Friday, September 26, 2008

the debate

Watching NBC News...

Obama thanked McCain when they greeted each other.  Interesting/insulting.

First question to Obama on the economy - 4 point plan.  Direct attack on McCain already!  Not cool....

McCain - sad about Sen. Kennedy.  Took the air about the room.  Talking from personal point-of-view.  Like it.  "End of beginning" is good line.  

(I hate when politicians say "Main Street.  So overdone.)

Good on Lehrer to go back to question.

Obama - still not answering question.  Not sure it can be answered...

McCain will vote for the plan.  Both "warned."  

Like Lehrer's attempt to try to get them to talk to each other.  Harder to be confrontational.

I'm on Lehrer's side right now.

McCain - sick of hearing about the strength of the American worker.  That's too idealistic and not solid enough.

McCain on differences - not many.  Spending is not enough.  Pork barrel not enough.

Obama - tax cuts is difference, but not different enough.

McCain - cutting spending seems silly if we need programs.

Obama - interruption not cool.  Focus on people really struggling was good.

McCain - like focus on business taxes.  Small business matters.  And getting small businesses to stay is important.  Purchasing own healthcare is cool.

Obama - 95 percent of people getting tax cuts is good but old point.  Loopholes point is a good one.  Makes people feel like there are tricks up McCain's sleeve.  Taxing health benefits for first time is a problem.

McCain - smiling...  "Walking the walk" statement strong.  Voting records point is a good one.  Always will be.

Obama - calling McCain "John" minimizes his credentials.  Drilling offshore made its first appearance.

Question - rescue system.  What will you give up?

Obama - delay things.  Hard to anticipate statement is realistic.  Won't give up oil independence.  Investment in alternative energies is really important.  Crucially important to me.  Fix healthcare system.  People going bankrupt.  Education is important. Infrastructure / electricity grid. Hit 2 of my biggest issues.  

McCain - cut spending.  Funny statement about reaching across the aisle.  Eliminate ethanol subsidies.  Cut defense spending.  Saved taxpayers money on Boeing deal is good point.  Priorities not clear enough for me.

Lehrer - not making changes.  Good point.

Obama - won't say what is delayed.  Might strip away parts of plan.  Not a good sign.  Medicare system reforms is good point.  Worked with Colburn.  "Google for Government" is an awesome thing.  Love the use of new technology.

Lehrer - good toughness on Obama.

McCain - spending freeze on everything but Veterans and defense?  No way!

Obama - like point on Iraq excesses.

McCain - like point on giving money to countries that don't like us.  But would like focus on making countries like us and want to work with us.  Mentioned Clinton!  Good on him!

Obama - admitted effect on budget.  Good focus on priorities.

McCain - not government's role to make medical decisions for families.  Like that a lot.  Spending restraint isn't good if it hurts people...  Great point on owing China too much.  Really strong answer from McCain.

Obama - spending comes from President.  McCain voted for budgets.  Good catch.  

McCain - repeat of "Miss Congeniality" statement (overused).  Didn't rebut votes on President's budget.

Question - lessons of Iraq?

McCain - cannot have failed strategy.  Poor answer.  Very upsetting.  Not real answer.  Not with McCain on "success" of surge strategy.  Not sure of Iraq being an ally either.  Success is not assured at this point in my opinion.

Obama - good point on going to war in first place.  Cost is big issue. Redirection on bin Laden, Afghanistan - strong.  

McCain looks very uncomfortable.

McCain - good point on Obama saying surge would not work.  Never had hearing point is a good one.

Obama - focus on Biden is not enough.  He should've done something on his own.  Called McCain out.  Way to fight back.  Good reference to McCain history on Iraq.

McCain looks smug.

McCain - troops "Let us win" statement is quaint.  Clearing area and people align with the U.S. seems naive.

Obama - McCain opposed funding because of timetable. No difference on supporting troops.  Re-focus on Afghanistan.  Rambling....

Talking over each other...

McCain - Iraq is central battleground.  Interesting...  "Snatch defeat from jaws of victory" is great statement.

Question - more troops for Afghanistan?

Obama - yes.  al Qaeda and Taliban still cross boarder and attack troops.  Pakistan is also issue. Plan to press government, reduce poppy trade, deal with Pakistan.  (How is he going to deal with Pakistan?)

McCain - regrets Charlie Wilson's war.  Not the movie.  Maybe the movie.  But definitely the reality.  Won't threaten Pakistan.  Need support of people (sounds kinda silly and unrealistic).  Tribal relations is good idea, but might not be doable.  Too much focus on Petreus - not enough on being military leader (Commander in Chief) himself.

Obama - "We should take them out." Good strength.  Anti-democratic point will probably be a strong on for many people.  

