Posts Tagged ‘Legislature’

Michigan Proposals 1 and 2 for 2014: An Analysis of the Wolf Hunting Refrenda

October 30, 2014

To fully understand Prosposal 14-1 and Proposal 14-2 that will be on the ballot here in Michigan one must go back to 2012 to understand the big picture.  In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 1350, which Governor Snyder signed, making it Public Act 520 of 2012.  The act added wolves to the definition of “game” animals; declared that wolf hunting was necessary to manage the growing population of wolves in order to protect humans, livestock, and pets; authorized a hunting season for wolves; established a licensing scheme; and established the Wolf Management Advisory Council.  Some citizens were opposed to the idea of wolf hunting, so they formed Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 520.  Thus, it is this law that is on the ballot as Proposal 14-1.

(At this point, it is helpful to lay out the difference between an initiative, a referendum, and a proposal: An initiative is a citizen-initiated piece of legislation that goes before the Legislature if enough signatures are gathered; if the Legislature passes it, the legislation becomes law; if the Legislature does not pass it, it goes before the people for a vote.  A referendum is a citizen-initiated protest to a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor; those who want the law to stay vote “Yes”, while those opposed to the law vote “No”.  Once a referendum is certified, the law in question is suspended, pending the outcome of the election.  Thus, in an initiative, those filing the petition would vote “Yes”, while in a referendum, those filing the petition would vote “No”.  A proposal is anything that goes before the people for a vote, including referenda, initiatives, constitutional amendments, etc.)

I have no issue with voting “Yes” on Proposal 1, and unless you are opposed to the hunting of wolves, you likely will not either.  But Proposal 2 is where it gets a bit trickier.  After Keep Michigan Wolves Protected got Public Act 520 on the ballot as a referendum, the Legislature decided to pass another law, in case the referendum was successful; thus, Senate Bill 288 was passed, and Governor Snyder signed it, making it Public Act 21 of 2013.  The act continued the designation of the wolf as a “game” animal (since the bill was passed before the Public Act 520 referendum was certified, Public Act 520 had not yet been suspended, but if Proposal 1 were to pass, then the wolf would no longer be designated as a game animal); granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the power to designate animals as game animals, with some restrictions (however, it also stipulated that only the Legislature has the power to remove animals from the list of game animals); granted the NRC the ability to establish the first open season for any animal that it adds to the list of game animals; granted the eliminated the fee for hunting licenses for military personnel; and granted the NRC sole authority to regulate fishing.  Again, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 21, so it is now on the ballot as Proposal 14-2.

Personally, I am not a fan of Public Act 21; I do not like the added authority that the Legislature gave to the NRC, and I do not feel that it is wise to allow the agency to have the power to designate animals as game animals and establish a hunting season for such animals without any legislative input.  I also question the wisdom of granting the NRC exclusive authority to regulate fishing.  If the story had ended here, I likely would’ve voted Yes on Proposal 1 and No on Proposal 2, but what happened next made the whole situation much more interesting.

A group of citizens in favor of hunting wolves, under the name Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, successfully filed an initiative petition.  The proposal continued the designation of the wolf as a game animal; continued the grant to the NRC to designate animals as game animals and establish a first open season; continued the stipulation that the Legislature has the sole power to remove animals from the list of game animals; and appropriated $1,000,000 to the Department of Natural Resources to fight the invasion of Asian Carp.  The proposal also had a section that stipulated that if language from Public Act 520 or 21 was removed due to failure of either referenda, that language was reinstated by the initiative.  The Legislature adopted the initiative, meaning that it became law (Public Act 281 of 2014) without having to be signed by Governor Snyder.  So what makes the initiative so special?

The appropriation of money to the DNR means that, pursuant to Article 2, § 9 of the Michigan Constitution, the law cannot be subjected to a referendum petition.  (This specific issue was addressed in Michigan United Conservation Clubs v. Secretary of State, 464 Mich. 359 (2001), where the Michigan Supreme Court interpreted that any appropriation is an “appropriation” under this provision of the Constitution, which I agree with, even though the result is that the Legislature can make a law referendum-proof.)  In drafting the initiative, the drafters knew that adding the appropriation would make it referendum-proof, and in approving the initiative, the legislators knew that even though they had previously passed two bills to allow wolf hunting with pushback from voters, by passing this initiative, they would be making the act referendum-proof.  The inclusion of the appropriation was not simply a coincidence; the drafters, and the Legislature, knew what they were doing.  They knew that this was a hot-button issue that some (perhaps even many) voters opposed, yet they went forward and passed it in a way that would not allow a referendum on the issue.

I have no problem with the Legislature passing Public Act 21 after the petition for Public Act 520 was filed; if it wants to do so, that’s fine with me.  But what I do have a problem with is the Legislature passing an initiative with an appropriation provision in it solely to make that law referendum-proof.  To do so is disingenuous and out-of-line with the intent of the appropriations process.

So that gets us to where we are today: Proposal 1 and 2 are on the ballot, but even if the No voters win on both proposals, the result is still ultimately the same as if Yes were to win.  (It should be noted that a court could potentially overturn the initiative, but I see no legal grounds for that to happen, and I think the chances of that happening are next to none.  The voters could also push for a new initiative that would undo the last initiative, but that seems unlikely to be successful.)  But voting No on the proposals can still send a message.  Those opposed to wolf hunting overall should vote No on both, but those who respect the referendum process, regardless of their feelings on wolf hunting, should vote No on Proposal 2.

There has been a lot of confusion and dishonesty surrounding the proposals.  Contrary to what some Yes supporters say, these proposals have nothing to do with allowing hunters or citizens to kill nuisance wolves; nuisance wolves can already be killed under existing law.  Farmers can still kill wolves that threten their livestock (although allowing them to be hunted would decrease the wolf population and chance that their livestock would be threatened overall).  Those who say otherwise are not being honest.

So why do the proposals even matter?  Again, it is about making a statement that the Legislature should not abuse its appropriation power to remove the power of a referendum from the people.  Regardless of your feelings on wolf hunting, all Michiganders should support the ability of those opposed to wolf hunting to hold a referendum on legislation that allows for wolf hunting; furthermore, voting No on Proposal 2, because of the passage of Public Act 281, will not have any adverse effect on the existence of wolf hunting in Michigan.  For those reasons, I urge a No vote on at least Proposal 2.

For more information about voting in Tuesday’s election, please see below.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

2011 Michigan Redistricting: Gerrymanderliscious

June 22, 2011

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, but I figured this topic is important enough to warrant a return to the blogging world (even if it’s a brief return).  The Michigan Legislature recently released their maps for the 2011 redistricting.  For reference, here are links to the current boundaries:

Now, those were created by the 2001 Legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, and signed into law under Republican Governor John Engler.

They’re not bad, and look pretty good.  This year, it seems as if the Republican members of the Legislature have gotten a little more ambitious, and a little more creative.  So let’s take a look at what they’ve proposed.  Here are links to PDFs of all 3 maps, and I’ve copied the images below, where I’ll analyze them:

This first map is the proposed Congressional districts:

And here’s a zoomed in image of the Metro-Detroit area:

I’ll admit – I cringed when I saw the 14th district, and the 11th district isn’t exactly pretty either.  They’ve got some awkward separations, like putting Farmington Hills in the 14th, but keeping Farmington in the 11th; putting Bloomfield Hills in the 11th, while placing Bloomfield Township in the 9th; Southfield Township is placed in the 9th, while Southfield City ends up in the 14th; Clawson is split up; and Rochester Hills is split up.

In an attempt to squeeze Democratic Congressmen Sander Levin and Gary Peters into the same district and force a primary between the two, saving the Republicans from losing a seat, the map has turned into something I like to call gerrymanderliscious.

