Presidential debate recap

7 Oct

Hello there, reader. Did you know that I, as a blogger, was required by law to live-blog last night’s Presidential debate? It’s true. Go ahead, look it up. Let’s do this thing.

— A friendly handshake between the candidates to rousing applause. Barack leans forward in his chair and McCain sits in some odd, girlish, legs-together position like he’s holding in a pee. Gonna be a long hold, Senator.

— First question, from some shaved head old dude with Coke bottle lenses: what are we going to do to help the older taxpayers to make sure their retirement accounts are safe?

Barack: first goes out of his way to attack McCain (respectfully, mostly) for agreeing with Bush’s policies and offers very little substance. I don’t understand his plan.

McCain: says the answer is for energy independence, to stop raising taxes and to quell out-of-control spending. Senator, with all due respect: no shit. But HOW, sir? He then says something about having the government buy a bunch of homes and renegotiate mortgage expenses to stabilize the housing market, which will somehow help create jobs? I have no idea what he’s talking about, or how it makes even a modicum of logical sense for him to first mention not raising taxes and kickstarting the economy and responsible spending, then right away suggesting such a huge expenditure. Then again, I’m not very smart.

— Next question, from Bud from The Cosby Show: how is this bailout going to affect me and other regular folks?

McCain: refers to Obama’s “cronies” for the second time when accusing them of giving out too many risky loans. (I agree, though I happen to think Clinton deserves a share of the blame.) Ties Barack to Fannie/Freddie, and points out that Obama has gotten tons of dough from them, then AGAIN mentions this “let’s buy up all the homes” thing that makes no sense to me.

Obama: directly answers the question about the bailout, regarding the inability for small companies to get loans. Claims biggest problem is McCain and his ilk deregulating the shit out of things, and mentions that he publicly spoke in ’06 about the bad signs of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Pretty boring answer, overall, that in no way addresses just how the bailout is going to affect the average citizen. I still don’t know. Do you? If so, can you help a brotha out with an explanation?

(In his retort, McCain mentions “cronies” for the THIRD time. The hell?)

— Next question from a rightfully angry Mom: just why in the fuck would we trust either party with our hard-earned money when you guys are a bunch of lousy irresponsible jerkoffs? Huh? (Note: I’m paraphrasing).

Barack: knocks the question out of the park with this plan to help cut healthcare premiums and to make college more affordable, but focuses his response on his plan involving more cuts than expenditures.

McCain: jabs back and says to look at the spending records, mentions some $3mm spend from Barack on a planetarium in Chicago, and that Barack ain’t no cut-master, y’all. Another effective answer, asking the voters to do their own research. Like it. Good answers all around.

— Question: Tom Brokaw directly asks the candidates to prioritize three issues.

McCain: gives the dumbest, least shocking answer ever: “I think we can do all three” and completely dodges the question.

Obama: says energy is #1, healthcare is #2, #3 is education. Actually answers the question. Each candidate is using his “one minute discussion” to talk for what seems like a half hour. Brokaw looks helpless, the poor guy.

— Next question: what sacrifices will you ask every American to make to help us out of this recession?

McCain: please understand we may need to cut some programs. Defense spending, for one, and eliminating earmarks. Mentions the overhead projector again. Weird, but totally effective in at least one way: he definitely locked up every vote from members of (AAOP) Americans Against Overhead Projectors. McCain then gives some lame-ass answer that is basically “hey, come on, fuck priorities, people! We are Americans! We can multi-task! Yes!” that just sounds unnecessarily cheerleaderish and totally missing the point.

Obama: think a bit harder about how you’re spending your energy. Threatening the oil companies to use up them damn oil reserves or I will physically take them from you, you greedy sons-a-bitches. Then talks about doubling the Peace Corps and buying hybrid cars, which doesn’t seem like a sacrifice? Dumb answer. Slight recovery by saying that multi-billionaires should maybe stop bitching about high taxes and not sharing the burden, which is a great sentiment but probably useless. Here’s the thing about the crazy-rich (note, just a theory): they love money. They are totally and irrationally obsessed with it and couldn’t care less about the better schools and roads and defense and college scholarships can be helped with that added tax taken out of their swollen paycheck. It’s all about the Benjamins for them, Barack, that is priority #1, and I know you know that, but just had to mention. Hey, I wish it were different too, and I kind of want to punch every filthy rich person who mentions they “earned it.” Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, right: nothing.

