Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election notes

We're now less than a week away from the election, but in some states, including Texas where I'm at, early voting is going on. In fact, I plan to vote tomorrow. However, don't fret, as I'll still be commenting on the election right up to Election Day.

As I observe the political landscape, signs seem to be pointing to an Obama victory. However, as I tell people who ask, signs and polls don't vote. Ultimately, they mean nothing. Obama won't win unless he's got more votes, plain and simple. Or as I tell others, if you're an Obama supporter and you don't vote for him on Tuesday, it's as good as voting for McCain. In turn, if you're a McCain supporter and you don't vote, it's as good as voting for Obama. Or if you are as I am and giving serious looks to third party candidates, then vote for them. But vote. The power of the ballot box is the only control that we have over those that are alleged to serve us, and if we don't exercise our power of the vote, then special interest groups and PACs will do it for us. Use your vote so that our public servants will know that we're still out here and still expect them to serve us, and not some high-dollar PAC.

As for my take on the candidates, I won't be voting for Obama because he is not only prochoice, he is probably the most prochoice politician in Washington. Even though he wants to "institute change", it does not extend to this issue. The change in this instance is the kind of change that is referred to in the saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same". He consistently voted against the born-alive bill, even though it isn't about abortion, but about protecting a newborn life - that is, NOT unborn, but already born. Also, one of the first things Obama is going to do once in office is sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA). Right off the bat. I'll discuss FOCA more at another time, but for someone to claim to want to bring change, this certainly is a slap in the face to those who oppose legalized abortion. Wait, I guess it is change. He's going to change the law of the land from being prochoice to being VERY prochoice. Sorry, my bad.

As for Joe Biden, the less I say about the man, the better. I have absolutely no respect for him, and of Obama for nominating him as his running mate. Obama selecting Biden to me was an error in judgment - one among others that Obama has made in his run for office. Sarah Palin can't so much as fart without the press questioning her credentials for office, but Biden can gaffe like Curly Howard in a high society function and they just laugh it off as Joe being Joe. Sorry, but I don't want the human gaffe machine to be a "hearbeat away from the presidency". I still feel that Bill Richardson would have been a far better selection as a running mate, and Biden keeps confirming that for me.

I also have a problem with McCain. He had been seeking this office for years - and now that he gets his shot, his alleged "knack for reaching across the aisle" has shown itself to instead be a way to hide the fact that often he doesn't know what the hell he is doing. He had a huge head start getting nominated early while Obama was in a slugfest with Hillary Clinton virtually all of the primary season, and yet it looks like he did absolutely nothing in that "bye week" time to help himself for right now. Also, his idea of strategy seems to be "go with whatever pops in my head first". That was demonstrated by his idea of suspending his campaign and asking to delay the first debate so that he could go to Washington and help with the financial crisis that had brewed at that time. Did he seriously believe that the Democrats were going to play along with his "coming to rescue" idea when they have their own candidate running for office? I dread to see what he'd do as president with such "strategy thinking".

And I also think that McCain mishandled the charge that his running mate, Sarah Palin, brought to the ticket. Yes, she's been made to look like some sort of backwoods idiot in the press, but I don't think she's as dumb as she's been made out to be. An idiot couldn't have gone from being a member of the PTA to being in the governor's seat to being a vice presidential candidate; especially at her young age. Of all the four candidates running for office, she's the one that intrigues me, and I'm not alone. If she isn't elected vice president, I think she'll be back. Thing is, wherever she goes, she draws a crowd. An example of this is her appearance on Saturday Night Live. The ratings for that episode were the highest in 14 years. What this shows is that, whether they tuned in to watch Palin or to watch her fall flat on her face, they tuned in.

Something about the woman draws ire and scorn like a magnet. Not just a lack of fondness, but an outright aggressive attack, largely by a group of people who claim to be tolerant and open-minded - especially for historically oppressed groups, like women. One of the alleged weaknesses of Bill Richardson is that he isn't smooth. And Joe Biden is? I wonder how Bill would have done against Palin in the veep debate, and I wonder how Bill would have done given the chance. Surely he wouldn't have gaffed his ass off like Biden has so far. Not picking him was an opportunity lost to have had two historical vice presidential candidates.