But it gets even more creative as we move on to the Michigan Senate map:

And again, a zoomed in view of the Metro-Detroit area:

For the most part, this one isn’t too bad until you get to the Metro-Detroit area. District 1 is incredibly awkward, as is District 6. But the really weird ones are 14 and 25.  You can’t see it on my uploaded images, but if you view the original map at 100% zoom, you can see that Springfield Township and Waterford Township just barely overlap for the 14th to be contiguous.  As for the 25th district, I’m guessing they’ve just connected them along a strip of County Line Road, but I’m not positive.

So that brings us to the state House of Representatives:

And again, a zoomed in view of Metro-Detroit:

And a zoomed in view of Grand Rapids and the southwest corner of the state:

The House map isn’t too bad, other than more awkward county splits than I’m really comfortable with. The Grand Rapids area looks pretty decent, although 86 is a bit wacky. And Metro-Detroit looks pretty good with the exception of the 13th.

So, by far, my biggest complaints are with the Congressional map, but what was really sad was the Republicans claims that they had to draw the lines like that to abide by the Voting Rights Act, which mandates 2 majority minority districts for Michigan.  That’s just nonsense.  There are plenty of ways to draw the lines so that you have decent looking districts that obey the VRA.

Obviously Democrats Sander Levin and Gary Peters weren’t happy with the maps, but even Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is unhappy with the map, because as of the current proposal, Oakland County, the second most populous county in Michigan, would be represented by people who all live outside of the county.

Now, gerrymandering can be a lot of fun; I enjoyed playing around and making this little beauty for Maryland:

Photobucket

But when it comes to ACTUALLY redistricting, our legislature shouldn’t be drawing crap like this for partisan gain. Doing so takes the focus off of the good things the Republicans have done in Michigan and tells voters, “We know you voted for us in 2010, but we don’t trust you for the next 10 years, so we’re gonna cheat to win.”

Am I advocating that the legislature adopts a plan where we have 14 districts and each one is competitive at a 50-50 level?  Absolutely not; that’d be ridiculous.  The GOP won in a landslide in 2010, so it’s expected that the maps will favor us, but there’s no need to mangle the maps the way they’ve done.  That’s just petty politics, and when the people of Michigan see that, it gives them a bad image of the party.

Michigan Legislature Needs to Get to Work on Permanent Budget

October 5, 2009

Last week, Michigan saw its second government shutdown in the state’s history.  In the history of this country, only two other states have had government shutdowns because of a budget crisis, and Michigan is the only state to have more than one shutdown.  What’s even more sad is that the 2 shutdowns came only 2 years apart.

I ended up watching most of the late-night sessions last week, as I followed the budget crisis, and while there were some humorous segments (such as “I can count!” coming from the chairman of the Senate), most of what I saw was just sad – it’s sad that the Michigan legislature can’t pass a budget on time.

So why does Michigan have problems passing a budget?  There has been a fundamental failure in leadership, as well as the overall impacts of having the state in such a poor economic state.

Michigan is essentially the same position as it was for the 2007 shutdown: a Democratic Governor with terrible economic policies, a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with Andy Dillon (D-Redford) as Speaker of the House waiting until it is too late to work on the budget, and a Republican-controlled Senate who tried to get the budget done on time, but was unable to overcome the incompetency of the House.

In both the 2007 and 2009 shutdowns, work on the budget started too late, and many legislators (including Republicans) weren’t committed to finishing the budget on time.

While portions of the budget were being passed by the Senate late Tuesday night, the House had already recessed for the day.  We saw the same thing in 2007: Andy Dillon would go would only have the House in session once or twice a week over the summer, and he even took a five-day weekend trip to Mackinac Island after acknowledging that the state was facing a budget crisis.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) had been getting Senate budget bills passed and sent over to the House faster than House bills were coming to the Senate.

But this isn’t to say that all Republicans were trying to finish the budget on time or that all Democrats were uninterested in finishing on time.  While the Senate Republicans seemed to generally work harder as the deadline got closer, NOBODY was working hard enough in the month and weeks beforehand.  Instead of passing a budget 2 hours into the government shutdown, the legislature should be passing a budget weeks or even months beforehand.

Representative Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe) has suggested that the Michigan Constitution be amended to require the budget be done by July 1st, and legislators wouldn’t get paid after that date until a budget was passed.  Bledsoe told the Detroit Free Press, “We’ve had every opportunity to get this work done earlier in the year.  There’s no excuse to be moving the budget as late as we did.”

Senator Hansen Clark (D-Detroit) has suggested fining legislators $1,000 a day for each day after the fiscal year that a budget isn’t completed, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leaders paying $3,000.  He told reporters, “Even though many of us work long hours, we don’t have the same incentives as other sectors of the work force.  Typically, our incentive would be to do a good job so we can get re-elected, but apparently that’s not enough. … The leaders have to be accountable for results.  If you don’t perform the core mission of your job, and that’s to enact a balanced budget … there should be a penalty.”

Former Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R) said that the problems run deeper than just legislators not cracking down in time: “The gap between revenue and spending is so large that there isn’t any structural issue that can compensate for it.  It’s a much deeper issue that legislators don’t want to deal with.  Michigan as a state can’t continue the level of spending it’s enjoyed for many years.  The economy has downsized underneath it.  Until you change the tax structure and the spending process, this kind of paralysis is likely to continue.  There is no process change that is going to make this a rational, timely, decision-making process.  Until there are fundamental changes, you can’t avoid this kind of chaos.”

And in part, I would agree with that.  The Democrats in the legislature have refused to accept that spending cuts are an inevitable result of the state’s deficit.  Taxes can only be raised so many times and only to a certain level, and when you’ve exhausted that option, you have to cut spending.  Michigan is not in a position to raise taxes.  Businesses won’t come to Michigan if we raise taxes, and we’ve even seen film companies come to Michigan now that we have a tax credit for film companies.  Raising taxes is only going to hurt the economy more and drive more people out of the state.

Fortunately, an interim budget was passed and signed by Governor Granholm only 2 hours into this year’s shutdown, but we aren’t in the clear yet.  The legislature gavels into session tomorrow, and a permanent budget still needs to be passed for the new fiscal year.  Unless legislators understand that spending cuts are not and option, but a necessity, and that they have to start cracking down and getting to work, we will wind up seeing a full government shutdown when the interim budget expires.

And we need to learn from our mistakes – this cannot happen in 2010.  It’s just unacceptable.  Fortunately, 2010 is an election year, and lawmakers will be trying to pass a budget on time so that they can get reelected, but unless things change, we will see ourselves back in this same position in 2011.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Live Analysis of Governor Granholm’s Michigan State of the State Address

February 3, 2009

The Michigan State of the State address is about to begin.  I will be live blogging the event, giving my analysis (so my apologies for any spelling errors – I’ll fix them eventually).

Alright, she’s entering the chamber (I’m not sure if this is the House or Senate – probably House since  it’s bigger).

Oh – my roommate (Democrat) just about made me die of laughter – he said, “Where is she?”  I said, “Right there.”  And he goes, “Oh, I thought that was a dude.”

Alright – she’s making her way up to the podium – about half the room is still clapping – probably the Democrats.  There’s Lt. Governor John Cherry up in his chair.

There’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D).

She’s saying welcome and thank you.  She’s welcoming and congratulating the new representatives.

She’s now welcoming Supreme Court Justice Dianne Hathaway, elected this year.  And she’s congratulating the longest serving president of the State Board of Education.

Now thanking the servicemen and women from Michigan as well as the first responders.

We just gave a moment of silence for those who lost their lives defending this country and state overseas.

“I will not sugar-coat the crisis facing this state. … Our auto companies fought for their very existence, and as the bottom fell out of the national economy” Michigan “went from bad to worse.”  She’s absolutely right about that.  “Any honest assessment of our state’s economy must recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. … Things will get better … because Michigan citizens are resilient … because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most: fighting for more good paying jobs in Michigan, educating and training people to fill those good paying jobs, and protecting out people.”

“This is not time for pet projects or special interests.”

Now talking about Michigan now having “a friend in the White House who now shares our agenda.  I say this based on pragmatism, not upon partisanship.”  BULL CRAP!