McCain: responds by making it clear that he likes Bush’s tax cuts and will leave them alone. I’m guessing many people don’t like that answer. Except the richest 1%, who were probably too busy playing chicken with their Rolls Royces, wacking off into $100 bills and flushing diamonds down the toilet just because they like the way they shine on the way down.

Obama: comes back with a strong message about small businesses and their concerns with healthcare premiums, says that he is going to fund a tax credit to help shoulder that burden. My heart says: that is fantastic. My brain says: that doesn’t seem fiscally possible?

— Question: Congress moved very quickly with the economic crisis bill, how are you going to keep them moving so fast on climate change and other issues?

McCain: disagrees with Bush administration about climate control, feels very strongly about it. Good on ya, sir. Big fan of nuclear power. Actually knows how to pronounce “nuclear”! Rare thing, these days.

Obama: wants to invest in a bunch of shit, including nuclear power yeah I said nuclear Old Man I love it too so suck on this. Obama is also a huge fan of alternative energy. So am I, and thus: semi-boner for Barack.

— Question: privatized healthcare is like totally profitable, which is weird. What’s up with that, homes?

Obama: Health care is by and large of steaming pile of dung, at least when it’s run privately. (McCain weirdly wanders off his chair behind him like he’s lost.) Obama says all the right things: everyone will get healthcare, not going to cost any more money, etc. This is like the easiest answer in the world. Of course insurance should be cheaper. Of course HMOs shouldn’t be given multimillion dollar bonuses. Health insurance is a goddamn right, a necessity, not a luxury. Why is it privatized? Someone please argue with me without using the word “socialism” and basically stamping your ticket into Crazy Righty Land. I am speaking as an independent here. Someone please convince me this heathcare system isn’t irrevocably broken.

McCain: Obama will fine you if you don’t get insurance for your children! I will give you some money and you can buy it yourself! (Doesn’t address the obvious problem with HMOs making an obscene amount of money while others have to literally save up to get surgeries. I know: I am one of those people who had to save up my own money. Healthcare is one of the few issues I see no humor in.)

Obama: calls health care a right, not a privilege. Points out his mother spending the last month of her life, stricken with cancer, arguing with insurance companies. Tears well. In my opinion: Obama won this debate, and possibly the presidency, in this very exchange. But again, sensitive issue for me. Feel free to disregard my melodrama.

McCain: proves my point above by making a joke about a serious issue – health care – and he is the only person in the Hall that laughs. Obama, like everyone else, is not amused. Really, really embarrassing moment for McCain. Ouch.

— Semi-boring question from Brokaw: what would each of you do when faced with genocide or ethnic cleaning?

Shocker: they would both take action! Basically a lobbed question to give each candidate a chance to go for the heartstrings. Obama goes for the humanity play, McCain speaks of his war experience.

— Great question about what to do about Pakistan: respect their sovereignty, or find Osama?

Oddly, Obama says that we will try to work with them, but if they don’t cooperate, screw ‘em, we’ll find Bin Laden and nuke that motherfucker right quick. McCain says that we need to get the citizens of Pakistan to work with us. They argue, both demand the right to respond, things get testy for a bit. More questions come in about foreign policy, which bores me and likely most of you until the long debate mercifully ends. The end.

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23 Responses to “Presidential debate recap”

  1. Jon October 7, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    Allow me to try my hand: nationalized health care is bad because it is run by the government, and almost by definition the government cannot successfully run anything because it involves spending other people’s money on other people.

    The question remains, though: is it worse than what we have now?

