Open Thread

Dear Troops: I’ll be offline until Sunday afternoon, but talk away among yourselves about whatever happens between now and then.

19 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. We went to a debate party at the home of our colleague from Hagerstown Community College Sean Maher. It was a younger crowd than we usually hang around with (20s to 30s – My son Bud’s age group… he was with us, too) and decidedly pro-Obama. I say that so as not to artificially color my views as a 62-year-old Obama supporter who fears the loss of investment retirement income, Social Security, home values, etc.

    While there was a drinking game taking place in one room… take a shot every time Palin says “Maverick”… those of us in the living room focused on the debate and whether or not the candidates were answering Gwen Ifill’s questions or not (we were watching on MSNBC which, as my wife pointed out, did us the favor of keeping the original question printed at the bottom of the screen while the two candidates veered to the pre-set messages they had, especially in the case of Palin, obviously rehearsed.)

    Ifill’s questions and her steering of the candidates to answer them was pretty weak. I was surprised at that… she could have kept returning to the question to get them to focus answers, but she didn’t. Too bad. It was one of the things that Jim Lehrer did pretty well.

    Palin, to her credit, did not make the really stupid statements which she did with Katie Couric on their two days of interviews. She did not fall apart, kept her “cutie” composure, filled her comments with her “country girl” character and idiom, and certainly kept her supporters happy for the whole 90 minutes. Did she say anything that wasn’t pre-screened by Steve Schmidt and cohorts? No. You knew from the first, quite loud (so it would be picked up by the mikes) handshake comment…”Can I call you Joe?”… that she was ready to put Biden off his guard from the beginning. Fortunately, he didn’t fall for it.

    Biden kept his cool through the evening and came off, I thought, as a completely professional government operator. His knowledge of foreign policy and the law, to his credit (they each have to be credited with their strengths) established an amount of confidence which was clear in the snap polls after the debate from CNN, CBS and other sources that handed the debate to the Democrat by a 2-1 margin.

    Some observations:

    – Palin still not sure what a VP does. She actually made a statement that she thought the Constitutional powers of the VP could be expanded. Biden made it clear that the VP was subordinate to the President, and his experience and talent would be at Obama’s disposal. Period.

    – Biden went in with an intent to focus on McCain and not on Palin and pretty much pulled it off. Palin went on the attack without factual substantiation, which Biden could easily call her on, frequently during the evening.

    – Ifill’s questions were awfully soft. Perhaps she was intimidated by the pre-debate complaints from the Republicans on her new book about black politicians. I don’t know.

    You could say about the debate that Palin came across as someone you would like to know, but Biden came across as someone you could trust to do the job.

    What did you think?

    Under The LobsterScope

  2. I’m a bit creeped out by morning-after polls that gave Biden superior knowledge, by something like 52% to 36%, but said Palin was more likeable by almost identical numbers.

    Likeable… isn’t that what got George W. Bush elected over Kerry?

    Maybe I’m cynical, but I saw through every last one of her doggones and winks. Several times I caught her simply reading her answers off something on her podium.

    And the fact-check on her this morning is brutal: turns out it was Chuck HagelM who worked tirelessly 2 years ago to reform Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. All McC did was issue one press release to co-sponsor. One press release. Meanwhile, his campaign manager, Rick Davis, worked for the lobbying firm that defended FM & FM against the reforms!

    The health-care plan was another whopper: McC’s “budget neutral” plan to give $5K to uninsured families would cost those of us insured under our employers $1.3 trillion in taxes on that employee benefit. How is that not a direct “redistribution of wealth”? (Alternatively, a single-payer system would collect premiums from nearly everyone, and would be a public benefit in the manner of law enforcement or the schools.)

    Well, at least she couldn’t fool 56% of the people most of the time.

  3. I thought it was odd how many of the questions from Ifill seemed like they came from a management training class on how to interview a job candidate. “What is your biggest weakness?” “When have you ever had to change your mind about something?” What was even more strange was that Palin couldn’t handle them. I wouldn’t hire her for a job at my company, much less a job as my Vice President.

    Meanwhile, Biden, with his use of the term Bosniak, demonstrated he not only knows more about foreign policy than Palin, but also more than many of the pundits watching. Sorry, Cokie, that wasn’t a gaffe, that was expertise.

  4. lol #4 her voice is one step away from Fran on the Nanny isn’t it.Either she actually says darn tootin or the SNL comedian did.

  5. We watched the debate on CNN to see the undecided-voter running graph at the bottom, then switched back to MSNBC for post-debate commontary. It was interesting … I’m sure the handlers told her that her cute, folksy stuff was endearing and likable and she should lay it on, but the undecideds were not fooled – the lines stayed neutral through all that stuff. And when she mouthed platitudes and cliches, they stayed down. The lines went up when she actually ventured into something that sounded like an answer to a question, even when it was wrong or a lie. Interesting, that. They didn’t care what the substance was, they were just craving something that sounded like substance. Imho.