She’s talking about him being focused on energy jobs, education, and protecting people.  COME ON Madame Governor, the Republicans are interested in all of those things too!

“We’ve made many tough choices in our budget.”  True, but you could have done a lot more to fix the state, but you didn’t, and that’s why we’re as bad as we are now.

“I have a veto pen, and I will use it. … The President’s economic plan is a one-time opportunity.”  Really?  Because so far, I count THREE bailout bills.  What’s to stop three more?

She’s saying that our problems will be here after the economic stimulus money is gone.  Lt. Governor Cherry will be in charge of downsizing government, reducing number of departments from 18 to 8.

Something about we can’t have “9-5 government in a 24/7 world.”  Good point there – I’ll give her that one.

Her and Cherry are reducing salaries of all elected state officials in Michigan by 10%.  That’s a good move – I COMMEND HER on that, but I don’t really see how she can directly do that.

“Already, I’ve cut more than any other Governor in Michigan.”

She’s saying that a national survey showed that MI has done more to cut spending than other state in the country.  I’d like to see the details of the survey, but if it’s all true, I commend her on that.

She’s cutting funding for the state fair – because it’s not essential to government.  GOOD CALL!

Talking about preserving our wetlands.

Talking about reducing corrections spending.  We’re going to close 3 more facilities in the coming months.  Reinvest in more law enforcement on the street.  More law enforcement is good, but I’m not too keen on closing 3 facilities – that means more criminals on the streets, since our prisons are already TOO FULL!

Funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems – um, we’ve needed that for the past FEW years!

We can focus on jobs when we spend within our means.

We need to diversify, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our number one industry, the auto industry.  When pundits and ill-informed politicians take cheap shots at the auto industry and its workers, we (she’s saying this) will defend the auto industry.

Talking about the green auto industry being great.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost since 2000.  “These losses have fueled our determination to bring new industry to Michigan.”  Good – we can’t JUST depend on the auto industry anymore.

Talking about film and TV project coming to Michigan after the tax breaks to film companies.

Three major announcements:

  • Wonderstruck Animation Studios – $86 million in Detroit.
  • Stardock Systems (digital gaming) – build in Plymouth
  • Motown Motion Pictures – $54 million in Pontiac (former GM plant)

Motown MP alone will create 3,600 jobs.  That’s great news – especially for the Pontiac area.

“But our success with the film industry is not an isolated example.”  Talking about renewable energy industry – solar panel production companies are building here in Michigan.

Just like the auto industry “it creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.”  And that’s a good thing – I am VERY enthusiastic about renewable energy, as long as it’s not expensively forced on the people.

She’s talking about wind turbines (and wind power is something I have always been really excited about – that  and nuclear power).

Jobs for manufacturers and engineers – for solar panels and electric car batteries.

She’s getting really intense about this.  “The fact that these jobs are in Michigan is no accident.”

We bring them here by beating out other states and countries.

We passed incentives to make sure those batteries are made in Michigan.  Within weeks of passage, GM said that they’d make batteries for the Volt automobile will be made here in Michigan.  5 million electric car batteries to be made a year, creating 14,000 jobs.

She’s saying that we want electric cars researched and designed here as well as all kinds of renewable energy companies.

She set a goal for becoming more dependent on renewable energy.

  • 3 wind turbine manufactures to expand in Michigan.
  • Unisolar to build solar panel factory in Battle Creek.
  • HSC – $1 billion for solar panel expansion
  • Dow-Corning – more solar panels.
  • Great Lakes Turbine to build in Monroe (where my roommate’s from!)

“We all know that  we need more jobs – a lot more.”  I agree with you there.

President Obama has demanded more use of renewable energy.  This will increase jobs in Michigan.

“By 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45%. … We’ll do it through increased renewable energy and gains in energy efficiency.”  Sounds like a good idea to me, but I think 45% is high.  I have no problem with it as long as it doesn’t jack up prices.  But if it makes energy unaffordable, don’t do it.

Instead of importing coal, we’ll spend energy money on Michigan wind turbines and solar panels and energy efficiency devices, all installed by Michigan workers.

Ask Legislatures to allow for Michigan homeowners to become entrepreneurs by installing solar panels on roofs and selling money back to power company.  Sounds good to me – it’s giving people the choice to do this, and enables people to eventually make that money back.

Asking utility companies to invest in energy efficient products.  Good.

Unlike the coal we buy right now, the money that we will spend on energy efficiency will create jobs in Michigan.

Create Michigan Energy Corps – creating jobs and turning natural resources into renewable fuels and weatherizing houses.

Saying that we’ll need less coal power  plants here in Michigan.

I’m kinda mad that she hasn’t said anything about more nuclear here in Michigan.

Talking about how she’ll bring new jobs to Michigan – that she’s gone all over the world to get jobs.  Yeah, well you haven’t been too successful so far.  You can go places to bring jobs here, but that doesn’t matter until you bring some here.

Saying she’ll require (I think it was universities) to buy Michigan.  I have a problem with that though, because she wants a tuition freeze in order for universities to get stimulus money.  How can they do that if you FORCE them to buy Michigan-made (more expensive at times).

Saying people should buy Michigan products.  Buy everything from Ford to Faygo.

Talking about the Michigan $4,000 putting college in the reach of all students.  Um, $4,000 really doesn’t do that much.

Michigan will be the first state to replicate the Kalamazoo promise on a large scale.  Something about free education, and I missed the rest.

#2 in the country for well qualified teachers in the classroom.  How are we #2 with the Detroit Public School system?

No Worker Left Behind: Talking about free college tuition – $5,000 per year for 2 years.  Training people for jobs, such as nurses, electricians, computer technicians.  52,000 people.  Helping us to remake Michigan.

Added more resources to the unemployment system – THAT’s what we need – to allow more people to rely on welfare!

Asking universities and colleges to freeze tuition for the next year.  The problem with that is, what if THEY can’t afford it?

Give people 90 days without the fear of foreclosure.  That’s absolutely insane.  If people buy a house that they can’t afford, then they should lose it.

Talking about asking auto insurance companies to freeze rates on auto insurance.  Sure, if they want to, but don’t make it mandatory.

She’s saying we’ll use every administrative tool to ensure that affordable rates are given to consumers.  That should be up to the companies, not the government.

Saying that we shouldn’t strip people of health coverage in order to reduce spending.  We shouldn’t HAVE state sponsored health care!  She’s saying we should protect those whom people of faith often call “the least of these.”  Well, people of faith need to step up and help the poor.  That’s their duty as good Christians (as it is my duty), NOT the governments.  When did Jesus ever say that the government should help the poor?  He didn’t!  He said his followers should – that’s why it makes me angry when people give that as a reason that Jesus would be a Democrat!

And wouldn’t “the least of these” refer to the unborn babies as well?  I don’t see you protecting them, Madame Governor!

“Is it harder to balance the state budget or the budget of a family who went from 2 paychecks to 1?”  Talking about the harships of family being much greater than the hardships of politicians as leaders.

She’s now giving an example of a guy on unemployment who used No Worker Left Behind to go to a university and now he’s working for Dow Corning.

Sorry – my news station just stopped covering it – ABC needed to go back to “regular scheduled programming.”

OK – I’m back.

Talking about hope and strength.  “We together will build a better Michigan.  God bless you all, and God bless the great state of Michigan.”

Tim Skubik is on now – saying that “Doom and Gloom” only got 2 paragraphs.  He’s right – I think she could’ve shown that things are bad more than she did instead of just saying, “This is what we WILL do,” since she’s been saying that for YEARS now.

She never really said exactly how much she wanted to cut out of the government.  I will commend her for some of her pro-energy efficient plans, but I think she may wind up driving up costs at a time that we can’t afford it.  Allowing people to sell back energy from solar panels is a GOOD thing, because it gives individuals the choice to do it, instead of  mandating it.