  2. Dave MN October 8, 2008 at 7:17 am #

    The use of “that one” was probably McCain’s biggest mistake of the night. It’s one thing to disregard or disagree with someone’s policies, but to not call them by name, that’s about as disrespectful as you’ll get.

  3. RandBall's Stu October 8, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    What little I watched of it confirmed only that Dave’s plan of waiting for the Daily Show to recap it was the correct notion.

    Jon’s point about government is well-taken, if we’re talking the US government. Unless I’m mistaken, the very best health care in the world belongs to the European countries that have it socialized to the Nth degree. That said, after the last eight years, I’m more sympathetic to the notion that my HMO might not be the most incompetent and evil organization conceived by man. Republican governance, on the other hand…

  4. roughkat October 8, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    I didn’t watch the debate at all. I think I’ve given up on the debates since all they give us is rehearsed speeches that sometimes relate the question asked. These debates really aren’t that helpful. If someone hasn’t made up their mind already about who they are voting for I don’t see how this helps.

  5. B. October 8, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    Good point Jon, and probably the main argument against nationalized health. However, the potential mismanagement by the government doesn’t change my belief that health insurance is a basic right. Not a privilege.

    IMO, our health system should be held in reverence similar to education. If you want public health care, it’s there for you, but there will be private options as well.

  6. Numero 6 October 8, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    I watched the debate last night….and will make it known that I am a right-wing fan of John McCain. I am not an in your face political tyrant, and I respect anyone who has an opinion about one side or the other. I would like to reply to this article by the wise B to voice my opinion and hopefully give some insight to people who are unclear about how McCain’s ideas work, and how dangerous Obama is.

    I will address the following 3 items that B brought up for debate. By no means do I mean to debate with B as he is a respected friend, but I love a good little debate every now and then. The 3 topics I will reply to are McCain’s housing idea, healthcare and rich people. Excuse me if I get a little long-winded.

    McCain’s housing plan: This area interests me greatly since I am on the battlefield of this career daily. McCain’s idea that by reducing the loans to what home values “actually are” (a.k.a Market Value) will result in more jobs makes sense in a “behind the scenes” kind of way. When people took bad loans, i.e., bought a house on a 1, 3, or 5 year arms, they would finanace 100% of what the home was worth at $250k. Now the value has dropped to $220k, their interest rates jumped at the end of the arm, and there was no way to re-finance the home into a 30 year fixed mortgage without coming up with that extra $30k to match what it is currently worth. Mortgage companies will no longer give out more money than what the home is currently worth (thank goodness). When someone can’t make their new increased interest rate payment, they either stop paying, or stop buying other things. By reducing those loans to what the homes are worth, people will not only be able to afford the monthly payment they once did, but they will have money to purchase other things. Consumer confidence and spending = more opportunities/jobs. Simple supply and demand stuff. Ya see?

    Healthcare: Wow, have we got this all wrong. When did healthcare become a right? I sure missed that bus. Speaking of buses, I remember when they used to threaten us kids when we rode the bus with the phrase “riding the bus is a privelege, not a right.” If riding the bus to public schools is not a right, neither is health care. Last time I checked, healtch care providers provided a service. According to a conversation I heard this morning, a very extreme way to put this (and I’m not saying I completely agree) is that forcing someone to provide a service for someone who doesn’t pay for it was once called slavery. Wow….I don’t know about that, but it makes a bit of sense. If I can’t afford a taxi cab after a night of drinking downtown, should the government charge tax payers to pay for that cab ride for me? That’s a service. The service industry is not free…..it’s not a right.

