Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joe The Plumber, If You're Out There...

Sarah Palin wants you to give Levi a call. He's going to need a job to support his wife and child...

Tonight's debate wasn't bad. I like this format better. The candidates actually debated! You can read the transcript here.

I thought Obama was cool, clear and collected. I thought McCain grew angrier as the night went on... And as he grew angrier, I grew angrier too -- angry at McCain. Here are a few of the memorable moments.

McCain says his ads went negative because Obama refused to do the many town hall debates that McCain wanted. What kind of whiny excuse is that? Please, McCain, you're responsible for your campaign's actions. You can't blame Obama.

A few minutes later, my anger meter was up again when McCain repeated the right-wing bullshit that ACORN is destroying the fabric of democracy. I blogged about these lies yesterday, so please take a look at that post if you want a little truth about ACORN and wingnuts.

Then came the much discussed issue of Bill Ayers. McCain reminds me of one of those "harsh interrogators" where the truth isn't good enough for him. McCain keeps yelling "tell me more" when Obama is honestly telling him all there is to tell. McCain keeps implying some diabolical plot between the two, while the real story is a dull one about two organizers trying to help their community.

Furthermore, when McCain was asked about the hostile tone of his rallies, his dismissive response was "I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies. " What? I'm disturbed over the angry shouts from his supporters, and I wanted to hear some words of balance from McCain. I guess I was hoping for too much.

Next, McCain brings up Palin's support for special-needs families. That's an important subject. Palin knows something about this subject because of her own child but also because her own state has a unique standing: "The byproducts of oil production can cause serious nervous system disorders, and the North Slope and its environs, home to Alaska Natives and itinerant oil workers, has the highest prevalence of birth defects in the state--11 percent--compared with 6 percent statewide and 3 percent nationwide." Sarah Palin, as governor, has not addressed these concerns.

If the candidates wanted to talk about special-needs, there should have been a follow-up question about the Community Choice Act. This legislation addresses the independence of people with disabilities. Obama has a clear statement of support on his web site. McCain, though, clearly does not support this legislation.

Here is where Obama is the realist. He knows that supporting special-needs means increasing funding. Funding is needed for research and it's needed for support services. You can't say you support people with disabilities while at the same time taking the proverbial hatchet to programs that help them and their families!

Maybe this issue is the best illustration of where Obama and McCain are very different candidates. Obama would give careful and calm consideration to these programs. McCain is an ideologue who speaks in absolute terms of hatchets, vetoes, and drilling. Drill baby, drill.

In contrast, Obama genuinely cares about finding common ground -- notably on the issues of abortion and preventing unwanted pregnancy. McCain, again, aggravates me (and probably a million other women) when he ridicules the life and health considerations of the mother during these difficult decisions.

McCain keeps saying that the American voter is angry. Well, kind of. I've been angry with the Bush administration for quite a while and it's easy to mistake McCain for Bush... But with the current economic crisis, I've been mostly scared. Tonight, however, I am an angry voter... angry at John McCain. That's probably not the results he was hoping for.

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