The debate last night once again ramped up the fright level for this election. We saw an accomplished, sober, detailed, real and passionate performance by a man with a lifetime of government achievement and deep commitment to his family, community and background. On the other side we saw a cutesy gimmick with little knowledge, no detail, disdain for the process, a forced, unprofessional and ultimately grating, "folksy" demeanor and the guile to hide meanness behind a phony smile and Betty-Boop giggle.
AND MOST EVERYONE IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS CALLING IT A DRAW.
If we elect the team of an ill-tempered, sold-out, unimaginative, moneyed elitist and war-mongering McCain and a shallow, phony, frenetic and power-mad Palin over the highly intelligent, accomplished, calm, connected and eloquent Obama and Biden, then we really might be finished as a democracy. Because four more years of a Republican executive just might establish the President as an effective monarch with the unchallenged power to rig the system to ensure no Democrat can ever be elected again. Electing McCain and Palin will be touted as proof of three Republican fundamentals: (1) people approve of the way Bush and Cheney have been governing, or they would not have elected Republicans who hew to their basic positions (conveniently ignoring campaign pleas to the contrary); (2) the people are strongly conservative both economically and socially, and, (3) privately, they will conclude that the American people are even bigger dolts than they had thought and care only about shiny appearance and not one whit about substance, professionalism, or public policy.
Now for some debate points.
JOE BIDEN IS AMAZING
Joe Biden may be the most talented, passionate and effective statesmen in America. His command of the details, calm, but passionate demeanor, and ability to connect with ordinary people just floored me. I have always been a big fan of the Senator, even as I oppose some his positions (like the 2005 Bankruptcy bill). I am surprised he was called boring for the first part of the debate, even by the brilliant Rachel Maddow. I do not find deft command of detail, deep knowledge and an articulate, passionate presentation boring, ever. It is only boring for those who expect everything to be light and airy entertainment and we can only hope that the majority of the people want some seriousness in their President and Vice President this time.
In a time of multiple crises in America, we need people who are intelligent, who know the facts and details, but also have a connection to working people struggling in their lives. Biden is one of them and he demonstrated that beautifully Thursday evening. I really think it was one of, if not the best Presidential or Vice Presidential debate performance I have ever seen.
McCAIN/PALIN WILL DESTROY THE CONSTITUTION
This should be the screaming headline everywhere in America. You know by now Sara Palin wants to expand the powers of the Vice President. That is scary as hell after Cheney, and even scarier when you think about who Sara Palin is. The title of this piece contains my bumper sticker summary: Palin – Bush’s Intellect with Cheney’s Ambition. Give an end-times Christian with little knowledge or understanding of American history, government or world affairs even more power than Cheney and the secrecy of operating under the radar, and you have all the makings of a coup d’etat marching toward Armageddon.
But the most telling and troubling aspect to me was not the raw statement about expansion of power, but the Constitutional grounding she offered for it. Here are the direct quotes:
Of course, we know what a vice president does. And that's not only to preside over the Senate and will take that position very seriously also. I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.
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IFIL: Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?
PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president.
* * *
Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation.
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