And now Mike Bishop’s response:

He’s saying that “we all want what’s best for our state.”

“Each one of us has felt the effects of this economy.”

Saying that the Governor wants to use federal funds to fix the state, but a quick infusion of money “will never be the antidote. … You can’t increase spending and debt and somehow hope to resolve a serious budget crisis.”  The Republicans will submit a plan in the next 45 days for instant stimulus – it incentives job providers instead of increasing spending.

The House must pass Senate Bill 1.  Get rid of the 22% business surcharge.

Talking about manufacturing complexes and other companies coming in due to tax cuts, proving that business tax cuts DO work.

The second part of the plan would bring property taxes in line with home values.  Third, a tax credit for purchases of new homes will be created.  This would spur the housing market.  And he’s absolutely right – that was one of the things my parents looked into was the huge jump in taxes we would’ve payed if we moved this past summer.

Review each item in the state budget and find savings – good!

We must “be certain that state resources are used efficiently.”  Absolutely!

Talking about opportunities coming with adversity – leaders need to rise up and “take the reins that will lead us back to prosperity. … Time for us to fix Michigan. … Thank you … God bless you, our families, and our great state of Michigan.”

Alright – I’m off to a meeting – I’ll spell check this and finish my analysis when I get back.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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House of Representatives Passes $819 Billion Economic Stimulus Package

January 29, 2009

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, H.R. 1, Congress’s latest economic stimulus package.  That bill passed 244-188; 11 Democrats broke ranks, while all of the voting Republicans voted against it.  First, I would like to commend the 11 Democrats who voted against the $819 billion “stimulus” bill.  This bill is an atrocity to the Congressional system of appropriations.  Instead of focusing on true STIMULUS (after all, it is an “economic STIMULUS package”), the Democrats in the House packed the bill with billions of dollars of un-stimulating spending.  For those of  you who want to read the sources, here’s the version of the bill as it was introduced (it has been slightly changed, but not too much), here’s the summary from the House Appropriations Committee, and here’s the cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.  And here’s the link to the roll call vote, Roll number 46.

Let’s take a look at the  following, keeping in mind that this is just a fraction of the spending packed in the 647-page bill (which I unfortunately didn’t have the time to quite get through, although I skimmed most of it): $650,000,000 for digital TV converters, $400,000,000 for habitat restoration, $250,000,000 for NASA climate research, $600,000,000 for the government to lease plug-in and alternative-fuel vehicles, $500,000,000 for airport security, $150,000,000 for bridge removal by the Coast Guard, $1,700,000,000 for National Parks Service maintenance, $200,000,000 to clean up leaking underground sewage storage tanks, $850,000,000 for wildland fire management, $150,000,000 for maintenance at the Smithsonian Institution, and $50,000,000 for the National Cemetery Administration to make cemetery repairs.  And this is all after some apportionments were taken out.  The Republicans urged Democrats to take out some of the unnecessary spending, such as making funds available for “family planning” and contraceptives, as well as $200,000,000 to revitalize and re-sod the National Mall, but I think those were the only 2 spending things that were cut out of the bill.  Either way, the point is – there’s a heck of a lot of spending.

Now, I am not saying that the expenditures in this bill are unimportant.  Clearly bridge removal, airport security, wildland fire management, etc. are very important; however, Congress has an apportionment process for a reason.  This bill takes the traditional apportionment process and throws it out the window, and that is absolutely unacceptable!  The Democrats essentially drafted this bill telling THEIR caucus members, “If you want money apportioned for something, stick it in this ‘stimulus package’ and we’ll get it passed no questions asked,” and that’s exactly what happened.  Keep in mind, a normal apportionment bill is debated for days, but here the House Democrats crammed what would have been hundreds of apportionment bills into one bill and debated it on the floor for ONLY THREE DAYS.  That’s right folks – this was introduced on January 26, and it was passed on January 28.  That is both unacceptable and just plain DANGEROUS.  Half of the Representatives don’t even know what all is in the bill!

If Congress wants to spend money, that is perfectly fine, but they need to do it through the proper channels of apportionment, not by hijacking the taxpayers’ wallets under the guise of an “economic stimulus package.”

So where were the Republicans in all of this?  I’ll tell you.  They were left out until the very end.  Not ONE Republican had any real input while this bill was drafted.  Sure, Obama met with Republicans and “took their input,” but no Republican ever put a pen anywhere near this bill as it was being written.  The only input they had was on the floor of the House during debate and when they were proposing amendments.  And how many Republican amendments were passed?  Only two, neither of which spared us from the utter fiscal disaster that this bill is.

I was watching C-SPAN on-line late last night (waiting for the House to upload the Congressional record so I could look stuff up and write a story on this for my newspaper column) and quite a few Republicans took a strong stand against the bill.  In particular, the Representative from the Central Michigan Area, Dave Camp (R-MI4) submitted an amendment that would have changed the stimulus package to a pure tax-cut instead of this ridiculous spending spree / tax-cut combo, but that substitute bill (labelled as an amendment) failed along party lines, with 2 Democrats crossing over.

Personally, I don’t think that a spending spree is what we need right now, but even if the Democrats insist on increasing spending, they need to do it through the proper means of apportionment instead of shoving it into one big bill.  That way, maybe at least some of the frivolous spending will fail, but the way it’s going right now, the Democrats are on board with this “all or nothing” crap.  I really don’t see how the Democrats think that all this spending is going to stimulate the economy, especially since some of this stuff is just so focused, like repairing graves at national cemeteries.  Sure, it’s probably a good expenditure, but it’s not economic stimulus.

Hopefully the Senate votes against their version of this bill, but somehow I don’t see that happening.  If they could at least cut out some of the spending though, it’d make me a little happier.

We’re gonna be in for a rough period if Congress keeps this kind of stuff up.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan House of Representatives Votes 68-32 to Ban Texting While Driving

December 15, 2008

Alright, this is somewhat of an old story, but I really wanted to do a post on it, and I got caught up with exams last week:

On December 4th, the Michigan House of Representatives voted on House Bill 5117, A bill to amend 1949 PA 300, entitled “Michigan vehicle code,” (MCL 257.1 to 257.923) by adding section 602b.

The bill was introduced by Steve Bieda (D-Macomb).  Here’s the original version of the bill:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 602B. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT READ, 1 WRITE, OR SEND A TEXT

2 MESSAGE ON A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE, INCLUDING A RADIO

3 TELEPHONE USED IN CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE OR PERSONAL

4 COMMUNICATION SERVICE, WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE ON A HIGHWAY

5 OR STREET IN THIS STATE.

6 (2) A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A

7 CIVIL INFRACTION.

I like this version of the bill.  It’s quick, and to the point.  Frankly, I think the House butchered this bill (although they did add a couple good clauses).

Here’s the version that was passed by the House (along with my commentary):

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 602B. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT READ, 1 WRITE, OR SEND A TEXT

2 MESSAGE ON A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE THAT IS LOCATED IN

3 THE PERSON’S HAND OR IN THE PERSON’S LAP, INCLUDING A WIRELESS

4 TELEPHONE USED IN CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE OR PERSONAL

5 COMMUNICATION SERVICE, WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS

6 MOVING ON A HIGHWAY OR STREET IN THIS STATE. AS USED IN THIS

7 SUBSECTION, A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

8 A GLOBAL POSITIONING OR NAVIGATION SYSTEM THAT IS AFFIXED TO THE

9 MOTOR VEHICLE.

I will say that lines 6b-9 were a good addition.

(2) SUBSECTION (1) DOES NOT APPLY 1 TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS

2 USING A DEVICE DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (1) TO DO ANY OF THE

3 FOLLOWING:

4 (A) REPORT A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT, MEDICAL EMERGENCY, OR SERIOUS

5 ROAD HAZARD.

6 (B) REPORT A SITUATION IN WHICH THE PERSON BELIEVES HIS OR HER

7 PERSONAL SAFETY IS IN JEOPARDY.

8 (C) REPORT OR AVERT THE PERPETRATION OR POTENTIAL PERPETRATION

9 OF A CRIMINAL ACT AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL OR ANOTHER PERSON.

10 (D) CARRY OUT OFFICIAL DUTIES AS A POLICE OFFICER, LAW

11 ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL, MEMBER OF A PAID OR VOLUNTEER FIRE

12 DEPARTMENT, OR OPERATOR OF AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE.

Again, another good provision.

