Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

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

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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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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Henry Kissinger Says that Obama Lied About His Views on Iran

September 29, 2008

I know that this has been raised in the media quite a bit, but I just wanted to comment briefly on this.  During the debate, the following exchange took place (transcript courtesy of CNN) (bolded areas are the parts that relate directly to Dr. Henry Kissinger (Fmr. Secretary of State), but I always put things in context, so here’s the whole segment:

LEHRER: Two minutes on Iran, Senator Obama.

OBAMA: Well, let me just correct something very quickly. I believe the Republican Guard of Iran is a terrorist organization. I’ve consistently said so. What Senator McCain refers to is a measure in the Senate that would try to broaden the mandate inside of Iraq. To deal with Iran.

And ironically, the single thing that has strengthened Iran over the last several years has been the war in Iraq. Iraq was Iran’s mortal enemy. That was cleared away. And what we’ve seen over the last several years is Iran’s influence grow. They have funded Hezbollah, they have funded Hamas, they have gone from zero centrifuges to 4,000 centrifuges to develop a nuclear weapon.

So obviously, our policy over the last eight years has not worked. Senator McCain is absolutely right, we cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. It would be a game changer. Not only would it threaten Israel, a country that is our stalwart ally, but it would also create an environment in which you could set off an arms race in this Middle East.

Now here’s what we need to do. We do need tougher sanctions. I do not agree with Senator McCain that we’re going to be able to execute the kind of sanctions we need without some cooperation with some countries like Russia and China that are, I think Senator McCain would agree, not democracies, but have extensive trade with Iran but potentially have an interest in making sure Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon.

But we are also going to have to, I believe, engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain, this notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked. It has not worked in Iran, it has not worked in North Korea. In each instance, our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated their efforts to get nuclear weapons. That will change when I’m president of the United States.

LEHRER: Senator, what about talking?

MCCAIN: Senator Obama twice said in debates he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Raul Castro without precondition. Without precondition. Here is Ahmadinenene [mispronunciation], Ahmadinejad, who is, Ahmadinejad, who is now in New York, talking about the extermination of the State of Israel, of wiping Israel off the map, and we’re going to sit down, without precondition, across the table, to legitimize and give a propaganda platform to a person that is espousing the extermination of the state of Israel, and therefore then giving them more credence in the world arena and therefore saying, they’ve probably been doing the right thing, because you will sit down across the table from them and that will legitimize their illegal behavior.

The point is that throughout history, whether it be Ronald Reagan, who wouldn’t sit down with Brezhnev, Andropov or Chernenko until Gorbachev was ready with glasnost and perestroika.

Or whether it be Nixon’s trip to China, which was preceded by Henry Kissinger, many times before he went. Look, I’ll sit down with anybody, but there’s got to be pre-conditions. Those pre-conditions would apply that we wouldn’t legitimize with a face to face meeting, a person like Ahmadinejad. Now, Senator Obama said, without preconditions.

OBAMA: So let’s talk about this. First of all, Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful person in Iran. So he may not be the right person to talk to. But I reserve the right, as president of the United States to meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing if I think it’s going to keep America safe.

And I’m glad that Senator McCain brought up the history, the bipartisan history of us engaging in direct diplomacy.

Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran — guess what — without precondition. This is one of your own advisers.

Now, understand what this means “without preconditions.” It doesn’t mean that you invite them over for tea one day. What it means is that we don’t do what we’ve been doing, which is to say, “Until you agree to do exactly what we say, we won’t have direct contacts with you.”

There’s a difference between preconditions and preparation. Of course we’ve got to do preparations, starting with low-level diplomatic talks, and it may not work, because Iran is a rogue regime.

But I will point out that I was called naive when I suggested that we need to look at exploring contacts with Iran. And you know what? President Bush recently sent a senior ambassador, Bill Burns, to participate in talks with the Europeans around the issue of nuclear weapons.

Again, it may not work, but if it doesn’t work, then we have strengthened our ability to form alliances to impose the tough sanctions that Senator McCain just mentioned.

And when we haven’t done it, as in North Korea — let me just take one more example — in North Korea, we cut off talks. They’re a member of the axis of evil. We can’t deal with them.

And you know what happened? They went — they quadrupled their nuclear capacity. They tested a nuke. They tested missiles. They pulled out of the nonproliferation agreement. And they sent nuclear secrets, potentially, to countries like Syria.

When we re-engaged — because, again, the Bush administration reversed course on this — then we have at least made some progress, although right now, because of the problems in North Korea, we are seeing it on shaky ground.

And — and I just — so I just have to make this general point that the Bush administration, some of Senator McCain’s own advisers all think this is important, and Senator McCain appears resistant.

He even said the other day that he would not meet potentially with the prime minister of Spain, because he — you know, he wasn’t sure whether they were aligned with us. I mean, Spain? Spain is a NATO ally.

MCCAIN: Of course.

OBAMA: If we can’t meet with our friends, I don’t know how we’re going to lead the world in terms of dealing with critical issues like terrorism.

MCCAIN: I’m not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I’m president of the United States. I don’t even have a seal yet.

Look, Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve of face-to- face meetings between the president of the United States and the president — and Ahmadinejad. He did not say that.

OBAMA: Of course not.

MCCAIN: He said that there could be secretary-level and lower level meetings. I’ve always encouraged them. The Iranians have met with Ambassador Crocker in Baghdad.

What Senator Obama doesn’t seem to understand that if without precondition you sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a “stinking corpse,” and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those comments.

This is dangerous. It isn’t just naive; it’s dangerous. And so we just have a fundamental difference of opinion.

As far as North Korea is concerned, our secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, went to North Korea. By the way, North Korea, most repressive and brutal regime probably on Earth. The average South Korean is three inches taller than the average North Korean, a huge gulag.

We don’t know what the status of the dear leader’s health is today, but we know this, that the North Koreans have broken every agreement that they’ve entered into.

And we ought to go back to a little bit of Ronald Reagan’s “trust, but verify,” and certainly not sit down across the table from — without precondition, as Senator Obama said he did twice, I mean, it’s just dangerous.

OBAMA: Look, I mean, Senator McCain keeps on using this example that suddenly the president would just meet with somebody without doing any preparation, without having low-level talks. Nobody’s been talking about that, and Senator McCain knows it. This is a mischaracterization of my position.

When we talk about preconditions — and Henry Kissinger did say we should have contacts without preconditions — the idea is that we do not expect to solve every problem before we initiate talks.

And, you know, the Bush administration has come to recognize that it hasn’t worked, this notion that we are simply silent when it comes to our enemies. And the notion that we would sit with Ahmadinejad and not say anything while he’s spewing his nonsense and his vile comments is ridiculous. Nobody is even talking about that.

MCCAIN: So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, “We’re going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth,” and we say, “No, you’re not”? Oh, please.

OBAMA: No, let me tell…

MCCAIN: By the way, my friend, Dr. Kissinger, who’s been my friend for 35 years, would be interested to hear this conversation and Senator Obama’s depiction of his — of his positions on the issue. I’ve known him for 35 years.

OBAMA: We will take a look.

MCCAIN: And I guarantee you he would not — he would not say that presidential top level.

OBAMA: Nobody’s talking about that.

MCCAIN: Of course he encourages and other people encourage contacts, and negotiations, and all other things. We do that all the time.

LEHRER: We’re going to go to a new…

MCCAIN: And Senator Obama is parsing words when he says precondition means preparation.

OBAMA: I am not parsing words.

MCCAIN: He’s parsing words, my friends.

OBAMA: I’m using the same words that your advisers use.

Please, go ahead.

Alright, so again, I bolded the parts relevant to Dr. Kissinger.

