitement about a Presidential candidate since JFK. Friends of ours actually held a fundraising for Obama get-together.

I think Obama's appeal might just be the prospect of having an intelligent President after eight years of The Doofus.

Simon said...

former law student said...
"I think Obama's appeal might just be the prospect of having an intelligent President after eight years of The Doofus."

Well, I can surely understand that, but it's not something to be pursued at any cost! If we're going to have just anyone who's smart and can articulate their views well, nominate Richard Posner for God's sake.

Original George said...

Bob Schieffer hosts the third debate.

He got a great scoop the day JFK was shot. Got an exclusive with Oswald's mother. Impersonated a cop.

Democrats don't like him.

David said...

The format has nothing to do with why this debate was such a travesty.

McCain has no idea how to deal with the economic problems. His best traits, toughness and character, are on display without a coherent intellectual framework. He's near clueless. His one good idea, help the homeowners with problem mortgages, was presented incoherently.

Obama is in the four corners. He knows that all he has to do is run out the clock with platitudes and generalities. Events have pushed him into the lead and all he has to do is not blow it. He is very good at platitudes and generalities, so you have to like his chances.

We are going to end up with a very bright, very inexperienced (he IS the black male Palin) and charismatic President in a time of crisis. He may be up to the job, he may not. With most Presidents we do not find out for some time if they are any good at the job. We may learn about Obama rather quickly.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

Something had to give, really, considering that the emotional upset that began the moment that Gore started whining and demanding recounts instead of graciously conceding when the first count in Florida didn't come out in his favor had to have been incredibly draining... and it went on for eight years now.

(Make no mistake... nothing Bush did in office caused this, because it started with the emotional upset of those recounts and charges of stealing the election and the idea that it really really mattered badly that Gore won because Bush was worse than bad. And people were going to see psychologists *then*... long before any war started by crazy Islamists.)

I've no doubt that the prospect of freedom, at last, from constant despair is really really a wonderful feeling.

That most of the despair is a calculated political ploy is irrelevant to how good it feels to imagine it gone.

Roger J. said...

I agree entirely with david's comment above. We are on the verge of electing another JFK: bright, articulate, clean (according to his running mate), visionary, inspiring. But the reality of camelot with respect to JFK was much more mundane: drugged up, sexually promiscuous, callow in international affairs, pusillanimous in civil rights, damn near got us in a nuclear war with the soviet union, and pushed us further into Viet Nam. A sorry record all in all.
If Obama is the new JFK I hope he does one hell of a lot better.

Revenant said...

The problem with being really excited about an empty suit is that eventually the empty suit winds up in a position where he has to make actual policy decisions. Then the excitement gives way to disillusionment, bitterness, even anger.

America really IS deeply divided on a whole host of issues. Obama has dealt with that problem by being deliberately vague about what he actually believes in. So he's for second amendment rights AND total gun bans. He's for cutting taxes AND the deficit AND massively increasing spending. He's for pulling out of Iraq immediately AND for responsible withdrawl. He's for no-preconditions talks with our enemies AND for tough diplomacy. As President, he won't be able to rely on the steady production of unfiltered bullshit the way he has for the past few years. Senators can do that, and candidates can do that, but Presidents get held accountable by the public.

Revenant said...

A sorry record all in all.

Don't forget "getting shot and sticking us with a dolt of a VP who does an even worse job". Imagining a President Biden gives me the chills.

CarmelaMotto said...

Excellent point from Political.

This was Obama's "moment" and he was a bore.

Honestly, I am constantly told what an amazing orator he is and he is dull dull dull.

If OHB becomes President, he will TRY to have some soaring inauguration speech, and Keith & Chris will wet their pants, but it will disappear into obscurity (as Clinton's first did - he tried sooooo hard to be Kennedy.)

Eli Blake said...

windbag and Simon,

The reason so many Democrats are excited about Obama is that instead of following the Clinton model of basing policies on microfocus groups, advice from pollsters and really not staying true to anything, I and many other progressives believe that Obama actually does agree with our outlook. We want universal health care (yeah, Obama has only promised to universally cover children but his plan will also make it affordable for all), we want the U.S. out of Iraq, we want an activist Government that will provide leadership in everything from energy independence and combatting global warming to helping out people who would otherwise be in poverty.

Beyond that Obama is the kind of inspirational leader who actually can get people excited about, for example, developing alternative energy and putting alternative energy vehicles on the road, or in explaining why we need to do a better job of working with our allies instead of trying to do everything alone.

So yes, in a nutshell-- the people who voted for Clinton, Gore and Kerry mainly because they thought the alternative was worse, are not working for Obama because we believe that he shares are progressive values and not just the values that a micro-pollster tells him that he should have that day.

Darcy said...

As President, he won't be able to rely on the steady production of unfiltered bullshit the way he has for the past few years.

This makes me chuckle...until I am reminded of the love affair the MSM has with him. I doubt if he would be held accountable for any misstep or mistake.

Eli Blake said...

Whoops, I should say we ARE working for Obama because we believe that he shares OUR progressive values.

blake said...

we want an activist Government that will provide leadership in everything from energy independence and combatting global warming to helping out people who would otherwise be in poverty

Jesus Christ, why?

(Obviously that's a rhetorical exclamation and what separates me from the statists/authoritarians, so, no, Eli, I don't actually expect you to answer, and if you did, I don't expect the ensuing discussion to be fruitful. But I felt compelled to utter it nonetheless.)

