Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Debate

I ended up watching the debate last night. It turned out way better than I expected. I pretty much agree with this assesment of McCain from Bitch, Ph.D.

Standing up on that stage, he seemed like a reasonable candidate for the Republicans to have chosen, unlike the rest of the time where his flurry of surrogates, and his attempts to be a Republican, a maverick, and appeal to the Christian conservative base all at the same time make him seem utterly incoherent. Tonight, at least when he was talking, he seemed okay.

McCain did some things that left me puzzled, though. In his first two-minute speech, he came out strongly against corporate greed. He actually used those exact words. Previous conversations with other conservatives had given me the impression that mentioning corporate greed instantly brands you as a liberal. So what gives? He also came out strongly against excessive spending by the Department of Defense. I could not agree with him more on that point, but then later, when he talked about a spending freeze, he specifically excluded the defense spending. So I was surprised twice, first to hear a Republican criticize defense spending, and then to hear him apparently contradict himself about it later on.

To be honest, if he had a remotely credible candidate for Vice President, I would have felt very reassured by this debate. But again, I had to wonder. McCain really obsessed about earmarks. I thought he made a very good point about the corruption that seems to follow the Federal budget money. The thing is, Sarah Palin has been very aggressive in pursuing earmark money for Alaska, and very unapologetic about it, too. Alaska first, is how she put it, I believe. Isn't it a little odd for him to choose her for VP, and then make every effort to depict her as an anti-earmark maverick like himself?*

Which brings me to my last, non debate-related point. These animal comparisons are getting to me. A maverick is a cow that goes against the herd. Since the herd instinct is there to protect its members, a maverick is by definition a cow that acts in a way not in its own self-interest, or to put it another way, a cow that doesn't know what's good for it. A stupid cow. A cow that doesn't listen. I've had enough of presidents that don't listen. And the hockey mom/pitbull with lipstick thing? I don't like pit bulls. Why would I like someone who feels that comparing herself to one is a good thing? Yeah, tenacity can be a good quality, but carried to pit-bull extremes it becomes a negative. Again, our current administration has manifested this quality in spades, and I don't think it's worked out particularly well.

Getting back to the debate, it's kind of ironic (there's that word again) that the candidate who is promoting himself as the strong-minded, go his own way maverick would chide Obama about being stubborn. Rings kind of hollow in my opinion.

*If he wants to say that she has seen the light since deciding to accept the VP nomination, that pretty much knocks down his argument about Obama only seeing reason about earmark spending since he decided to run. Apparently it's OK to have your own political candidacy open your eyes to new viewpoints.


Blogger Lesley said...

I did watch the first 30 see if my suspicions would be correct... that it would be some rehearsed, scripted, beauty pageant type debate- but I was wrong! It was actually smart and informative. Sadly I was unable to watch the entire debate- we left for a Sharks game.

Now remember-- I'm only referring to the first 30 minutes-- I don't know what happened after that, but it sure looks like it got off to good start.

10:35 AM  

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