Friday, October 03, 2008

Veep Your Head Up

[politics]I watched the VP debates last night. I really enjoyed it. Palin turned on her folksy charm, doggonit, and proved a bit more capable than she has been in any interviews. She blames the filter of the media. I credit some solid preparation.

That said, last night I became a big believer in Joe Biden. Palin's main appeal, "I'm just one of you," is no doubt effective to a lot of people, including many readers of this blog. And that's no problem. But I WANT an executive who knows more than me. I WANT an executive who has more experience, more expertise, and yes, more eloquence (when did speaking well become a bad thing?). While Palin stayed on her talking points--even to the point of saying she wouldn't answer questions she didn't want to--Biden was inspiring, direct, and well-informed. He called McCain out on his "I'm a maverick" line (maybe 8 years ago, but not since Bush took office). He called out Palin's "I'm a parent so I understand" line (she doesn't have the market on parenthood). He pointed to real policy and plans of Obama, and even was prepared to answer the question that neither primary candidate was able to answer last week regarding what might need to be cut to fund this massive bailout. While Palin claimed that Democrats keep looking at the past, I have to say I don't understand that argument from a campaign that's running on the idea that they're going to "shake things up in Washington." How can you shake things up if you refuse to look at what's worked and hasn't worked? I agree with Biden: "The past is prologue," and you have to understand the mistakes of the past (many of which McCain wants to continue) in order to fix the future.

I appreciated that BOTH candidates came out strongly in favor of aid to Darfur. I agree that the US can and should intervene more than they are.

Credit to Sarah Palin where it's due: she said something I haven't heard many of the candidates saying about this economic meltdown. A big part of the problem here was deregulation of Wall Street and risky financial policies from institutions that should have known better. But the American people aren't guiltless here either. Too many people got involved in home loans that they shouldn't have--loans they knew they couldn't pay back. When Amelia and I took out a loan to buy our house, we approached it very carefully. We could have been approved for loans nearly double the size of what we actually took out, but we knew that the monthly payment would be problematic if we did so. So we didn't do it. Same with credit purchases. We've made two big purchases in the last few months that we're still paying off: the new refrigerator and a laptop. Both are on 0% interest credit cards, and because we're paying them off, we have put off some other purchases we'd like to make. Responsible finances seems to have gone away in America, where credit is (or at least has been) so easy to come by. These problems originated in Wall Street AND Main Street, but I hate that now I have to pay for those (rich and poor alike) who weren't as responsible as I've been.

That said, Biden killed it last night. I have no doubt that should anything happen to President Obama that he could step into those shoes smoothly, adroitly, and commandingly. For all her folksy charm (and that ridiculously nasal voice--and yes that's personal, but man it's grating), I didn't see anything like that from Palin. Biden was gracious, informed, strong, and likable, even while shutting down traditional McCain talking points (Obama's plan DOES cut taxes for 95% of Americans, his health care plan is NOT socialized medicine, his plan in Iraq is NOT surrender, but shifting power back to the people who the country actually belongs to, etc.)

All that said, however, I don't think this VP debate will really have much of an effect on the polls. In the end, I think most people will and should vote for the party's main candidate--but I'm very pleased with how it went.

Oh man, I'm getting politicked out. Look for more dumb jokes and student gaffes soon. [/politics]

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