Windbag said...

A sorry record all in all.
If Obama is the new JFK I hope he does one hell of a lot better.


JFK was also a supply-sider, so he had at least one redeeming quality. Even Clinton saw the wisdom in supply-side economics, and converted by his second term.

blake said...

I have it on good authority--i.e., some jackass in the debate thread--that supply-side economics have been thoroughly discredited.

Poor commies. They really need capitalism to fail, too.

Windbag said...

Eli,

Thanks. I don't think that we should talk about politics if you ever come over for drinks. I believe that government should get out of the way, and you seem to believe that government is the way. Fundamental difference in opinion on the role of government. That's something I can live with. The Bush=Hitler and Obama is a closet Muslim crap I can do without.

We can all agree to hate the Miami Dolphins, right?

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

windbag,

The Dolphins aren't worth hating though. In sports, you have to be respected and successful in order to really be detested. But it's been at least 20 years since the Dolphins were good enough to detest. In contrast, you will always find people who hate the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers and college teams like Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC. There is a reason for that. It's because they are good, and they aren't afraid to go out there and pound the crap out of people to get what they are looking for. So when they have a bad year, people get excited about it.

It's the same way in politics. Win or lose, people won't remember much about what Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry actually were for (other than maybe Gore on global warming.) But I suspect a lot of people will remember what Obama is for (some of which I mentioned in the last comment.)

Revenant said...

we want an activist Government that will provide leadership in [lots of stuff]

Certainly you do, as does -- I suspect -- Obama himself. If I were a leftist I'd be thrilled with Obama too, since he'll be the furthest-left President since FDR.

The problem, of course, is that most Americans don't want that. Obama's majority comes from people who (a) are sick of Republicans (and who can blame them) and (b) people who think Obama is a Clintonian moderate. Alienate those people by acting like you've got a mandate for a left-wing makeover of government and Republicans will retake the White House in 2012. Of course, if Obama *doesn't* act that way, he'll alienate the left. That's the problem with running for office on empty promises instead of clearly articulated plans and ideals.

bleeper said...

Defeat abroad, failure at home and rampant Marxism. Yep, that Obama will sure be remembered.

Eli Blake said...

Also,

to be honest I think it hurt the Republicans to not nominate a conservative. Now, as a liberal I'm happy they didn't, but the level of enthusiasm among Republicans for McCain is about as low as it was for any GOP nominee since at least Bob Dole. Palin may have helped the Republicans a little in that regard, but not as much as a conservative with credentials would have. And I don't mean Mitt Romney, either.

chickenlittle said...

Eli blake wrote:

..we ARE working for Obama because we believe that he shares OUR progressive values.

We want universal health care,...we want the U.S. out of Iraq, we want an activist Government that will provide leadership in everything from energy independence and combatting global warming to helping out people who would otherwise be in poverty.

That is just sinister. I was immediately reminded of the Grand Inquisitor's words to Christ:

Listen, then. We are not working with Thee, but with him; that is our mystery.

I hope for the sake of the country and my own children that your vision never comes to pass.

mccullough said...

Eli,

I understand young people being excited about Obama. I don't understand why people over 25 aren't more sober in their outlook. It's fine to support the guy, but people are building up expectations that no President could ever meet.

This Cult of Personality of his followers, like Mussolini and Kennedy, is disturbing.

rhhardin said...

It's a ``one of these things is worse than the other'' debate.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We want universal health care (yeah, Obama has only promised to universally cover children but his plan will also make it affordable for all), we want the U.S. out of Iraq, we want an activist Government that will provide leadership in everything from energy independence and combating global warming to helping out people who would otherwise be in poverty.

I don't want any of this. Sure the "ideas" might be nice to think about. Free health care. No more war. Peace in our time (hmmm who said that?) The unintended consequences of implementing these pie in the sky, impractical, government mandated feel good programs will turn out disastrous. Turn out just as disastrous as the "idea" that everyone can get a house loan without having to qualify.


I DO NOT WANT an activist government. Every time the government attempts to do social engineering it is a catastrophe.

Expat(ish) said...

Interesting comment about people remembering Obama in some decades because of what he was for.

What was Kennedy for? We remember his (serial) disasters, and we remember "the moon" and "ask not" but what was he for? Full employment? Low prices? What was Clinton *for* when he was elected? Who knows.

We remember what presidents do (good or bad) so BHO will certainly be remembered as the first half black not African-American president (phew!) and for whatever, if anything, he accomplishes.

My great fear is that he will be remembered for doing an Oprah imitation after the Islamo-Fascists hit us hard somewhere in his first year of office.

-XC

blake said...

I DO NOT WANT an activist government. Every time the government attempts to do social engineering it is a catastrophe.

Well, that seems plain to me, looking at the history of the world.

But the fact, also, is that no one seems to believe that, way deep down, when their ass is on the line. At least no one in office and none of the people who have spent the last, oh, 70 years bribing the government to get what they want.

Fred Thompson tried to push that. But he "lacked fire". So now we have McCain--who clearly doesn't believe it--and Obama, who clearly believes the opposite.

And, of course, Palin, who might believe it, but can't say it right now without undermining McCain.

AJ Lynch said...

Eli Blake said:

"We want universal health care (yeah, Obama has only promised to universally cover children but his plan will also make it affordable for all)".

