Archive for the ‘Soldiers’ Category

Chuck Hagel: The “Perfect Fit” for Secretary of Defense

December 31, 2012

One of the first ways I got involved with politics was being part of the Internet movement that supported former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) for President back in 2008.  Back then I ran the Michigan for Hagel 2008 blog and co-ran the Students for Hagel blog.  Once Hagel announced he wasn’t running, the group disbanded, but a few of the leaders of the movement have stayed in touch.  When rumors came out that President Obama was considering Hagel for Defense Secretary, we decided to come together and ensure that the smear campaign against Hagel wasn’t successful.

He has combat experience—having served in the Vietnam War as an infantry squad leader, he achieved the rank of Sergeant and was awarded multiple medals including two Purple Hearts.  After leaving the military, Hagel was dedicated to helping American troops and veterans.  He was appointed Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration, where he fought for funding for VA programs, and he served as president and CEO of the USO.

Hagel also had a successful career in the private sector, co-founding a cell phone manufacturing company and serving as CEO of American Information Systems.

In short, Hagel has the military and administrative experience needed to be America’s next Secretary of Defense.

And despite the arguments made by some, Hagel’s positions do generally fit with the Republican Party.

Yes, it is true that Hagel was critical of many of President George W. Bush’s policies, including the Iraq War, but much of his disagreement with the Bush Administration dealt with the lack of transparency.  Throughout his Senate career, Hagel fought for transparency in the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and encouraged open Congressional debate, rather than quick votes on such important issues.  Isn’t that at the heart of the Republican Party—encouraging open public debate instead of shady, quick votes to ram legislation through? Hagel captured this principle in saying, “To question your government is not unpatriotic—to not question your government is unpatriotic.” Considering that right now, the GOP is fighting for transparency on the issues of the conflict in Libya and Benghazi, doesn’t it make sense to support someone who fought for DoD transparency, from both a Republican President and a Democratic Senate?  The fact that Hagel’s fight for transparency transcended political boundaries is exactly the reason he’s perfect for the Department of Defense.  The Defense Secretary shouldn’t be loyal to a party; he should be loyal to American and her national security.  And Hagel has agreed with this, saying, “I took an oath of office to the Constitution, I didn’t take an oath of office to my party or my president.”

And labeling Hagel a liberal based on his Iraq policy is absurd.  Hagel’s plan for Iraq was different than both the mainstream Republican and Democratic plans at the time. Rather than withdraw as soon as possible or stay indefinitely, Hagel advocated for moving our troops out of the areas of civil war and to the borders. This would ensure that terrorists did not flee or enter the country, while leaving the Iraqis to resolve the inner conflicts, a job that they, not the U.S., were best suited for.

On the issue of Israel, he has defended “our continued commitment to Israel’s defense” and acknowledged the “special and historic bond” between the U.S. and Israel. At the same time, he realizes that peace with its neighbors is the best thing for Israel.

While acknowledging that the defense budget needs to be cut, Hagel has never come out in support of across-the-board sequestration cuts.  In fact, it was because of reckless Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives that we are facing such drastic across-the-board cuts.  The defense sequestration cuts would come about as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was supported by 174 House Republicans and 28 Senate Republicans.  Passing such a bill to allow across-the-board cuts was reckless, and Hagel has never come out in support of sequestration; however, like many Republicans, he agrees that the Defense budget is bloated and should be cut where possible.

And Hagel supports continued sanctions against Iran and has never ruled out military action against Iran to prevent them from achieving nuclear capabilities.  But as a result of his experience in Vietnam, he realizes that we shouldn’t be putting our servicemen and women in harm’s way unless combat is absolutely necessary.  And that’s a good principle that the GOP should agree with.

Does Hagel agree with every single word in the Republican platform? No; but then again, who does? In fact, he had an 84% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. Republicans could not ask for a better nominee for Secretary of Defense from a Democratic President, and instead of hounding Hagel for disagreements in the past, Republicans should rally around him as a defender of many conservative principles and causes.

Republicans can’t just oppose Hagel because they want to oppose the President.  It’s time to stop being the party of “No”.  Hagel is one of our own, and while he may lean more moderate, he’d make an excellent Secretary of Defense.  It would be a shame if his nomination or confirmation was destroyed because the GOP wants to oppose Obama.  There is no good reason the GOP should oppose someone like Hagel.

For those who would like to show their support for Chuck Hagel, I would encourage you to like the Facebook page that was started, and if you’re on Twitter, I would encourage you to use the hashtag #SupportHagel in your tweets on the subject.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

A Thank You to Our Veterans

November 11, 2008

I know I’m getting this up kinda late in the day, but I just haven’t had time before this (and I’m actually pushing back a blog post I wanted to do so that I can do this one before I have to leave for meetings and stuff).

I just wanted to say thank you to all of our veterans today.  I am so grateful for your service to this country.  Without you, I might not have the freedom to be writing this blog post right now, so I just wanted to take some time to thank you.  And I encourage others around America to do the same.  If you know a veteran, call them up today and thank them.  Continue to pray for our troops overseas, and our veterans who are back here at home.

A nation can be judged by how those who fight for freedom are treated.  Our veterans should be treated with the utmost respect and honor.  I am proud of our veterans, and above all, I am thankful that they have been willing to sacrifice for their country.

You are true American heroes.  God bless you all.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

It’s All Tied Up in Michigan’s 9th Congressional District!

October 23, 2008

Here’s my latest post on The Race for Michigan’s 9th District:

A poll that came out from Mitchell Research & Communications (done earlier in October) shows that the race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional district is all tied up at 43% each, which leaves 14% for undecideds and other candidates (who’ll probably get around 4-5%).  So that leaves around 10% still up for grabs.

To be honest, I never would have guessed that this race would be this close.  Which is why my plea to conservatives in Oakland County is more important now than ever: GET OUT AND VOTE!  I’ve hears some people say, “McCain pulled out, so my vote doesn’t matter anymore.”  Well, there’s 2 things wrong with that statement:

  1. You’re vote always matters.  I’ll give you 2 examples from my life: 1) Theresa Lannen, a friend of mine, ran for City Council a few years ago and won by ONE vote and 2) My grandfather, Clyde Inks, ran for school board back in the 60’s.  The original results said that he had lost by 8, but after a recount, he was found to be the winner by 2 votes.  So don’t go out and tell me that your vote doesn’t matter.  It does.
  2. There are VERY important races other than the race for President.  In this case, the Congressional race is HUGE.  Joe Knollenberg has been one of the best Representatives that Oakland County and Michigan has ever had, and to lose him because of a lack of voter turnout would just be an INSULT to him for all the service that he has given to Oakland County and the entire state.

If Oakland County falls, whether that be Representative Knollenberg or the County Commission, the state will no longer be a purple state.  Heck, we’re barely considered purple now.  I was just at a forum last night, and the subject was brought up, “Are we a blue state now.”  The majority of the panel said we probably were, but the point was brought up that we still have a Republican delegation in the House, and we still have a couple of large Republican areas (sure you still have Ottawa and Kent Counties, but combined, they’re only a little more than half as big as Oakland).

If Oakland slips fully into the hands of the Democrats, we will see this state go from falling in a recession to plumetting into pure disaster.  The only good thing that may come from that is the election of a Republican governor in 2010, but do we really want our state to have to flat line before we achieve that?  Absolutely not.

So, what can you do?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

  1. Donate to the campaign, right at Joe’s website.
  2. Sign up to volunteer, right at his website.  But don’t just stop there.  Get out and do stuff.
  3. Go pick up a bumper sticker and yard sign.  Show people who you’re supporting.  Show them how important this election is to you.  Stand up for Oakland County.  Stand up for this state.  Stand up for your ideals.  Stand up for principles.  Stand up for what you believe.  Stand up and fight.  Don’t sit idly by and just let this election happen.  Take a stand, and don’t back down.
  4. Get out and vote.  If you don’t do this, it’s a smack in the face to everybody who has worked so hard to keep the 9th District in the hands of a good conservative representative.  But more importantly, it’s a smack in the face to those who have sacrificed to guarantee that right for you.  It’s a smack in the face to our troops who have died defending that right.

With your help, Representative Knollenberg can win this election.  It may not be easy, but I have confidence that he will pull win.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Evidence that Some Blacks Are Not Voting for Obama Based on Issues

October 19, 2008

So, a friend sent me a link to a clip from the Howard Stern show from last Sunday, and I put it into a video (as well as typed up a transcript which is below the video).  It’s one of Stern’s radio people, Sal, who goes into Harlem and interviews 3 black people and attributes McCain’s stances to Obama.  They say that they agree with those stances (thinking that they are Obama’s).

It’s pretty funny, but also pretty scary to think that these people are voting:

And here’s the transcript I typed up:

Please be advised that the following clip is not the property of BPM DJs.  It’s a bit from the Howard Stern show that I sent to a few friends in my office, and since, it’s gotten attention from around the world.  Now that you know a little bit of what you’ve been missing, I suggest getting a Sirius Satellite radio, and you’ll laugh every day.  Without any further delay, here’s Sal in Harlem.

Howard Stern: Uh, what else.  I don’t know.  So much more-I did promise to play you, this-I played it earlier in the morning; I’ll give it one more shot.  Sal did a rather brilliant thing.  He went up to Harlem to ask people who they were gonna vote for, and uh-most people said, “Barack Obama.”  So what he said is, “Do you still-do you support Obama’s views?” but he attributed all of McCain’s views to Obama.