Obama is arguing that Kissinger said that we should meet with Iran without preconditions.  McCain has taken this to say that Obama is saying that we should have the President meet with President Ahmadinejad without preconditions.  Personally, I didn’t get that strong of a statement from this debate; HOWEVER, he did say (back in the Youtube primary debate) that HE would meet with Iran (and other nations) without preconditions in his first year of office.  He also said (in this debate), “I reserve the right, as president of the United States to meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing if I think it’s going to keep America safe.” So although Obama may only be arguing for lower-level negotiations now, he HAS in the past said HE HIMSELF would meet without preconditions.  To me, it seems like McCain is making Obama’s statements from this debate seem a little more extreme than they necessarily are, but Obama is clearly changing his stance on the issues.

But we have one other thing:

Dr. Kissinger released the following statement:

Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next president of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Sen. John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.

So, although McCain may have stretched Obama’s statements a bit, Obama took Dr. Kissinger’s comments farther than Dr. Kissinger intended, and Obama has flip-flopped on the issue.  The greater fault definitely lies with Obama here, who is just being completely dishonest.

Kissinger did say that “I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations.”  Personally, I disagree with that – I will note that we have NEVER successfully met with a hostile country without preconditions at the Presidential level.  Nixon and Mao met with preconditions after years of other lower-level talks.  The same with Gorbachev and Reagan.  And the one time we did meet without preconditions, was when Kennedy met with Khrushchev and Kennedy admits that “He just beat the hell out of me.  I’ve got a terrible problem if he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts.  Until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him.”

That, my friends, would be Barack Obama.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the September 26 Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy

September 26, 2008

**My apologies for any typos – I tried to catch all of them, but live blogging a debate is hard, and my keyboard acts up from time to time (especially the space bar), so if you see a typo, just leave a comment and I’ll fix it.**

We’re about a minute out, I’ll be live blogging the whole event.  Jim Lehrer (PBS) is the moderator.  I’ll be watching CNN (it would be FOX, but they weren’t ready on time).

The Ku Klux Klan is in the audience, we’ve heard, but not in robes and not protesting.

First question, “Where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”

Obama: Thank you to everybody – the usual beginning.  “Worst financial crisis since the great depression. … We have to move swiftly and we have to move wisely.”  Talking about oversight, since it’s a lot of money.  Taxpayers need to be able to get the money back.  Shouldn’t be padding CEO bank accounts.  Talking about trickle down economics not working.  That’s not going to help him win over any Republicans.

McCain: Senator Kennedy is in the hospital.  Thank you to the sponsors, etc.  Talking about seeing Democrats and Republicans sitting down and working together, and the magnitude of the crisis.  Emphasizing that we have to work together, something that Obama didn’t mention – that was good from McCain.  Talking about having options for loans for businesses, not the government taking over those loans.  GOOD – not a pure bailout!  CNN has an audience  reaction, and McCain is getting a pretty good response from the Independents (must be some keypad rating system or something).  Talking about a lot of work to do if this will work.  Eliminate dependence on foreign oil – good.

Lehrer: Do you favor this plan?

Obama: I “haven’t seen the language yet.”  “How did we get in this situation in the first place?”  Talking about him warning 2 years ago that mortgage abuse would lead us down a trail we can’t afford to go down.  “Yes, we have to solve this problem short term, … but … look at how we shredded so many regulations … and that has … to do with an economic philosophy that says regulation is bad.”

Lehrer: “Will you vote for the plan?”

McCain: “Sure.”  Talking about warning about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  Talking about getting flack for calling for resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission.  And the Independents’ rating has skyrocketed.  Republicans increased too.  It was good – him calling for the resignation, and people like that.

Obama: Talking about people struggling before this crisis.  It’s interesting – the Dems are rating Obama higher than the Indies, but the Indies rated McCain higher than the Reps.  Talking about holding ourselves accountable, all the time, talking about nurses and teachers, and politicians not paying attention to them.  Good – he’s appealing to the average Americans here, and that’s who he needs to win over.

McCain: “We have a long way to go.”  Need consolidation of regulatory agencies who failed and let us slip into this crisis.  Talking about the greatness of the American worker, and the Republicans like it, but it’s not that appealing to Independents, but it will appeal to a lot of average Joe Americans, as long as they believe he’s sincere (and the audience must not have).

Lehrer: How do we get out of the crisis?

McCain: Spending control.  And the Reps and Inds, liked it – and this is one of McCain biggest points, and now he’s talking about Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a huge anti-earmark politician.  Talking about the DNA testing of bears.  I LOVE McCain saying he’ll veto earmarked bills.  It’s one of his best stances.  He’s talking about Obama asking for earmark spending.  Talking about not being able to rein in spending with a plan like Obama’s.

Obama: The earmark process has been abused.  Lobbyists and special interests introduce these things, often times.  Contrasting the cost of earmarks against tax cuts (by allegedly McCain) for CEOs and big companies.  “Grow the economy for the bottom up.”  Tax cut for 95% of working families.  HOLD IT!  Only 90% of working families even PAY taxes!!!!  Come on Obama, don’t lie.

McCain: Obama suspended those earmarks after he started running for Congress.  YOU TELL ‘EM MCCAIN!  He’s saying that earmarks have tripled in 5 years, even though “it’s only $18 billion” (as pro-earmarkers say).  He was called the Sheriff.  That’s pretty sweet.  As I was saying before, we need to take Coburn’s example and STOP EARMARKS!

Obama: Interrupted McCain (must be kinda less formal).  Talking about priorities, and shipping, and I missed the rest.  Saying he’ll keep us from spending unwisely.  Earmarks alone won’t get us back on track.  The Democrats are loving this, but the Independents, aren’t really liking it.

McCain: Talking about the business tax, that we pay the 2nd highest in the world, 35%.  “I want to cut that business tax.  I want to cut it.”  “It’s a lot more than $18 billion in pork barrel spending.”  And he’s right, it’s SO much more than that, and it’s hidden in so many bills.  The Independents are liking this.  “I want every family to have a $5,000 refundable tax credit” for healthcare.  Double the dependent amount refund for children.

Obama: “Here’s what I can tell America 95% of you will get a tax cut.”  LIAR.  10% don’t even PAY taxes.  And another 5% make over $200,000, and he won’t give them a tax cut.  LIAR!  Saying McCain wants to add an additional tax cut over the loopholes.  Talking about McCain’s health care tax credit.  Saying McCain wants to tax health benefits.  That’s not true.

McCain: Talking about an energy bill with breaks for oil companies, and McCain voted against it, but Obama voted for it.”  Obama tried to interrupt – that just looks tacky when he keeps doing it.  Saying that Obama has shifted on a number of occasions.

Obama: Talking about Obama lying about the oil companies.  “I was opposed to those tax breaks … tried to strip them out.”

Lehrer: “As President … what are you going to have to give up … as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?”

Obama: “Right now, it’s hard to anticipate what the budget is going to look like next year.”  He’s right about that.  “Energy independence.”  Talking about solar, wind, biodiesel here at home.  And the Independents REALLY loved that – highest rating I’ve seen all night.  Fix our healthcare system.  Compete in education – science and technology.  “Make sure our children are keeping pace in math and in science.”  Make college affordable for all.  That’s not even useful.  Not EVERYBODY needs college.  America needs plumbers and other basic labor workers too.

McCain: “No matter what, we have got to cut spending.”  Obama has most liberal rating.  “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”  Do away with cost-plus contracts.  Talking about defense contracts and needing fixed-cost contracts.  And he’s absolutely right.  One of the big areas we need to save money is in defense contracts.  Talking about fixing a contract with Boeing, and people ending up in prison because of it, but hte Independents didn’t like that too much.

Lehrer: Neither of you are really going to have big changes?

Obama: “I want to make sure that we are investing in energy in order to [break off from] foreign oil.”  Right now, even the Democrats aren’t giving him a good audience reaction.  The Republicans are giving him a higher rating!  Saying that him being wildly liberal is just him opposing George Bush.  And that spiked the Dems’ rating.  Saying that he’s worked with Coburn so that taxpayers can see who’s promoting spending projects.