Some articles I've read have said that if McCain loses, then it will be because of Palin. I say the same thing about Obama should he lose, that it was because of his running mate.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why I oppose legalized abortion

In conversations with people in real life and online (including very recently with a co-worker), almost always they assume I'm a left-winger until they hear that I'm opposed to legalized abortion. Then they think I'm a right-winger. Funny how that almost always happens. Why do they assume that? I oppose the war; I oppose the death penalty; I think the rich get too many tax breaks - but that's not enough to validate my left wing credentials.

"Real liberals support a woman's right to choose", is the usual response. And also almost always (including that same co-worker), they bring up why I let ONE issue determine how I'll vote for a candidate. My usual response is, "Well, if that ONE issue isn't that important to the Democrats, then they should drop it from their party platform, as there's a lot of left-wingers like me who'd go back to the party in a heartbeat if they ever did."

Well, it turns out that this ONE issue is important to them as well - so I don't know why that argument keeps being brought up. It's supposed to shame me for limiting myself to one issue, and yet it's damned easy to show how the shamers are just as bad. But I'm not the only prolife left-winger - in fact, there's a bunch of us. In another blog entry, I'll provide a whole list of sites of such folks, including atheists, anarchists, gays, feminists, vegetarians, and even pagans (this list does not pretend to be comprehensive. Folks, in other words, that aren't likely to wander the convention floor of the GOP.

For this blog entry, though, let me relate why I'm prolife. Part of it is because of my Catholic faith. I believe all of us are created by God, and that we all have a reason for having been created. Because God created us, that makes us all unique and special. Granted, not all of us reach the potential that we have - in fact, the greater majority of us will not - but we all have the right to find out for ourselves. But we must exist before we can achieve that potential.

What would those of you who are prochoice say about a single parent teenage high school dropout living in poverty giving birth to her son? Dooming him to a life of despondency and crime? No hope for him because she didn't even finish high school, much less go on to college? Some of you are probably thinking that this is a set-up; that I'm that son, but I'm not. He's my older brother. I'm the SECOND son born to that same teenager. NOW what do you think of that teenager? Greatly irresponsible and thoughtless?

My mother fully admitted that she made mistakes, but she made every effort to provide for me and my brother. She sent us to a Catholic school because she wanted us to have a religious education, even though it taxed her meager budget. She'll also be the first to tell you that she had LOTS of help. And during my childhood, I never felt poor, even though technically I was. I never felt unloved. I never felt like I didn't deserve to be here. So what happened to those two boys?

My brother graduated from a Catholic high school with a 4.4 GPA in his final semester, which got him a 4 year scholarship to college. He went on to college to graduate with a marketing degree, and he's now happily married to a wonderful woman, and they have 3 beautiful children. He's also an executive in an auto parts company, and doing very well. I also went on to college, and even went on to get my Master's. Not bad for two boys born to a teenage single parent mother living in poverty. And when she holds her grandchildren in her arms, she forgets all the pain and suffering she went through to raise my brother and me. You won't find a prouder grandmother.

I oppose legalized abortion, because it denies stories like mine. Legalized abortion means giving in to fear and hopelessness. It means denying life to someone whose story deserves to be played out. Legalized abortion would have also denied a woman two sons and three grandchildren. What would have her life been like, I wonder, if she gave into her fear all those years ago? The abortion issue may indeed be "one issue", but it's a damned important one, because I'm fighting for the right of the existence of people like me and my brother. We deserve to be here, and I dare anyone to try to tell me otherwise.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Candidate masks for Halloween

I said before that I'm going to make this week Halloween week. Well, why not combine both the election and Halloween? Below are masks from I didn't see a Joe Biden mask, however. Maybe they couldn't get the hair plugs down right. ;-)

How Obama can still lose the election

Over the weekend I was asked how - given the lead that Barack Obama has in the polls - he could lose the election. Understand that this person was an Obama supporter, and he feels that it's in the bag. To him, it's inconceivable that he could lose unless the Supreme Court pulls a "2000" (as in, the election of) on him. Not expecting an answer, he asked me. He should have known better than to ask even rhetorical questions to me. ;-)

I said, "Yes, Obama can still lose the election, and not by any judges. Obama's supporters could get so confident of victory that they don't bother to vote. They read the newspaper headlines and see that he has a large lead and then assume that they don't need to do anything. On the other side, John McCain's supporters are reading the writing on the wall, so that could provide motivation to go out and vote. Of course, some J-Mac supporters could feel that it's a lost cause and not vote, but I think more of them would vote than not vote."