Robin Quivers: Yes, yes.

Stern: And it didn’t-

Quivers: And it didn’t cause even-

Stern: It didn’t sway anyone.

Quivers: But it didn’t cause people to even flinch.  They moved right along.

Stern: This is crazy.  So listen to this:

Sal Governale: Some people speculate that blacks are voting for Obama strictly because he’s black and not because of his policies, so we took McCain’s policies and pretended they were Obama’s.  This is what they had to say:

Sal: For the election, Obama or McCain?

Man #1: I like Obama.

Sal: Now, what don’t you like about McCain?

Man #1: McCain seems to not really know what he’s doing right now.

Sal: Are you more for Obama’s policy because he’s pro-life or because he thinks our troops should stay in Iraq and finish this war?

Man #1: I think because our troops should stay in Iraq and finish this war.  I’m really firm with that-definitely.

Sal: Now how about as far as-um-him being pro-life?  Do you support Obama in that case?

Man #1: Yeah, I do.  I do.  I support him in that case.

Sal: And if he wins, would you have any problem with Sarah Palin being Vice President?

Man #1: No I wouldn’t.  Not at all.

Sal: So you-y-y-you think he made the right choice in that?

Man #1: I definitely do.

Sal: Thank you very much sir, and have a great day.

Man #1: Have a great day.

Stern: So they guy agreed with everything McCain is for, except he said it was for Obama.  Here’s another example:

Sal: Are you for Obama or McCain?

Man #2: Obama.

Sal: Ok, and why not McCain?

Man #2: Well, I just don’t agree with some of his-you know-policies-you know.

Sal: Now, Obama says that he’s anti-stem cell research.  How do you feel about that?

One quick note here.  McCain is not anti-stem cell research.  He is opposed to EMBRYONIC stem cell research.  There’s a big difference here, and often times, people just put both into the same pile.

Man #2: I-I believe that’s-I wouldn’t do that either.  I-I’m anti-stem cell stem cell-yeah.

Sal: Anti-stem cell research.  Now if Obama wins, do you mind Sarah Palin being Vice President?

Man #2: No.  No, I don’t.

Stern: Alright, there you go.  Now our third example which-uh-we found this woman:

Sal: This election, Obama or McCain?

Woman: Obama.

Sal: Now, why not McCain?  What don’t you like about him?

Woman: Um.  He sorta doesn’t sound like he has enough-like-he does-he’s not-he’s uneducated.  Because when he had the-um-they had the-both of the Presidents speaking, um-he didn’t sound like he knew what he was talking about too much, whereas Obama had facts and information when he was speaking.

The woman who talks about “when they had both of the Presidents speaking” is calling McCain uneducated?  I found her to be the funniest of the 3.

Sal: Good point.  Let me ask you this: Do you support Obama more because he’s pro-life or because he says our troops should stay in Iraq and finish the war?

Woman: Um-I guess both.

Sal: Now, if Obama wins, do you have any problem with Sarah Palin being his Vice President?

Woman: Um-nope.  Not at all.

Sal: Do you think she’ll do a good job?

Woman: I think she’ll do a good job.

Sal: Are you glad he elected her to be the VP if he wins?

Woman: Yep.

Sal: Thank you very much.

Woman: You’re welcome.

Stern: Alright, there it is.  Sal in Harlem-and-uh-doing his work [unintelligible] brilliantly.  There you go.  Dice clay, Andrew Dice Clay, as you know is uh- 

That should scare you.  That’s evidence right there that some people aren’t voting for Obama based on the issues.  And a lot of people attribute this to black people voting for Obama simply because he’s black.  Now, I’m not saying that this IS the reason, but there have been African Americans who have said that that is why they support Obama.

So, I just thought I’d share this with you – on the surface, it’s funny, but when you think about the fact that some of these people are picking our next President based on who knows what, it’s really scary.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell Endorses Obama

October 19, 2008

Well, this is a blog post I did NOT expect to be writing.  General Powell had made it clear before that he would not be endorsing anybody in this election, so I’m surprised that he has come out and actually made an endorsement.  He is endorsing Senator Obama, but he stressed that this is more for reasons dealing with the economy, and the Supreme Court and the general direction of the Republican party rather than Iraq.  He noted that he still opposes a set date to withdraw from Iraq.

Here’s a transcript of MSNBC’s Meet the Press, courtesy of MSNBC:

MR. TOM BROKAW: Our issues this Sunday: He served as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state and was once called the man most likely to become the nation’s first African-American president. He has been courted by both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns and said this last month:

(Videotape)

GEN. COLIN POWELL (RET.): I have been watching both of these individuals. I know them both extremely well, and I have not decided who I’m going to vote for yet.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: Is he now ready to make an endorsement in this presidential race? What are his thoughts on the major issues facing the country and the world? Our exclusive guest this Sunday, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

Then, with 16 days to go, Decision 2008 heads into the home stretch. What states still are in play? We will hear the latest on some new state polls with NBC’s political director, Chuck Todd. Also, insights and analysis on the race to the White House with David Brooks of The New York Times, Jon Meacham of Newsweek magazine, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

But first, General Colin Powell, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

GEN. POWELL: Thank, thank you, Tom.

MR. BROKAW: We indicated in that opening, there is a lot of anticipation and speculation about your take on this presidential campaign. We’ll get to that in a moment. But in your old business we might call this a tour of the horizon. Whoever’s elected president of the United States, that first day in the Oval Office on January 21st will face this: an American economy that’s in a near paralytic state at this time; we’re at war in two different countries, Afghanistan and Iraq; we have an energy crisis; we have big decisions to make about health care and about global climate change. The president of the United States and the Congress of the United States now have the highest disapproval ratings that we have seen in many years. In all your years of public service, have you ever seen an incoming president face such daunting challenges?

GEN. POWELL: No. I have seen more difficult times in our history. I think about the early ’70s when we were going through Watergate, Spiro Agnew, Nixon period, that was not a good time. But right now we’re also facing a very daunting period. And I think the number one issue the president’s going to have to deal with is the economy. That’s what the American people are worried about. And, frankly, it’s not just an American problem, it’s an international problem. We can see how all of these economies are now linked in this globalized system. And I think that’ll be number one. The president will also have to make decisions quickly as to how to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan. And also I think the president has to reach out to the world and show that there is a new president, a new administration that is looking forward to working with our friends and allies. And in my judgment, also willing to talk to people who we have not been willing to talk to before. Because this is a time for outreach.

MR. BROKAW: Given the state of the American economy, can we continue our military commitments around the world at the level that they now exist?

GEN. POWELL: We can. I think we have to look as to whether they have to be at that level. But we have the wealth, we have the wherewithal to do that. (Clears throat) Excuse me, Tom. We have the ability to do that. And so, first and foremost, we have to review those commitments, see what they are, see what else is needed, and make sure we give our troops what they need to get the job done as we have defined the job. We have that ability.

MR. BROKAW: If you were called into the Oval Office on January 21st by the new president, whoever it happens to be, and he said to you, “General Powell, I need from you your recommendation on where I begin. What should be my priorities?” Where would you start?

GEN. POWELL: I would start with talking to the American people and talking to the world, and conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world.

The problems will always be there, and there’s going to be a crisis come along in the 21st or 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now. And so I think what the president has to do is to start using the power of the Oval Office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and to convince the world that America is solid, America is going to move forward, and we’re going to fix our economic problems, we’re going to meet our overseas obligations. But restoring a sense of purpose, a sense of confidence in the American people and, in the international community, in America.

MR. BROKAW: What’s not on the screen right now that concerns you that should be more prominent in the minds of the American people and the people running for president?

GEN. POWELL: I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far. America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school. A third of our kids don’t finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don’t finish high school. We’ve got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.

Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it’s energy, global warming and the environment. And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world. We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world. Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.

MR. BROKAW: Well, let’s move to the American presidential campaign now, if we can. We saw at the beginning of this broadcast a short tease of what you had to say just a month ago. Let’s share with our viewers now a little more of Colin Powell on these two candidates and your position.

(Videotape, September 20, 2008)

GEN. POWELL: I’m an American, first and foremost, and I’m very proud–I said, I’ve said, I’ve said to my beloved friend and colleague John McCain, a friend of 25 years, “John, I love you, but I’m not just going to vote for you on the basis of our affection or friendship.” And I’ve said to Barack Obama, “I admire you. I’ll give you all the advice I can. But I’m not going to vote for you just because you’re black.” We, we have to move beyond this.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you’re prepared to support?

GEN. POWELL: Yes, but let me lead into it this way. I know both of these individuals very well now. I’ve known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president. I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the party makes. And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, “You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.”

And I’ve watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with him. I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions. And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well. I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He’s crossing lines–ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration. I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we’ve got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world–onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

MR. BROKAW: Will you be campaigning for him as well?

GEN. POWELL: I don’t plan to. Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition. But I will be voting for him.

MR. BROKAW: I can already anticipate some of the reaction to this. Let’s begin with the charge that John McCain has continued to make against Barack Obama. You sit there, as a man who served in Vietnam, you commanded a battalion of 101st, you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you were a national security adviser and secretary of state. There is nothing in Barack Obama’s history that nearly paralyze any–parallels any of the experiences that you’ve had. And while he has performed impressively in the context of the campaign, there’s a vast difference between sitting in the Oval Office and making tough decisions and doing well in a campaign.

