What Just Happened?

October 4, 2008

We’ve seen some very cool advertising this political season. Here’s a stylish one from the Republicans on the financial mess: What Just Happened?

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SNL Tonight – VP Debate

October 4, 2008

Assuming that Saturday Night Live will be spoofing the VP debate on tonight’s program, here is my suggested take: Palin answering every question with a rambling non-sequiter; Biden giving straightforward, clear answers that are completely wrong. For example:

Ifill: With the financial crisis on Wall Street and global economic uncertainty, middle class Americans are facing difficult times. What policies would you pursue to restore confidence in the American economy?

Biden: You know, Gwen, whenever I’m in Wilmington, I always go to the local Burger King and order a Big Mac and a Frosty and talk to the people, and I can tell you they’re hurting. Gwen, I remember watching Teddy Roosevelt address the nation during the Depression and tell us to ask not what our country could do for us, but how we could put a chicken in every pot, and that’s what a Biden/Obama administration would do for America.

Ifill: Governor?

Palin: I think the American people are the best, most productive and also the fundamentals of the economy are strong with the focus on John McCain’s history of cutting taxes and, as a Maverick, his success in bringing the parties together to help America succeed also. But, Gwen, I actually want to answer a different question…

Ifill: Of course you do.

Palin: …and the answer to that question is… “Live from New York…”

Well, you know where it goes from there.

UPDATE: SNL nailed the VP debate out of the park on the show tonight, in my opinion. I also really liked the bailout press conference sketch. This was one of the more enjoyable SNLs I’ve seen recently. Their political humor has been spot on and pretty evenhanded.

I thought both candidates did well in the much-hyped vice-presidential debate last night. Neither had any major stumbles that attracted much attention and both stuck pretty well to their scripts. Palin bounced back well from her uninspiring interview with Couric to show herself able to engage in debate with a Senate veteran and Biden came across as personable in style and reasoned in his arguments. I think Palin was on message more often, but Biden made the better rhetorical points.

In fact, I would have said that Biden won the debate on points if it hadn’t been for his stunningly incorrect answer on Ifill’s question regarding the role of the Vice President in our Constitution. Biden claimed that the Vice President is in the Executive branch because discussion of the VP appears in Article I. There are two problems with that:

1. Contrary to Biden’s assertions, Article I does not deal with the Executive branch (it deals with the Legislative branch);

2. the Vice President does not appear under Article I alone (the Vice President appears in both Article I, which identifies his role as the President of the Senate, and Article II, which deals with the VP’s election and role in taking over the Presidency if necessary).

For a man who has spent over half his life in the legislative branch
(that’s nearly one-sixth of the life of the country since the adoption of the
Constitution), to get these facts wrong but state them with such certainty is a huge error.

I find it hard to believe that Senator Biden was completely unaware of the role of the Vice Presidency in the Constitution, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he was just tired and not thinking clearly at the end of a very long debate. Fortunately, Biden showed a lot of good humor and a willingness to engage in self-deprecation during the debate last night, so I would suggest that Biden put out a brief statement of apology to all high school government teachers for misleading their charges and publicly correct his statement as to the proper role of the Vice President in American democracy.

Reconciliation Blog

June 6, 2008

For some good thoughts on the recent attacks on Barack Obama’s spiritual advisers, check out Reconciliation Blog, which presents an honest and open perspective and a forum for reasoned discussion.

For my part, I think it is legitimate to question Obama about his perspective on racial issues, just as it is to question McCain on the same issues. I do not think it is legitimate to demand that Obama defend every comment made by his friends and pastors or to attribute all of their beliefs to him. Likewise, it is silly to suggest that John McCain be responsible for anything ever said by someone who once endorsed him. I am hopeful that the general election campaign will focus on the issues facing the country rather than try to push the guit by association argument past the breaking point. Fortunately, I think the differences between the two candidates on the issues are so great that they will move to the top of the discussion fairly quickly.