Lehrer: “How [will] this effect you in the approach you will take to the Presidency.”

McCain: Spending freeze on all but Veterans, defense, and I forget what else.

Obama: You’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.  But heck, that’d have to be a big scalpel.  But he does have a point here.

McCain: We’re sending money overseas, and some of that goes eventually to terrorists (through oil).  We need nuclear, solar, wind, offshore drilling, etc…  Get 70,000 (?) jobs by building nuclear plants throughout the country.  And Obama is against this.  And that’s one thing that really angers me about Obama – WE NEED NUCLEAR!

Obama: “There is not fact that it [economic crisis] will affect our budgets” even if we get the $700 billion back.  “If we’re lucky and do it right, that could potentially happen.”  “We can expect less tax revenue.”  And he’s really not getting a good audience response here.  Talking about not being able to leave out healthcare, and the Independents’ and Republicans’ approval just dropped.

McCain: Families should make decisions between themselves and doctors, not federal government.  “I have fought to cut spending.”  “Obama needs to cancel new spending programs.”  Talking about taking care of veterans.  Healthy economy, lowering, not raising taxes, with spending restraint.  And the independents liked that.  Talking about owing China money, and saying he’s fought against excessive spending.  And the ratings are skyrocketing – and again, I LOVE his stance on spending!

Obama: It’s been your President who presided over this spending.  But Bush and McCain aren’t the same.  Stop pretending they are.  That still got a good reply from the Independents.

McCain: I have opposed the President on spending, torture, Guantanamo, climate change.  Talking about being an Independent and Maverick, and having Sarah Palin as the same.  His ratings stunk right there.  He lost Dems, Reps, and Inds.

Lehrer: On to Iraq.

McCain: “Our initial military success … Baghdad, and everybody celebrated.”  Then the war was mishandled.  Came up with a new strategy.  It’s succeeding.  The Inds and Dems rating has fallen a lot, but hte Reps are rating him high.  Talking about the consequences of defeat being Iranian influence higher, more sectarian violence, and U.S. having to come back (referring to defeat before the surge).  And the Inds just started to rate him a lot better.  I think he did as good as he could back there.

Obama: I would’ve voted against it.  “We hadn’t finished the job in Afghanistan … caught bin Laden … and put Al Qaeda to rest.”  Talking about soon to be a trillion dollars spent, plus 4,000 lives lost.  Saying that Al Qaeda is stronger than ever.  “We took our eye off the ball.”  Talking about Iraq having a surplus while we’re losing money.  He’s bringing up a LOT of good points that I thought would appeal to people, but he’s not rating THAT great, although the Dems really like him.  Now it’s peaked a bit more.

McCain: President will have to decide how and when we leave and what we leave behind.  He’s absolutely right.  Obama saying surge worked, but he’d still oppose it.  And he lost a lot of Indy rating points just back there.  But he’s right.  Obama is simply sticking by what he said even though what he said was WRONG!

Obama: Talking about McCain being right about reduced violence.  Saying troops and Petraeus doing a good job.  But that made up for mismanagement before that.  War started in 2003, not 2007.  Saying McCain said it’d be quick and easy, but he was wrong.  Saying we’d be greeted as liberators, but we weren’t.  And he lost a lot of support from Inds, but he’s still doing better than McCain has on Iraq.

McCain: Saying Obama doesn’t have military experience, he’s got some better support form Inds and Reps now.  Saying that this strategy and general are winning, but Obama refuses to acknowledge this.  (Obama: “That’s not true.”)  Talking about elections and peace coming to Iraq, and the strategy will be employed in Afghanistan in a McCain administration, and the Inds went up a bit there.  Talking about Obama voting against troop funding.

Obama: McCain opposed funding for troops in a timetable bill.  Had a difference on timetables, not funding.  And Obama’s right.  It always looks bad on paper when you vote against funding, but if you don’t agree with the overall bill, don’t vote for it.  I have to side with Obama here, and the Inds liked that a lot, and even the Republicans aren’t that negatively rating him.  Reduce combat troops in Iraq.  “Capture and kill bin Laden.”  We don’t have enough troops to deal with Afghanistan.

McCain: Saying that military leaders saying that Obama’s plan would be bad for the troops.  Talking about Petraeus praising the progress we’ve made.  Saying that under Obama’s plan, we’d have been out before the surge could have even succeeded.  Saying that Obama’s plan will “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Lehrer: How many and when (if more troops in Afghanistan)?

Obama: As soon as possible.  Saying that this year has been the year for highest troop fatalities.  Can’t separate Afghanistan from Iraq.  And the Independents are rating him lower than the Repubs now – that’s surprising.  Saying that Al Qaeda is the greatest threat against us, and that we have to deal with them in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iraq.  Press the Afghan government to make sure that they’re working for their people.  And he’s absolutely right – we need to press the Afghani government.  Talking about needing to reduce the poppy trade over there.  And that’s another area we need to work on.

McCain: Talking about not being ready to threaten Pakistan, because that’d be dangerous.  We need to get support of the people of Pakistan.  And the Independents are rating him pretty high here.  Saying that Obama doesn’t understand that we need a new strategy.  Saying that Pakistani terrorists are married to Al Qaeda and Taliban.  Ratings are very high from Reps and Inds.  Although it’s dropped now.  Saying we need more troops in Afghanistan, but saying that we have put more in already.  Talking about Obama publicly saying he’d attack Pakistan.

Obama: Saying that if we have Al Qaeda in sights, and Pakistan won’t help us take them out, then we need to take them out.  Again, I have to side with Obama here.  Talking about McCain singing “Bomb Iran.”  And that was so stupid of McCain, and really makes him look like a hypocrite a bit here.  Although he lost a lot of ratings there surprisingly.  Talking about not going after Al Qaeda, and they’re more powerful than ever.

McCain: Talking about him being a new Congressman – Reagan wanting to send Marines into Lebanon, and McCain voting against it, because he didn’t think that 300 Marines could make a difference, and saying that he was right – many Marines were killed in the bombing.  Talking about voting for going into Bosnia, when it wasn’t popular.  Saying that we need more than a peace-keeping force in Somalia.  And he’s right.  We need to do what’s RIGHT, not what’s popular!  Saying that our mission NEEDS to succeed.  And he’s absolutely right.  We don’t want defeat, and we cannot afford defeat!  “We won’t come home in defeat and dishonor and probably have to go back if we fail.”

Obama: “No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain. … We honor the service they’ve provided. … Are we making good judgments” for keeping America safe, because sending troops is such a huge issue.  “We are having enormous problems in Afghanistan.”  Saying it’s not true that McCain has consistently cared about Afghanistan.  Saying McCain said we could “muddle through” Afghanistan.

McCain: “I’ve visited Afghanistan … and I know what our needs are.  We will prevail … and we need a new strategy.”  If we adopt Obama’s plan, we’ll fail in Iraq, and that will have a great effect on Afghanistan.  Obama fails to see that the 2 are connected.

Lehrer: “What is your reading from the threat from Iran?”

McCain: If Iran acquires nukes, it’s a threat to Israel and other countries.  Others will feel the need to get nukes.  “We can’t afford a second holocaust.”  Proposing a league of Democracies who would impose sanctions on Iranians, since the Russians won’t do it.  “The Iranians have a lousy government, so their economy is lousy, even though they have significant oil revenues.”  A nuclear Iran is a threat to the world.  They’re putting IEDs in Iraq.  They’re a sponsor of terror.  And he’s getting some pretty good ratings right now, from both Indeps and Repubs.

Obama: Talking about the thing that strengthened Iran was the War in Iraq.  Their involvement has grown.  They’ve tried harder to get nukes.  “We cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran.”  It would threaten Israel, and “create an environment [that would] set off an arms race in the Middle East.”  We can’t have sanctions without Russia and China.  Well Obama, you’re not going to get Russia OR China to side with you!  You’re dreaming if you think you will.  Saying we need to talk to leaders in Iran and North Korea, and he as President will.