GEN. POWELL: And he knows that. And I have watched him over the last two years as he has educated himself, as he has become very familiar with these issues. He speaks authoritatively. He speaks with great insight into the challenges we’re facing of a military and political and economic nature. And he is surrounding himself, I’m confident, with people who’ll be able to give him the expertise that he, at the moment, does not have. And so I have watched an individual who has intellectual vigor and who dives deeply into issues and approaches issues with a very, very steady hand. And so I’m confident that he will be ready to take on these challenges on January 21st.

MR. BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some–how many, no one can say for sure–but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can’t deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud–not just African-Americans, but all Americans–that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it’ll electrify the world.

MR. BROKAW: You have some differences with Barack Obama. He has said that once he takes office, he wants to begin removing American troops from Iraq. Here’s what you had to say about that: “I have found in my many years of service, to set arbitrary dates that don’t coincide with the situation on the ground or what actually is happening tends not to be a useful strategy. … Arbitrary deadlines that are snatched out of the air and are based on some lunar calculation is not the way to run a military or a strategic operation of this type.” That was on February 10th of this year on CNN. Now that you have Barack Obama’s ear in a new fashion, will you say to him, “Drop your idea of setting a deadline of some kind to pull the troops out of Iraq”?

GEN. POWELL: First of all, I think that’s a great line, and thanks for pulling it up. And I believe that. But as I watch what’s happening right now, the United States is negotiating the–an agreement with the Iraqi government that will call for most major combat operations to cease by next June and for American forces to start withdrawing to their bases. And that agreement will also provide for all American troops to be gone by 2011, but conditioned on the situation as it exists at that time. So there already is a timeline that’s being developed between the Iraqis and the United States government. So I think whoever becomes the president, whether it’s John McCain or whether it’s Barack Obama, we’re going to see a continued drawdown. And when, you know, which day so many troops come out or what units come out, that’ll be determined by the commanders and the new president. But I think we are on a glide path to reducing our presence in Iraq over the next couple of years. Increasingly, this problem’s going to be solved by the Iraqis. They’re going to make the political decisions, their security forces are going to take over, and they’re going to have to create an environment of reconciliation where all the people can come together and make Iraq a much, much better place.

MR. BROKAW: Let me go back to something that you raised just a moment ago, and that’s William Ayers, a former member of the Weathermen who’s now active in school issues in Illinois. He had some past association with Barack Obama. Wouldn’t it have been more helpful for William Ayers to, on his own, to have renounced his own past? Here was a man who was a part of the most radical group that existed in America at a time when you were serving in Vietnam, targeting the Pentagon, the Capitol. He wrote a book about it that came out on 2001, on September 11th that said, “We didn’t bomb enough.”

GEN. POWELL: It’s despicable, and I have no truck for William Ayers. I think what he did was despicable, and to continue to talk about it in 2001 is also despicable. But to suggest that because Mr. Barack Obama had some contacts of a very casual nature–they sat on a educational board–over time is somehow connected to his thinking or his actions, I think, is a, a terrible stretch. It’s demagoguery.

MR. BROKAW: I want to ask you about your own role in the decision to go to war in Iraq. Barack Obama has been critical of your appearance before the United Nations at that time. Bob Woodward has a new book out called “The War Within,” and here’s what he had to say about Colin Powell and his place in the administration: “Powell … didn’t think [Iraq] was a necessary war, and yet he had gone along in a hundred ways, large and small. He had resisted at times but had succumbed to the momentum and his own sense of deference–even obedience–to the president. … Perhaps more than anyone else in the administration, Powell had been the `closer’ for the president’s case on war.”

And then you were invited to appear before the Iraq Study Group. “`Why did we go into Iraq with so few people?’ [former Secretary of State James] Baker asked. … `Colin just exploded at that point,’ [former Secretary of Defense William] Perry recalled later. `He unloaded,’ Former White House Chief of Staff] Leon Panetta added. `He was angry. He was mad as hell.’ … Powell left [the Study Group meeting]. Baker turned to Panetta and said solemnly, `He’s the one guy who could have perhaps prevented this from happening.'”

What’s the lesson in all of that for a former–for a new secretary of state or for a new national security adviser, based on your own experience?

GEN. POWELL: Well, let’s start at the beginning. I said to the president in 2002, we should try to solve this diplomatically and avoid war. The president accepted that recommendation, we took it to the U.N. But the president, by the end of 2002, believed that the U.N. was not going to solve the problem, and he made a decision that we had to prepare for military action. I fully supported that. And I have never said anything to suggest I did not support going to war. I thought the evidence was there. And it is not just my closing of the whole deal with my U.N. speech. I know the importance of that speech, and I regret a lot of the information that the intelligence community provided us was wrong. But three months before my speech, with a heavy majority, the United States Congress expressed its support to use military force if it was necessary. And so we went in and used military force. My unhappiness was that we didn’t do it right. It was easy to get to Baghdad, but then we forgot that there was a lot more that had to be done. And we didn’t have enough force to impose our will in the country or to deal with the insurgency when it broke out, and that I regret.

MR. BROKAW: Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation…

GEN. POWELL: I also assure you that it was not a correct assessment by anybody that my statements or my leaving the administration would have stopped it.

MR. BROKAW: Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation, because we now know that they did not exist, was it then a war of necessity or just a war of choice?

GEN. POWELL: Without the weapons of mass destruction present, as conveyed to us by the intelligence community in the most powerful way, I don’t think there would have been a war. It was the reason we took it to the public, it was the reason we took it to the American people to the Congress, who supported it on that basis, and it’s the presentation I made to the United Nations. Without those weapons of mass destruction then Iraq did not present to the world the kind of threat that it did if it had weapons of mass destruction.

MR. BROKAW: You do know that there are supporters of Barack Obama who feel very strongly about his candidacy because he was opposed to the war from the beginning, and they’re going to say, “Who needs Colin Powell? He was the guy who helped get us into this mess.”

GEN. POWELL: I’m not here to get their approval or lack of approval. I am here to express my view as to who I’m going to vote for.

MR. BROKAW: There’s a summing up going on now as, as the Bush/Cheney administration winds down. We’d like to share with our audience some of what you had to say about the two men who are at the top of the administration. At the convention in 2000, this is Colin Powell on President Bush and Dick Cheney at that time.

(Videotape, July 31, 2000)

GEN. POWELL: Dick Cheney is one of the most distinguished and dedicated public servants this nation has ever had. He will be a superb vice president.

The Bush/Cheney team will be a great team for America. They will put our nation on a course of hope and optimism for this new century.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: Was that prophetic or wrong?

GEN. POWELL: It’s what I believed. It reflected the agenda of the new president, compassionate conservatism. And some of it worked out. I think we have advanced our freedom agenda, I think we’ve done a lot to help people around the world with our programs of development. I think we’ve done a lot to solve some conflicts such as in Liberia and elsewhere. But, at the same time, we have managed to convey to the world that we are more unilateral than we really are. We have not explained ourself well enough. And we, unfortunately, have left an impression with the world that is not a good one. And the new president is going to have to fix the reputation that we’ve left with the rest of the world.

Now, let me make a point here. The United States is still seen as the leader at the world that wants to be free. Even though the numbers are down with respect to favorability ratings, at every embassy and consular office tomorrow morning that we have, people will be lined up, and they’ll all say the same thing, “We want to go to America.” So we’re still the leader of the world that wants to be free. We are still the inspiration of the rest of the world. And we can come back. In 2000, it was moment where I believed that the new administration coming in would be able to achieve the agenda that President-elect Bush had set out of compassionate conservatism.

MR. BROKAW: But it failed?

GEN. POWELL: I don’t think it was as successful–excuse me (clears throat)–I don’t think it was as successful as it might have been. And, as you see from the presidential approval ratings, the American people have found the administration wanting.

MR. BROKAW: Let me as, you a couple of questions–quick questions as we wrap all of this up. I know you’re very close to President Bush 41. Are you still in touch with him on a regular basis? And what do you think he’ll think about you this morning endorsing Barack Obama?

GEN. POWELL: I will let President Bush 41, speak for himself and let others speak for themselves, just as I have spoken for myself. Let me make one point, Tom, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama will be good presidents. It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. But I strongly believe that at this point in America’s history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue, basically, the policies that we have been following in recent years. I think we need a transformational figure. I need–think we need a president who is a generational change. And that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama. Not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain.

MR. BROKAW: And finally, how much of a factor do you think race will be when voters go into that booth on November 4th?

GEN. POWELL: I don’t know the answer to that question. One may say that it’s going to be a big factor, and a lot of people say they will vote for Senator Obama but they won’t pull a lever. Others might say that has already happened. People are already finding other reasons to say they’re not voting for him. “Well, he’s a Muslim,” “He’s this.” So we have already seen the so-called “Bradley factor” in the current–in the current spread between the candidates. And so that remains to be seen. I hope it is not the case. I think we have advanced considerably in this country since the days of Tom Bradley. And I hope that is not the case. It would be very unfortunate if it were the case.

MR. BROKAW: Finally, if Senator Obama is elected president, will there be a place for Colin Powell in that administration? Maybe as the ambassador at large in Africa or to take on the daunting task of resolving the Israeli/Palestinian issue?

GEN. POWELL: I served 40 years in government, and I–I’m not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it. But I am in no way interested in returning to government. But I, of course, would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me.

MR. BROKAW: You’re not ruling it out?

GEN. POWELL: I would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me, but I’m not anxious to rule it in.

MR. BROKAW: General Colin Powell, thank you very much for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.