"So the question is, can Obama rely on his supporters to go do their civic duty? I think the answer to that would be how many of the young people - one of his biggest supporters - can overcome their traditional notorious unreliability in regards to voting and come through this time. They show up, he wins. They go back to their SMO, and McCain wins."

Really, the lesson here is the importance of voting. As it's been said before, polls don't vote, people do. The best thing you can do for your candidate is to be at that voting booth. Unlike some other parts of the world, our lives and limbs aren't threatened by going to vote, so there's no reason to not go. As I've told others, if you don't vote, then you can't complain about the leadership if you don't like it.

Here's my PSA to you, folks: Vote because you can.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

TCU moves up to #12!

The Mighty TCU Horned Frogs move up to #12! YESSS!

Now if we can finish the season unbeaten, we just might have a shot at this rigged election that is the BCS!

New words

Below are some of the word verification letter groupings that have appeared whenever I’ve wanted to post comments on someone’s blog. I’ve always thought that some of them should be actual words, so with this blog entry, I’m making them actual words. Feel free to use them in your everyday conversations. More to come later.

Buncy (adj.): A term referring to a person – usu. female – with a very pleasant and outgoing personality. “Her outlook on life is so buncy that she's lots of fun to be around.”

Gecons (pl. noun of “gecon”): A term that is the combination of “geo-” and “conservative” and which refers to an environmentally conscious political conservative. “Jerry Griswald may be a right wing nutjob, but at least he’s among the gecons.”

Ovelacte (verb): To make a dish combining milk and eggs. “I didn’t have enough of either milk or eggs to make a meal, so I ovelacted them.”

Spadro (noun): A term referring to a very overweight man wearing a pair of Spandex shorts that are several sizes too small, or a large man with equally bad taste in fashion. “Fred used to be studly, but now he’s ballooned into a total Spadro.”

Sprex (verb): A term that is a combination of the words “sprint” and “sex”, and refers to a sexual act that is completed in a very short span of time. “He sprexed me so quickly that I wasn’t sure that we did it.”

(by the way, in case you're wondering, I checked with to make sure that the above words weren't already actual words.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I think in the coming week, I'll try to have a Halloween theme. Today I want to ask all of you this question:

If money were no object, what costume would you wear?

For me, I'd like the classic Lon Chaney Wolfman. I always thought that it was cool.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Conceding a point to a fellow blogger

Okay folks, listen up. In the 500+ posts that I've had on this blog, I don't think I've ever publicly conceded a point that was made in a previous blog entry.

However, fellow blogger Joel has, in comments to my previous blog entry and in an entry in his own blog, provided enough argumentation and persuasion on the Sarah Palin $150k wardrobe issue that I must concede a point that I had previously made. I had said before that it was a non-issue. Now I must say that the wardrobe issue is indeed a valid election issue, especially considering how that $150k could have been spent helping with GOP state campaign efforts instead of helping to deck out Palin to make sure she stayed looking hot.

Joel had further argued that the GOP's spending habits in this instance can be seen as an indicator of how they'll spend OUR money should they get elected. I stated in the comments section of his blog entry that the Obama camp should use this argument in their campaign ads. Having said all this, let me finish by saying:

Okay dude, you won this one. :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin's wardrobe issue

I've been asked to comment on the recent news story about Sarah Palin's wardrobe and that the GOP spent $150,000 on her. Well, it's a non-issue with me, because it was the GOP that spent that money, and not the taxpayer. It's their money, and if they want to spend it dressing up their "Caribou Barbie" to look more professional, then fine. Just don't stick us with the bill later.

Yes, Palin's trying to sell an image of being a "Josephine Six-Pack", and the $150,000 sum is not an amount that the average American worker would spend on their wardrobe. But c'mon - she's on the national stage of a very public campaign. She can't exactly go around in jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt! And even though I don't have a wife, even I know that women spend more time and money on their appearance. Us dudes want women to look attractive, so we have to understand that women have to work at it to look the way they do.