Good luck with that affordable part Eli. Obama won't have a prayer in reducing costs when what many of his sycophants actually want is unlimited care and quick access for every sniffle and minor aches and pains.

rcocean said...

Why did the Republicans nominate McCain? What is he for? More wars or is it more bailouts?

You can blame Brokow for the questions, but why didn't McCain mention abortion, or Rev Wright? He could done something interesting. He even could have talked in Spanish about how he loved illegal immigration.

He's a 72 year old Yosemite Sam. There is no positive reason to vote for McCrazy. So, Obama has proved he's not a left-wing nut. Just like Reagan proved he wasn't a Right-wing nut in 1980. So its hail President Obama unless....

Palladian said...

"The reason so many Democrats are excited about Obama is that instead of following the Clinton model of basing policies on microfocus groups, advice from pollsters and really not staying true to anything, I and many other progressives believe that Obama actually does agree with our outlook."

Really? What makes you think so? Just "a feeling"?

"We want universal health care..."

What is "universal health care"? Why do you think you deserve it? Why do you think I should pay for it? I pay for my own health care, why can't you pay for yours?

"...we want the U.S. out of Iraq,"

Really? Completely out of Iraq? Do you want the US out of Germany and Korea and other places too?

"...we want an activist Government"

That has to be one of the most chilling phrases I've read in a long time.

"...that will provide leadership in... combatting global warming"

Really? So how do you propose to "combat global warming"? Is there a specific scientific study that shows that there is anything humans can do to "combat global warming"? Why do you think that "global warming" is more of a threat than Islamic extremism? Why is it ok to combat "global warming" but not ok to combat people who actually did great harm to our citizens? Since "progressives" complain that you can't fight a "War on Terror" because "terror" is just a word, then why do you think we should sink money into fighting "global warming", an even more ambiguous concept than terrorism? And isn't it "climate change" now, not "global warming"? Are you working from an old script?

"...to helping out people who would otherwise be in poverty."

Why don't those people do something to help themselves? Has the government ever really "helped" people in poverty?

"Beyond that Obama is the kind of inspirational leader who actually can get people excited about"

Why do left wingers always need a leader to inspire them and get them excited? Seriously, I thought you people were against authority figures? Don't you have anyone else to look to for inspiration and excitement? Can't you inspire and excite yourselves?

"...for example, developing alternative energy and putting alternative energy vehicles on the road,"

I thought energy was energy. Is this "alternative energy" some sort of string theory powered thing? Will we all have a Mr Fusion unit on the back of our Deloreans?

"...or in explaining why we need to do a better job of working with our allies instead of trying to do everything alone."

We tried to do "everything alone"? I don't recall us being "alone" in Afghanistan or in Iraq. Unless you mean "alone" as in "without France and Germany". Why do lefties need other people's approval and inspiration all the time? You guys sound a little... needy.

"So yes, in a nutshell-- the people who voted for Clinton, Gore and Kerry mainly because they thought the alternative was worse, are not working for Obama because we believe that he shares are progressive values and not just the values that a micro-pollster tells him that he should have that day."

Um, care to unpack that sentence? I can't make heads or tails of it. I do wonder what's so "progressive" about adopting 1930's style socialism...

And I voted for Clinton and Gore, and not just because I thought the alternative was worse.

I pray for the sake of the country that, should he be elected, Obama is as big of a disappointment to you "progressives" as Bill Clinton was.

veni vidi vici said...

"I cannot remember this much excitement about a Presidential candidate since JFK. Friends of ours actually held a fundraising for Obama get-together."

This is the equivalent of that New York socialite's comments about not knowing anyone who voted for Nixon in '72. I had friends on the west side of L.A. that actually held fundraising get-togethers for Bush in '04. SFW? Where do you think these candidates raise their tens or hundreds of millions of dollars?

(paraphrasing Kuato): Dude, "open your mind..."

Original George said...

"[New Yorker film critic Pauline] Kael told me the story of that mysterious quotation when it appeared in (I think) The Wall Street Journal several years ago. She never said it, and she was irked by the fact that it was so often attributed to her. Apparently a reporter, or somebody, asked her to comment on Nixon's election, and she replied that she couldn't because she didn't even know anyone who had voted for Nixon. And the story got garbled. I may have garbled the story myself slightly, since some years have passed since she told me, but the point is: she never said it. Which is easy to believe, because I never knew her to make patently stupid statements, and when she joked or was outrageous it was never with the kind of naivete that you would have to assume to make a statement like that.

The upshot is that people who know nothing about her or her work are constantly berating her for saying something she never said and never would have said."

Craig Seligman, author of 'Sontag and Kael,' quoted here.

blake said...

So, Obama has proved he's not a left-wing nut.

He has? How?

With vigorous speech-making?

"No left-wing radical could stack books like that!"

Mateo said...

Watching the debate, I couldn't help but wonder if both these guys were thinking, "I'm not so sure I want this job."

And, really, right now who could blame them?

BTW, I'm going to go out on a limb and wonder aloud if Obama hasn't peaked too early. This lead in the polls one month out has too many people thinking for too long about the implications of an Obama win.

Zeb Quinn said...

So, Obama has proved he's not a left-wing nut.

That case hasn't been made to my satisfaction.

Simon said...