GEN. POWELL: Thank you, Tom.

MR. BROKAW: Coming up next, Decision 2008, the home stretch. We’ll look at the states and strategies in play with David Brooks, Jon Meacham, Andrea Mitchell, Joe Scarborough. And Chuck Todd, our political director, will take us through the electoral map.

Overall, I think that this won’t really have a huge effect on the campaign for either side.  I don’t think Obama is going to win many more people over with this.  I think that the people that this could have swayed have already been won over to one side or the other, but I can definitely tell you that this won’t help McCain.  It was a blow to the McCain camp.  A small blow in my opinion, but it’s a blow that McCain really can’t afford to take right now.

And the fact that General Powell won’t be campaigning for Obama will make his influence a lot smaller than Obama would like.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Barack Obama Will Not Pull Out of Iraq Within 16 Months

October 14, 2008

It amazes me how many people are under this illusion that Senator Obama will pull our troops out of Iraq within 16 months of assuming office.  Why do I doubt that he’ll actually pull out within 16 months?

Well, lets take a look at the history of Obama’s stances on Iraq:

  1. First, in September of 2007, Obama said, “So let me be clear.  There is no military solution in Iraq.  There never was.  The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolvetheir civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops.  Not in six months or one year, but now.”
  2. Then, as his campaign picked up steam during the primary, he said in primary debates that he’d have our troops out of Iraq within 6 months of assuming office.
  3. Then on January 15, 2008, he changed it to the end of 2009 (a little over 11 months): “I have put forward a plan that will get our troops out by the end of 2009.  We already saw today reports that the Iraqi minister suggests that we’re going to be in there at least until 2018, a decade-long commitment.”  So that was an increase of 5 months.
  4. Obama’s current plan is to have troops out within 16 months, another increase of 5 years months (sorry – my bad).

But is that statement even true?  This is an excerpt from his website:

Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.

Under the Obama-Bidenplan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. They will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.

He never actually even says how many troops will be left there.  And how is this any different than what McCain wants to do?  McCain wants to leave as soon as possible, just like Obama, but McCain wants to make sure the job is done well.

And Obama, before going to Iraq, told reporters:

And as I’ve said before, and this was true during the heat of the primary, it was true when we posted this Web site. I have always said, and again, you can take a look at the language, that as commander-in-chief, I would always reserve the right to do what’s best in America’s national interests. And if it turned out, for example, that, you know, we had to, in certain months, slow the pace because of the safety of American troops in terms of getting combat troops out, of course we would take that into account. I would be a poor commander-in-chief if I didn’t take facts on the ground into account.

And he also said (before he went to Iraq), “I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed…And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.”

Even Matt Sous, the President of Students for Obama at Central Michigan University said during a debate last year, “Our goal is not to get out of Iraq, but to put pressure on the leaders there.”

When Senator Obama says that he will have us out within 16 months, it is nothing more than a ploy to get votes.  He’ll keep saying, “5 more months” whenever the deadline gets near, and we’ll be there just as long as Senator McCain would keep us there.  The difference is that Obama refuses to admit that he will keep us in Iraq just as long as Senator McCain would.

Hopefully people begin to see the light, and start supporting Senator McCain.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the October 7th Presidential Debate

October 7, 2008

Alright, we’re about 3 minutes away from tonight’s Presidential debate.  This one will be held in Belmont University in Nashville, TN.  Tonight, I’ll again be watching CNN and  the focus group will be undecided voters in Ohio (this time it’ll be broken up by men and women).  Tonight’s moderator will be NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

Alright, we’re now starting.

Allen Shaffer: “What’s the fastest solution to bail out” citizens, from economic turmoil?

Obama: We’re in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and many of you are worried.  This is the final burden on the failed economic policies of the last 8 years.  McCain agreed with Bush, and stripped regulations, and now we’re paying for it.  Step 1: Make sure last week’s rescue package succeeds.  Come on Obama, it won’t – the package sucked!  The focus group is liking this.  Step 2: Tax cuts for citizens.  Help people stay in their homes.  Help states create jobs.  Health care.  Have politicians thinking about middle class.  Women really loved him, and men were pretty high up there too.

McCain: Americans are angry and upset and fearful.  I have a plan to fix this problem: energy independence.  Don’t send money to countries who don’t like us.  “Let’s not raise taxes on anybody–today.”  What was that – what was that “today” – that sounded bad.  “We’re gonna have to do something about home values.”  People can’t afford mortgage payments (well, that’s mainly their fault).  Have government buy up bad mortgages so people can pay them off – come on McCain – that plan sucks.  People had been liking him a lot there (more men than women), but it dropped down a bit toward the end.

Brokaw: Who would you appoint to Treasury Secretary?

McCain: Not you Tom.

Brokaw: With good reason.

McCain: Somebody who people can connect with.  Meg Whitman – CEO of some company – oh – Ebay.

Obama: Warren Buffett would be a good person, but there are others as well.  McCain said, “The fundamentals of the economy are sound.”  That’s because they are.  The principles of our economy, and the American work ethic is sound.

Oliver Clark: How will the bailout bill help people?

McCain: “You described bailout, I believe it’s rescue.”  I left my campaign to go back to Washington to make sure that there were protections for the taxpayer – oversight and a way to pay back taxpayers.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are what lit this thing on fire, and many hadn’t heard of them before this crisis.  Democrats in Congress defended what Fannie and Freddie did while they got money from the two.  Obamagot the second highest amount of money from Fannie and Freddie.  Fannie and Freddie started this forest fire.  And he’s not doing to well with the focus group during that, although it came up toward the end.

Obama: Right now, the credit markets are frozen, so small businesses can’t get loans, and can’t make payroll, so they may have to lay people off.  “That’s why we had to take action.”  The biggest problem in this whole thing was the deregulation of the financial system.  I argued for more regulation, but nothing happened.  I never promotedFannie, but McCain’s somebody on his campaign–was something with Fannie Mae (I didn’t catch the whole statement).  The President has to make sure that the homeowners are protected.  He got pretty good ratings there.

Brokaw: Are you saying it’ll get worse before it gets better?

Obama: No, I am confident in the American economy.  Isn’t that what McCain said when he said the fundamentals are strong?  HYPOCRITE!  He got great ratings there.

McCain: It depends on what we do.  If we stabilize it and buy up bad loans, and get rid of special interests in Washington, we can fix our economy.  Our workers are the best in the world.  They’re the fundamental aspect of our economy.  “We gotta give them a chance to do their best. … They’re the innocent bystanders of” this crisis.

Teresa Finch: “How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us into this global economic crisis?”

Obama: I understand your crisis and cynicism.  “You’re right, there is a lot of blame to go around. … But remember, when George Bush came into office, we had a surplus … now we have a deficit.”  We’ve almost doubled our deficit.  Nobody is completely innocent.  I’m going to spend money on key issues that we have to work on, health care and energy.  Ratings are really high here.  Invest in college affordability.  “I’m cutting more than I’m spending.”  And men just plummeted in their ratings there.  And what exactly is he planning on cutting?

McCain: “The system in Washington is broken.”  I’ve been a reformer and crossed the aisle, working with Senator Feingold on campaign finance reform.  “The situation today cries out for bipartisanship. … Let’s look at our records as well as our rhetoric.”  Obama is proposing 860 billion dollars of new spending, and voted for every increase of spending that came across the floor.  He voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel spending, including a projector for a planetarium in Illinois.  We need to get Americans working again, and get more jobs for Americans.  We need nuclear power.  We need to stop depending on foreign oil.  Ratings were pretty bad there, but came up at the end.  McCain was right – Obama’s earmarks are just atrocious.

Brokaw: Health care, energy, and entitlement reform – order of priorities?

McCain: Do all 3 at once.  We won’t be able to provide same benefits for future retirees as we are able to today.  I’ve worked across the aisle.  We can work on nuclear power plants, create new jobs.  We need alternative fuels, wind, tide, solar, natural gas, clean coal.  Health care – everyone is struggling to make sure they can afford their premiums.  We can do these all at once, and we have to do them all at once.

Obama: Your list of priorities.  Energy, we have to deal with today.  Gas is expensive, and it may go up.  Some countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Iran are gaining from high oil prices.  In 10 years, we need to be free of foreign oil.  Just like Kennedy said we can go to the moon in 10 years, this can be done.  That was a great analogy!  I missed what he just said.  I want to go line-by-line and eliminate programs in the federal government, and eliminate programs that don’t work, and make others cheaper.  Women are rating him really high now.  Money given to big oil companies, which McCain wants, takes money out of the system.  Don’t mislead, Obama, he wants to give tax cuts to ALL companies, but that doesn’t exclude oil companies.

Brokaw: What are you gonna ask Americans to sacrifice to get out of the depression?

McCain: Talking about defense contracts that were done corruptly.  Get rid of earmarks, and some of those are “good” projects, but they have to be eliminated still.  Except for Defense, Veterans Affairs, and other crucial programs, we will have to have a spending freeze.  Keep everything transparent.  Don’t allow for the government to hide earmarks.

Obama: After September 11, everybody came together, and President Bush did some smart things at the outset.  We need leadership to focus on problems inside and outside of government.  We need to think about how we use energy – we need to tell oil companies to start drilling and invest in clean coal technology.  We need to think of ways that we can conserve energy, and provide incentives to buy American cars that are fuel efficient.  The young people of America want to serve, and we need to increase the Peace Corps.  Ratings were really high there, especially among women.