13 (3) ENFORCEMENT OF THIS SECTION BY STATE OR LOCAL LAW

14 ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED ONLY AS A SECONDARY

15 ACTION WHEN THE OPERATOR OF A MOTOR VEHICLE HAS BEEN DETAINED FOR A

16 SUSPECTED VIOLATION OF ANOTHER SECTION OF THIS ACT.

Here’s where they really butchered it in my opinion.  Making this a secondary offense means that in order to give somebody a ticket for texting, they have to have been pulled over for something else.  I have 2 problems with this: 1) It gives cops a motive to pull somebody over for something that they normally wouldn’t pull somebody over for, so that they can give them a ticket for texting; 2) It should be a primary offense.  While driving to work on Southfield Freeway (M-39) I’ve had several encounters with teenage drivers (mostly girls) texting and coming into my lane.  I did have a guy do the same thing the other day, except that was on Fort Street (M-85), but it was in the 35 MPH area, so it wasn’t quite as dangerous.  How permanent this will be is up for debate.  Originally, Michigan’s Click It or Ticket seat belt law was a secondary offense, but that changed pretty quickly.

17 (4) AN INDIVIDUAL WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR

18 A CIVIL INFRACTION.

Same as the original bill.

19 (5) IF A LOCAL UNIT OF GOVERNMENT ADOPTS AN ORDINANCE

20 SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THIS SECTION, THE ORDINANCE SHALL INCLUDE

21 THE SECONDARY ENFORCEMENT PROVISION IN SUBSECTION (3).

Again, another butchering happened here.  Not only do I disagree with the basic premise of subsection (3), but I disagree with subsection (5) based on the fact that it’s the state government sticking its nose into the business of local municipalities.  If I city wants to make  it a primary offense, good for them.  If they want to keep it a secondary offense, that’s fine too (although I disagree with that decision, they’d have that right).  But to take away municipalities’ rights to make this a primary offense is just wrong.

22 (6) POINTS SHALL NOT BE ASSESSED UNDER SECTION 320A FOR A

23 VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

Again, another terrible amendment to the bill.  There’s no reason that people should be texting while driving.  Tack on the additional punishment of points and that will deter people from doing it.

24 Enacting section 1. This amendatory act does not take effect

25 unless House Bill No. 5396 of the 94th Legislature is enacted into

26 law.

Alright, so that’s the bill as passed by the House.  Currently the bill is in the Transportation Committee of the Senate.

I wanted to post a copy of the roll call vote:

Roll Call No. 1003 Yeas—68

Accavitti Dean Johnson Opsommer
Amos Dillon Jones, Rick Pearce
Ball Donigan Jones, Robert Polidori
Bauer Ebli Knollenberg Proos
Bennett Emmons Law, David Rocca
Bieda Espinoza Law, Kathleen Sak
Booher Farrah Leland Schuitmaker
Brown Gaffney Lemmons Scott
Byrnes Gonzales Lindberg Sheltrown
Byrum Green Mayes Simpson
Clack Griffin McDowell Smith, Alma
Clemente Hammel Meadows Smith, Virgil
Condino Hammon Meisner Stahl
Constan Hansen Melton Stakoe
Corriveau Hood Miller Valentine
Coulouris Hopgood Moss Wenke
Cushingberry Horn Nofs Wojno

Nays—32

Acciavatti DeRoche LeBlanc Pastor
Agema Garfield Marleau Pavlov
Angerer Gillard Meekhof Robertson
Brandenburg Hildenbrand Moolenaar Shaffer
Calley Huizenga Moore Sheen
Casperson Hune Nitz Spade
Caswell Jackson Palmer Steil
Caul Lahti Palsrok Walker

In The Chair: Sak

So, it’s pretty apparent that the vote fell mainly along party lines, but there were definitely a good amount of cross-overs (6 Democrats and 21 Republicans).

Representative Caul (R-Isabella) told CM-Life  reporters that he voted against the bill because it was “overstepping the government’s role. … In this case, it’s difficult for enforceability, whether it’s someone using a cell phone or eating a cheeseburger.”

I’m an advocate for personal freedoms (I voted for Proposal 1), but I think allowing texting while driving  goes too far.  Ban it, and enforce that ban.  Hopefully this will pass the Republican-controlled Senate, and with as much Republican support as  this got, I think it will.  I’ve been advocating for a bill like this for a long time, so I’m glad that it’s making some progress.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the Final Presidential Debate

October 15, 2008

Alright, we’re moments away from the beginning of the debate.  As always, I’ll be watching CNN, who will have a focus group (undecided voters in Ohio) with a tracking rating of how people like what they’re hearing (broken up by men and women).  WordPress just added an option to add polls, so I’ll see if I can get that working after the debate is over and post a poll about who won.

Tonight’s debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer (CBS’s Face the Nation).

We’re about 2 minutes away.

Schieffer: Why is your plan better than your opponents?

McCain: Thanks to everybody, my prayers go out to Nancy Reagan.  “Americans are hurting and angry.”  They’re innocent victims of greed.  “They have every reason to be angry.”  We have to have a short term fix and long term fixes.  Short term fix: Fannie and Freddie cause the sub-prime lending situation, that caused the housing market to collapse.  We need to reverse the decline in home ownership.  People need to know that they can stay in there homes.  Let’s take $300 billion of the $750 billion and buy mortgages so that people can stay in their homes.  What about people who could already afford to stay in their homes?  It’ll drive home value down if there are abandoned houses.  I didn’t like the answer (because I’m staunchly against any of the bailout), but it’ll go over well with voters, and the focus group liked it.

Obama: I think this’ll take some time to work itself out.  We need an economic package for the middle class.  The fundamentals of the economy were weak before this crisis (it depends what you’re defining fundamentals of the economy as).  Tax cut for people making less than $200,000.  Buying mortgages could be a bailout to banks, so I disagree with McCain there, but we do need to help homeowners.  Need to fix energy and health care.

McCain: Obama had an encounter with a plumber, Joe (somebody) Wurzelbacher.  Joe wants to buy the business that he’s worked in, and  he looked at Obama’s plan, and he saw that he’d be put in a higher tax bracket, and that’d cause him to not be able to employ people.  Joe, I’ll not only help you buy that business and keep your taxes low, and provide a way for you to provide health care to your employees.  You want to increase people’s taxes, like Joe the plumber’s.  And he’s right there – he’ll kill small businesses if he raises taxes.  The  focus group liked that.

Obama: McCain wants to give tax breaks to some of the wealthiest companies, including oil companies.  I want to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans.  Income tax, capital gains tax.  THAT’S A LIE ABOUT CAPITAL GAINS!!!  He wants to take capital gains taxes back to levels before Clinton lowered them!  I want to give small businesses tax breaks.  He lies here – 11.5% of Americans don’t even PAY income taxes, because they don’t make enough money!

McCain: Obama says, “We need to spread the wealth around.”  “I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around.”  Why would you want to raise taxes?

Obama: I want to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.  Not true!  I want to cut taxes for Joe the plumber before he was able to make $250,000.  I want to give families with kids going to college a break.  I’d prefer that nobody pay taxes, but we have to pay for the core of the economy to remain strong.

McCain: Companies will go overseas if we raise our business tax rates.  “Of all times in America, we need to cut taxes and encourage business, not spread the wealth around.”  Great answer – McCain actually did better with the focus group there than McCain, and that surprised me.

Schieffer: Talking about reducing the budget deficit.  Won’t some of the programs you’re proposing have to be trimmed or eliminated?