George, it wouldn't have caught on unless it was in step with her character. If someone attributed to Barack Obama the epigram "what we need is to get government out of people's way, to get government off people's backs," no one would believe it. If they attributed some vague, quasi-Zig Zigler motivational crap to him, they might have believed it. I don't know if Kael actually said it. But if she didn't, it wouldn't have caught on if she didn't have a reputation conducive to those words being placed in her mouth.

Simon said...

mccullough said...
"This Cult of Personality of his followers, like Mussolini and Kennedy, is disturbing."

That's exactly right. You see it even in Eli's comments - after checking off agreement with Obama on disagreeable but rational enough policy goals, he can't resist adding a gush about how the Vozhd is an "inspirational leader." I do agree that "I suspect a lot of people will remember what Obama is for"; everyone remembers who Benedict Arnold was, everyone remembers who Jefferson Davis was, everyone remembers who FDR was, and I don't doubt Obama's sincere desire to join that rogue's gallery.

Darcy said...

That was brilliant, Palladian.

Henry said...

Benedict Arnold? Jefferson Davis? Simon, paroxysms of horror are just as silly as starry-eyed enthusiasm.

I know that you hold a special fear for Obama's judicial appointments, but given the makeup of the Senate, he won't be able to nominate anyone more radical than any other Democratic president.

My guess is that Obama, while definitely on the left of the left, is not capable of making a radical impact of any kind. Obama is a guy whose political posture has always been to be comfortably "present"; he's a guy who has always gone along with his immediate peers -- whether urban radicals or porkbelly senators.

When a guy like this becomes chief executive, what are we to expect?

Nothing much, in my opinion. He's a cautious man. He'll go along with the Senate Democrats. He'll follow along with his cabinet. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will be as incompetent as ever. We'll all be fine.

Revenant said...

given the makeup of the Senate, he won't be able to nominate anyone more radical than any other Democratic president.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but it is likely the Democrats will have a 60-vote majority in the Senate. Add in the fact that some Republicans (e.g., John McCain) have a history of voting for qualified candidates regardless of their political leanings and I don't see any reason to think there will be any way of stopping far-left judges from being appointed.

garage mahal said...

Why don't those people do something to help themselves? Has the government ever really "helped" people in poverty?

LBJ did. Dropping the poverty rate from 19 to 11 percent. Nowadays you could never get away with proposing to wage a War on Poverty as LBJ did. Democrats don't speak of the "poor", or "poverty" anymore, only the "middle class". Funny how giving a CEO 15 million parachute is "serious, they deserve it!" or giving AIG millions in bailout money so they can throw a half million dollar frat party after they fucked up their checkbook is "needed, or we'll go into a Great Depression!". Truman first proposed universal health care in 1948. I bet you don't know anyone that benefits mightily from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or unemployment insurance, etc etc etc. The idea that Republicans worship Reagan who called Medicare the "advance wave of socialism" and Democrats are supposed to be ashamed of LBJ's legislative genius is absurd. Come to think of it anyone voting Republican these days is absurd.

Darcy said...

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but it is likely the Democrats will have a 60-vote majority in the Senate.

On that cheerful note, I think I will head to my comfy bed pillows and try to dream that this will not happen. :)

Palladian said...

"I don't know if Kael actually said it. But if she didn't, it wouldn't have caught on if she didn't have a reputation conducive to those words being placed in her mouth."

Oooh, so in other words, "Fake, but accurate"! Simon! I'm surprised at you!

mccullough said...

Garbage mahal,

Unfortunately the Democrats and Republicans don't pay for the entitlement programs, which is why we have huge deficit spending.

If Obama's health plan is enacted, we will still have huge deficit spending even if he withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If we want these entitlement programs, then fine, but let's pay for them right now.

We can start by means-testing them. "Mr. Buffett, you will be getting no social security and you can pay for your health care completely out of your pocket," Sincerley Uncle Sam, and work our way down.

We make elderly people spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home but not Medicare to pay for their other medical bills. Why not? People will be incentivized to live healthier and their kids will be incentivized to get jobs because that inheritance money might not be there.

And how about we stop funding programs that don't work. Head Start doesn't work, so the government should drop that program.

Emily Carson said...

McCain is toast.

Get ready for the United States of Socialist Republics.

LonewackoDotCom said...

If anyone wants to have the candidates answer real questions, you're fooling yourself if you think the MSM is going to do it. They're going to continue ignoring the issues, covering for BHO, and smearing for BHO all the way until election day.

The only way to have the candidates answer real questions is for you to do it yourself:

1. Go to a BHO/McCain appearance.
2. Ask them a real question.
3. Get their response on video.
4. Upload the video to Youtube.

The longer version of the plan is here.

Those who supposedly oppose BHO and media bias are aware of that plan, yet they aren't pushing it. If you support the plan, write those listed at the link above and ask them why they aren't helping push it.

Maybe Althouse could ask Insty why he isn't pushing a plan that would have a very favorable impact on something he claims to oppose.

Simon said...