It seems to me that if we're going to look at how much one candidate spends on their wardrobe, then let's go ahead and see how much they ALL spend on their wardrobe. After all, wouldn't it be sexist just to look at how much was spent on the lone female candidate? To be fair, let's go ahead and see how much was spent on the wardrobes of the other three male candidates, and let's also factor in that they (at least to the best of our knowledge!) don't wear make-up or have their nails done and other such things that women do for their appearance.

Nope, so long as it's the GOP spending their dough on her, then it's a non-issue with me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Killing two stones with one bird

As I read today's newspaper about the possibility of having another "economic stimulus package", and idea came to me. "Bailout bill".

"Economic stimulus package"

"Bailout bill"

"Economic stimulus package" = "bailout bill".

See what I'm saying?

We just passed an unpopular bailout bill, right? And our leaders want to pass an economic stimulus package, right? So how to make the bailout bill more appealing? Rather than give the bailout money to nutso bankers and financial institutions who made stupid decisions, why not turn that $700 billion into the economic stimulus package?

It's our money to begin with, so it seems only right to just give us the bailout money. The way I see it, it's a win-win situation. The pols look good giving money back to the people, and we the people can walk away for once not feeling like we've been ripped off.

Anyway, I hope one of the presidential candidates gives it some serious thought. I think the idea's brilliant.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sarah Palin on SNL, in case you missed it

Okay, admit it - "Caribou Barbie" did pretty well. And Alec Baldwin did pretty well acting with her. Anyway, enjoy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Final debate report card

Sorry I didn't do this yesterday, folks, but I spent most of the day getting ready to watch the TCU Horned Frogs whip the asses of BYU! YEAAAAH!!!!!

Ahem. Sorry.

Anyway, on to my report of Wednesday's final debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. As I said yesterday, I stated that Joe the Plumber won. Why do I say that? Because both Obama and McCain brought him up several times. "Joe, I'm your friend and here's why..." "No, Joe - I'M your friend and here's why..." "Here's my plan to cut your taxes, Joe..." "Here's how my tax plan is better, Joe..." And so on. Joe the Plumber basically served as a face for Gov. Sarah Palin's usual reference to "Joe Six Pack" - in other words, blue collar American workers.

Before the debate, I had said that Obama needed to close the deal in the way that he didn't do for the Democratic primaries. He didn't have to bring his "A" game, he just needed to provide himself a boost so that his lead in the polls can increase. However, he was thrown off his game plan by McCain's introduction of Joe the Plumber. In a way, Joe was bait for Obama to respond to, and he bit like a deep sea fish. What set this up, though, was the tape of Obama talking to Joe and his unfortunate use of the term "spread the wealth", which for conservatives is code for "tax your ass off". I say 'unfortunate', because Obama happened to use a common phrase from the liberal lexicon that conservatives flock to like vultures on a carcass whenever it was used.

While Obama does not have the experience that McCain has in being a candidate for office, he at least has been at it long enough to know what phrases to avoid while on the campaign trail. This is especially in light of the fact that the GOP is so desperate to latch Bill Ayers (aka the so-called "unrepentant terrorist"), Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other radical left wing folks onto Obama through guilt by association. If not Obama himself, then someone in his campaign staff should have instructed him on certain words and phrases to avoid on the campaign trail; especially when he went from the primaries to the general election. In essence, what sells to Democrats ain't necessarily what will sell to the rest of the general population.

Anyway, I felt that Obama was thrown off his game plan by the introduction of Joe the Plumber, and he ended up in that "explaining away" method of his that makes him sound like your run-of-the-mill politician. Other examples of this are his "above my pay grade" and "bitter Americans clinging to their guns and religions" comments that put him in a less than favorable light that he didn't need to put himself into. He didn't close the deal - it just didn't happen.

In the meantime, John McCain at times was aggressive, pouty, surly, and even downright Cheneyesque - and that's when he was being nice! Some are going to interpret J-Mac's surliness as "finally standing up to Obama", but I felt that he just came across as a grumpy old man. There was no real focus to his attacks, which basically sounded like he was rattling off the current list of GOP talking points. In other words, J-Mac does not make a good "bad cop" - he probably should leave the bad cop role to Palin, who can at least deliver her lines with a better sense of timing. The only reason that I'm awarding McCain the debate this time around was because he introduced Joe the Plumber into the debate, throwing Obama off his rhythm, and also because Obama didn't close the deal. McCain did only marginally more than Obama in accomplishing the goals that I had set out for them - and even in this McCain fell short.