Obama: If the $750 billion works as it’s supposed to, taxpayers will get their money back.  I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go.  Some of the cuts we’ll need are subsidies to insurance companies.  “It’s just a giveaway.”  I’ll go through the federal budget line-by-line, and eliminate what’s unnecessary.  We need to invest in the American people.  We need to prevent diseases when they’re young, so they won’t spend as much Medicare money.  The same with college – they’ll drive up the economy.  He’s getting very high ratings right now – he’s appealing to the average American people.

McCain: Back to home-ownership.  During the depression, we bought homes and home values went back up.  This was a plan that Senator Clinton proposed.  We need to become energy independent.  I need an across-the-board spending freeze.  I oppose subsidies for ethanol.  Sorry – got interrupted there.  I will veto earmarks.  Senator Obama put in an earmark for a projector in a planetarium in his hometown.

Obama: An across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we need a scalpel.  Senator McCain talks about earmarks, but they account for 0.5% of the federal budget.  Eliminating them will help, but it won’t solve the problem.  When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus, and now we have a deficit.  Pursuing Bush-esque budgets will worsen the situation, and McCain voted for Bush’s budgets, 4 out of 5 times.

McCain: I will give a new direction to this economy.  I’m not President Bush.  If he wanted to oppose him, he should’ve run 4 years ago.  Mayor Bloomberg just put in a spending freeze in New York, so it can be done.  I’ll eliminate spending.  Obama voted for the last 2 budgets that Bush proposed (the only 2 that came up since he’s been in office!).  I have fought against spending and special interest.  When have you stood up to your party?  He’s getting good ratings, and I really think that he’s appealing to American people.

Obama: The first major bill I voted on was against tort reform.  I support charter schools.  I support clean coal technology.  I have a history of reaching across the aisle.  If I mistaken your policies for President Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues, taxes, spending, etc…, you’ve been a supporter of President Bush.  You’re been against him on stuff like torture, and I commend that, but for the majority, you want 8 more years of the same thing.

McCain: It’s been clear that I’ve disagreed with Bush and my party: climate change, opposition to earmarks, torture, conduct of the War in Iraq, Medicare prescription drugs, HMO patients’ bill of rights.  I have stood up to my party’s leadership.

Schieffer: Both of you promised to take the high road, but both campaigns have turned nasty.

McCain: This has been a very tough campaign.  If Obama had responded to my request to do town hall meetings, like he originally said, the tone of this campaign could’ve been better.  The tone of this campaign has taken a nasty turn.  I apologize for some of the negativity that has come out of my campaign.  I hope OBama will repudiate the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis.  Obama didn’t keep his word about taking public financing.  He’s getting high ratings from men here, but average ratings from women.

Obama: 2/3 of the American people think McCain’s running a negative campaign, versus 1/3 of the American people thinking that of mine.  100% of your ads have been negative (BULL CRAP!).  There’s nothing wrong with having a vigorous debate like we’re having now, but not having town hall meetings doesn’t justify the ads that have come out from your campaign and 527s.  I don’t mind being attacked for 3 weeks, but we can’t afford 4 more years of failed economic policies.  He’s actually getting negative ratings from women, and average from men here.  He’s really attacking McCain during a question about negativity in campaigns, and I think he’s really making himself look bad here.

McCain: If you turn on the television, every other ad was an attack ad on my health care policy, saying that I oppose federal funding for stem cells.  I don’t.  Obama is spending unprecedented amounts of money in negative attack ads on me.  Of course we’re talking about Joe the plumber and restoring jobs to America.  That’s what my campaign is all about.  Again, I didn’t hear a repudiation of Congressman Lewis.

Obama: Lewis, made a statement with what he was troubled with hearing some of the rallies that your running mate was holding.  People were yelling “terrorist” and “kill him,” and your running mate didn’t stop them.  I do think that he gave a good comparison between what’s happening now and the civil right’s movement.  What the Americans want is for us to focus on the challenges that we have now.  We have serious differences on health care.  When people bring up me being with terrorists, that’s not the issues.

McCain: Whenever you have big rallies, you’ll have fringe people, and that’s not appropriate.  But for the majority of people, they’re not saying anything negative.  These people are the most patriotic people in this nation (veterans and wives of veterans).  There’ve been thingsat your rallies that I’m not happy with either.  I have always repudiated out of line statements, and I will continue to do that, but we cannot stand for the things that have been going on.  I haven’t.

Schieffer: Do you take issue with that?

Obama: What I think is most important is that we recognize that in order to solve 2 wars, a financial crisis, creating jobs, then we all need to be able to work together.  “We need to disagree without being disagreeable.  What we can’t do is try to characterize each other as bad people.”

McCain: We need to know the full extent of Obama’s relationships with Ayers and ACORN.  If there’s nothing there, I don’t care about it, but we need to know what all went on there.

Obama: Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of McCain’s campaign.  Bill Ayers is a professor in Chicago.  40 years ago, he engaged in despicable acts.  “I have … condemned those acts.”  I served on a school board with him 10 years ago.  “Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign … and he will not advise me in the White House.”  ACORN: Apparently, they were paying people to get people registered to vote.  The only thing I did with them was represent them with some thing in Illinois – I didn’t catch it all.  I associate with Warren Buffet on economics.  On foreign policy, it’s Joe Biden or Dick Lugar, or General Jim Jones.  “Those are the people who have shaped my ideas and will be surrounding me in the White House.”

McCain: While you and Ayers were on that board, you gave money to ACORN, and you launched your campaign from Ayers living room.  In 2001, he said he’d wished he’d have bombed more.  We need to know all the details here.  And my (not McCain) view is that with Ayers – it’s no big deal if Obama’s honest.  With ACORN, there are some serious problems there – ACORN has supported Obama, and Obama has supported ACORN, and ACORN has shown to have some serious legal problems.

Schieffer: Why is your running mate better than his?

Obama: He’s been there a while – he knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to foreign policy.  Biden has never forgotten where he came from.  He fights for the little guy.  He has always been fighting for working families.  “After 8 years of failed policies [we] will have to reprioritize … give tax cuts to small businesses … and individuals who are struggling.”  We need to become energy independent, and make sure that our kids afford can go to college.  Biden has always been on the right side of the issues.

McCain: Palin is a reformer.  She took on the old governor, who was part of her party.  She’s given money back to taxpayers and cut the size of the government.  “She is a reformer through and through, and it’s time that we have that breath of fresh air and sweep out” the old politics of Washington.  “She understand special needs families, and understands that autism is on the rise.”  She has united people all over America, and I’m proud of her.

Schieffer: Is she qualified to be President?

Obama: That’ll be up to the American people to decide.  Her work on special needs kids has been commendable.  He didn’t answer the question!  If we have an across-the-board spending freeze, special needs kids will suffer.

McCain (on Biden): Biden is experienced, but he’s had some bad foreign policy ideas, such as dividing Iraq into different countries, and we’ve seen Iraq become united as one country.  Every time Obama says we need to spend more.  Why can’t we have transparency of these government organizations.

Schieffer: Energy and climate control.  Presidents have said that we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  Give us a number of how much you believe we can reduce foreign oil during your first term.

McCain: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle East countries and Venezuela.  Canadian oil is fine.  We need nuclear power plants, and that’ll be how we eliminate those 2 sources of foreign oil.  We need wind, tide, solar, gas, clean coal.  He’s getting huge ratings, and for good reason – it’s a good energy plan.  Especially the nuclear part!!!!

Obama: In 10 years, we can reduce our dependence so we don’t have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela.  “Nothing is more important than us borrowing … money from China and sending it to Venezuela.”  We need to expand domestic production, by telling oil companies, “Use them or lose them” in terms of oil fields being leased here in the U.S.  We need to drill offshore, but that won’t solve the problem.  We need wind, solar, biofuel.  We need efficient cars built here in America, not in Japan.  And he’s got good ideas too, but I WISH he would’ve said he wants nuclear power – nuclear power is safe (we use it on subs) and VERY efficient.  NAFTA didn’t have enforceable environmental agreements, and we should’ve included those.  When it comes to South Korea, we have an agreement with them, and they’re sending more cars here than we are to them.  That’s not free trade.