McCain: Senator Obama twice said he’d sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Castro.  Ahmadinejad is in New York now talking about extermination of Israel.  Saying that we can’t sit down without preconditions.  And he’s right.  NO President has ever sat down without preconditions (Reagan didn’t, JFK didn’t, and Nixon didn’t).  And now McCain is using examples that I just gave.  “I’ll sit down with anybody, but there’s gotta be preconditions.”  GOOD job McCain!  You’re absolutely right.

Obama: Ahmadinejad isn’t the most powerful person in Iran.  Saying as President, he can sit down with whoever he wants if it keeps America safe.  Saying that we CAN meet without preconditions, but not do with what we’ve been doing where we say you must do X or we won’t meet with you.  “Of course we need preparations.”  “It may not work.  Iran is a rogue regime.”  Obama is getting pretty much the same ratings now as McCain was getting a minute ago (about a third of the way between neutral and as positive as you can go).  “The Bush Administration and McCain’s advisors (Kissinger)” think we should meet without preconditions.  Saying McCain said we can’t meet with Spain, a NATO ally.

McCain: “Kissinger never said that the President could meet with Ahmadinejad.”  “Obama doesn’t understand that without precondition … you legitimize those comments [against Israel]. … It’s dangerous.”  Talking about North Koreans breaking everything they’ve ever said they’d do.

Obama: McCain keeps saying that I’ll meet with somebody without preparing – this isn’t true.  “We do not expect to solve every problem before we initiate talks.”  The Bush administration realized this doesn’t work.  “The notion that we’d meet with Ahmadinejad as he spews his comments is” wrong.

McCain: Kissinger would not say “that Presidential, top level” communications should be made without preconditions.

The two are going back and forth, and ratings are dropping a lot.

Lehrer: How do you see the relationship with Russia?

Obama: “Our entire Russian approach needs to be reevaluated. … Actions in Georgia were unacceptable and unwarranted.”  They need to get out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The Democrats really aren’t liking what he’s saying here.  The Inds are rating him higher than Dems are.  We can’t go back to a Cold War status with Russia.  We need to deal with loose nuclear weapons when it comes to Russia.  “Deal with Russia based on [our] national security interests.”

McCain: Obama doesn’t understand that Russia committed aggression against Georgia when he said that both sides need to back down a bit.  He’s compared Putin to the KGB.  We can’t go back to the Cold War.  The Georgian War “had everything to do with energy.”  McCain’s rating a bit better than Obama, but neither are performing well right now with the audience.  “The Russians ought to understand that we’ll support … the inclusion of Georgia, and Ukraine … into inclusion of NATO.”  The Russians violated their cease fire agreement.  Saying that Russian intentions toward Georgia – just waiting to cease the opportunity.  Expecting Russians to behave as a country who will respect boundaries.  And he’s right – Russia can’t be left to keep doing what it’s been doing.  It HAS to respect the sovereignty of other countries.  McCain rating pretty decent now, compared to an average rating before.

Obama: McCain and I agree for the most part on these issues.  Says he disagrees with McCain a bit on Georgia.  I don’t think the Dems liked that – Obama is doing a decent amount worse than McCain was doing.  Talking about Russian peace keepers in Georgia not making sense and that we needed international peace keepers there, and that might have avoided the situation.  And Obama is right there.  Talking about energy.  We need to increase offshore drilling.  “We can’t drill our way out of the problem.”  Talking about needing wind, solar, and nuclear.  And now he’s rating higher than McCain was at the end of McCain’s last statement.  Saying McCain voted against alternative energy 23 times.

McCain: Saying that Obama is really against nuclear, and that offshore drilling would help more than Obama says it would.  McCain is getting pretty low ratings now, especially from Dems.

Obama: I have never said that I object to nuclear waste, but I’d store it safely.

McCain: I’ve always been for alternative energy.

Lehrer: What do you think the likelihood is of another 9/11 attack?

McCain: Much less than the day after 9/11, but we’re not safe yet.  Talking about working across the aisle to establish the investigation commission.  Saying we need interrogators who won’t use torture.  Saying that we are safer now.

Obama: We need to do more in terms of securing transit and ports.  Biggest issue is not missiles coming over skies, but from a suitcase.  Spending billions on missile defense, which we need because of Iran/Korea, but we need more for other areas as well.  Ratings are pretty high for him here.  We need more cooperation with allies.  “The way we are perceived in the world” will affect the cooperation we get.  He’s right here.  We have slipped in terms of how we’re viewed by the world.  McCain has a good stance on terror.  And the ratings right there are the highest they’ve been at any time during the debate, even Reps rated him decently high.

McCain: If we fail in Iraq, Al Qaeda will establish a base in Iraq.  McCain isn’t rating too good right now, especially with Inds and Dems.  We can’t have specific dates for withdrawal.  We’ve had great success, but it’s fragile.

Obama: Saying that this administration has been solely focused on Iraq, and we haven’t captured bin Laden.  Talking about borrowing from China, and they’ve been active around the world, while we’ve been focused on Iraq.  We’re spending so much money, we can’t invest in health care or science/technology.  “We’ve never seen a nation who has a failing economy but maintains military strength, so this is a national security issue.”  The next President has to have better strategy for all the challenges we face.  Pretty good ratings there

McCain: Saying he’s been around involved in challenges.  Saying Obama doesn’t have  experience, but he does.  Talking about Obama failing to admit the success of the surge.  McCain is right here.  Obama is just being stubborn.  Saying that he’ll take care of veterans, that he has right judgment to keep nation safe and secure.  “I don’t need any on the job training.  I’m ready to go right now.”

Obama: Talking about his father being from Kenya, and that there’s not nation like America, where you can become so successful.  “Part of what we need to do … is to send a message to the world that we’ll invest in issues like education … how ordinary people can live out there dreams.”

McCain: Talking about coming home from prison and seeing veterans treated poorly, and working on bipartisan bills to see our veterans treated better.  I know how to deal with our adversaries and how to deal with our friends.

Lehrer: We’re done.  “Thank you and good night.”

McCain/Obama: “Good job.”

And there you have it – the wives are coming out and kissing each other.  A little more than the 90 minutes scheduled, but that’s ok.

OK, so who won?  Both Obama and McCain had some pretty good moments, but I don’t think there was a clear cut winner here.  I think both performed pretty much on the same level.  I’m not saying that the two were identical in debating, but I don’t think one did better than the other.  I absolutely hate saying this, because I love objectivity and clear cut answers, but I really do think it was a tie.

I’d love to go on more and more, but my hands are just killing me right now (hey – it was a lot of typing), so I think I’ve said most all of what I wanted to say.

By the way – a big thanks to my roommate who helped with correcting quotes and what was said.  It’s hard to keep up with typing and trying to listen, so a huge thanks to him for helping me out with this!

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of John McCain’s Acceptance Speech at the RNC

September 4, 2008

Alright, we’re now waiting for McCain to come out and speak – he’s had his family come out and Cindy spoke, theyr’e playing a video of him now.  And his mom just called him a “mamma’s boy” – that was funny.

Talking about his service in the military, and talking about being held as a Prisoner of War – I gotta say, no matter who you are, you have to respect John and any of our troops.

Talking about his time in the Senate, “committed to protect the American people,” opposed to pork barrel spending and tax increases.

Talking about his family, his children.  “What a life, what a faith, what a family.”  Nice quote.

The video is now over, and we are waiting for McCain to come out.

And Fred Thompson is now narrating, John McCain has now come out.  There’s a huge roar from the crowd.

It’s been about 2 minutes, all he’s been able to get out so far is, “Thank you,” over and over again.

“Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans, a privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for the President of the United States.”  There you go, he is now OFFICIALLY the Republican nominee.

