Friday, October 3, 2008
Aristorant: Debate recap, and Why I'm Pissed!
I want to begin this post with some highlights taken from Jocelyn Noveck's article for the AP. These quotes sum up the general media consensus following last night's debate:
She even said as much in her closing statement: "I like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter ... of the mainstream media kinda telling viewers what they just heard," she said. "I'd rather just be able to speak to the American people." And so she did.
So did the debate change any minds? It didn't seem likely. For one undecided voter, each candidate scored points. "I think Palin talked more like a person, and Biden talked more like a politician," said Michelle Lamar, a writer and mother in Kansas City. "Palin connects with the people — she reminds me of Reagan."
"I'm thankful Sarah Palin held her own," said Jean Pirovic, a real estate agent and longtime Republican from Hyattsville, Md. "I was impressed by Joe Biden's performance and behavior and his public service, but he did nothing to help me understand how he will change things. I will remain Republican and support the ticket."
I was in disbelief with all these comments. Honestly, I know that people will say I am biased, but from an intelligent and objective view of the debate (as objective as I can be), I don't know how anyone can conclude that Governor Palin won that debate. She was so clearly out of place and out of touch with the issues you would expect for a person in an executive position to have knowledge of or an opinion about. She tactfully dodged questions, and sometimes not so gracefully, as she would just flat out say she was going to talk about something else. When she didn't know how to respond (enough to notice), she would dance around the question, throw out some of her catch phrases, and wink. Come on people, both my friends to the right and left, how can you argue she is prepared?
Her appeal to "regular" people is also such double standard that I find so blatantly racist and/or culturally biased. If Anita Brown (made up name) was running for VP and through out black "folksy" language, had a underage daughter pregnant with some knuckle head's baby, failed to answer questions during a debate, exhibited no knowledge of issues regarding executive offices, and was debating against someone as skilled and knowledgeable as Joe Biden, the right (and left) would crucify her and we would not even be talking about how charming a person she may or may not be.
Sen. Joe Biden exhibited knowledge of issues and was able to answer questions thoroughly. He laid out a plan for the American people. He rebutted John McCain's platform and policies. He highlighted some of McCain's contradictions. He was capable, he gave educated answers. He was heartfelt when needed, and bold when necessary, and he did not undermine or point out Palin's inferior debating skills. And maybe that is unfair. She may have been a worthy opponent had she been able to back up her gusto and style with something more substantive than a blink of the eye.
And today, in all the media, they seem to report that Palin succeeded because she connected with average Americans. Just who are these average Americans? Are they white blue collar Americans? Joe six pack? Hockey Moms? There seems to be groups missing from representation. Palin appeals to one group. And I dare say, intellectual conservative surely cannot take to kindly to her utter ignorance.
I think Palin was an attempt to undermine Obama. The right always argued that Senator Obama is inexperienced, not ready, and that he is only appealing because he is a great speaker. But, then, they choose someone who is also young, vivacious, and attractive but who lacks in credible ground to begin to seek office. Her degree (which took her several different schools to complete might I add) was in journalism. She has had no training in government, international affairs, or economics. Barack has had some level of experience and training in those areas.
Obama is more than a good speaker. He can do the job. If he couldn't and if people thought he could not be president, he would not have made it this far. Why? Well, it is like my mother always said, to be a black man in America you have to be smarter, better, and nearly beyond reproach. She was making the point that minorities are not afforded the same latitude or liberty to make the same mistakes as whites. Look at the drawing board. Between Palin and McCain, there is enough dirt and skeletons in the closet to cover the Middle East. And Obama, the best efforts have been to link him to Ayers, Rev. Right, and Tony Rezco. And before that, they tried to paint him as a scary figure, a radical, a liberal, a Muslim. I have never before seen such a clear example of dirty politics before.
And even with Hillary Clinton. She was smart, capable, intelligent, experienced, ready, and a woman. But she was pounced upon because she was not essentially Joe Six Pack and the Hockey Moms' visions of what a woman in power should do. Enter Sarah Palin. She is Hillary Clinton's foil and antithesis. She is what the right would proffer as qualified. Hard working African American people and intelligent women in general are left scratching their heads with this sociopolitical conundrum. The right is okay with a female politician as long as she is attractive, folksy, and a mom. The woman doesn't have to have substantive knowledge of anything as long as she can remember her catchphrases. But they do not accept Obama's "inexperience" because...what? He is a people person right? He has worked with your average American, right? He is a father, and apparently today, being a parent is a qualification for executive leadership because Palin's experience as a mother is a plus (whatever). So what is the real reason (FOR SOME), that Obama is unacceptable? He is black, let's all say it people. When it boils down to it, the folksy folk, the Joe Six Packs, and the hockey moms do not include Barack Obama's demographic. And there we have the broader battle at play with this election.
This election is an epic battle about CHANGE. This is a battle between the old politics of yesterday and the new politics of today. This is a struggle with maintaining the status quo against reform and creating a better union of states with a government more inclusive and representative of all its citizens. John McCain is not a reformer. He is an old politician who is set in his beliefs and ideological world view. And now, with this economic crisis, he has even less of a clear platform as fiscal conservatives will not take to kindly to the bailout or anything that smells socialistic. And it is McCain, at the end of the day who is at the top of the ticket, not Palin.
I get it, though. Sarah Palin is normal. She is not a politician. And her acceptance and appeal is indicative of general fatigue with the same old politics as usual. But maybe some republicans shoud rethink their party identification. Traditional conservative values are predicated upon economic principles of capitalism, small government, traditionally conservative values, and no regulations on the free market. These principles supplemented our economic downward spiral. Though democrats can share the blame, in the present time, republicans are not in the position as a party or policymaking body, to fix this mess. There traditional solutions are not going to get us out of this mess.
John McCain is not change. And don't let your frustrations with politicians lead you to think that just anyone can be president. Sarah Palin seems like a nice person, but she is not situated to be a heart beat away from the presidency. How can you really be an instrument of change, if you don't understand why the old does not work. Presidents and vice presidents cannot just be like anyone else. Everybody is not special, and not just anyone can be president. There are issues and concerns that a president must be prepared to face, and we cannot disregard the need for some knowledge and understanding of the politics. Even a remote understanding of the law would be nice too. Come on conservatives, especially my right wing law colleagues. As a republican, you know what Supreme Court cases you dislike, right? Why is that crazy, that a VP should be able to name one? And you know, or at least know where to find, what the answer regarding VP power. She cosigned Cheney's theory expansion and clearly exhibited she still fully did not understand what she is supposed to do as vice president. Biden laid out plans, Palin laid out nothing. She talked in general invoking all-American themes, but she could provide no answers or solutions.
Don't be misled, please.