Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Presidential debate: There were others who took a hike


There should be more transparency in the process by which debate rules are decided. For tonight’s “town-hall” debate, who was it who insisted on no follow-ups, going so far as to require that the questioners’ mikes be cut off immediately after they ask their question, and that cameras aren’t allowed to show their faces while the candidates respond to their question? Indeed, in previous debates, did the campaigns dictate where the cameras could and could not point?

Well, let’s see how that works.

Transcript.

McCain: “Let’s not raise taxes on anybody today.”

More items on the ever-growing list of things McCain “knows how to do”: “give some trust and confidence back to America,” “get America working again”.


Who would McCain appoint treasury secretary? Not you, Tom. Ha ha. No, seriously, “the first criteria, Tom, would have to be somebody who immediately Americans identify with”. Oh good, another hockey mom.

Some black dude named Oliver asks how the bailout will help the people he knows. McCain corrects him: it’s not a bailout, it’s a rescue. And for a little extra condescension (McCain loves telling black people that they don’t understand things), he tells Oliver that he probably never heard of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae before this crisis. He adds that Freddie and Fannie (which he seems to think were responsible for the Great Crash of Ought Eight) were making risky loans “with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington... There were some of us -- there were some of us that stood up against it. There were others who took a hike.”

Obama actually tries to explain to Oliver how the bailout would affect him, answering his actual, you know, question. Oops, spoke too soon; he quickly changed to returning McCain’s fire in kind, mentioning Rick Davis’s lobbying for Fannie Mae. Then said “but, look, you’re not interested in hearing politicians pointing fingers.” Technically, pointing fingers doesn’t make a lot of sound.


McCain’s new favorite example of pork barrel earmarks, now that we’re all tired of the bear DNA, is an overhead projector for the Chicago planetarium. Who doesn’t like planetariums?

McCain keeps talking about how he reaches across the aisle to work with Joe Lieberman. Dude, if you want to touch Joe Lieberman, you just have to reach under your desk.

Asked what sacrifice they’d call for from the American people, McCain said many good projects – not crap like that overhead projector for groovy astronomy shows for stoned teenagers – would have to be scrapped. Medicare, Medicaid, that sort of thing. Okay, he didn’t specify Medicare and Medicaid, but that’s what he means. Obama suggested we need to save energy in our homes. Oh, and the Peace Corps, “so that military families and our troops are not the only ones bearing the burden of renewing America.” How exactly are our troops renewing America?


McC: Obama wants to raise taxes – just like Herbert Hoover!

Brokaw asks an alarmist question about the “ticking timebomb” of Social Security. McCain says “Social Security is not that tough”: all we have to do is just “sit down together across the table.” And it’s just “a little tougher” to fix Medicare: “have a commission, have the smartest people in America come together.” “And let’s have the American people say, ‘Fix it for us.’” See, and you thought this shit was complicated.

He’s calling for “a whole bunch of” nuclear plants, for the third time this debate. But he accuses Obama of “say[ing] that it has to be safe or disposable or something like that.”


Obama twits McC for voting against alternative energy 23 times, so McC responds about one, which was loaded down with pork, and who voted for it? “That one,” pointing at Obama. That one?

McCain insists his $5,000 tax credit will more than make up for taxing health benefits except for those with “these gold-plated Cadillac kinds of policies, you know, like hair transplants.” Somewhere, Joe Biden sheds a tear.

Is health insurance a right, a responsibility or a privilege? McCain: a responsibility, “in this respect, in that we should have available and affordable health care to every American citizen, to every family member.” How is that a responsibility? Obama: a right, except for the people my plan doesn’t cover.


Both agree that America is a force of good in the world. So at least that’s settled.

Asked about intervening in humanitarian crises where US national security is not at stake, Obama asks, “If we could have intervened effectively in the Holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in?” Pat Buchanan? Also, pretty much everyone in power in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Asked about invading Pakistan to get bin Laden, Obama says we have to change our policy to Pakistan, we can’t coddle a dictator. This is his first un-adept response, since I assume he knows that Musharraf is out of power. He adds that “We will kill bin Laden, we will crush Al Qaeda.” McCain accuses him of failing to carry a big stick like Teddy Roosevelt. “Senator Obama likes to talk loudly.” He does?

Obama says that McCain suggests that Obama is “green behind the ears,” which is an interesting image, but that it was McCain talked of annihilating North Korea, and sang of bombing Iran. McCain says that was a joke. A hilarious, hilarious joke.


Obama drops the name Gen. McKiernan, just to prove he knows the name, unlike whatshername.

Is Russia an evil empire? (Brokaw amusingly insisted this question only required a yes or no answer). Obama: they do some evil things. McCain: maybe.

Q: if Iran attacked Israel, would we invade it before or after going to the UN Security Council? McCain: bomb, bomb, bomb... Obama ignored the Israel part, and talked about the unacceptability of Iran having nuclear weapons.

Last question: “What don’t you know and how will you learn it?” Obama: ask Michelle, she’ll tell you what I don’t know. McCain: “what I don’t know is what the unexpected will be.”

Oh, I didn’t mention, Obama came with a prepared response to McCain’s predictable “you don’t understand” theme, a long thing about yes, you’re right, I can’t understand why you’re such a dick. Something like that, I’m tired.

Oh, and evidently we’re not rifle shots here, we’re Americans.

Also, my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends my friends.

And Obama should really see a doctor about that green behind the ears thing.

And that concludes the second McCain-That One debate.

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