Brokaw: President Bush last summer said Wall Street got drunk.  Now many think that both Washington and consumers also got drunk.  How do you get people to reduce easy credit and overspending?

Obama: We have to cut spending and increase revenue.  There are $18 billion in earmarks, but McCain wants to give tax cuts to CEOs, and that’s not sharing the burden.  Actually, it IS sharing the burden – it’s sharing it equally.  All of us need to contribute and make sacrifices.  We don’t need an across-the-board freeze.  That way, we only help those who need it.

McCain: Obama wants to raise taxes.  The last President who raised taxes during hard times was Herbert Hoover.  We’ve lost 700,000 jobs in America, but300,000 jobs have been created by small businesses.  Obama’s tax increases will increase taxes on over 50% of small businesses, meaning that jobs will have to be cut.  Obama said he’d fore go his tax increases if the economy was bad.  The economy is bad.  I don’t want to increase tax cuts.  I want to leave tax cuts alone, but give tax credits to people, and give credits for health care.  Let’s get our economy going again.

Obama just tried to keep going and Brokaw shut him up!  YEAH!

Brokaw: Would you tell Congress to do something about Social Security and Medicare within 2 years?

Obama: We won’t solve Social Security and Medicare without solving tax problems.  I want to provide a tax cut for 95% of Americans.  THAT’S A LIE!  ONLY 90% of Americans even make enough money to PAY taxes!  We provide a 50% tax credit to small businesses to buy healthcare.  And the ratings are really high here, again, especially with women.  McCain wants to give tax cuts to large corporations and the rest going to CEOs.  “That is not fair, and it doesn’t work.”  If we reverse the policies of the last 8 years, then we can deal with Social Security and Medicare, because we’ll have a health care plan that works for you.

McCain: “Hey, I’ll answer the question.”  It’s not that tough to fix social security – we have to sit down and fix this together.  Reagan and Tip O’Neill sat down and worked together.  Have a commission come together withrecommendations.  Then have Congress vote up or down, and not fool with it.  Obama has voted to increase taxes and voted against tax cuts.  I have fought to reform government.  “We’ll get our economy going again, and our best days are ahead of us.”

Ingrid Jackson: Congress moved pretty fast with the economic crisis.  How would you make sure they move fast with environmental issues?

McCain: “When we have an issue that we may hand our children a damaged planet–I have disagreed strongly with the Bush Administration.”  We brought this issue to the Senate.  We need nuclear power.  Nuclear power is safe and clean, and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs.  My liberal roommate’s getting mad that the focus group doesn’t like this: “These voters suck.”  And the ratings went up a bit at the end there.

Obama: “It is absolutely critical.”  We need to create a new energy economy.  We need to understand that this is a national security issue.  I favor nuclear power as one component.  OK, the focus group does suck.  They’re now rating him high, and he’s saying basically what McCain said.  The focus group seems kinda biased.  McCain’s problem withenergy is that he hasn’t done anything with alternative fuels.  It’s easy to talk about this stuff, but McCain hasn’t done anything.  McCain talks about drilling, and that’s important, but there’s not enough here at home to “drill our way out of the problem.”

Brokaw: Do we need a Manhattan-like project to deal with the energy crisis?

McCain: We need government involvement initially, and then once it’s started, release it to the private sector.  Obama (this is where he said “that one”) voted for a bill that Bush/Cheney backed with lots of money for oil companies, and I voted against it.

Lindsey Trella: Health care has become a profitable industry.  Should health care be treated as a commodity?

Obama: Health care is a very important issue.  Premiums have doubled over the last 8 years, and co-pays have increased as well.  We have a moral and economic imperative to do something about this.  Here’s what I would do: you can keep your plan if you like it, and we’ll work with your employer to lower your premiums.  We’ll work on making forms electronic, instead of on paper.  You’ll be able to have the same health care plan that Congress gets.  McCain has a different approach.  He’ll give you a $5,000 tax credit, but then tax your employer health care benefits.  He’ll then take out regulations that states have that make sure that you get certain things covered under your insurance.

McCain: You’ve identified one of the major challenges that America faces (directed to the audience member).  We need to impose efficiencies.  There’s a fundamental difference between me and Obama.  Obama will pose mandates.  If you’re a small business owner or parent, and you can’t afford health care for your employees or children, Obama will fine you.  How does that help the situation?  He’s ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!  How will that help you if you can’t afford health care already?  95% of Americans will have increased funds to get health care under my plan, except the really rich people.

Brokaw: Is health care a privilege, right, or responsibility?

McCain: Responsibility.  The government shouldn’t mandate that health care must be provided to all.  There shouldn’t be fines for these companies or parents, and Obama hasn’t said how much the fine is yet.

Obama: Right, for every American.  Talking about his mother dying at 53, and arguing with insurance companies.  He’s really rating high right now.  If you have a plan that you like, you can keep it, I’ll just help lower the premium.  Small businesses won’t have a mandate, they’ll get a 50% tax credit.  We don’t want kids going to ERs for treatable illnesses like asthma.  McCain voted against (something dealing with children and health care).  Crack down on insurance companies cheating their companies.  The problem with going across state lines is that companies will go to states that have laxed laws and cheat their customers, like banks do in Delaware.  DID HE JUST USE HIS RUNNING MATE’S STATE AS A BAD EXAMPLE!!!

Phil Elliot: How will our economic distress affect our position in the standing of the world militarily?

McCain: Much of the criticism of our foreign policy is justified.  We are peace makers and keepers.  We need to know when to go in and when not.  That question can only be answered by someone who understands these things.  We need to prevent the spread of genocide.  He’s rating really high here.  My opposition to sending Marines to Lebanon, and my stance on Bosnia, Russia, and others show that I understand these things.  Obama has been on the wrong side of some of these issues.

Obama: I don’t understand how we invaded Iraq when bin Laden is still free.  McCain said that Iraq would be quick and easy.  We’re spending money in Iraq when Iraq has a surplus.  We need that money more than them, and they have a surplus.  We are the greatest nation in the world, but we can’t maintain our military superiority if our economy continues to decline.  He is right about that.  We need to fundamentally change our foreign policy.

Brokaw: Let’s establish doctrines for using force when national security isn’t at stake, but in humanitarian issues?

Obama: Would’ve stopped Rwanda and the Holocaust.  When we stand idly by as genocide occurs, that diminishes us.  We should intervene when possible, but we can’t be everywhere all the time.  We need to work in concert with our allies, such as in Darfur.  We need to lead the international community.

McCain: If we had withdrawn from Iraq when Obama wanted to, it would have been a travesty.  Genocide is terrible, and we never want it to happen again.  We need a person who understands the limits of our capabilities.  We went into Somalia being peace makers, but had to withdraw in humiliation.  I stood up against Reagan with Lebanon.  We have to be able to beneficially affect the situation, realizing that we’re sending Americans into harm’s way.  I won’t make these decisions lightly.  We can’t have another Holocaust or Rwanda, but we can’t make the situation worse.

Katie Hamm: Should we respect Pakistani sovereignty and allow terrorists to stay there or invade like we did with Cambodia during Vietnam?

Obama: We got distracted from Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, and went to Iraq.  They’re now stronger now than any time since 2001.  They’re plotting to kill Americans right now.  We need to end the war in Iraq, put troops into Afghanistan, eliminate drug trafficking, and change policies with Pakistan.  We need to encourage democracy, and if we have bin Laden in our sights, and Pakistan won’t or can’t take him out, we will take him out.  That’s our number 1 national security priority.

McCain: Obamawants to announce when we’re going to attack Pakistan.  It’ll turn public opinion against us.  We drove Russians out of Afghanistan with Afghani freedom fighters, and that led to bin Laden coming to power.  General Petraeushad a strategy of getting the support of the Pakistani people, and working with them to get Al Qaeda.  Don’t threaten to attack them, but talk with them.

Obama: Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan, but to strike inside of Pakistan if bin Laden is available to be taken out.  And I agree with Obama here on this one.  McCain IS twisting his words, and not taking bin Laden out when Clinton happened is one of the things that led to September 11th.  Pakistan was not promoting democracy, and it undermined our fight on the war on terrorism.

McCain: I have supported efforts that the U.S. had to go in militarily, but opposed it when it wasn’t necessary.  I was joking with a veteran about Iran (Obama used McCains “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” quote).  I will act responsibly as I have through my military career.

Brokaw: In Afghanistan, the senior British Commander has said that we’re failing in Afghanistan.  The Afghans need to take over.  We need an acceptable dictator.  What’s your opinion?

Obama: We need to withdraw from Iraq responsibly, and make the Iraqis take control so that we can put more troops into Afghanistan.

McCain: The same overall strategies between Afghansitan and Iraq are the same.  We need more troops, like Obama is saying.  Obama still won’t admit that the surge worked, and that’s the same strategy that we will need in Afghanistan.  Once they feel secure, they can lead normal lives, the same thing that’s happening in Iraq today.  And he’s absolutely right here.

Brokaw: How can we get Russia to behave better without starting another Cold War?

McCain: We won’t have another Cold War.  I warned about Vladimir Putin a long time ago – I saw a “K,” a “G,” and a “B.”  He was wrong with Georgia.  Ukraine is in Russia’s sights now (it’s in the sights of the Somalians too – that whole pirate thing is just weird).  We need to talk, such as in the G8 summits.  Russia must realize that this is not acceptable, and we need economic and diplomatic means to show that that this is not acceptable.  Really high ratings there, and he’s absolutely right.