“In my life, no success has come without a fight,” and this campaign wasn’t any different.  He’s saying that that’s a compliment to his former opponents, and he’s thanking them for now supporting him.  I think that’s one of the last few times he’ll need to try to bring bitter people over, people who had supported other Republican candidates, but not him.  Although he probably won’t sway over any more Ron Paul supporters that he hasn’t already won over.

He’s saying he’s grateful for George W. Bush, Laura Bush, George H. W. Bush, and Barbara Bush.  He said he’s “indebted” to Cindy and his 7 kids.  I “can’t imagine a life without the happiness you’ve given me. … [Cindy] is more my inspiration that I am hers.”  And that’s good – showing he’s a down-to-earth family man.  “And I know she will make a great first lady.”

He’s talking about his mother raising him as a kid, while his father was in the Navy, and he’s thanking her now.  96 years old!  Wow – she doesn’t look that old – Congratulations!

“I intend to earn [your trust].”

He’s saying that him and Obama will go at it, “but you have my respect and admiration.”  He’s saying that they’re both Americans, and that means more to him than anything else.  And that’s showing that McCain is going to keep this a civil election, and that ultimately, both want the best for America.

“My friends, we’re going to win this election!”  And that energized the crowd pretty quickly.  He’s showing a lot of optimism going into this.  After we’ve won we’ll “get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.”  And there’s now a war protester, and they’re all drowning her out with chants of “USA.”  He can’t get a word out.  “My friends, please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static.”  And the crowd has erupted.  “Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK.”  Back to what he was saying, these are tough times, and he got interrupted again.  Anyway, talking about him showing that a McCain administration will turn the country around, and get us back on our feet.

He’s just talked about Sarah Palin being his running mate, and that she’ll make a great Vice President.  He thanked everyone for their warm welcome last night.  He’s talking about her executive experience, energy, corruption, balancing budgets, taking on special interests, reaching across the aisle – he’s emphasizing things that Obama, who is a rookie as well, hasn’t accomplished.  And that’s the difference of experience.  Both Palin and Obama are rookies, but Palin has actually DONE things!

“I can’t wait to introduce her to Washington. … Change is coming!”  And Palin and McCain will bring change to Washington (sure, not all of it will be good,  but most of it will).

“I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Governor Palin,” so you can count on us saying that we will turn this country around.  They have the strength, judgment, and experience to carry this out, he said.

“I don’t work for special interests.  I don’t work for myself.  I work for you.”  And that was an awesome quote.  It both brings him down to earth, but also appeals to moderates.  He’s talking about fighting corruption, no matter what party, and fighting big spenders in both parties.  And this is one of the things that I love about McCain – he’s saying he’ll veto any pork bills that come to his desk, and I love that policy.  It’s time that we stop wasting money, and McCain will do that for us.

“I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war” – using the quote he used during the primary, but that is such a GREAT quote, and it’s so true of John McCain and his “country first” slogan and policy.  Fortunately, the surge worked, and now McCain can go on to both win an election and help us win this war!

“I don’t mind a good fight [and] I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. … What you fight for is the real test.  I fight for Americans.  I fight for you.”  Again, a great quote, and McCain will fight for Americans.  Obama has spent most of his time in the Senate campaigning, and before that, he was in the Illinois legislature, where he voted “Present” most of the time.

He’s talking about making sure that the country where we have lost troops “will remain safe from its enemies.”  And he’s showing that he cares about these soldiers who have died overseas.

“We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption … when we made government bigger … when we valued our power over our principles.  We’re going to change that.”  And he’s again, showing that he will reform government, even if it makes Republicans angry.  “The party of Reagan and Roosevelt and Lincoln is going to get back to basics.”  GREAT quote – as I was saying, Republicans have lost their small government principles, and McCain will bring us back to that.  He’ll end big spending, and give the money back to the people where it belongs.

He’s talking about “letting the people keep the fruits of their labor,” cutting taxes, etc.

“We believe in the values of  families, neighborhoods. … We believe in a government who doesn’t make choices for you, but makes sure that you have choices to make for yourselves.”  McCain will reduce spending and Obama will increase them (McCain said that).  He’s saying that he’ll cut spending, but Obama will raise it.  McCain will encourage jobs, but Obama’s policies won’t.  McCain says he’ll cut the 2nd highest business tax in the world.  He said he’ll double the child tax exemption to $7,000, and that’s something that’ll appeal to the middle class, as it should.

“Government assistance for the unemployed was design for the 1950s.  That’s gonna change under my watch.”  Thank you – the welfare system is so out of date.  We need to completely reform the system (I’d say get rid of it, but that won’t happen, because the American church, who used to do what the government does now, can never take back the responsibility of caring for the poor).

Talking about finding employment at a decent wage.

“Track and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.”  Or you could just fire them!  That was harsh, I know.  “Parents deserve a choice in the education of their children, and I intend to give it to them.”  That’s good, as long as it’s not vouchers.  We don’t let people get out of Medicare taxes if they won’t use Medicare, so I don’t see why we should do it for schools.  “I want schools to answer to parents and students” not unions and bureaucrats “and when I’m President, they will.”  Great quote.  The school system (especially in Michigan, and ESPECIALLY in Wayne County needs reform!).  We need to cut spending where we can, where it’s just being wasted and put it into areas that NEED money.

He’s talking about more offshore drilling, and the crowd loved that – more “Drill baby drill” chants, using nuclear, power, wind, hydroelectric, and tide power plants.  “We must use all resources … to rescue our economy from rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet. … It’s an ambitious plan … but we’ve faced tougher challenges.  It’s time to show the world how Americans lead.”  That’s good.  He emphasized that Obama doesn’t like nuclear, and I LOVE nuclear power, as do a lot of Democrats I know.  We can’t keep making excuses for every type of power plant we find.  There’s downsides to all of them, but we can’t just sit around waiting for the perfect energy solution.

Talking about Iran, and their terrorist-supporting administration.  Talking about Russia invading Georgia, in order to gain more control over oil.

“I know how military works. … I know how the world works.”  He’s talking about knowing what is good in the military, and he said he knows the bad things that have happened in the military.  He will strengthen our military.  Talking about his grandfather, and World War II, and then dying the day after the peace agreement was signed – that shows you what he was living for.  He wanted to see America through the war safely – that is an American patriot for you!

“In America, we change things that need to be changed. … The work that is ours is plainly before us.  We don’t need to search for it.”  From transportation fuel, to disaster response, to the way we train workers.  “We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington.”  Emphasizing change is good.  He’s showing that Obama won’t change Washington, he hasn’t.  McCain has been a champion of change, and when he’s President, he will CONTINUE to change Washington.

“I will fix problems that need to be fixed.  I will reach out my hand to anyone to get this country moving again.  I have that record and the scars to prove it.  Senator Obama does not.”  Great quote there – and showing that Obama has been a DO NOTHING Senator, but McCain has done stuff, even when it wasn’t popular.

“We can do anything we put our minds to.  I’ll ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me.  My administration will” be transparent.  And he’s shown he’ll have Independents – I think he’ll have Lieberman in his cabinet.

“I’ve never lived through days, good or bad, that I haven’t thank God for the privilege.”  Good quote there.  Now he’s saying that he “was blessed by misfortune … [in] serving with heroes.”  He’s talking about being captured by the Vietnamese, talking about getting ready to go out for his 23rd mission.  He’s saying that he was doing stuff for his own pleasure and pride.  Now he’s talking about being put into the cell.  Once they found out who his father was, they took him to a hospital, putting him simply in a cast, not setting the bones properly.  Saying that he couldn’t even feed himself, that he was no longer living for selfish independence.  Talking about being with 2 men.  “Those men saved my life.”  Talking about him being offered to leave early, but he refused, because there had been men shot down before him.  And that got a huge response from the crowd, as it should – he’s an American hero, and now they’re shouting “hero” – but he is a hero.  He’s an American patriot and hero.

