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Biden vs. Palin Vice Presidential Debate

KW: Live blogging from the debate. Updated: 10:35pm

Or, is that Palin vs. Biden? I am not sure who won the coin toss.

I am listening to the debate. It is 2 or 3 questions in.

The moderator has already cajoled them that they are not answering the questions directly. (Surprise.)

It is so odd –or, not really– that the Democrat and Republican are both lobbying for a really bad bill being shoved through Congress tomorrow – the bailout? [For action on stopping the bailout look here. For more topics from the debate, go to the read more…]

I love how they keep trying to make it sound like this corporate bailout will help regular people. Sarah Palin has the nerve to suggest that regular people should use fiscal responsibility and keep in check with how much debt they get into. Why should individuals have to be disciplined and responsible, but bankers do not?

It’s 9:15pm – Question about taxes. The moderator asked Biden why proposing a tax increase for people making over $250,000 is not class warfare. She said “class warfare”! Then, the moderator asked Palin how taxing employee health insurance benefits is hurting the poor.

Joe Biden – the middle class is the economic engine…it is fair to cut taxes for them.

Sarah Palin – “in the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all our lives” Lessen the tax burden on the private sector and our families…Obama’s plan is the backwards way of helping our country.

Moderator asks Sarah Palin to defend McCain’s healthcare program.

Since my candidate – Green Party Rosa Clemente – is not included, and since the plans of the Democrati candidates and Republican candidates is to steal my $700 billion tomorrow, that’s it for me. It is tedious and boring.

To me, the most interesting part of these debates have been the tone of condescension from the moderators towards the candidate. But, I find it to be fake posturing, because there the moderators are, tools of the gentlemen’s agreement, bi-partisan scheme of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Ian’s input: “You don’t have to argue about health care plans if you would just propose Single Payer, Universal Health Care” (Like Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader propose.)

Ian caught this line from Joe Biden, “That’s what I call a real Bridge to Nowhere.” That got a real laugh from the audience. Kimberly says: Blah-blah-blah. If this is all about gimmicks and laugh, we will never have good government. We need proportional representation and IRV, so that there are more legitimate choices of candidates, and the candidates will talk about real issues, in order to come in first and/or second place. With proportional representation and IRV, a campaign becomes less negative and more substantive.

Now, it is energy policy. Will any of them talk about the dangers of nuclear power? Noooooo way. Obama and McCain are both funded by the nuclear industry.

Sarah Palin is winning on this level…she has studied a lot, she sounds more reasonable than she has in last few weeks, and I think her accent and the giggle in her voice has even died down.

Palin says: “How long have I been at this, like 5 weeks, so how many promises have I made?” That’s part of the problem. She has been “at” national politics for like 5 weeks. And, I am supposed to be thrilled about that! A novice in the second spot, waiting to be President of the United States.

Okay…more…

Climate Change…interesting, Governor Sarah Palin admits that there is climate change, but doesn’t want to argue about why it is there. She is not sure it is related to human impact. Interesting that she thinks action should be taken to prevent global warming…and she discusses conservation and perhaps slowing down on petroleum products…do I hear this correctly???

Biden sounds worse than her…”drill we must”…so, criticizing the Republicans or drilling, but taking it as a given that we must drill…crazy…and lobbying heavily for clean coal. Clean coal is a fake. Biden’s answer reminds me of the huge problem…Sometimes I believe that in the end, it will be better if the Democrat wins over the Republican. I get caught up in believing the old-fashioned, progressive Democrats around me and their belief that in the big picture Democrats are better for people and the world. And, I guess I have fallen for it at some level. But, Biden’s comments on energy in particular remind me of another truth… in many ways, the Democrats are more dangerous than Republicans. Because the Democrats smile and SAY they are for the good of the people, and then the Democrats do more bad stuff in a sneakier way than Republicans. The Democrats are crafty co-opters. They are posturing oppressors. Just like the way that it was Democratic President Bill Clinton who killed welfare.

Interesting note on the A.N.W.A.R., Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. The reserve has been largely protected from drilling projects. It is amazing and heartening that John McCain is evidently on the record as being against drilling in the ANWAR. When I heard that said in the debate, I was like, yeah, if we get stuck with McCain, maybe one good thing will happen. But, then, you find out that Sarah Palin disagrees with her presidential candidate on this one. And, McCain has allowed them to hold issues in disagreement. And, worse, yet, Sarah Palin later specifically said that one of her strengths is energy policy, and John McCain has told her she could be a leader in the adminstration on energy policy. So, one of the few places John McCain’s ideas are positive, and he will be stepping aside to let the negative view prevail under the leadership of his potential Vice President. Eeek!

Now they are into the same-sex marriage issue. Biden says that he is for same-sex marriage. Palin is saying she is tolerant of Americans choosing their partners. Palin is saying she has a diverse family. No one in a McCain/Palin administration would prohibit visiting in a hospital, or having rights in contracts…but, does not want to redefine marriage. Palin’s statement sounds unreal. She is saying she doesn’t want to change definition of marriage, but if we do not change it, then it is certain that gay people will not be able to visit dying family members in the hospital…so she is proposing nonsense…

Sarah Palin: Re: Same Sex Marriage, Palin asserts: “My answer is the same as him, and that is that I do not.” Very crafty and rhetorical. I think she may be correct. Like I said, the Democrats are the same, they just say it in a nicer way.