What you can say, then, is that McCain may have won this battle (this final debate, that is), but there's still the war to go. McCain, ultimately, didn't do enough to give him any significant bounce in the polls, and with no more debates in the horizon, that was his last chance in a face-to-face with Obama. Now he needs to figure out how to reach the voters in other ways, and Palin now needs to really boost her learning curve if she is going to be any help for the rest of the campaign. If there were more time, she might be able to learn what she needs to do, but three weeks might not be enough. Time will tell.

Now Obama will need to do what he does best - speak to the crowds. He also needs to avoid any more left-wing blurbs that the GOP and conservative talk-show hosts can latch onto. He can do that easily if he wants to - he only went to freakin' Harvard, after all! Obama is currently like the playoff team that is in a bye week, while McCain is like the team that has to play during a bye week. The only way that this election can get interesting is if Obama lets it.

My final debate results: (out of 3 presidential debates and one vice presidential debate)

Obama: 1.75
Palin: 1
McCain: 1.25

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate winner: Joe the Plumber. Details to follow later

I'm still working on my official report of the debate, but I'm posting my view now of who won to answer people who've already asked me; and that answer is: Joe the Plumber.

Details to follow later today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Last Debate Strategeries

Tomorrow's the last debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. Here's what I think each needs to do to win.

Barack Obama
Three words: CLOSE. THE. DEAL. During the Democratic primaries, he needed to do exactly that: close the deal. Instead, the primaries dragged on and on practically right up to the convention date. He doesn't need a repeat of that for the general election. Right now he's gotten a bump in the polls and tomorrow's debate can help insure that those polls' margins keep increasing. Obama needs to do something that is unlike what he's done before: Be more direct in responding to questions instead of "explaining away" as he usually does. Somehow he needs to channel his oratory skills that he uses so effectively in speeches to supporters and translate them into a format that he can use in debates. It's one thing to "preach to the choir", but another thing to use those persuasive skills in a debate. If Obama can master that, then he has a lock on this debate, and perhaps the election. Anything short of that will leave a crack for John McCain to possibly exploit. Merely eking out a win against J-Mac isn't going to do it unless J-Mac stumbles spectacularly; now is the time for Obama to show his leadership potential and bring his "A" game.

John McCain
Three words for McCain: Do or Die. Due to her lack of experience in campaigning on the national stage, Sarah Palin is not skilled enough yet to help save the campaign on her own. In order for her to work the magic that she had at the convention, she needs J-Mac to demonstrate why he's the top of the ticket. Whatever magic J-Mac has left, whatever mojo he's got in his tank, whatever skills and tactics that he has remaining in his campaign playbook, he needs to bring them all out, and do it now. In the debate, J-Mac's experience over Obama needs to show itself now more than ever. Just repeating the results from the previous debate is not going to do it this time; anything less than his "A" game will help further the slide he's already got in the polls. As it is, if both bring their "A" games, then such a tie will go to Obama. No, J-Mac has to be at his stellar best for the debate, and exploit any opportunities that present themselves. If he accomplishes that, then it will give his campaign a much needed boost, and from that point Palin may be able to feed off of that and restore her own luster.

Bob Schieffer
Needs to be a better moderator than Tom Brokaw!

Get the popcorn folks. Hopefully it will be a debate for the ages.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Possibly the most controversial topic that I've discussed on my blog!

Okay, folks - I've discussed a few controversial topics during my time blogging, so I feel that you all are ready to touch upon a particularly thorny topic.

See, it's bigger than the current financial crisis. It's bigger than pondering the possibility of whether we're going to elect a bona fide socialist into the Oval Office or a genuine redneck moose hunter as a vice president. It's more controversial than the gay marriage issue and whether the states should allow it. It's bigger than my Madonna-Induced Career Implosion Theory (MICIT, formerly the Madonna Implosion Theory, or MIT)! Heck, it's even bigger than whether college football should stick with the BSC system or go with a playoff system! What is that thory topic, you ask? It's this:

What sorts of songs should I have on my Halloween playlist for my MP3 player?