He’s saying that after he turned down their offer, they abused him more than ever, and they eventually broke him.  He said he was ashamed, but a friend told him that he had fought as hard as he could, and no man can fight alone, but to get up and fight.  “I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. … I loved it because it was not just a place, an idea, a cause worth fighting for.  I was never the same again.  I was never my own again anymore.  I was my country’s.”  That was a GREAT quote.  It shows how much dedication he has to his country.  He doesn’t care about himself, but about all of us.

“If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. … become a teacher, enter the ministry, run for public office … teach an illiterate adult to read. … Our country will be better and you will be happier, because nothing is better than to serve a cause other than yourself.  I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. … With hard work, strong faith, and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.  Fight with me, fight for what’s good for our country, fight for opportunity for all.  Stand up and defend our country from it’s enemies.  Stand up for each other.  Stand up and fight.  We’re Americans, we never give up, we never quit, we never hide from history, we make history.”  And you couldn’t even hear him anymore, the crowd was just overwhelmingly loud.  They were just cheering and cheering him on.  “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”

There you go – McCain emphasized his moderate views, his reformer views.  He also emphasized his conservative views, but showed that he’s not dedicated to the party, but the American people.  He is dedicated to the American people, and will fight for them if that means opposing Republicans, Democrats, terrorists, or anybody else.

Overall, I’d give it an 9/10.  It was REALLY good at the end, but at other parts, it just didn’t click with me.

Now, the balloons are falling as McCain and Palin’s families are on the stage now.  The crowd is still going wild.  Sarah Palin just said, “They’re beautiful” (at least I think that’s what she said – there’s no mic, I’m trying to read lips).

The balloons are continuing to fall, and the crowd is still cheering, it’s just a fun atmosphere.  McCain and Palin are going out and waving to the crowd, smiling together.  The McCains and Sarah Palin are now walking the crowd, and that is going to wrap up my coverage of the Republican National Convention.  Thank you for reading, and come back here for updates all through until November!

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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The Democrats Don’t Want Lieberman Anymore?

July 18, 2008

There is now a rumor going around that Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT-McCain) will be kicked out of the Democratic Caucus and lose his Chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.  He was given that position after he agreed to caucus with the Democrats in 2006, when they needed him to give them the lead.

Now, a website, LiebermanMustGo.com, is asking people to sign a petition for Lieberman to lose his chairmanship and be kicked out of the caucus after the November elections, when the Democrats are expected to pick up more seats, so they won’t need him anymore.  The petition has now gathered over 48,000 signatures.  Robert Greenwald, who helped design the site, said, “Given that Lieberman is actively and aggressively attacking the candidate for presidency of his party, it seems pretty clear he should not be given any of the perks that come with being a member of the Democratic Party.”

The whole thing started when Lieberman agreed to address the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Lieberman told reporters that he left the weekly lunch of the Senate Democrats on Tuesday when criticisms of McCain’s energy policies came up, saying, “I just didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to be there.”  Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) said that a Senator came up to him to complain about Lieberman.  Durbin told reporters, “It was the right thing to do.  This is a delicate situation.”  Sorry, Mr. Durbin, but that’s not being a very good party whip right there.  Good for Lieberman, bad for you and the party.

Asked about crossing a point of no return, Lieberman told reporters, “I don’t have any line that I have in my mind.  If it happened, I’d know it when I saw it.”  He, however, said that he doesn’t expect to leave the Democratic caucus any time soon: “Senator Reid has been easy to work with.  I have a lot of good friends in the caucus, and I don’t have any intention of doing that before the end of this session of Congress.”

And Lieberman isn’t worried about getting kicked out of his position, saying, “That decision is up to my colleagues in the Democratic caucus next year.  I’m going to do what I think is right now and not worry about what the political consequences may be for me.  I strongly support John McCain.  I believe in him, his strength, his principle, his effectiveness, so if he thought that I could help him by speaking at the Republican convention, I would do that.  And I would do it really not to go and attack anybody but to explain why I as a Democrat have crossed party lines to support John McCain and why I hope a lot of other Democrats and independents will do the same.”

Lately, Lieberman has been critical of Barack Obama; on a CNN interview he called him “naïve” on Iran, and said, The fact that the spokesperson for Hamas would say they would welcome the election of Senator Obama really does raise the question, ‘Why?'”

He criticized Obama’s lack of a consistent stance on issues during a FOX interview, saying, “Senator Obama has really moved.  Since he clinched the nomination a month ago, he has altered and nuanced more big positions more quickly than I can remember any other presidential nominee.”

Here are some reactions from Senators:

  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “I very much regret what he’s doing, candidly, but there isn’t anything I can do about it, and that’s really all I want to say.”
  • Chris Dodd (D-CT): “I think they’re heading in the wrong direction.  And I see Joe as an ally on most matters and a person who’s been supportive of Democrats here on most issues.”
  • Susan Collins (R-ME) (Lieberman has donated to her campaign): “My hope is that he will not be punished for doing what he thinks is right.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “Anytime we have a problem here, with the exception of Iraq, Joe Lieberman’s with us.  So I wish people would leave him alone.  We’ll get to next year when we get there.”

I say he should just stand up one day, give ’em the finger and move to the other side of the aisle.  That’s some C-SPAN daytime drama for ya!

If I were him, I would not let them use me, just to kick me to the side of the road when they don’t want me anymore.  Show them that they can’t just use you and then dump you.

Now, I say all of this, but I should note that I disagree with Lieberman on most issues.  If McCain were to pick him as his VP (which Lieberman said he does not want, nor expect), it’d be stupid of McCain.  You don’t pick a VP because you agree with them on one main issue.

I like Lieberman, but he’s a liberal – but the Democrats would be stupid to do this to him.  It could come to haunt them.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Obama Discusses Negotiating with Controversial Foreign Leaders

March 28, 2008

While in Manhattan, NY, yesterday, Senator Obama was asked about his comments in months past about him meeting with and negotiating with controversial foreign leaders, such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Obama responded to the comment by saying, “I think people understand the notion of talking to our enemies.  If FDR can meet with Stalin and Nixon can meet with Mao and Kennedy can meet with Khrushchev and Reagan can meet with Gorbechav, then the notion that we can’t meet with some half-baked dictator is ridiculous.  I’m not worried about losing a propaganda war with Ahmadinejad.  That guy opens his mouth and I think people see there are problems there.”

Here’s the video from the debate in which Obama originally said that he would meet with leaders of countries who we don’t have great relationships with:

I agree with Obama here – there’s NO reason that we shouldn’t meet with leaders – we shouldn’t negotiate with them, but there’s no harm in meeting with them, and a meeting is only going to help (as long as the 2 leaders don’t go at each other).

But the next President may have to do more than just meet – who knows, military action may be needed – at this point, I don’t think any of the countries (Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea) listed in the debate question are nearing a level of danger that defies military intervention, but the next President will be in there for 4-8 years, and a lot can change in that time.  I hope that military action won’t be necessary (and I don’t think that it will), but I’m not going to say for certain that it won’t.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Iowa December 12 Republican Debate

December 12, 2007

Here’s my ratings of the Debate in Iowa today…

  1. Paul – By far the winner in my mind.
  2. Romney – Slipped up at the beginning arguing with Fred, but he let it go, but had a great debate other than that.
  3. Huckabee – A good debate overall.
  4. Tancredo – A good overall debate
  5. McCain – A good debate, probably tied for 4th.
  6. Hunter – A good debate, probably tied for 4th.
  7. Giuliani – A decent debate; he had some rough patches, but didn’t perform poorly.
  8. Thompson – A good debate, but he didn’t talk much, and continues to make jokes about Romney being an actor.  It got old a few times ago, and it hurt in this format because the moderator did not like being interrupted.
  9. Keyes – Um, he wasn’t getting questions for a while, but he just got annoying.  I agree with his religiosity, but he wouldn’t make a good President.
  10. The moderator – gosh, she was just pointedly mean to Keyes, even though he was frustrating her – all the Dems. watching the debate agreed with me here.  I hope she’s not moderating tomorrow – she was awful.  And then that bit at the end where people laughed and Tancredo got 1 word out and she cut him off – come on!