  6. I hear McCain is going to pull out all the stops and get aggressive in his campaign toward Obama. He’s guaranteeing that we will “learn something” as a result of his new found aggressiveness. I’m not sure on how to take that. Will we learn something about McCain’s bitterness and spiteful character in having to taste of the fruit of rejection and inevitable defeat? Or will we learn something about niggras*,or more exact, mongrels and their genetic predispositions toward untrustworthiness and crime? Whatever we do learn, you can be assured that the lesson won’t be tempered in wholesome values, or will be uplifting to America or the political process.

    It’s been firmly established that defeat is at hand for McCain. All that is left to McCain’s devices is to attack and destroy Obama’s character with all the capacity of the GOP slime machine. McCain has maxed out his evangelical advantage..and it won’t be sufficient to carry him into the White House. Now the only card left in his hand is the race card…so expect to be hearing more of the Reverend Wright or any area where racial tensions and divisions can be exploited. Old country first John has promise to get nasty..believe it! It’s in keeping with his true nature.

    * I’ll defer to Bill Bennett as the expert in explaining the implications of that description.

  7. Has anyone heard or seen the new attack ad against Obama?
    The complaint is he knows a guy that was trouble and in trouble in the 60s. How many people do you check the complete record for before you help them with fund raising for a good cause? How many neighbors do you know the detailed life history of? The guy is out of jail and teaching, so I am guessing he paid any debt to society. It all seems a bit disingenuous for her to bring that up since there have been stories about her being a member of a shady group that was more current.

  8. S — you mean Palin’s comments about William Ayers? I saw a video clip of a campaign speech in CA (I think) in which she says Obama knew/knows a domestic terrorist but doesn’t use Ayers’ name. It’s been brought up before although maybe not with the term “domestic terrorist”. You are correct that most people won’t bother to look up or find out about Ayers’ history or question the term “domestic terroritst.”

  9. …and the McCain attack is getting personal, desperate and as far from discussing the economy as the old man can get. Sitting in my comfy chair and watching the Sunday morning political shows… clicker in my hand… and touring the campaign oriented web-sites from both sides, I’m getting a little more confident that we might have a real change in Washington.

    In Open Left yesterday, “tremayne” posted this:

    Just when you think the bump or bounce or whatever is over, the lead grows again. That’s what makes me think it’s not a bounce at all but leaners and undecided voters coalescing around the Democratic ticket. Here’s what the tracking poll average (Gallup, Rasmussen, Hotline, R2Kos) shows for the last 10 days:
    (See graphic at Under The LobsterScope)

    That total of polls puts Obama over 50% for the first time… a lead that all analysts seem to think is necessary to win (and remember, in 3-way races Bill Clinton did not achieve an over 50% score).

    The Princeton Electoral Consortium
    thinks a landslide toward Obama could be in the making. Their current Electoral Vote outcome distribution projection is Obama: 348, McCain: 190, with a Meta-margin of Obama +3.94%.

    Given these projections, the McCain campaign is about to go on as heavy an attack on Obama’s personality and career as a “liberal extremist” as is possible… and avoid mentioning the economy, which McCain’s deregulation career was obviously part of the cause of the current disaster. As Mike Murphy, Republican strategist, said on Meet The Press this morning: “It is McCain’s barn that is on fire… his trend line is very, very bad.”

    Obama is apparently gearing up against that sort of attack and is already releasing ads that refuse to let McCain detach himself from the economy. In a just released ad, this is how Obama structures the situation:

    Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year. Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy. No wonder his campaign wants to change the subject.

    While McCain and Palin are trying to push the connection of Obama to William Ayers and Tony Rezko, connections which have been debunked already. The “guilt by association path,” as Paul Begala pointed out, also on Meet the press, “will backfire… this thing will blow up in (McCain’s) face.”

    There’s not a lot of time left. Obama is pushing to get folks to the polls in the “early voting” states (West Virginia is one, and I’ll certainly be voting early) with a well turned out organization nationwide. McCain is still trying to regain control of his campaign. Letting the world focus on Sarah Palin the last couple of weeks was a mistake that will take a lot of time to get away from.

    The next few weeks will be test.

    Under The LobsterScope

  10. s and PurpleGirl, Palin’s comment about William Ayers already set off the BS detector at the Associated Press (which had its own “McCain bias” problems until quite recently):

    [T]hough [Palin] may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.

    I’m not sure what they mean by “a political hit,” unless it’s to get her fundie following to start speaking in tongues. Outside the increasingly-smaller choir to which she preaches, I doubt the Ayers lie will impress anyone. In fact, it has opened a door that swings both ways. McCain has past ties to a hate group that funded terrorists (the Nicaraguan contras) in the 1980s:

    To tie McCain to that group, now, is of course absurd, although nowhere near as absurd as tying an 8-year-old boy to the activities of a 1960s radical, who would mean little to him even in 2008.

    Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is fighting back with an ad, starting to air tomorrow, that describes McCain as “erratic” (not an exaggeration at all, imo):

    And finally, if you just want to laugh at the absurdity of Palin’s Ayers lie, this dKos diarist had some Photoshop fun with old photos of Obama and Ayers, back in the day:

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