Sunday, September 28, 2008

on the presidential campaign

In the past week I've seen McBush and Obama on television twice, once on 60 minutes a week ago today and again on the debate last Friday. I think McBush is fading and I am not referring to the polls. He seemed weaker in the 60 minutes interview and more general than I had expected. He couldn't seem to focus on the issues with any specificity. Part of that may have been that interviewer Scott Pelley (sp?) did not conduct a particularly good interview. His first question was what McBush as president would have said to the American people as the financial crisis became so clear. McCain started to give some details including saying he would have told the people the cause and Scott cut him off before he could amplify his remarks. And Scott did not then ask him to get specific about the cause. It may have been more of the blame game of greed and corruption and lack of regulation but I would have liked to have heard an answer even if I am obviously not enamored of McBush. Overall, however, I felt that Obama had a much more reasoned approach and had much better details in his plans.

The same thing happened during the debate. McBush cited his experience in foreign policy, but it seemed little more than having been to some of the trouble spots without citing anything he learned there (except for the terrain, in one instance) or what influence he had there. He also spent a great deal of time citing Gen. Petraeus' views on Iraq and Afghanistan without mentioning that as president he would be the one to make the strategic decisions. And, as David Crisp said earlier, he didn't seem to have a good hold on the difference between strategy and tactics. In my opinion, McBush did not do as well against Obama as he was expected to in the debate on foreign and one of his weaknesses was his feeling that if we leave Iraq whatever happens there will be our fault and we will lose that war. I respectfully beg to differ with him. The "war" was won years ago when Saddam fell; now we are trying to nation build to our specifications without realizing the tribal and ethnic realities of the country. We can drive out El Quaeda but the chances are much more than 50% that we will have a civil war between Shia and Sunni no matter when we leave with the Kurds staying out of it if they can. John McBush is defending the things that have led Baby Bush into a very bad relationship with U.S. citizens as far as Iraq is concerned. His daddy knew better and should have spanked him on day 1 of the invasion. And McBush really didn't say anything about the financial crisis that indicated he understood that the middle class has been in crisis since at least 2001 and maybe longer while the business fat cats have been padding their bank accounts and shortchanging the rest of us on their taxes. One thing we have to wonder is why, as Left in the West asks, does McBush hate Montana? Once again he has questioned the "earmark" that helped lead to the delisting of the grizzly bear with the resulting opening up of some Montana land to exploitation. Maybe it's because our senators are Democrats rather than the Republicans whose "pork" is for buildings named for themselves and highways in Texas that no one wants?

Obama has seemed much more reasoned and much more aware of what's going on with the average American than McBush. There is none of the tired rhetoric of a wholesale plan to "cut taxes" as if that will solve the problems of our economy. Both of the candidates are pushing a tax cut: Obama for those making under $250,000 a year and McBush for everyone. According to a tax checking group, a married couple with two children making $100,000 a year would see their taxes go down about $50 under McCain's plan and down about $500 under Obama's. A single person could expect his or her taxes to go up about $10 under McBush's plan and down about $500 under Obama's. I also felt that Obama was stronger on his emphasis on going after the terrorists rather than shooting our entire wad in Afghanistan. McBush seemed to support him in this by citing Petreaus' support for putting more troops in Afghanistan. But without pulling them out of Iraq where are they coming from without conscription (i.e., a draft)?

One other note on the debate: We found out for sure that Sarah Agnew-Pain is really following the script set down by the McBush campaign when he used, in the discussion of Iran, a phrase identical to the one that she used in her interview with Katie Couric. And, a question: Was Katie working to keep from laughing at the end of that interview? One other point that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere but Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, was asked for his opinion on who won, but Palin did not appear. I wondered until I read online that CNN and NBC (and probably the other major networks) had asked to interview her but she was unavailable.


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