Obama: Russia will be an issue that we’ll have to deal within the next 4 years.  I agree with Senator McCain on most of that.  We can’t just have diplomacy.  We need to support, financially, former U.S.S.R. countries, such as Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, etc.  Georgia is suffering, and that’s probably what Putin wanted to happen.  Russia was trying to obtain territories, and this is unacceptable.  We need to be proactive, not reactive.  He is right here – we have to be a step or 2 ahead of Russia.  Energy will be key in dealing with Russia, that’s one of the things that happened in Georgia’s situation.

Brokaw: Is Russia under Putin an evil empire?

Obama: No, but their actions are sometimes.

McCain: If I say yes, it reignites the Cold War.  If I say no, it seems like I’m ignoring it.  Energy is a key issue.  My liberal roommate just said that both want to say yes, but it’d be political suicide to do so.

Terry Shirey: If McCain attacks Israel, would you send troops or wait for UN Security Council approval?

McCain: We wouldn’t wait, because Russia and China would pose obstacles to sending troops.  Iran with nukes is a threat to the stability of the Middle East – other countries would acquire nukes.  Obama would meet with them without preconditions.  I would impose tough sanctions, and we can abridge their behavior, and hopefully they’ll abandon this quest for nukes.  We can never allow a second Holocaust to take place.

Obama: We cannot a nuclear Iran.  “It would be a game changer in the region.”  It would threaten Israel – one of our strongest allies.  As well, it would lead to nukes in the hands of terrorists.  I will never take military action off the table.  If we can work more effectively with more other countries to tighten sanctions, we should.  He’s getting rated higher, but said the same things as McCain – the focus group is biased folks.  Neither of them answered the question about if Iran ATTACKED Israel.  When we stopped talkingwith Iran, their nuclear pursuance increased, as did North Korea’s when we stopped talking.

Brokaw: What don’t you know, and how will you learn it?

Obama: It’s the challenges that we don’t expect that consume most of our time.  I wouldn’t be standing here if my country hadn’t given me great opportunity.  The question in this election is will we pass on this same American dream?  That dream has diminished – people are losing health care and going bankrupt.  Kids can’t afford college.  We can’t keep doing the same for the next 8 years.  We need fundamental change.  Really good ratings there!

McCain: I think what I don’t know is what’s gonna happen both here at home and overseas.  What I don’t know is what the expected will be.  I know what it’s like in dark times.  I know what it’s like to fight and hope through dark times.  “I know what it’s like to have your comrades and neighbors reach out to you and put you back in the fight.  That’s what America’s all about.”  It’s been my privilege to serve this country, and I’m asking for an opportunity to serve you more.  I’ve always put my country first.  Good ratings at the end, but not as good as Obama’s.

Brokaw, thank you… “You’re in the way of my script.”  Thank you, and goodnight from Nashville.

Alright, overall, I thnk that both candidates performed pretty poorly.  Overall, I can’t really pick a winner.  I hate doing this again, like I did after the last debate, but I’m going to have to call this one a tie.  McCain wasn’t as strong on foreign policy as he could’ve been (and that’s his strong point).  On economic issues, he had some good plans but he didn’t seem to appeal to the average Joe citizens.  The media has been commenting on McCain calling Obama “That one” when he was talking about Obama voting for money given to oil companies (and I’ve put it in italics in the text above).  Apparently it caught some people as awkward.  The consensus on CNN was that it was intended as “that one” versus “this one” (meaning “me” from McCain’s stand point).  Sure it was maybe bad wording, but I don’t think it was anything to get worked up about (and again, my liberal roommate agrees here).  Look, politicians use poor choices of words all the time.  I’m not saying McCain should’ve said it, but it’s nothing that people need to complain about.

Also, Obama seemed to get a little overconfident at the end, and he was stuttery at times.

Both candidates wanted to violate the rules of the debate, and just keep talking.  I think Brokaw needed to do a better job of moderating.  Instead of just saying, “You didn’t stop when the red light turned on,” he should’ve said, “Your time is up.”

At some points, some of McCain’s humor was just sucky (kinda like my fathers at times – he’ll tell these lame jokes when he’s doing announcements at church that he’s got this reputation, and people just kinda laugh to humor him, and the fact that he’s tried to tell a joke becomes the joke – it’s not always a bad thing, but it was with McCain).

Again, I do think that this was a tie, and this was one that McCain could not afford to lose.  McCain is going to need a couple small miracles to actually come back from where he’s at now.  I’m not giving up hope, but it’s definitely Obama’s race to lose at this point.

CNN just released a poll – Obama gained favoribility and lost unfavorability, but McCain stayed the same on both.  Overall, those polled thought Obama won (56%-30%).

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Joe Biden Suspends Campaign Events After Passing of Mother-in-Law

October 5, 2008

Bonny Jacobs, the mother of Senator Biden’s wife, Jill, passed away earlier today.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the Biden and Jacobs families.  Considering all that Senator Biden has been through, this must be a hard time for him.

Biden had initially cancelled his campaign events on Friday to be with his son, Beau, who was being deployed to Iraq (he’s in the National Guard).  Hospice then informed the family that Mrs. Jacobs was not doing well, and Biden cancelled events on Friday and Saturday.  Upon her passing today, he has cancelled all of his events for Monday and Tuesday.

Again, my thoughts go out to both families, and may Mrs. Jacobs rest in peace.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the Vice Presidential Debate

October 2, 2008

We are waiting for the debate to start.  Tonight’s debate will be between the VP candidates, Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), and will be starting in about 1 minute.  It’ll be moderated by Gwen Ifill, from PBS.

OK – now we’re about to start.

Ifill: Talking about the Senate bill.  “Was this the worst of Washington, or the best of Washington?”

Biden: Neither.  The economic policies of the last 8 years were the worst part.  Obama laid out rescue plan: Oversight, “focus on homeowners and folks on mainstreet, treat taxpayers like investors, and lastly, make sure CEOs don’t benefit.”  “We will fundamentally change the … economic policy.”

Palin: “Our economy is hurting, and the government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and deserve.”  Women undecided voters in Ohio (the group they’re surveyin is Undecideds in Ohio) arereally liking her, now she’s mentioning McCain, and she’s dropped a bit – talking about his  policy will accomplish what we need.

Biden: Talking about McCain saying “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” – well he was talking about the PRINCIPLES of CAPITALISM and the American workers, not the details of our current economy!  Women, liking Biden more than men, a trend that seems to carry no matter who’s talking.

Palin: Basically correcting Biden’s statement about McCain, saying what I said.  Americans are craving reform.  Men had liked her more, then women climbed back on top.

Ifill: Subprime lending meltdown.  Who was at fault?  Lenders or buyers?

Palin: “Darn right it was the … lenders.”  And the women are as HIGH as they can go on  the chart – wow.  Talking about not living outside of our means, that we do need to take responsibility – and both categories are as high as they can go.  Basically saying that this isn’t the people’s fault, but that we can learn a lesson from it, and take steps to insure that we don’t live above our means.

Biden: Saying McCain let Wall Street run wild.  That his stances for deregulation were bad, and Wall Street can’t regulate itself.  Well, it can and should, Mr. Biden.  Saying that McCain wants to deregulate the health care industry.  I got interrupted there – lost what Biden said.  I did notice the chart, women liking him more than men, but not as high as Palin.

Palin: OK, I’m back – something about tax reduction and letting private sector keep more of what we produce.  We need tax relief.  Undecided Ohio voters are loving her.

Biden: Palin lied: Obama didn’t raise taxes.  Saying that Palin didn’t answer the question about deregulation.  Saying that McCain DID pursue deregulation.

Palin: Wants to correct Biden’s misstatements on taxes first.  Now talking about what she did in Alaska for taxes.  Now on to talking about McCain pushing for more regulations: citing tobacco and campaign finances.

Ifill: Time is up.  Next question: Tax benefits on health care.

Biden: “The middle class is struggling.”  He’s right – middle class families are struggling, and the voters understand this and are agreeing with him.  He’s hitting it home here, and the focus group is liking it, women more than men.  Saying that Obama will cut taxes for people under $200,000.  Talking about McCain wanting to raise taxes, but as soon as he went negative, his ratings went down, now back up.  But Biden did hit it home to the average Joe voters – it was good for Obama.

Palin: Talking about Biden saying that paying higher taxes is patriotic, and that she disagrees, coming from the middle class.  Saying that private sector and  families should grow, thrive, and prosper.  Talking about Obama’s spending being “the backwards way in growing the economy.”  Talking about McCain’s health care plan: $5,000 tax credit – “that’s budget neutral,” unlike Obama’s plan which will cost the government money.  Her ratings aren’t doing too well right now.  Saying that McCain will promote crossing state lines to purchase plans – and that’ll increase competition.

Biden: Talking about not redistributing money to big businesses.  Talking about health care – he’s kinda stuttering and bumbling around during this part.  He’s talking about health care, specifically McCain taxing health care benefits, which will have money going to insurance companies.  Having to replace a $12,000 plan with $5,000 because 20 million people will be dropped.  “The ultimate bridge to nowhere.”  Good quote – the focus group didn’t like it, but I thought it was clever.

Biden: talking about tax cuts, and not going through with the Bush tax cuts.  Not gonna support tax cuts for corporate wealthy.  Not gonna support tax cuts for Exxon/Mobil.  Saying we can’t slow up on education.  And  the women are  rating him as high as they can right now, but men putting him at neutral now.  Saying he and Obama will eliminate wasteful spending, one which is a tax dodge by putting their post office box off shore.