Monster Mash for sure, and Ghostbusters. Gotta also have Thriller, and Werewolves of London. However, I don't like Love Potion #9, even though it's often on most Halloween playlists. Anyway, those are some of the classics for Halloween. My question is, what other songs could go on such a list?

I have Nightmare on My Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince on mine. Also, Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers Band, Hotel California by The Eagles, and People are Strange by The Doors. From Santana there is Evil Ways and Black Magic Woman. The rest of my Halloween lineup shapes up this way:

* The Purple People Eater
* Lil' Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham
* Somebody's Watching Me
* Theme from the Addams' Family
* Theme from the Twilight Zone
* Theme from Jaws

So with that, I ask you all: What else could go on this list?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Madonna again

I was going to wait until Saturday to post again, but I just had to mention a news story that appeared about Madonna.

I had mentioned previously about my Madonna Implosion Theory, or MIT for short. The MIT is thus: The more that a given person's career was on the rise before meeting Madonna, the greater the likelihood and the bigger the implosion will be after meeting Madonna. Here's a short list of those whose careers sank, imploded, or who just plain went insane after meeting Madonna:

* Sean Penn
* Dennis Rodman
* Sandra Bernhard
* Warren Beatty
* Rosie O'Donnell
* Alex Rodriguez
* Amy Winehouse - who to my knowledge hasn't actually met Madonna, but since Madonna moved to England, Amy went nuts. The timing of this can't be a coincidence.
* and the most dramatic example, Britney Spears. Brit was on the rise before The Kiss. After that, she went insane.

Now we come to a news article that just appeared today. In this article, Madonna says that GOP candidate Gov. Sarah Palin is not welcome at her concerts. In light of the MIT and those whose careers were destroyed in its wake, Palin must be thinking, "THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!"

So Obama, listen up! If you want to win this election, DON'T MEET MADONNA!

Okay, folks - back to my short vacation. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Debate take: It's a tie!

Sorry, folks, I couldn't come away with a winner this time. Both John McCain and Barack Obama did a better job of jabbing their opponent, which I was glad to see. That's more along the lines of what a debate should be - although poor Tom Brokaw couldn't get them reined in half the time - including the end where they blocked his view of the teleprompter!

The thing is, while they were doing a better job of actually debating - being more outspoken and such - they weren't focusing their arguments. They were like two Old West gunfighters just shooting wildly, aiming only in the general direction of their opponent without actually hitting them. Thus, neither of them met the goals that I had set out yesterday. McCain didn't do enough to rise above Obama, nor did Obama deliver the finishing stroke to put McCain away.

I know that each candidate's supporters are going to say that their candidate won - and each candidate did say and do stuff that made them look good - but just having the guts to draw your gun and shoot doesn't mean that you hit your target. I guess they'll get credit for firing their guns like Palin got credit for showing up at her debate and not losing her lunch. So as much as I wanted to always name a winner, I can't this time around.

I blame the lack of skill of debating on the current environment that seeks to sue over every little jot and tittle that doesn't meet some vague and ever shifting standard of non-offensiveness. Some call it political correctness, but it's more than just the PC crowd that does this. So as a result of this hypersensitivity, skills such as debating have become a lost art and replaced with the wild west shootout that we saw last night.

So the scoreboard so far:

Obama 1.5
Palin 1
McCain .5

There's only one more debate left. Let's hope that they make it a good one.

And I'll be off a couple of days and post again on Saturday. See you then.


This news article pretty much says what I said above, except that they give Obama the nod for the win. Well, they're wrong. ;-)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Prez debates round 2: Who needs to do what

Tonight's the debate, and as usual, yours truly will give his take on how the debators did either tomorrow or the next day. Guaranteed to be fair and bias (to borrow a line from Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist, Randy Galloway).