Henry said...
"I know that you hold a special fear for Obama's judicial appointments, but given the makeup of the Senate, he won't be able to nominate anyone more radical than any other Democratic president ... [He] is not capable of making a radical impact of any kind"

Not so. Obama wants to nominate Brennanites. Senate Democrats want to confirm Brennanites. And Senate Republicans break into two groups, neither of which will pose an obstacle: those who genuinely believe that the Senate shouldn't obstruct a President's judicial nominees with filibusters and the like, and those who would be willing but who are smart enough to understand that the GOP took that option off the table as a political matter when they nailed their fortunes to the former position a few years back. Over my strenous objection, I might add: I warned, in my best Zathrus impression, that this was pollyannish and that they might soon find themselves on the short end of a Senate minority and a horrific Democratic adminstration, but no one listen to Zathras.

And it's really important that you understand that this isn't an academic matter. If McCain gets in, he'll get one appointment to the Supreme Court unless someone dies. If Obama gets in, I guarantee you that he will get three appointments - Stevens, Ginsburg and Souter all want to go under a Democratic President, and as much as I'll miss Souter, I think he'll go sooner rather than later. Obama will walk in to a federal judiciary with, oh, off the top of my head I'll say 11 vacant seats on the courts of appeals, and innumerable more seats to fill as the Reagan and Bush 41 appointees start to retire. Who do you think is going to be appointed? It will be people like Harry "Mr. Foreign Law" Koh. If we're very, very lucky, it'll be Kathleen Sullivan. The most likely scenario is a new generation of Steve Rhinehardts. Even if I agreed with him on every other issue, Obama's position on judicial appointeees requires - requires, as a matter of the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies including domestic enemies - me to oppose him.

We are about to lose an historic opportunity to finally put this country back on the right track. We're going to piss it away because a few people are really annoyed about the war and Wall Street. I find that deeply depressing. You know, an earlier draft of my post included Harry Blackmun in that list with Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis, but I thought it was unfair to tarnish their names by association with his. What misery, destruction and corrosion he has rained down on this country.

Simon said...

Palladian said...
"[Simon said, 'I don't know if Kael actually said it. But if she didn't, it wouldn't have caught on if she didn't have a reputation conducive to those words being placed in her mouth.'] Oooh, so in other words, 'Fake, but accurate'! Simon! I'm surprised at you!"

Well, let's keep in mind here that the point of that story isn't Pauline Kael. Very few people now remember or care who Pauline Kael was, and outside of the kind of people who think that "The New Yorker" magazine is something worth subscribing to, that number would be zero but for her infamy in connection to this quote. The point of the story that's told - even if it's apocryphal - is that it is emblematic of the reaction of the liberal media elite to what some call middle America but I prefer to call real America, as filtered through any convenient avatar, for which purpose Kael suffices. If she didn't say it, se thought it, and one of her colleagues simply gave voice to it. For my money, though, I think she said it.

Revenant said...

Very few people now remember or care who Pauline Kael was, and outside of the kind of people who think that "The New Yorker" magazine is something worth subscribing to, that number would be zero but for her infamy in connection to this quote.

She's fairly well known among movie buffs, if only for her pretentiousness and questionable taste in film.

Revenant said...

LBJ did. Dropping the poverty rate from 19 to 11 percent.

He achieved a temporary drop in poverty by enacting a set of permanent entitlement program. Ten years later poverty rates were back up and and the poor were worse off than they'd been to begin with.

DonK said...

I'm in my mid-50s and have voted for McGovern, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Perot and Bush 43 (once - I passed on everyone four years ago), so I'm hardly a doctrinaire. And I find Obama the scariest candidate I have ever seen.

On foreign policy, he is a naif. He wants everyone to like him. His offer to meet Chavez, etc., without preconditions shows either incredible naivete or rank stupidity at the value of a meeting with the President of the United States.

His economic policy is strictly from the Robin Hood School of Economics (take from the rich and give to the poor) via Herbert Hoover (who was a fine man albeit the wrong man in the White House at the wrong time).

Should Obama win (more likely than not barring a miracle), anyone with money is well-advised to get it out of the country ASAP. His policies will offer no incentive to be more productive and make more -- why generate more when the government will take it away.

I'm also leery of the Cult of Obama. He really is an empty suit -- he stands for nothing but himself and his ambition, and his wife is worse.

I'm not wild about McCain (the 2000 version would have kicked Obama around the block), but he's by far the lesser of two evils. Four years of Obama will leave us bankrupt, divided and longing for the days of GWB (who might as well go back to Texas now for all the good he's doing for the country).

Michael said...

Nina Easton: John McCain Sank the Free Market Republican Ship Last Night

By SilentPatriot Wednesday Oct 08, 2008 7:00pm


FORTUNE Magazine's Nina Easton, a typically reliable GOP apologist, didn't like what she heard last night from John McCain on the mortgage meltdown -- a 180 degree flip from previous statements, as Jon Perr documented -- and sure didn't hold back her bewilderment when she said this:


"We're witnessing tonight something quite profound and that was the sinking ship of free-market Republicans keel over, groan, and fall to the bottom of the sea. John McCain, without much notice, proposed a $300 billion dollar plan to nationalize home mortgages. [...] This is on top of the $700 billion dollars already passed by Congress. And this is before he went on to attack Barack Obama on obscene spending. and government control of health care. I thought it was an amazing moment."

UPDATE: John Amato:

The FOX News post debate set was filled with depression last night. Nobody epitomized it more than Nina. Check out her expressions as she delivers this scathing indictment of John McCain's new bail out. Fred Barnes tries to rescue McCain by saying that he didn't explain it very well, but she wouldn't have any of it.

Nina: 300 Billion dollars is what it is. His campaign fact sheet says that.