Palin: “McCain doesn’t tell 1 thing to 1 group” and something else to another group.  Talking about the energy plan: Obama voted for a plan that gave oil companies big tax breaks.  Saying that she took on those oil companies.  They were doing what they need to do, but they’re not her biggest fans, because she broke up monopolies, and she was at a neutral rating all through that, but is now a little bit positive.  Reemphasizing that Obama voted FOR that energy plan.  Saying that her area of expertise is energy.  Saying that she’ll do what is right for the American people, and stop greed on Wall Street, and that the rescue plan needs oversight.  She dipped pretty negative there, but balanced it out at the end.

Biden: Talking about Obama voting for the bill.  Saying it was the first bill that really allowed for alternate energy.  Why is McCain adding tax cuts for oil companies? (he asked).  Saying that we should be able to give back money to everybody just like Palin did in Alaska, but under McCain’s plan, it’ll all go to companies.  Saying he hopes Palin will convince McCain to support windfall tax, like Palin supported in the past.

Ifill: Something about economy and something about debt – I didn’t hear exactly what it was.

Palin: We need to be appreciative of McCain’s call for reform.  And emphasizing reform is a very good strategy for her (and Biden) in this debate.  Put politics and campaign aside and fix this “toxic mess on Main Street that’s affecting Wall Street” (I think she switched the 2 of those up).

Biden: Saying that McCain and Palin don’t support certain ways to help the people through one of the bailout bills, I missed the specifics – women liked him, men didn’t.

Palin: Talking about doing all we can do to become energy independent.  She dropped really low, and is coming back now, talking about having to rely on foreign countries, instead of “dollars circulating here creating 10s of 1,000s of jobs. … Energy independence is the key to this nation’s future.”  Talking about not giving oil company tax breaks.  She rose pretty high there, but dropped down at the end.

Ifill: What’s true and false about climate change.

Palin: Talking about Alaska often changed by climate, since it’s an arctic state.  Some of it’s human-caused, others of it is cyclical.  Doesn’t want to argue about causes, but wants to discuss how we’ll clean up the planet.  That’s a great answer – and she’s right.  Who cares HOW we got here, as long as we know HOW to fix it!  We need an all of the above approach to tap into energy as well as conserving fuel – and she got pretty high ratings there.

Biden: “I think it’s clearly man-made.”  And he dropped down a bit there.  Saying that we can’t get a solution unless we know the cause.  Well, Mr. Biden, even the National Climatic Data Center doesn’t know the cause, and it’s their job to figure these things out.  Talking about ways to stop greenhouse gases from being emitted.  Saying that China is building new dirty coal plants weekly – we need to export technology to help them and their environment.  Saying McCain voted against alternative energy 20 times.  Biden got some pretty good ratings there.

Palin: McCain supports caps on drilling.  Saying that we need to tap into oil, and that’s what the people want.  She gave the “Drill baby, drill!” quote and that dropped her pretty bad.  Saying that Biden called drilling “raping” the continental shelf.  Saying that we need an all of the above approach.  Saying that Biden didn’t support clean coal, saying that he said there’s no such thing as clean coal.

Biden: Saying that the comment was taken out of context, and that he’s supported clean coal for 25 years.  If the only answer you have is oil, and not everything, how will that help?

Ifill: Do you support, as they do in Alaska, benefits to gay couples?

Biden: Absolutely.  In our administration, there will be no difference between gay and straight couples.  And  here’s where I disagree – it’s a states’ rights issue.  He brought up visitation in hospitals, and I do agree there.  Although he’s remaining barely above neutral ratings.

Palin: I wouldn’t do it if it redefined marriage, but I will be tolerant.  Saying that she has a diverse group of family and friends – I can’t tell if she’s implying gay friends?  Saying that McCain wouldn’t ban visitation rights, but supports defining marriage between 1 man and 1 woman.  She did pretty good in ratings.

Biden: Neithe me nor Obama want to redefine marriage.  That’s a decision to be left by the faith institutes.  Saying that Palin doesn’t want differences in rights, so they’re on the same page.

Palin: Says that she doesn’t want to redefine marriage, so they agree.

Ifill: On Iraq – exit strategy.

Palin: Saying that we have a good plan, and that the surge worked, is working, and  Obama shouldn’t have voted against troop funding, and she’s glad that Biden stood up to him on that.  Saying that we can start putting more troops in Afghanistan.  She’s rating right around neutral right now.  Saying that we’re getting closer and closer to victory, and it’d be a travesty if we quit in Iraq.

Biden: I didn’t hear a plan.  Outlining Obama’s plan: Train the Iraqis.  McCain voted the same way in no funding for troops.  Said he won’t fund them with a timeline.  He’s rating pretty decent now.  Although he dropped a bit with women when he attacked McCain.  Saying it’s time Iraqis spend their own money, and he’s now maxed out at the women’s rating and is almost there with men.  “For John McCain, there’s no end in sight to end this war.”

Palin: “Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq” and thats’ not what our troops needed.  The surge worked, and Obama can’t admit that.  Saying that Biden would’ve been on McCain’s ticket because he supported McCain’s stance on Iraq, and that he flip flopped when Obama picked him.  Saying Obama voted against troop funding.

Biden: Saying McCain voted against funding for troops.  Voted against it because it had a timeline in it to end the war.  Saying McCain has been dead wrong on fundamental issues on the Iraq War.  “There are the facts.”  He got pretty good ratings back there.

Ifill: Which is more dangerous: nuclear Iran or unstable Pakistan?

Biden: Pakistan already has nukes.  Could hit Israel.  Iran is not close to getting nukes, so both are very dangerous.  Saying that John still thinks that the battlefront on terrorism is in Iraq.  Ratings are really high, especially among women – he’s doing pretty good here.  Saying that we need to help them build schools (in Pakistan) and that’s where bin Laden lives.  We need to go after him.

Palin: Saying that both Petraeus and Al Qaeda said that the central battlefront was Iraq.  The only thing they agreed on.  Saying that Ahmadinejad is unstable (quoted him on Israel).  Talking about Obama meeting with nations without preconditions, showing naivety on Obama’s part.  And her ratings went from pretty good to neutral.

Ifill: Secretaries of State have advocated talking.  Are they wrong?

Palin: No.  We need diplomacy, but with dictators who hurt America cannot be met with just sitting down on a Presidential level like Obama said he’d do.  “Diplomacy is hard work by many people.”

Biden: That’s not true.  He didn’t say sit down with Ahmadinejad.  It surprises me that McCain doesn’t know that he doesn’t control the security apparatus of Iran.  Saying that McCain and Palin said they have passion for diplomacy, and we need talks with our friends and allies, yet our allies said, “Sit down and talk,” but we didn’t.  Rating pretty good there.  McCain said he wouldn’t sit down with Spain, a NATO ally who has troops in Afghanistan.  “I find that incredible.”  Rating great there – and yeah, that was a really dumb moment by McCain.

Palin: Forging peace will be top of McCain/Palin agenda.  We will never allow a second Holocaust, even if that’s what Iran warns of.  Saying we need more peace, but we need commitment, and we’ll give that commitment.  Great ratings there.

Biden: “Nobody has been a friend to Israel in the Senate as much as Joe Biden.”  What about Bernie Sanders?  I’m just assuming that since he’s Jewish he supports Israel, but I could be wrong.  Talking about Hezbollah and that they’re a legitimate part of the government of Lebanon.  We will change this policy, and stand with Israel, not insist that policies are past.  Rating great there.

Palin: Saying that she’s glad Biden cares so much about Israel.  Saying that we can’t keep finger pointing at Bush (like Biden just did – I left that out when I typed above).  Put partisanships aside – he’s known as the Maverick.  It’s good that she’s bringing that up.

Biden: How different will McCain’s policy be different than Bush’s?  He hasn’t heard how it’s different.  On Israel, Iran, Pakistan.

Ifill: What should be the trigger when nuclear weapons use is put into play?

Palin: Dangerous regimes cannot be allowed to get nukes.  “Period.”  Saying we need sanctions on nations like North Korea.  On Afghanistan, McCain’s stance is different than Bush’s – McCain will use surge principles, just like we did in Iraq, and it worked.  Saying we’re fighting terrorists and securing democracy and building schools.

Biden: On Afghanistan–commanding general said that the surge principle will not work in Afghanistan.  And Biden’s ratings are pretty good now.  Spent more in 3 week on Iraq than 6 1/2 years in Afghanistan.  Ratings are pretty good there.  Saying that McCain hasn’t supported nuclear test ban treaties.

Palin: Saying that the general didn’t say that the surge principles wouldn’t work.

Biden: Saying that the general DID say that.  Obama, Hagel, Biden, and Lugar have called for more money in Afghanistan.  McCain said we had already succeeded in Afghanistan.  We need to spend more in Afghanistan than on Iraq.

Ifill: Biden, you’ve had an interventionist stance.  Should America continue this?

Biden: It worked in Bosnia (this is something Ifill brought up), and he supported it and was the first for it.  On Iraq, he voted to let us go to war, but opposes it.  We needed to have our allies with us.  In Darfur, we cannot allow for the genocide – we need to provide helicopters.  And the ratings skyrocketed.

Palin: Saying that she must be a Washington outsider, since she doesn’t get why he switched his views, and compared him to Kerry.  Saying that he opposed Obama’s strategy and now is for it.  We can agree on Darfur, specifically the no-fly zone.  And her ratings are going up decently.  Talking about not using money that would look like we will allow travesties in Darfur.