McCain: “Obama said, ‘We will look at offshore drilling.’  Did you catch that?  ‘Look at.'”  We need to do more than look at it, we need to do it.  AGREED!  Our businesses are paying money into Columbia, but because of previous agreements, they’re getting their goods into here for free.  We need a free trade agreement with Columbia, which Obama has opposed.  Obama hasn’t even travelled down there, and he doesn’t understand Columbia.

Obama: I understand it.  Labor leaders have been persecuted, and we need to stand for human rights.  Workers who are trying to organize for rights shouldn’t be persecuted, and that’s why I supported a free trade agreement with Peru.  When I talked about automakers, they’re getting hammered right now, not only because of gas prices, but with the financial crisis.  People can’t get car loans, so we need to get loan guarantees.  We need more efficient cars and cars of the future.  That’ll help create new jobs.  He’s getting VERY high ratings – he’s maxed out with women, and men are rating him high too.

McCain: Obama doesn’t want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region, but wants to sit down with Hugo Chavez without preconditions.  Jobs and businesses will be created if we open up those markets.  Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes, and the last President who did that was Hoover.  We went from a deep recession to a depression.  I won’t let that happen.

Schieffer: Would you first lower health care costs, instead of providing more health care?

Obama: We need to do both.  My plan will allow you to keep your plan if you have health insurance.  We will lower costs so that cost savings are brought back to you.  If you don’t have insurance, you can buy into the same kind of federal pool that federal employees enjoy.  Insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against people with preconditions.  Drugs will be lower, and we need to look at preventative care.  This will require more money up front, but will lower costs in the long run.  VERY high ratings at the end there.

McCain: Premiums and copays are going up, and health care costs are going up and inflicting pain on Americans.  We need walk in clinics and community health care centers.  We need nutrition and physical fitness programs in schools to keep kids healthy.  I want to give all American families a $5,000 tax credit.  Under Obama’s plan, if you have employees and they have kids, if you don’t have a health care plan, Obama will fine you.  I still haven’t heard what that fine will be.

Obama: Your fine will be $0.  I exempt small businesses for the requirement that large businesses have to provide health care.  Well, Senator Obama, what do you consider a small business???  The average family is paying higher premiums because of the uninsured.  I’ll give small businesses a 50% credit so they can afford it.  If not, you can buy into the plan I have.  McCain will give you the tax credit, but what will happen to older folks who can’t afford the health care plan?  McCain will tax the health care benefits you have from your employer, the first time in history this has ever happened.  Insurers right now are restricted statewide.  Those rules would be stripped away, and you’d see companies excluding people.

McCain: People like Joe are rich, because Obama said about him that we need to “spread the wealth,” so he’s rich enough that he would be fined.  Under my plan, people will be able to go across the country, giving them the chance to choose their futures.  “Senator Government–Senator Obama wants government to do the job.”  Senator Obama and the Democrats have been in charge the last 2 years, and things have gotten worse.

Obama: Under McCain’s plan, there’s a strong risk that you will lose your health care from your employer.  All I want to do is lower costs.

Schieffer: Could either of you nominate a Supreme Court Justice who disagrees with your view on Roe v. Wade.

McCain: I have never had a litmus test.  I think the Court decided incorrectly there, but I’m a Federalist – it should be left up to the states.  We need to nominate people based on qualifications, not if I agree with their ideology.  There should be no litmus test.  These nominees should be picked based on qualifications, who adhere to the Constitution, not people who legislate from the bench.  (But people who stick to the Constitution would oppose Roe v. Wade).  I’ll have no litmus test.

Obama: I’d agree that we shouldn’t have a litmus test.  Fairness and justice should be given to the American people.  It’s very likely that one of us will be making 1 or more appointments, and Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance.  I support the decision in Roe v. Wade.  I believe that women are in the best position to make this decision.  The Constitution has privacy built into it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum or popular vote.  “I will look for those judges who have an outstanding record … intellect.”  McCain and I disagreed when the S.C. made it harder for some woman to bring suit for equal pay for women.  The Court said that she waited too long.  If a woman is being treated unfairly, the Court needs to stand up if nobody will.

McCain: You can’t waive the statute of limitation 20 to 30 years.  Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide medical attention to babies who were not successfully aborted (essentially passive infanticide).  Then he voted present on the floor.  He did the same with partial birth abortion.  Men are liking this, but women not so much.

Obama: That’s not true.  There was a bill put forward that said that you need life saving treatment that would undermine Roe v. Wade, but there was a law alreay on the books.  On partial birth abortion: I’m supportive of a ban on late term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the safety of the woman’s life.    Both men and women are rating him a bit above average now.  Surely there is some common ground, when both sides can come together and prevent unintended pregnancies.  Communicate that sex shouldn’t be engaged in carelessly.  Adoption choices should be out there.  Those things are now in the Democratic platform, for the first time ever.

McCain: “Health of the mother” has been stretched to mean almost anything (such as mental health in some cases).  Cindy and I are adoptive parents.  We need to promote adoption and protect the rights of the unborn.

Schieffer: A question about education and national security – I missed what all it was.

Obama: No nation has had a bad economy and a good military.  Education is a huge part of this.  We need better pay for teachers.  We need college to be more affordable.  We’ll offer an exchange of community/military service with money for college.  We can’t do this just in schools.  Parents need to show responsibility too – encourage thirst for knowledge.  And he’s absolutely right here.  It starts at home.  People rated him as high as they could.

McCain: Choice and competition among schools are some of the key elements – New York and New Orleans – where we find bad teachers another line of work.  We need to give parents a choice in sending kids to good schools.  Charter schools are one option.

Schieffer: Should the federal government play a larger role?

Obama: The states need to be in control, but the federal government needs to step in and help struggling local school districts.  Bush did this with No Child Left Behind, “but unfortunately, he left the money behind.”  That was a good line.  McCain and I agree on charter schools.  I think we need to encourage competition between schools.  Bad teachers need to be replaced.  “Our kids need to have the best future.”  We disagree on vouchers, and we disagree on college accessibility.  McCain doesn’t have programs that help college groups.  (That’s because he’ll simplify the tax code to make finding tax credits for college easier to find).

McCain: Vouchers need to be provided, because parents WANT vouchers.  They wanted to chose the schools where their children go (this was in Washington, D.C.).  As far as NCLB, it had its flaws and problems, but it’s the first time we looked at this from the national perspective.  Head Start is a great program.  It’s not doing what it should do, so we need to reform it and fund it.  We can’t just give more money, we need to reform it too.  We need transparency, rewards, and funding.  We’ll find and spend money to find the cause of autism, but to have a situation that the most expensive education is in America means that we also need reform.  We can’t throw money at a problem without reform.  Vouchers work.

Obama: On vouchers in D.C.  The D.C. school system is in terrible shape.  The superintendent there is doing a great job (McCain interjected that she supports vouchers).  There’s not proof that vouchers solve the problem.  We need a President who will tackle this head on.

McCain: Obama said that because there’s not enough vouchers, we shouldn’t have any.  That’s wrong.

Schieffer: Closing statements.

McCain: Thank you.  We need a new direction.  “We cannot be satisfied with what we’ve been doing for the last 8 years.”  I’ve been a reformer.  I’ve opposed my party.  I’ve been a good steward of your tax dollars.  We need to make health care and education affordable to all.  We need to stop this wild spending.  All of these promises made tonight will be made based on whether you trust us or not.  I ask you to examine both my record as well as my proposals for this country.  I’ve put my country first.  “It’s been a great honor of my life, and I’ve been proud to serve, and I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to serve again.  I’ll be honored, and humbled.”