Michael said...

Strange ho so many here try to make it sound as if "both" candidates did a horrible job in the debate...yet...every single real poll, whether it be via Fox, CNN, any major network and newspaper and the major polling organizations give the nod to Obama, some by a wide margin.

The only reason there's so much whining here (disingenuous at best), is that McCain gets worse and worse every day.

Had McCain chosen Ridge, Romney or any number of other "qualified" V.P. nominees, he and Obama would be neck and neck right now.

McCain sealed his fate (even with his base) by choosing Sarah Palin, regardless of how popular she is with the hard right Christian right, and redneck crowd.

Her lack of experience and intellect illustrates just how poor McCain's decision making abilities really are.

This will go down in history as one of the biggest political blunders ever.

Cedarford said...

David - McCain has no idea how to deal with the economic problems. His best traits, toughness and character, are on display without a coherent intellectual framework. He's near clueless. His one good idea, help the homeowners with problem mortgages, was presented incoherently.

David, I agree with you except when Mr. "I saved 18 billion in earmarks!" got to his 300 billion, on top of the 700 billion...as a Good Idea!

Horrible, profoundly anti-conservative fiscal recklessness.

That sweet little subsidy is apparantly is supposed to come from all us taxpayers. To subsidize imprudent people now in swank Villas they can't afford. On the premise that - I guess - all the illegals and store clerks sitting in their "No Money Down!" 4-bedroom chateaus were noble victims of evil Democrat bigwigs.

McCain now believes, I guess, that those of us that stayed in the old shack instead of go for the 600K (with free golf!) deal and did our own modest 3K Home Depot kitchen remodeling rather than the 40K stainless and marble extravaganza were not more responsible. No, we should all hope our money goes to "heal" the ones Generous Johnnie wishes to slather with his Senatorial largess.

The rest of it is dead-on. McCain is Bob Dole II - all character, no ideas. And Bob Dole is twice the man McCain is - honest, never treacherous to his Party, never used his war woulds and suffering! suffering as his main resume item.

But key Republicans and independents in 3 key states that decide the Nominee, along with the MSM, love their straight-talking "Maverick".
And bypassed far abler candidates like Romney on religious intolerance, Gingrich on "being too smart"...Tom Ridge for being too moderate, and Jeb -cursed with his last name...
"M

John Stodder said...

But this year, they aren't just voting for Obama, a lot of them are sending him money, making phone calls, knocking on doors, putting up yard signs, etc.

I think this is more of a social phenomenon than a political one. I know some people who are about this excited, but the more they hear about Obama, the more they kind of shut down and say, "Well, I'm supporting him. I think he's wonderful/inspiring/refreshing..." There's a growing cognitive dissonance. Folks like Eli don't want to let down the other members of the club, so they continue to act as if this candidate is a cut above the rest. But most of these people are smart enough to realize that he hasn't said anything inspiring for a long time, that he's actually kind of vacuous. They're not going to abandon him, but Obama is already a nostalgia item.

He'll win, if he does, thanks to being the Democratic candidate in a Democratic year, against an erratic opponent who didn't optimize the many opportunities he had.

It's okay, though. That kind of political enthusiasm, though enjoyable, is always a letdown. I think of John Lennon, another guy riven by cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, "Imagine," a gooey socialist anthem. On the other, his song "God," with that great, cathartic "I don't believe in..." ending that strips away all illusions.

Michael said...

"...against an erratic opponent who didn't optimize the many opportunities he had."

Understatement of the year...

Arturius said...

McCain sealed his fate (even with his base) by choosing Sarah Palin, regardless of how popular she is with the hard right Christian right, and redneck crowd.

I have to come to the conclusion that you are living in some parallel universe. McCain's campaign was barely registering a pulse up until he picked Palin as his running mate. She is drawing crowds that McCain could not have paid to show up prior to choosing her. What Romney or Ridge would have brought to the ticket in experience would not have offset the lack of charisma needed to energize the base, which for your information, is as redneck as the Democrat base is socialist.

LarsPorsena said...

This guy needs to debate BHO the next time...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxhYampIl7A

MadisonMan said...

Why do left wingers always need a leader to inspire them and get them excited?

That kind of leadership from the White House would have been extremely helpful as far as Iraq goes.

Rich B said...

The amazing thing is that the polls are tightening, even though BHO has the economy worrying people and McCain is failing to deliver a knockout punch. BHO is unable to close the deal - and remains vulnerable on basic trust and credibility. There is a lot that can go wrong for him, especially if McCain wises up and hits him where it hurts.

Mitch said...

I cannot remember this much excitement about a Presidential candidate since JFK. Friends of ours actually held a fundraising for Obama get-together.

And here I thought Steve Jobs had the monopoly on a Reality Distortion Field.

Dawn of the Dead For Obama

http://americanelephant.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/democrat-vote-fraud-triple-play/

Richard Dolan said...

I suppose it wasn't bad from the perspective of the voters just tuning in to the whole spectacle. Just remember: even at a really wretched performance of Boheme or some other warhorse, there are always people in the audience who've never heard it before and find the performance riveting.

These debates aren't aimed at people who've made up their minds (despite the occasional protestations, that would include almost everyone here). People like that (you know, like most commenters here) can riff on the talking points of their chosen side, sometimes even with skill. For them these debates are, at most, an exercise in validating a choice made long ago, or in wincing when the candidate doesn't get the zinger just right. No sensible person tunes in expecting to hear some insightful new analysis of a serious national problem. (Has that ever happened in the history of these debates?) So why all the angst when you don't get it?