Ifill: When is the line to be drawn to go to War?

Biden: Can we afford it?  When a country engages in genocide / terrorism, that country forfeits their right to say that we can’t intervene.  Saying that he predicted Sunni/Shia conflicts.

Palin: I disagree with you on whose strategy you supported.  John Mccain has faced challenges and knows what evil is, and will know how to implement commanders, and will know how to win a war.

Ifill: If the worst were to happen, how would a Biden administration differ from an Obama administration?

Biden: I’d carry out policies – accurate health care, an energy policy that creates new jobs.  A foreign policy that gives power to Iraq.  Reject the Bush doctrine.  He’s rating as high as he can among womenn, and VERY good among men.  It’s the most important election you’ll have voted in since 1932.  I agree with Obama on every major suggestion.

Palin: Talking about disagreeing on drilling in ANWR, continue good work he started – getting rid of greed in Washington and Wall Street.  The money needs to be put to the average family.  And her ratings are skyrocketing – maxed out for women, very high for men.  Talking about Obama’s plan being bad for our economy.

Biden: Saying that it’s been Bush’s economic policy that hurt us.  Saying that McCain says he’s different, but he really isn’t.  “The middle class has gotten the short end.”  Very good ratings.

Palin: Saying that teachers need more pay.  We need better education.  Her ratings are doing pretty good.  Education in America is just accepted to be a little bit laxed, and that’s unacceptable.  We need to reform No Child Left Behind.  Very high  ratings among women and pretty good for men.

Ifill: What does the Vice Presidency do?

Palin: Talked about her saying a lame joke, “and yours must’ve been a lame joke too because nobody got it.”  Pretty funny.  Talking about presiding over the Senate.  Saying “McCain has tapped me and that’s where he wants me” – dealing with special needs children – might’ve been education, I missed part of it.

Biden: “I would be the point person for legislative initiatives.”  Saying that he’ll give Obama his best advice.  Sahying that he won’t be afraid to tell Obama if he disagrees.  Pretty good ratings.  And he’s showing himself being somewhat of a Maverick or independent, and willing to disagree with HIS president.

Ifill: Opinion of Cheney’s Vice Presidency.

Palin: Talking about doing best for the American people in cooperating with the President’s agenda, and that there’s a lot of flexibility.  Talking about her executive experience, and those years will be put to good use.

Biden: It’s been the most dangerous we’ve had.  Only preside over Senate when there’s a tie vote.  Give President advice.  His ratings are VERY high right now.  Criticizing Cheney’s defining the VP as a legislative job.

Ifill: What are your Achilles heels?

Palin: Responding to Ifill (who asked if it was her experience).  I was experienced in being a governor and mayor, and I’m tapped into average families.  Talking about standing for tolerance, freedom, and equal rights.  Combine that with being a team of reform and it’s a good ticket.  Pretty good ratings.

Biden: Responding to it being his lack of discipline.  I’ll place my record against McCain’s.  Talking about crime bills.  Talking about it knowing what it’s like to be a single parent.  Saying that he’s much better off than many Americans now, but the notion that because he’s a man, he doesn’t know how to raise to kids alone.  And he’s getting emotional here – and it is really appealing to the focus group – that was Biden’s best moment right there – and it was a GENUINE moment.  It’s going to be hard for Palin to make any comeback from that without looking bad.

Palin: Americans aren’t looking for more of the same.  Talking about John McCain’s Maverick position.  And she’s not doing well with the focus group, just as I predicted.  Talking about not allowing Wall Street greed, and now she’s picking up ratings.  “Change is coming and John McCain” will bring reform.

Biden: McCain is not a Maverick – he voted for Bush’s budget.  He voted against putting children into health care coverage.  Not a Maverick on education, on the war, on virtually anything that affects the average people.  He’s rating pretty high.  “Maverick he is not on the important issues that affect people at the kitchen table.”

Ifill: Single issue where you had to change a long-held view to accommodate circumstances.

Biden: Yes, the only thing that mattered for a judicial nominee was a moral person who hadn’t committed crime.  Now I realized that ideology matters, and he gave an example of somebody he opposed.  Women liked his response, but Men are rating him neutral.  “I’m glad I did [change on that].”

Palin: There’ve been times when I was governor and mayor that I didn’t like, but didn’t veto.  Times when I wanted to cut taxes, but didn’t have enough support.  Never a time when I had to change my views because up in Alaska, we’ve been able to compromise and work things out.  That’s what I’ll do in Washington, and that’s what McCain has done.

Ifill: How do you change the tone and promote bipartisanship, after looking at the bailout vote?

Biden: I’ve worked across the aisle and changed opinions of my party and the Republicans.  Saying that people shouldn’t question motives of members of the Senate.  Question their judgment, not motives.  And he got pretty good ratings there – that was a pretty good statement.

Palin: Do what I did as Governor – walk the walk and appoint people from both parties.  Work together.  Let policies and proposals speak for themselves.  Lower taxes on workers and businesses.  Rein in spending.  Don’t support a ticket that will increase spending.  And her ratings were doing really good, but she’s dropped a bit.

Ifill: Closing statements.

Palin: Glad to be here and glad to meet Biden and debate him.  Wants to speak to people without filters – just speak to them.  We’ll fight for the average American people.  Always been proud to be an American, and so has McCain.  We need to fight for freedoms.  “Freedom is always a generation away from extinction.”  We will fight for freedom, and only McCain has fought for you.

Biden: Thank you, and it was a pleasure to meet you Governor.  This is the most important election you’ve ever voted in.  There’s a need for fundamental economic and foreign policy change.  Obama and I don’t look at that based on CEOs and tax credits to Exxon/Mobil, but when sending a kid off to fight in a war.  They should be guaranteed best health care and education.  Really good ratings right now.  Talking about believing in selves and accomplishing things, and that’s why him and Obama are running – to reestablish that mood.  It’s time for America to get back up together.  May God bless you, and may God protect our troops.

Ifill: Thank you to the Commission, the University, Governor Palin and Senator Biden.  “Good night everybody.”

Palin: “Thank you so much!  Thank you Gwen.”

Why is her mic still on?  that’s weird.

So, my analysis overall:

  • I didn’t like the fact that Palin avoided some of the questions at the beginning.  She lost some points with me here.
  • Biden got a little wordy and confusing toward the end at some points, but it wasn’t a huge issue.
  • I give a lot of credit to Biden for being a single dad.  When he started getting emotional, that was a powerful moment, and I felt for him – I could feel the emotion just watching him.  It didn’t affect the outcome of the debate (at least not in my mind), but I think credit needs to be given to him for that.

Overall, I call it a Biden victory.  Perhaps it’s just because I was going into this thinking that Palin wouldn’t perform well, but I didn’t think she did too bad, but I would definitely say that I am confident that Biden won.  I really don’t think that either campaign will get a bump from this, but if anybody will, I think it’ll be McCain.  Like I said earlier today, it was Biden’s debate to lose.  He performed very well, but Palin did as well, and for Biden to help the Obama ticket much more, he would’ve needed to blow her out of the water, and that just didn’t happen.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Obama’s “I’ve Got a Bracelet Too” Comment Was Disrespectful to Troops

September 29, 2008

Alright, this is (presumably) my last post about Friday’s debate.  The following is an exchange between Senator McCain and Senator Obama, regarding Afghanistan:

When I originally watched that, what struck me the most was Obama saying (1:17), “Uh, Jim, th-l-let me just make a point: I’ve got a bracelet too.  From Sergeant–uh–uh–from the mother of–uh–Ryan David Jopek, given to me in Green Bay.”

Now, first, I know that me putting the stuttering in there looks kinda bad, but I have a point to that.  The part that struck me most offensive was the “Let me just make a point: I’ve got a bracelet too.”  It came across as Obama saying something like, “Oh yeah, well I’ve got…”  And my (liberal) roommate agreed with me – he found that part as a bad statement from Obama (and again, thanks to my roommate for all he’s helped me with on the blog – especially during the debate, when I couldn’t keep up with typing as fast as they were talking).

The media had raised the fact that Obama stuttered over Sergeant Jopek’s name, and at first, based on initial videos that I watched I was going to dismiss it to the fact that Obama is really not that great of a speaker, especially in debates (as evidenced by the stuttering and the “um”s, which is why I included it.  It’s not an insult to him, it’s just the truth.  I love Representative Tom Tancredo [R-CO], but I’ll be the first to admit–and I have–that when it comes to speaking, he’s just atrocious).

Then I watched the video again today.  Notice as he’s trying to get the name out, that he looks down.  My thought was that the name is on the bracelet and he’s trying to read the name.  I don’t know if my theory is right or not, but if it is correct, it gives more credit to the people who were claiming that Obama forgot the name of the soldier.

Again, even if he did “forget” the name, I think this could be credited to the fact that he was probably nervous, and that’s what I credit a lot of his stuttering to (it seemed higher than normal).  The biggest problem that I had with that statement was his whole attitude.  The irreverent attitude of “I’ve got a bracelet too.”  It came across that he was just using the sacrifice that Sergeant Jopek gave for political gain.

We have to be very careful when we use military heroes as examples.  When our soldiers become methods to get points across instead of the REASON that we are making the point, we have trivialized their sacrifices and have dishonored them.  This is unacceptable, no matter who does it or what party they are from.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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