Here's what I think each candidate needs to do:

Barack Obama
Just like in the Democratic primary, Obama seems to have trouble putting away an opponent. Tonight that's what he needs to do. In the most recent, post-veep debate polls, McCain has had a slight uptick. Tonight's the night to nip that sucker in the bud before it becomes a bigger uptick. Obama needs to do what he didn't do in the primaries - namely, finish what he started. The last thing he needs to do is let the campaign linger on and on and on when a good finishing move could take care of it. If he wants to demonstrate his leadership skills, now's the time to do it. Oh, and stop agreeing with John so much.

John McCain
McCain needs to take what little uptick Palin gave him and run with it. Now's the time to shore up what had been missing in recent weeks and create the kind of momentum that could carry him all the way to the Oval Office. Even though it seems to still be a toss-up, I still think that it's Obama's game to lose. Whatever "game-changer" mojo McCain got out of Palin seems to be expired, and he needs to re-energize his campaign. Allegedly, town hall formats such as tonight's debate are supposed to be McCain's strength - so tonight's the night to show why. The economy was also supposed to be his edge against Obama, but that didn't quite work out as planned in the first debate. If J-Mac goes 0-2 in the debates, then it's a good chance that it'll be 0-3 later.

That's my pre-game analysis. Tonight we'll see how right I am.

Monday, October 06, 2008

SNL skit of the VP debates

By the way, for those of you who might have missed it, here's the SNL skit of the VP debate:

As you can see, nobody was spared! I wonder what they'll do with tomorrow's second debate of Obama and McCain?

Wall Street falls down anyway

Okay, this is going to be the first time I use this acronym on my blog: WTF? Last week when the House didn't pass the now well-known bailout - excuse me, rescue - bill, Wall Street responded with a down day. By 700 points, if I recall correctly. Well, last Friday the bailout - Dang it! Rescue! - bill passed. So how did Wall Street respond this time? Down even more!

I can only ask: WTF?

Isn't that what they wanted? Isn't the bill of goods we were sold was that this rescue - got it this time! -bill was supposed to fix things, not make things worse? So now I have to ask: Does anyone in D.C. know what the hell they are doing? See folks, this is why we have elections. You registered? Better find out fast!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lipstick and pigs again

It seems that someone agrees with me, and it's a fellow edtooner!

My take on the veep debates: Palin escapes with a win

I had discussions all day long yesterday with folks both in person and online about whom I felt won the debate, and I thought long and hard to figure out what to say. It finally hit me: Palin didn't so much win as she escaped with a win. Here's why I say that:

Joe Biden had mucho more experience in this sort of thing. It should have been in the bag for him. Not only that, Palin was damaged goods after having weak showings in her two interviews. On top of that, the debate was being moderated by a seasoned professional in Gwen Ifill. And yet, a comedy of errors led to Palin getting away with one.

I was told that Biden held back because Palin's a woman, and he didn't want to be viewed as sexist. I say: Pfft! How long did he know that Palin was going to be his debating opponent? And in all that time, he couldn't round up the local coven - er, I mean, a group of feminists to help coach him in debating female opponents without appearing sexist? How many feminists are in the Democratic Party anyway? (it could be that the Dem fems are still mad about the turnout of the primaries...)

Next, Biden had concentrated his attacks on McCain as a way to avoid criticizing Palin. Others told me that McCain is the top of the GOP ticket and that it was legitimate to criticize him. Yes, I agree with that - but, if the Dems wanted to show that Palin is too inexperienced for the veep job, then this was the time to do it. Here the Dems had an opportunity to take a wounded Palin down in probably the most public way that they're going to get before the election, and they let that opportunity slip away.

Not only that, this was a debate between vice presidential candidates! Their job in this debate is to show why they would be the better man (or woman) for the job. Part of doing that is to demonstrate why your opponent is NOT qualified. The closest Biden got was his "bridge to nowhere" comment, which actually got a brief rise out of the crowd that was supposed to be silent. But he didn't follow it up - instead continuing his attacks on McCain. Biden really needed a "You're no Jack Kennedy" Lloyd Bentson moment, and it didn't come. I blame Biden's failure to capitalize on finishing off the damaged goods that was Sarah Palin on poor coaching and preparation by the Democratic leadership. Look, do they want to win this election or not?