On to my commentary:

Alan Keyes showed up – good for him!

Financial situation facing our country – both Iowan parties #1 issue: Our nation is facing a tsunami of national debt which is a threat to national security– agree? Rudy Giuliani – reduce spending, reduce taxes (corporate taxes, death tax), where was your #3? (I missed whether he said yes or no, but I’m guessing he said no). Duncan Hunter – China’s becoming our banker – it is a national security risk. Ron Paul – absolutely. “We’re in the midst of a currency crisis.” Spend money at home; change foreign policy. Tom Tancredo – yes. We import oil from people who aren’t friends – and that’s the biggest threat. Fred Thompson – yes – social security plan. We have to spend more on the military. Mitt Romney – the future isn’t bleak “the future is bright.” Make sure we have good jobs, schools, and health care. Didn’t answer question. Mike Huckabee – country has to put food on tables for citizens, fuel itself, and fight for itself. We can’t outsource everything. Yes. John McCain – yes – we’re losing economic strength, and that will lead to losing military strength. Alan Keyes – cut off spigot that funds leaders – abolish income tax – establish fair tax system. That will encourage politicians to stop funding their own stuff.

What should people sacrifice for debt reduction? Giuliani – Federal government has to restrain spending, and leave more money in people’s pockets. What would it require to cut non-military spending 10%? Giuliani – they’ll have to find a way to do it – don’t rely on government. Rely on people to make their own choices. It’s a bold, but American solution. Ron Paul – they shouldn’t have to – America needs to cut its spending – give them freedom and liberty – close overseas bases. Huckabee – do things differently, not less. Kill the snake, don’t treat the snake bites.

Are there programs/situations that you’d be willing to run a deficit to pay for them? Romney – don’t have to. Eliminate the things that aren’t important. We don’t need as many programs/departments as we have right now – a lot aren’t even working. Protecting country/defense, free market are the most important. School choice and better pay for better teachers – these are the most important things. Tancredo – Follow the constitution – it tells the government what to do and not do. We are focused on doing what’s right – protecting the country. Follow the constitution, and do what is right. “The rest is extraneous.” “Don’t ask the government for womb to tomb protection.” Thompson – Yes: Military, security of people, and research and development. Don’t take care of rich people with Medicare – don’t waste money.

Who’s paying more of a fair share of taxes? Keyes – Sacrifice the incumbents, not the citizens. McCain – low income Americans. We have to reform the tax code. Huckabee – “Tax code is irreparably broken.” Make the poor rich if possible – fair tax. Romney – worries about taxes middle class families pay. Thompson – shouldn’t have to worry about taxes – preserve tax cuts of ’01 and ’03. Tancredo – everybody’s paying too much. Fair tax. Paul – inflation tax is the worst part – it effects the middle class. Hunter – IRS uses up too much money and it costs too much to even get taxes prepared– fair tax. Giuliani – “Give death penalty to the death tax.” Should be flatter or a fairer tax.

30 second statements: McCain – devoted life to keeping nation safe. This has given him judgment to have a good strategy in Iraq. He can ask every American to serve. Keep America safe and maintain our greatness. Hunter- national defense. Protect our borders. Finish the border fence in 6 months.

1 in 5 jobs in IA depends on exports to foreign countries, but we manufacture jobs. How do we keep markets open while protecting jobs? Free trade agreements – open markets to Cuba. We close markets because our chief export is our dollar. We have to look at the monetary system. Romney – he’s spent 25 years in private sector – understand why jobs come and go. Invest in technology, education. Get off foreign oil and get on a level playing field with other countries. Huckabee – job migration results because of taxes, regulations, and litigation. “I can’t part the Red Sea, but I can part the red tape.”

Some big trading partners commit human rights violations. Should we alter trade policies with those countries? McCain – no. We should encourage human rights, but not keep our trading policies dependent on human rights. Biggest free trader there is. Subsidies for ethanol.

What specific changes should be made in NAFTA? Giuliani – it should be enforced. He was concerned about it, but now realizes it helps us. “We should think about free trade as something we want to embrace – something we’ve always wanted.” Indian, China are new customers for us. We need a level playing field, but “shouldn’t lose the goal of free trade.” Thompson – free trade and fair trade has been the backbone of the economy. Mexico should take a look at us – “they export more people out of the country than we do.” Enforce the agreements that we’ve got. Other countries put too many restrictions on us. Tancredo – NAFTA killed southern Mexico and they fled to us – it’s been a disaster. There is a lack of sovereignty – Mexican trucks cross our borders freely. Hunter – we now have a massive trade loss – we’ve had it for many years. We pay 15% tariff into Mexico, which they made after NAFTA was passed. “NAFTA is a bad business deal.”

30 second: Paul – “we need more freedom in the country.” “ We have drifted so far from our constitution.” “The constitution is now used to restrain the people.” Have to stop policing the world. Thompson – has always been a common sense conservative – we need to focus on national security and this will require strong leadership.

Is global climate change a serious threat caused by human activity? Thompson – won’t answer it unless he has a minute. Thompson – funny but kinda cocky and stupid by doing that. Shut up people – they’re all freaking talking! Let McCain just talk – ok. McCain – climate change is real – we can adopt green climate and either be wrong and give our kids a clean world, or if we don’t and we’re right – we’ve messed up for our kids. Giuliani – thinks it is happening – we need energy independence. This moderator sucks – don’t interrupt Giuliani when he’s answering. Romney – get off foreign oil – good for economy AND environment. Moderator – SHUT UP – gosh she’s getting annoying! Keyes – All other candidates represent elites – wow, he’s intense. Keyes didn’t answer the question, just went on about how he’s not getting any questions asked to him. OK – he wants to reduce emissions – reduce hot air from politicians. Who just said “Dr. Hill himself” – was that Keyes or somebody else – if it was somebody else, that won’t play good for them.

Something about cattle and flex fuel. Huckabee – we have done no harm if we take better care of the planet and give it to our children – government – we need to reduce energy used by government. There’s no market for alternative energy. Hunter – don’t use mandates – use incentives. Tancredo – doesn’t believe in mandates. Do some research and investment. Mandates never work – just let the market work it out.

30 second statement: Tancredo – we’ve had 45 years of unlimited massive immigration – no assimilation – it’s now a catastrophe. We’ve come to where Teddy Roosevelt warned of. Can’t trust government’s judgment – they got us in this mess. Huckabee – don’t represent the elite, but the ordinary. Remember that politicians work for the people, not the elite. Keep the country safe.

We are 16th place for literacy at age 15. How do we improve standards? Timetable? McCain – we need more choice and competition. We need vouchers and homeschooling. “Reward good teachers and find bad teachers another line of work.” Great work being done in NYC under Bloomberg in a system that was broken (dig at Giuliani?). Giuliani – here because of the educational choices his parents made. Parents should choose schools their children go to. Our higher education is best in world – where there’s the choice. Hunter – inspire young people – have teachers who inspire people. Take away bureaucracy of teachers – bring exciting people in – aerospace engineers.