    The Rich: B, I know what you are saying about the rich being greedy. I have to disagree with you on their obsession for money though. It’s true; Rich people have lots of money. What most people don’t know, however, is that in numerous studies done by accredited universities is that out of the millionaires in this country, 90% of them are first generation (meaning they started from zero and became millionaires) and that the one thing they think about the most is not money…..it’s success. Success = money? Shame on them for wanting more in life! Actually, when the wealthy in these studies were asked specifically what came to mind first when they thought of money wasn’t what they were going to buy, or flush down the toilet, but rather how much they had saved. That’s why this is a touchy subject for them. By taking their money through taxes, it takes away from what they can save, not what they can buy. Raising their taxes is dangerous Mr. Obama. Most people that are very wealthy simply decided to take action in their lives and not settle to be like everyone else. Most of them also have enough money to last them a while, so I imagine that if the taxes are raised of those CEO’s and “brains’ behind many of the great advances and ideas that we have today may simply just stop working so they don’t get taxed. They don’t need the money, but we need their expertise because they are the people that made a decision not to join the pack in life, and make many decisions for others. They decided to do something. If there is one thing I can respect both candidates for, it’s that they decided not to join the “pack,” but rather they decided to do something to better themselves and other people’s situations without them.

    Man, politics can be fun.

  7. BreAnne October 8, 2008 at 12:47 pm #

    Thanks for the recap, much more entertaining than the pieces of the debate I actually watched! Based on what I’ve read around the internets today, it appears that Obama claimed victory number two. Is anyone else having that “holy shit, I think the guy I want to win might actually win this time” feeling?

  8. RandBall's Stu October 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Yes. Sadly, my proposal to have the election moved up to today has fallen on deaf ears.

  9. B. October 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    Breanne, you obviously didn’t watch the Fox News telecast last night. Their poll of viewers hilariously had McCain winning by the slight margin of 86 to 12.

    I laughed out loud, literally.

  10. B. October 8, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    Thanks for the response, Numero Seis. I dig political discussions providing we can keep it civilized, and I think you and I, being teammates and longtime buds and bingo partners and pretend cousins (long story), can remain civil. So, here are my counter-arguments.

    1. HOUSING: thanks for the insights on the housing market proposal. Apparently McCain distributed a brief today claiming the initiative would be $300 million (on top of the $700 million already approved). Which is fine if he thinks it will work, just a strange proposal coming from a guy who supposedly favors less government spending. But again, if he aims to fix the economy, I’m all ears.

    2. HEALTHCARE: This is likely just a philosophy that we’ll never agree on (which is fine), but healthcare IS a right. Just like education, and defense. Would you call those services a privilege? Would you call anyone willing to pay for education and defense a victim of “slavery”? I know you were just making a point, but my god. That argument would be laughable, if it weren’t so offensive.

    When a necessity like healthcare (or defense, or education…) is treated as a privatized industry and not properly regulated by the government, eventually, shit will go wrong. And I mean wrong as in the United HealthGroup being awarded a hundred million dollar bonus (!!!) while others claim bankruptcy because they can’t pay for their emergency appendectomy. I know that’s an extreme example, and not really my point. Here is my point: I want healthcare to be nationalized and would be more than happy to pay a little extra in taxes to know that if I or you or one of my family members or friends is stricken with cancer, they’ll be taken care of by our country. If you could honestly look a hardworking citizen in the eye who was dropped from insurance because of their child’s skyrocketing chemo bills and is forced to work the rest of their life paying the bills, and tell them that our healthcare isn’t broken and that it’s a privilege, then I guess we have nothing else to talk about.

    3. WEALTH: Another philosophical discussion we likely won’t agree on, but here goes. Taxes pay for defense, education, roads, police, etc (I’m repeating myself, I know). Most everyone can benefit from those services, so no one can claim they are paying higher taxes for nothing. It’s like this: let’s say your taxes are cut in half. That’s good, right, because you now have more money to spend how you please. However, the roads are going to be shittier so you may end up having to bring your car in for repairs due to the gigantic potholes or lack of stoplights or what have you, and traffic sucks so you see your family less. The public education system will go down the tubes so you’ll want to put your kids into private school. Spendy. There is less police staff, which worries you, what will all these crazy kids these days with their exotic drugs and handguns and street gang initiations and whatnot, so you have to invest in an expensive security system, there are less scholarships available so you feel bad that your less-well-off but very smart family member can’t attend….and so on. None of this is proven, just like the “let the free market work for you!” isn’t proven, but I’m just saying that lower taxes doesn’t necessarily equate to personal prosperity. But the country will undeniably be worse off with less government spending. Taxes are good. They help our country.