But there are voters out there for whom politics is not a daily obsession, and who don't know much about McC or O. They probably liked it.

Salamandyr said...

Here's the depressing part. No matter who gets elected, we're going to have an activist government. John McCain's political idol is Teddy Roosevelt, a man in his own way as progressive as Woodrow Wilson (though probably not as racist).

Both Obama and McCain's ideas are rooted in late 19th and early 20th Century progressivism, rather than 18th Century liberalism, more's the pity.

BTW, eli blake, you are a credit to your idealistic compatriots. While I disagree with what you want, your defense of Obama is much more gracious than some others.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Salamandr's right. Here's how I score it:

Bad: McCain is a hyperactive meddler
Good: He'll oppose the majority party in Congress
Bad: He has a history of working across party lines

Bad: Obama is aligned with the majority party in Congress
Good: He's cautious and callow
Bad: Joe Biden will advise him

Simon, As far as judgeships go, you have to face up to reality. The democrats can't always lose Presidential elections, and when they win, some liberal judges will be put in office. That's the pushme-pullyou nature of elections on the lifetime appointment.

Obama is a technocrat at heart; up until the dreary sideshow of the general election, he demonstrated an ability to attract talented people as advisors. He may pick liberals for his judgeships, but I'm confident that they will be smart, qualified liberals (all the more dangerous, eh?).

Leveling charges of treason (Benedict Arnold, Jefferson Davis)because you disagree with someone's judicial philosophy is abhorrent and fundamentally anti-democratic. Get ahold of yourself.

Simon said...

Henry, one can't avoid the reality of liberal appointments to the court over the long haul, I agree, but that must be held to the barest minimum possible as long as the judicial philosophy they adhere to remains corrupt. Obama will have the chance to work an unusually large change in an unusually short period of time (liberals whine about Bush's "remaking" of the courts, but in the real world, Bush has appointed 310 judges, IIRC, including 2 Justices, compared to Clinton's total of 367 including 2 Justices). If I thought Obama was going to appoint a liberal textualist, someone like Akhil Amar, for example, that would be fine. If I thought he was going to appoint someone who's a liberal and fairly pragmatic, yet sensitive to the structural constitution and federalism concerns, someone like Ann Althouse or Rick Hills, that would be fine. But Obama has made explicit that he views the federal courts as a vehicle for social change, for righting the wrongs of the law. No case better illustrates the divide than Ledbetter: the statute was absolutely crystal clear, but with Obama's approval, four Justices thought that the statute of limitations ought to be emasculated because it wasn't fair. I have no beef with changing the filing period, but that's Congress' job, not the courts, and it exposes a fundamental disagreement on what the role of the courts and judges is. The prevailing liberal view of this issue is deeply in tension with - indeed, is at war with - the system of government set out in the Constitution, and for that reason, until they abandon this approach, their power to implement it has to be kept strictly limited. Even if I agreed with Obama on absolutely everything else, I'd still oppose him tooth and nail on this issue alone -- he can't, you know... He'll never win me over. This is an absolutely bedrock issue, it trumps everything else. It's an "enemies foreign and domestic" issue for me.

Michael said...

Arturius said..."I have to come to the conclusion that you are living in some parallel universe. McCain's campaign was barely registering a pulse up until he picked Palin as his running mate."

I never said his campaign was going well or even registering a pulse before the selection/.

I said it "sealed his fate."

If you actually think Sarah Palin will bring in more of the "Independents" to McCain's side that Ridge, Romney or others you're not only dreaming, you're also not watching the polls.
(And that's exactly what he needs to compete...not the hard right or even the basic conservatives...he already had them...unless you think they were going to vote for Obama.)

He and Palin's approval rating has dropped in every poll that relates to women and Independents...and I personally feel it's because people just do not believe Sarah Palin is qualified.

Smilin' Jack said...

...instead of following the Clinton model of basing policies on microfocus groups, advice from pollsters and really not staying true to anything, I and many other progressives believe that Obama actually does agree with our outlook."

Really? What makes you think so? Just "a feeling"?


He must have been in one of Obama's focus groups.

"We want universal health care..."

No, you don't. You want to socialize health care in America because that will make rich Americans pay for your care. Truly universal (i.e. world-wide) health care would make you pay for the care of much poorer people in other countries. You certainly don't want that.

Michael said...

Henry said..."Here's how I score it:
Bad: McCain is a hyperactive meddler
Good: He'll oppose the majority party in Congress
Bad: He has a history of working across party lines

Bad: Obama is aligned with the majority party in Congress
Good: He's cautious and callow
Bad: Joe Biden will advise him"

First of all McCain voted with Bush 90-95% of the time, while we had a Republican majority so tere's little evidence he'll "oppose the majority party in Congress"...unless of course, it's a Democratic majority and that creates gridlock.

Second, I have absolutely no idea where you come up with Obama being cautious or callow...and as for Biden, he's advised Presidents for decades, including Bush right after 9/11 so you're really just throwing mud.

Based on what...you're personal opinion?

McCain is toast and you can spin it any way you want, but the man is running the most disgusting campaign I've ever been witness to...even more disgusting that Bush's in 2000.