Next, in regards to Gwen Ifill, I felt that she handled herself professionally, and even said so here on my blog. However, others told me that she pulled her punches and didn't follow up on some of Palin's responses or chide her for going off track of the topic that was being discussed at the time. Others still said that this book controversy thing got into her head. I still feel that she is professional enough to deal with that, but I seem to be in the minority on that view. Why don't they think she could handle it? No one I asked who criticized Ifill's performance have been able to tell me that one.

As for Palin herself, her performance was well enough to save her a total meltdown. There were some of the flashes that got her in the national stage in the first place - even if she did use the word "maverick" half a gajillion times. Some critics chided her folksy twang, but maybe that's the way she talks - because 5 weeks into a national election is not enough time to lose one's twang. She went off track a few times, and didn't answer the question at other times. The shorter time for response benefitted her, but I think it did the same for Biden who has a tendency toward wordiness.

I'd rate her performance about a C+ at best, and she got away with a win mostly on the charity of her opponent rather than her own efforts. By the way, I give Biden a B-, but no more, because he didn't accomplish what he should have accomplished, and that was to stare Palin down. That Palin escaped being taken down completely is enough for me to award her the win.

Score for the debates so far:

Obama: 1
Palin: 1

Two debates to go. As usual, I'll be giving my take on how they did. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Last minute advice for the debators tonight

If the veep candidates bent an ear in my direction asking for last-minute advice, here's what I'd tell them:

Joe Biden
Look Joe, your worst enemy is not the GOP, but your own mouth. Not that you cuss, but that you don't know when to stop talking. The longer you go on talking, the more likely you are to gaffe. While one might say that you making a gaffe tonight is virtually inevitable, what you at least want to do is to not make a MAJOR gaffe. So keep your responses short and sweet, and that should decrease the odds of gaffe-making. You got years of experience on your debating opponent, so work that in your favor.

Sarah Palin
Sarah, something about you got you from the PTA to the vice presidency, so tonight's the night for the U.S. to see what that is. You need to recapture whatever you had that night at the GOP convention and bring it out again. No pressure, but McCain's success or failure in this election largely rests on how quickly you adjust to the big stage. In addition, your opponent has a tendency to gaffe , so if he makes a particularly juicy gaffe, work that in your favor so as to draw attention to him and away from your own shortcomings.

For both
Forget that Palin is a woman, and debate as equals. Palin needs to be treated the same as if it had been Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney that had been nominated. She will need to sink or swim on the basis of her own debate skills. The more even-handed this debate is done, the better.

Gwen Ifill's book with Obama in it
Hngh. This news item is an annoyance that shouldn't have happened. Even if Ifill isn't "in the tank" for Obama, she should have revealed the fact that she's writing a book on Obama on her own - and much, much sooner, instead of letting conservative talk show hosts and websites come across that fact. She's an intelligent woman as well as a professional, and she above all should have known that this was going to come up, especially in this contentious election season. Had she made this fact known sooner, it could have been dealt with already.

Now the GOP will have a ready-made excuse should Palin not perform well. Not only that, now that this has come out, Ifill might have to "pull her punches" so as to keep from looking like she is favoring Biden. I can't believe that someone in the Dem side didn't think that this would at least give the appearance of a conflict of interest! This was poorly handled, and it will become an element of tonight's debate that shouldn't have been there.

In any case, however, I still will be watching. And of course, I'll give my take on how the candidates did.

UPDATE: According to this article, Ifill didn't inform the Commission on Presidential Debates about her authoring this book. That would have been the perfect time to do so. Even if the CPD wasn't informed of it, they should have had some mechanism in place that would seek out such information. According to a fellow blogger (see comment below), knowledge of this book had been known beforehand. A quick Google search by the CPD should have brought this out. I still maintain that this could have been better handled.

Gwen Ifill handled the debate totally professionally. She made the book issue a non-issue. Although the Hannitys and Limbaughs will probably still find something, I don't think they will have a leg to stand on in regards to how she handled being the moderator. My debate review will come tomorrow, but I wanted to get my kudos in on Ifill's moderation skills right now.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When is a bail-out not a bail-out?

In today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there was an article in which some politicians felt that calling the bail-out plan a "bail out" was a mistake. Perhaps, they mused, it would help if they instead call it a "rescue". I'm thinking lipstick and pigs here. This bail-out crisis has reminded me once again that we should never confuse "politician" with "leader".