Biggest obstacle to education. Do we need to have more standards in education from state to federal (I missed some of the question). Romney – Bush was right in fighting for No Child Left Behind (WHAT!). We need school choice. We need higher pay for better teachers. We need more parental involvement. Huckabee – education is a state issue, not a federal issue. (YES!). Share practices that are working in one state with other states. Federal government CAN do this. Kids drop out because they’re bored, not dumb. Need to develop fun and logical sides of the brain. Paul – ok, nevermind, Keyes – not getting time. The major problem is that we allow God to be driven out of our schools. We need to put God back in – don’t let judges take God out. We have a national creed and it needs to be taught. Stand on a moral education. OK, back to Paul – the federal government – We now doubled the size of our education department. The cost of education went up, but not the quality. We need to encourage homeschooling and private schooling – let parents write that off (as in taxes? I’m not sure). Lessen the bureaucracy. Thompson – the NEA. The NEA goes on TV and misrepresents what’s happening. Inner-city people need to be able to have choices, not just people in suburbs. Stop people from standing in the way of that. Tancredo – Served as something under Reagan for education – we’ve gotten rid of 80% of people in the department – if we went to 0, you wouldn’t notice the difference – the Departement (of Education, I think) is useless – it’s the job of a Governor, NOT a President (directed at Huckabee). Huckabee (rebuttal) – I was a governor – and I had the most impressive education record. Looked at what states did that worked. The President should use his power to implement good practices. 2nd behind Commander in Chief is Communicator in Chief – it’s unacceptable how many people leave schools and President should say that. Romney – I had the best record, not Huckabee. His state’s kids outperform him – OK, that was just making yourself sound stupid. I had the best record – not EVERYTHING has to be about your Mitt, stop being so cocky.

What could you accomplish in your 1st year as President: Giuliani – make sure country is secure against Islamic terrorists. Stop illegal immigration. Tax reduction. Reduce size of federal government. Move toward energy independence. Do things we hadn’t done before/thought were impossible. Hunter – strengthen military – look past Iraq and Afghanistan – look at North Korea and Iran and China. Strengthen border. Bring back industrial base of U.S. Bring back high paying manufacturing jobs. Paul – There’s a limit – end a war – bring troops home. Become diplomatically credible. Even our allies resent what we do – no preemptive war. No threatening Iran – they have no weapons according to our CIA. Bring the home! Major step toward peace. Tancredo – Free Ronald Sancopian (Who?). Something about illegal immigrants. A war is not going on in Iraq – it’s a battle. We are fighting a war against radical Islam – must be willing to say that. Thompson – wouldn’t take him a year – would tell them truth and establish credibility – we don’t know the nature of who we’re facing, we’re bankrupting future generations (just talk?). Romney – I want to do more than talk. Stop global Jihad. End illegal immigration. End growth of federal spending. Reduce tax burden. Get schools on track for global competiveness. Huckabee – none of this will happen until we bring country back together – have to unify country – we’re polarized. Who’s fighting for the country – we just fight among ourselves. Have to be UNITED people of the UNITED States. McCain – must make the nation safe. Even in cyberspace. Must restore trust and confidence in government. Fix Medicare and pork barrel spending. Fix borders. Trust must be restored first though. Keyes – restore the sovereignty of the country – moral sovereignty. No violations of the constitutional rights of the unborn. We start with the womb first. Actually implement the fair tax proposal. People will then change their spending ways. National border guard – must remain border integrity.

30 second statements: Romney – thank you to Iowa. Iowans are nice – blah blah blah. He’ll improve education and schools, and national security. Vote for me! Keyes – if you want to see change, we have to restore credibility of Republican party – we need to secure border. Can’t restore self government until people become active. BAD moderator – don’t hold grudges against candidates! Giuliani – have to deal with terrorism effectively. We need an optimistic leader. And I missed some of what he said.

Videos and talks about them: Character and leadership: What will you do to make sure that a Giuliani White House won’t have another incident like what happened with the mistresses and expenses? Giuliani – I’ll keep a transparent government and learn from mistakes. I’ve always had one. Mod: Could you have been more open? Giuliani – no – it was done as a bookkeeping practice. It was all very well known and open. Mod: Guarantee open White house? Keyes – don’t say things now that contradict who you were before, like Governor Romney (wow – harsh – he turned to the pro-life side, give him a break!). Use technology. Romney (rebuttal) – had been pro-choice. When the first bill came, I could just not take the life of a child. Ronald Reagan took the same course – I am now pro-life (GOOD REBUTTAL). Giuliani – (why did you bring him into this?) – personally pro-life, but not the government’s job.

When do you disagree with available intelligence and then what do you do? Thompson – nobody has real confidence in the results they get. The British and Israelis are sometimes helpful to us.

Videos: Huckabee – (religion) faith will define people. McCain – have to balance violating rights and national security when battling radical Islam.

Faith defines you? How would that translate to public policy, in health care and education? Huckabee – treat others as you want to be treated. A person who’s sick shouldn’t be treated differently because they’re in poverty. The second principle is that all of us are equal – and what we do to others is what we do to Christ. Everyone should have opportunities. Education – touch every child, not just a few.

Is it more important to be a fiscal conservative or social conservative? Romney – it’s important to be a conservative – have to pull together both conservative sides. As well as foreign policy/defense conservatives. I’ll draw on those strengths (didn’t answer question). Hunter – repeat question, “I was lost in Governor Romney’s explanation, but it was quite good though.” Both sides are extremely important – don’t send technology to our adversaries.

Video: Romney – we need to follow the constitution. If we want a right, go to the people, don’t have judges legislate new rights or constitutions. Tancredo – 2 sides to people – God-[jumbled] and human-side. Whichever side is stronger will play out more. Thompson – something about real patriotism – I couldn’t hear it.

Something about his website? Tancredo – we can’t leave Iraq. We CAN stop being the police force.

Paul calls himself a revolution – how would you get your agenda through Congress? Paul – the term revolution was coined by my supporters, not me – it IS revolutionary to go back to the constitution. People are free to chose how they live their lives – it’s appealing to left, right, and middle, and WOULD be able to get through Congress.

McCain – known as a Maverick – when should you have compromised your ideals? McCain – can’t think of a time when I should. I’ve joined with the other side of the isle to pass legislation. I’m proud of that and will hold to ideals, but will reach across the aisle.

New Years’ Resolutions. Keyes – resolve to respect that we are created by God. McCain – raise dialogue of discussion and debate, not criticism of character. Huckabee – be careful of what I say because it gets amplified. Mod – this is for your opponent. Huckabee – well, I’d make it for them too. Romney – something about supporting and getting along with each other. Thompson – be a better man. Tancredo – too much laughter. Moderator sucks – Tancredo never even spoke. Paul – read the constitution – don’t disobey the constitution. Hunter – many young people need jobs – buy American goods – may save jobs of neighbors. Giuliani – take a better look at America.

Moderator – out of time – debate tomorrow – hopefully she’s not moderating. Happy Holidays everyone.

Done Summarizing,

Ranting Republican

Here’s a Reason to Get the UN Headquarters Off U.S. Soil: Ahmadinejad

September 24, 2007

On Monday, Iranian terroristPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be visiting the UN in New York City.  Now – the fact that we have the head of a hostile, terrorist-harboring nation in our country is bad, but I can live with it (I mean we let Yasser Arafat in, and he carried guns with him – but I’ll address all that later).  But Ahmadinejad wants to visit the 9/11 Memorial – HE’S A TERRORIST – there is NOT a single more dishonorable thing that could be done to the site of those attacks than to allow the head of a terrorist country to come there.  He’s not my favorite of the candidates, but I admire Rudy Giuliani for saying that NO New York official should assist Ahmadinejad in accomplishing his “goal.”

Now about the UN – sure, it’s pretty much useless, but let’s ignore that for now – we HAVE to move it off U.S. soil.

  • It allows for dangerous people to enter into the country with loose regulations (Arafat and his guns).
  • It puts a lot of pressure on the U.S. and New York City

I think it should be moved into the middle of the Atlantic (I’d say Pacific, but northern Atlantic would be safer from hurricanes and earthquakes/tsunamis).  This way, no country has it in it’s boundaries.

Back to Ahmadinejad – he should be watched.  Iran should be watched.  And under NO circumstances should he be allowed NEAR the site of the Towers.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican


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