Joe said...

Obama hasn't demonstrated any leadership in the Senate. Many of his proposals could have been submitted as bills, but he didn't. Obama has lots of proposals, as do all presidential candidates, but he can't do anything about most of them. Neither can McCain. (The worse is the promise ever candidate makes to "create jobs".)

My own guess is that Obama will be elected and Congress will completely ignore him. He will end up being a caretaker president and will sign everything that crosses his desk. I do worry that he'll be a disaster in foreign policy--however, this will depend on who he picks as cabinet and who he depends on for governing advise. (I suspect he'll immediately break his promise to meet unilaterally with despots--security briefings will wake him up [plus, I never believed him anyway on that point--I figured he was just trying to score political points].)

(And McCain running a disgusting campaign? Are you kidding? It's one of the most boring, benign campaigns I can remember [since 1972.] Same with Obama. I'm clueless how anyone finds either of these jokers inspirational.)

Henry said...

Michael wrote: First of all McCain voted with Bush 90-95% of the time, while we had a Republican majority so tere's little evidence he'll "oppose the majority party in Congress"...unless of course, it's a Democratic majority and that creates gridlock.

Um, Michael, You're working very hard to avoid the literal meaning of what I wrote.

It is a Democratic majority. I really do count gridlock in McCain's favor.

Obama is callow, in political terms. Just like Sarah Palin and JFK. I really do count that in his favor.

And yes, it is just my opinion that Obama is a cautious person. But I really do count that in his favor.

Henry said...

Simon, I totally agree with your view on the judiciary, but I think you've adopted a scorched-earth rhetoric that is itself hostile to our constitutional framework. Judges are appointed by elected officials. That must be endured.

former law student said...

This Cult of Personality of his followers, like Mussolini and Kennedy, is disturbing.

Yet no one is writing stories about Obama as hagiographic as conservatives wrote about Reagan. When I see a book called How Barack Obama Changed My Life, then I'll start worrying about a cult of Obama.

Peter Robinson: Did Ronald Reagan change my life? You bet he did. I learned more from him than from anyone other than my own parents... Hard work. A good marriage. A certain lightness of touch. The longer I studied Ronald Reagan, the more I learned.

http://americanelephant.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/dem

Temporary ACORN workers filled out fake voter registrations, to boost their pay without effort. The fraud was committed on ACORN, not the voters. 97 non-existent Hector Garcias are not going to show up on Election Day.

Even Clinton saw the wisdom in supply-side economics, and converted by his second term.

Even Bush's dad dismissed supply-side as "Voodoo" economics, though as a loyal GOP footsoldier he kept his opinion to himself as VP.

Should Obama win (more likely than not barring a miracle), anyone with money is well-advised to get it out of the country ASAP.

Had I turned my savings into Euros at the start of the Bush administration I would be up 50%. All of my other investments are flat or declined while the Shrub has been President.

We can start by means-testing them. "Mr. Buffett, you will be getting no social security and you can pay for your health care completely out of your pocket,"

Sure. The conservatives who are terrified they will pay for others' health care will willingly pay for others' Social Security and Medicare. You know, the virtue of adhering to an ideology should be generating consistent arguments.

We make elderly people spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home but not Medicare to pay for their other medical bills. Why not? People will be incentivized to live healthier

Because you don't seem to have a human soul, I sincerely hope that when you're in your sixties, you get acute myeloid leukemia, and that you have to pay for your chemotherapy from your own assets. Then, when the hospital tosses you out on your ass, mid-treatment, I'll say, "Pity he didn't live healthier."

former law student said...

No case better illustrates the divide than Ledbetter: the statute was absolutely crystal clear, but with Obama's approval, four Justices thought that the statute of limitations ought to be emasculated because it wasn't fair.

As interpreted by the Supreme Court, the statute's promise of relief was as empty and meaningless as a tavern sign's promise of Free Beer Tomorrow. Had the Supreme Court not been packed with ex-corporate lawyers, they might have construed it differently.

Simon said...

Henry said...
"Simon, I totally agree with your view on the judiciary, but I think you've adopted a scorched-earth rhetoric that is itself hostile to our constitutional framework. Judges are appointed by elected officials. That must be endured."

When someone proposes to appoint someone grosssly unqualified or whose judicial philosophy is in tension with their oath of office, that attempt must be resisted. Cf. SPQA v. George W. Bush & Harriet Miers; SPQA v. Richard Nixon & G.H. Carswell.

FLS, there's little point in having this argument again. There was no credible argument for the dissenters' position; if there had been, they would have offered it. The idea that the automatic act of paying someone vs. the act of actually setting the level of pay is a "discriminatory act" was spurious. Ledbetter was an easy case: the law was unjust and Congress should change it. Interesting that although the Democrats who now run Congress invited Lilly Ledbetter to speak at their convention, they still haven't gotten around to amending Title VII. They're all talk - it's beyond pathetic.

Revenant said...

As interpreted by the Supreme Court, the statute's promise of relief was as empty and meaningless as a tavern sign's promise of Free Beer Tomorrow.

So? It wasn't the first nearly-useless law passed by Congress just for the look of the thing, and it certainly won't be the last. That doesn't mean the Supreme Court has the right to say "since the law passed by Congress serves little purpose, we'll just write our own, "better" law instead". This is, last I checked, a democracy, not a judgeocracy.