    Oh, and any wealthy person who stops working just so he doesn’t have to pay taxes –- taxes that go to paying our teachers and providing support to our troops among a million other noble ventures –- is a delusional asshole who is, I don’t mind saying, a terrible American and deserves a spirited punch to the face. I mean that.

    Hope I haven’t pissed you off so much you won’t respond. Thanks for weighing in, pretend cousin. Love you.

  11. RandBall's Stu October 8, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    how dangerous Obama is.

    Dangerous? Really?

  12. RandBall's Stu October 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    As to housing, actual economist type people think McCain is out of his fucking mind.

    Which would explain his campaign, when you think about it.

  13. RandBall's Stu October 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    As for what should be done, well, another economist type person says look to England.

  14. RandBall's Stu October 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    Ah, my preceding post didn’t show up. Must have been the f-bomb. Sorry, B.

  15. B. October 8, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    Approved! I’ll let it slide this time, you scoundrel.

  16. Cool Rut October 8, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    I didn’t understand anyone and I read every word. One sentence did form in my head as I attempted a mental recap; Obama and Breanne are wanting to win but it might be dangerous which for Breanne is what she wants but if number six was any more philosophically different than B they would not play ball together or be pretend cousins and that Aunt B. did not chime in. That might be a bit of a run-on sentence. Go Nader.

  17. cooler rut October 8, 2008 at 11:38 pm #

    i like reading cool ruts posts…anyone else with me?

  18. cooler rut October 8, 2008 at 11:40 pm #

    i like reading cool ruts posts…anyone else with me? and if number 6 and B are pretend cousins, does this mean that myself and number 6 are pretend cousins as well? cause that would be super!!

  19. cooler rut October 8, 2008 at 11:44 pm #

    not sure why the first line was repeated in both of those posts..stupid computer problems!!

  20. RandBall's Stu October 9, 2008 at 6:19 am #

    And whaddya know: they are looking to England. Or Sweden, if you want a precedent for this type of action.

  21. Dave MN October 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    Thomas Friedman used this quote in his article about Palin’s statement that paying taxes “isn’t patriotic”:

    Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes – “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

    Exactly! By paying taxes you “buy civilization”. Our tax dollars don’t just go to programs that you don’t like. They go toward building bridges (now), paying for schools (or barely paying for them), funding gigantic, poorly-planned wars in distant lands, paying for disaster relief efforts, police forces and firefighters, and so on and so forth. If you don’t want to pay taxes, essentially you’re saying that you want the government to a) print more money (diluting its actual value), or b) borrow some more money from China (yeah, really patriotic with that outcome).

    I think the thing about taxes is that too many people act like they’re the only ones who have to pay them. Like it’s their burden alone, and, accordingly, they get to complain about it endlessly. No, we all have to pay them. They fund programs and infrastructure that help you, help me, or help someone else.

    If a program doesn’t help you, it doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary, it means that you don’t need it now. It seems pretty silly to think that so many people truly believe that nothing will ever happen to them that might be assisted by one of the government programs that they so loved to complain about.

  22. A.B. October 12, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    Here I am, here I am! I don’t know who Numero 6 is, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a bus to nowhere with him. Oops, sorry, I mean bridge. Anyhoosers, since he is a friend of B, I am certain he has redeeming qualities, and I write that with sincerity. Still, all the positions of pretend nephew have been filled.

    Likening government-regulated healthcare to slavery is like calling ketchup a vegetable. I cannot state my own healthcare stance any better than B., so I won’t. (Nicely put, B.) I will only add that America’s corrupt healthcare system is an utter global embarassment that would be laughable if it weren’t actually responsible for so many deaths. Kinda like our president.

    Also, I do enjoy Cool Rut’s posts. See you later, vote for Nader! Oops, wrong election. GoBama!

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