Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate: Just What One Would Expect

Last night's debate solidified what we already know about the candidates: one is a talker, the other a doer. Obama reminded me of the high school student at the mock UN who has studied the "right" answers but has no idea what he's talking about.

One of the more telling moments was when the war hero McCain talked about a bracelet he wears with a soldier's name and told a touching story about the young man's mother. Almost like Horshack on "Welcome Back Kotter," Obama couldn't wait to "ooh---ooh-ooh, Mr. Kot-ter...I have a bracelet, too..." and then he couldn't remember the name of the soldier he supposedly cares so much about. Classic.

And, of course, when Obama tried to be Clintonesque he just failed miserably..."uh, er, um...when I said I would meet without conditions I didn't mean conditions, conditions and, um, er, uh...Henry Kissinger agrees."

Only problem? Henry Kissinger is still alive so the neophyte, first term, junior senator/community organizer couldn't get away with it. Kissinger quickly made clear that not only did he not say what Obama desperately needed him to have said, he finds it as foolish and foolhardy as do the rest of us.

I love how, in defense of his clearly stated position -- unconditional talks with the terrorists and dictators -- Obama admitted that it would be stupid to believe that he meant what he said.

Yes, Obama looked very pretty in his best suit. I'm sure that he has a terrific future ahead of him. I wish him the best of luck in college and in all of his future endeavors.


John said...

It looked like the same suit suit Kennedy wore for his debate with Nixon.

Jungle Mom said...

And yet, the MSM carries on as usual.

Anonymous said...

Katie Couric used the same Kissinger defense of talks against Sarah Palin the other day after her interview on the CBS Evening News, stressing that Kissinger supports unconditional talks w/Iran.

I guess quoting live "statesmen" can be a perilous business.

suze said...

just like mccain, evan, you are old and out of step with american thinking. Here's the cnn poll:

Who Did the Best Job In the Debate?
Obama 51%
McCain 38%

Who Would Better Handle Economy?
Obama 58%
McCain 37%

Who Would Better Handle Iraq?
Obama 52%
McCain 47%

even on iraq, obama did better than mccain. Ha!

poll me now or poll me later said...

...and a Drudge opinion poll as to who won the debate has McCain up 68% to 30%.

Anonymous said...

Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: "Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."

primatologist said...

I think people really are missing the point about McCain's failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear--look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior--low ranking monkeys don't look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.

Anonymous said...

Palin Iran and Kissinger
Ilan Goldenberg

In her interview with Katie Couric Sarah Palin essentially called Henry Kissinger naive and also proved that she just hasn't done her homework.

Couric: You met yesterday with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who is for direct diplomacy with both Iran and Syria. Do you believe the U..S. should negotiate with leaders like President Assad and Ahmadinejad?

Palin: I think, with Ahmadinejad, personally, he is not one to negotiate with. You can't just sit down with him with no preconditions being met. Barack Obama is so off-base in his proclamation that he would meet with some of these leaders around our world who would seek to destroy America and that, and without preconditions being met. That's beyond naïve. And it's beyond bad judgment.

Couric: Are you saying Henry Kissinger …

Palin: It's dangerous.

Couric: … is naïve for supporting that?

Palin: I've never heard Henry Kissinger say, "Yeah, I'll meet with these leaders without preconditions being met." Diplomacy is about doing a lot of background work first and shoring up allies and positions and figuring out what sanctions perhaps could be implemented if things weren't gonna go right. That's part of diplomacy.

Actually. That's exactly Henry Kissinger's position. And Couric even went ahead and confirmed it with Kissinger after the interview. Here is what Kissinger said just last week at a forum of five secretaries of state.

“I’m in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one – (unintelligible) – of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East – of a stable Middle East and our notion of nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it."

It's not only Kissinger's position. It is James Baker and Colin Powell's position as well. Here is what Powell said at the event..

Powell: “we should start to talk to them. Don’t wait for a letter coming from them. Start discussion. We’ve been talking to them up through 2003.” Asked whether we should “take the initiative?” Powell responded, “Yeah. We shouldn’t we? What are we afraid of? We did."

But who cares what Kissinger, Powell and Baker think. Sarah Palin is running the country now...

Anonymous said...

Apparently things have changed.

Here's what Kissinger said yesterday:

Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: "Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.

Anonymous said...

Oh, uh...duh ya rilly think things have changed? When he's being candid, he agrees with Obama; when he's being a partisan whore for McClown's campaign, he suddenly takes a different position.

I think it's called the breech entry position.

John said...

anon is projecting. That's been Obama's m.o. for quite some time now.

suze said...

is one old guy being mentored by an even older guy (k is almost 85!!) what we want? i hope we get some younger people with whom americans can identify....not these crotchety, lame asses who are completely out of touch...

and, of course, kissinger forgot what he'd said before...he's got dementia like most people over 70...

John said...

And you're clueless like most people under 20.

Evan should card at the door.

karin said...

He didn't forget.

He just couldn't pass up a chance to lie for McCain.

It's the theme of his campaign.

Anonymous said...

Let's see how the next (VP) debate turns out:

Palin Is Ready? Please.

Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"? Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview. CBS's Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn't help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:

"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where--where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to--to our state."

There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise. Two weeks ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.) But even beyond that, read the rest of her response. "It is from Alaska that we send out those ..." What does this mean? This is not an isolated example. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ("We mustn't blink.") But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.

Couric asked her a smart question about the proposed $700 billion bailout of the American financial sector. It was designed to see if Palin understood that the problem in this crisis is that credit and liquidity in the financial system has dried up, and that that's why, in the estimation of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the government needs to step in to buy up Wall Street's most toxic liabilities. Here's the entire exchange:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the--it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

This is nonsense--a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head. Some commentators, like CNN's Campbell Brown, have argued that it's sexist to keep Sarah Palin under wraps, as if she were a delicate flower who might wilt under the bright lights of the modern media. But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb.

Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.

Domestically, the bailout and reform of the financial industry will take years and hundreds of billions of dollars. Health-care costs, unless curtailed, will bankrupt the federal government. Social Security, immigration, collapsing infrastructure and education are all going to get much worse if they are not handled soon.

And the American government is stretched to the limit. Between the Bush tax cuts, homeland-security needs, Iraq, Afghanistan and the bailout, the budget is looking bleak. Plus, within a few years, the retirement of the baby boomers begins with its massive and rising costs (in the trillions).

Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.

Anonymous said...

Henry Kissinger doesn't have to lie for anyone. That the idiots at the Obama camp never understood Kissinger's position is obvious. Maybe they should have just asked him to 'splain it to 'em.

karin said...

CBS has announced that it will be airing more of the Couric interview with Palin on Wednesday and Thursday.

GOP David Brooks said he found the first part too painful to watch. It's just not fair of the press to be exposing a bimbo like this.

If she doesn't work out as President, we can get rid of her after four years if there's anything left of the country.