Obama: Washington has been unwilling to address the problems.  We cannot adopt the policies of the last 8 years.  We need change.  You’ve invited me into your homes.  “Our brighter days are still ahead, but we have to invest in the American people.”  College needs to be more affordable.  Wages need to be higher, and we need to grow the middle class.  “It’s not gonna be easy.  It’s not gonna be quick.”  Republicans and Democrats will have to come together.  “If you give me the … honor of being President, I will work tireously and  honorably to ensure the future of our children.”

Bob Schieffer: As my mother would say: “Go vote now.  It’ll make you feel big and strong.”

McCain/Obama: Thank you (to each other).

Alright, overall, I think this was BY FAR the best debate we had.  I commend Bob Schieffer.  He was by far the best moderator we had.

Overall, I think McCain won this won.  This is the first time I’ve called a debate (other than the VP debate, where I called Biden the winner), and I think McCain won.  He was VERY strong toward the beginning.  I think Obama was weak at the beginning, but picked it up toward the end, but overall, I think that McCain was the winner.

Again, I think McCain was definitely stronger here.  I think Obama was too weak.  This was definitely the debate McCain needed, but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough for him to recover.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the October 7th Presidential Debate

October 7, 2008

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

Alright, we’re now starting.

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

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

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

Brokaw: Who would you appoint to Treasury Secretary?

McCain: Not you Tom.

Brokaw: With good reason.

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

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

Oliver Clark: How will the bailout bill help people?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brokaw: Is Russia under Putin an evil empire?

Obama: No, but their actions are sometimes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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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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Live Analysis of the Senate Vote on the New Bailout Bill: Bill Passes

October 1, 2008

Alright, so I’ve been watching C-SPAN throughout the day as much as I could, and saw everything from the US-India nuclear agreement and the Amtrak bill to the discussion on the Financial Industry Bailout bill.  They’ll be voting on that next, and I’ll be live blogging as they vote, whether it looks like it’ll pass or fail.  The rumor is that it’s expected to pass the 60-vote threshold, since they added some tax cut packages; however, these packages were rejected earlier in the week by the house, so it may clear the Senate, but fail the House by more than H.R. 3997 did.

This is now discussion on H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone (former Senator from MN) Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007:

Bernie Sanders (I-VT), speaking for an amendment on the bailout bill, although he’s stated that he is against the bailout bill overall.

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), now speaking that the current bill is a good bill, and it’s “necessary that we pass it now.”  He is saying that Senator Sanders amendment would be bad for taxpayers.

Vote on the Amendment:

The Noes have it.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), now speaking.  Saying that it’s the waning hours of the Senate, and that the Senators depend on their staff a lot, talking about them working unbelievable hours: “they make this place operate.”  Talking about the Legislative Clerk, David Tinsley.  Thanking him for his service.

Mitch McConnell (R-KY), now wishing Tinsley well in his retirement.

McConnell now speaking again, there’s 2 minutes to each side.  Talking about the bipartisan work in coming together to build a bill to resolve this financial crisis.  Saying that Senators Gregg and Dodd (who were appointed as designees for delegating time for discussion, etc) did a good job on the bill.  Saying that this will help resolve the “problems facing mainstream Americans.”  Saying that “we came together” in the middle of an election year.  He’s congratulating Senators for coming together and urges the passage of the bill.

Senator Reid: Is now reading letters from people who have written in to him, regarding the financial bill.  Saying that this bill isn’t for Wall Street, but for families across America.  Well, Mr. Reid, it may not be for them, but it’s going to benefit them for a time, and ultimately hurt American families.  Talking about keeping taxpayers first.  But this isn’t going to keep taxpayers safe.  He’s saying it’s an investment, but this will only set precedent for further government losses.  He’s talking about giving help to people who will have their homes foreclosed on, but it’s their fault they bought houses the couldn’t afford.  We have to draw the line, and helping people avoid foreclosure will only set precedent and make the situation worse.  Talking about getting alternative energy (BUT HE DIDN’T MENTION NUCLEAR!).  Talking about how much land in Nevada is owned by the government – 87% of the land is owned by the federal government, and 40% is no-flyover – I never realized it’s so much!  Some Senator’s cell phone went off.  Now talking about “each Senator … facing a critical test of leadership” tonight.  “Help is on the way.”

They’re voting now on an amendment to H.R. 1424 (a mental health bill which also had a tax break section added into it, as I said above), which will add the Emergency Economic Stabalization section to the bill – I thought McConnell had leader time to speak still???

Calling the roll:

Akaka: Aye

Alexander: Aye

Barasso: Aye

Baucus: Aye

Bayh: Aye

Bennett: Aye

Bingamen: Aye

Boxer: Aye

Brown: Aye

Brownback: No

Burr: Aye

Cantwell: No

Cardin: Aye

Casey: Aye

Clinton: Aye

Cockren: No

Coleman: Aye

Collins: Aye

Conrad: Aye

Corker: Aye

Cornyn: Aye

Craig: Aye

Crapo: No

Dodd: Aye

Dole: No

Domenici: Aye

Dorgan: No

Durbin: Aye

Ensign: Aye

Enzi: No

Feingold: No – WHAT!

Feinstein: Aye

Grassley: Aye

Gregg: Aye

Hagel: Aye – DANG IT!

Harkin: Aye

Hatch: Aye

Hutchison: Aye

Inhofe: No

Inouy: Aye

Isakson: Aye

Kerry: Aye

Flobecarh: Aye

Cole: Aye

Kyle: Aye

Landreau: No

Lautenberg: Aye

Levin: Aye

Lieberman: Aye

Lincoln: Aye

Luger: Aye

Martinez: Aye

McCain: Aye

McCaskill: Aye

McConnell: Aye

Menendez: Aye

McCulski: Aye

Murkowski: Aye

Murray: Aye

Nelson (FL): No

Obama: Aye

Pryor: Aye

Reed: Aye

Reid: Aye

Roberts: No

Salazar: Aye

Sanders: No

Schumer: Aye

Sessions: No

Shelby: No

Smith: Aye

Snowe: Aye

Specter: Aye

Stabenow: No

Stevens: Aye

Sununu: Aye

Tester: No

Thune: Aye

Vitter: No

Voinovich: Aye

Warner: Aye

Webb: Aye

Whitehouse: Aye

Wicker: No

Widen: No

Biden: Aye

Bunning: No

Borasso: No

Byrd: Aye

Coburn: Aye

Demint: No

Johnson: No

Allard: No

Chambliss: Aye

Lahey: Aye

Graham: Aye

Bond: Aye

Nelseon (NE): Aye

Carper: Aye

The vote passes 74-25.  The Amendment having 60 votes, the amendment is agreed to.  (I later found out that Senator Ted Kennedy was not present tonight, as he is having medical difficulties.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the Senator).

Reid is now speaking, saying he’s happy with tonight’s vote.  “When we work together, we can accomplish good things. … Thank you” to everyone.

Now the vote on HR 1424, a Mental Health Bill which now includes the above amendment.  This bill is expeced to pass.

Akaka: Aye

Alexander: Aye

Allard: Aye

Barasso: No

Bayh

And I’ve lost sound on C-SPAN??  It’s too hard to keep up with her on this one – I’ll summarize it once they’re done voting.

And we’ve now lost all sound from C-SPAN, so I’m clueless as to what’s going on.  The vote tally listed on the screen is for the amendment to the bill, so I’m not sure if the bill is passing as of now or not, but as I said above, this bill is expected to pass.  It’s funny, the media is now reporting that the Senate passed the bailout bill, although all they actually did was add it on to another bill, which they’re just voting on now.

Lieberman: Aye

It passed 74-25.  The bill, as amended, has passed, having obtained 60 votes.

I’m guessing that the votes were the same as on the amendment.

And they’re moving on to other business.  I’m done!

I really don’t think this bill should’ve passed.  Obviously I think it’s better than the first bill, but I’m still not happy with it.  We’ll see what happen in the House later this week.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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