Iraq…Sarah Palin saying ending the war is a travesty. Biden offers Obama’s 16 month plan…

End of live blogging…

Summary thoughts:

The debate ended. I am listening to Larry Bensky from Pacifica on 99.5FM WBAI radio summing up debate. Here are my thoughts, some shaded by his commentary:

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin both won. Joe Biden won because no gaffes, and he sounded very good. (Larry Benski says Joe Biden sounded better than he ever has, more focused than any speech he has made, etc.) Sara Palin won because she sounded authoritative and composed. Sarah had less accent and more substance than in her previous appearances.

Joe Biden might have benefited overall from being the last to speak and having a profound and fatherly wrap up. Though, it made me uncomfortable, because it was old fashioned, Bible-thumping patriotism that mixes up God with war. Joe Biden said like “God Bless America” and then God protect our troops..saying that was a selfish request for both candidates, I believe they both have sons in some aspect of the military.

What I noticed was funny, was that in the middle of the debate, the two candidates focused on who they thought were regular people. Joe Biden referred to “the middle class” as if they were the precious people who must be supported for a good America and to keep the economy strong.  Sarah Palin was referring to the “working class” directly after him. I want to do a study about who they were really appealing to…and why. I think that when Joe Biden said “middle class”, he was appealing to working class people who think they are middle class. And, if he made measures to support “middle class”, I think those measures would not really help those people buying into that name. When Sarah Palin says “working class”, it sounds more gritty than Biden’s “middle class”, though, I think the people identifying with her are “white, upper class” people, who think because they have a tough life, they are “working class”. Somewhere there is a great poem in all that.

My husband Ian noticed that in her ending remarks, Sarah Palin switched and referred to the “middle class.” Was she copying Biden? Was she trying to bring in another constituent? What was that switch about? Who do Republicans (and, heck corporate Democrats) want to help – the fake working class, or the fake middle class?

Pacifica Radio is discussing this – It is sad, that this is so compellingly interesting, kind of the gossip inside us all – did Joe Biden genuinely choke up and do a tear-gulp when he mentioned his lost child and the fear of his other children being hurt? It is probably wrong to doubt him, but it was so dramatic, it seems hard to believe how real it is. But, it really happened to him, so what can be said…

Overall, Biden was smart in that he went at this whole thing with not attacking Sarah Palin. That was good, because it is difficult for a man to effectively challenge a woman in a tv debate (as noted in the Lazio v. Clinton debate). Also, in some ways, I think that Biden did not have to oppose Palin. In some ways, he is on a whole different level than her, and it woud have been overkill for him to try to compare or force her to defend herself. But, also, it allowed Biden to go after some worse bad guys. In a lot of ways, this debate was Biden versus John McCain and Dick Cheney. It’s easy to win against the Vice Presidential record of Dick Cheney. I loved when Biden said (approximate quote): Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous Vice President in the history of the United States.

I felt some concern with Biden seemed to promise that whenever Obama made tough decisions, Biden would be in the room with him, advising him, but not interfering. I am not sure how well I caught that line, but I think there was some implication to be inferred that Obama needed to be advised by Biden. Though, I don’t think that is what Biden meant. I think it was a way of making people picture how much better an advisor and right-hand-person Biden would be then Sarah Palin would be in that position.

Ian and I both noted how odd it was that the moderator of this debate asked a question implying that in the past few days we have seen bad partisanship and lack of cooperation in D.C. I think that is laughable. Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both for the bailout, as is the leadership of both, corporate parties. To portray what happened with the bailout going down as a lack of friendly bi-partisanship cooperation is to imply that all Democratic Congresspeople and all Republican Congresspeople should like working together so much that they stick together and shove something down the American people’s throats as the American people scream out NO!

Again, Joseph Biden had a win in having wise-sounding and profound closing thoughts that sounded something like an old radio announcer. And, while the religiousity combined with naive/glowing/pro-war patriotism turned me off, and probably turned off a lot of progressives, peace people, and ethical humanists, still he sounded profound. And, Biden painted a last image of how great it would be for Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States. He painted that image in a much more real and profound way than Sarah Palin was able to portray it happening for John McCain.

Again, it is sad that there were so many candidates left out of this debate. I hope that people will take the time to study the other Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. The whole debate was a fraud, because the two parties locked out other candidates who will be on the ballot around our national. The whole debate was a fraud and a stifled conversation of the elite, because those four other candidates were not given a platform.

The other candidates, all of whom are on the ballot in enough states to potentially win in the Electoral College and become the next President of the United States are:

Constitution Party – Chuck Baldwin
Green Party – Cynthia McKinney
Libertarian Party – Bob Barr
independent – Ralph Nader

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