McCain - admired Ronald Reagan.  Voted against invading Lebanon.  Going over record - kinda boring.  Human interest story; but old one.

Obama - "Got bracelet too" is insulting.  Downplays value of both.  Rambling...  Re-focus on Afghanistan. Really working on making this point.

McCain - Obama didn't go to Afghanistan.  Wow.  That's bad.

Question - Iran.

McCain - threat to Israel and to region.  Wow.  Second Holocaust?  Really?  Policy of sanctions.  Personally argued both sides of effectiveness of sanctions when I was a debater in college.  Not a very clear answer here.

Obama - can't tolerate nuclear Iran.  And Russia makes an entrance...  Isolation point is a good one.  Doesn't work.  This is huge for me.

McCain - got Bush fever with mispronounciations.  What's the point with conditions?  Conversations don't legitimize illegal behavior.  What pre-conditions?  What does he want?

Obama smiling looks bad.

Obama - shows strength with "Meet any time and place of my choosing."  Kissinger point is a good one.  Kissinger supports Obama strategy on Iran.  Hedging his bets with the preparation and "It might not work."  Don't like that. 

McCain smiling again.

McCain - strongest point on pre-conditions yet. 

Why can you see McCain's podium and not Obama's on the split screen?  That's not fair to McCain because Obama fills more of the screen. 

McCain is really taking Obama to task on this one.  Shit.

Obama looks really annoyed and off-kilter.

Question on Russia.

Obama - they are a threat to peace and stability in region.  Good mention of NATO allies.  Adding Georgia may be a tough/dangerous thing.  Glad he's bringing attention to loose nukes.

McCain - calling Obama naive again.  Starting to believe it.  Rambling...  Focus on Ukraine seems like a stretch.

Obama - starting to agree with McCain.  Shows McCain's authority.  Rambling...  

Getting late in the debate.  Bet they're tired.

Obama - back to energy talk.  Was strong on economy earlier.  Trying to go back to it so he can debate from a point of strength. Took McCain's point on energy = national security. Nice job.  Good point on McCain energy record on alternatives.

McCain - showing weakness on alternative energy in comparison to strength on foreign policy.

Question - another 9/11 attack?

McCain - long pause.  Got most reforms into law because of bi-partisanship.  Works better with Allies.  Thinks America is safe; long way to go.  Men and women in agencies are doing a great job (but earlier he said there was waste in the Defense Dept.).  

Obama - nuclear proliferation is biggest threat.  Loose nukes again.  American unsafe in those ways.  al Qaeda is root cause.  Need more work there.  Perception is important.  (This really resonates with me - not sure of direct like to terrorism since terrorism is the work of a minority.) 

McCain - used Obama's "Doesn't get it" line.

Obama - tie McCain to current adminstration.  Failure with bin Laden.  China debt is scary.  Not sure how he will change it.    Trying to take veteran's affairs issues from McCain.  Won't work.

McCain - involved in foreign policy issues for 20 years (not necessarily a good thing).  Attacked Obama on experience.  Equates Obama to current administration.  Won't work.  

Obama - father from Kenya.  No other country where you can make it if you try.  Love the point on how children look at the United States.  So important to me.  

McCain - back to veterans.  Knows how to deal with adversaries and friends.

Analysis - McCain won debate because of foreign policy.  Economy is still too up in the air, but Obama did better because he offered more specifics.  Not what I expected.

Rumor is...

Sarah Palin is going to be watching tonight's debate from Philly's own Irish Pub at 20th and Walnut.


The debate is on.  I plan on blogging it live if you're interested.

Two things

So I've been thinking and talking a lot about McCain suspending his campaign.  And strategically, it makes a lot of sense.  He got mad props when he supported the surge even though it meant he might not win the primary.  He seemed presidential and won the primary.  So why not try to get lightening to strike twice by doing the same thing on the economy?  Fact of the matter is that the war is not like the economy and the general is not like the primary election.  And even though he's now in a tough spot - not sure whether to support the President or the House Republicans - the strategy may pay off between now and the election.  Still much to be seen.

The second thing - I loved waking up to news this morning that the House Republicans had questioned the Bush administration on the bail out.  Thank goodness someone did!  And I especially like that they are trying to find a way to to make Wall St. at least somewhat responsible for financing the solution for a problem they created.  Now, the plan isn't that clear just yet and might be too micro to solve the systematic problem, but it's good to know that not everyone is just going to fall in line with a Bush initiative.  More to come, I'm sure.

Still keeping my fingers crossed for the debate tonight...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

From my office

I was having a conversation with a colleague at work today that went something like this:

Him: Sarah Palin should be put in front of the media and the public should be allowed to ask her direct questions.

Me: If I were Sarah Palin - asked to join a political campaign 18 months into it and without much political experience (which is different than legislative experience) - I would want some protection from the public while I got my feet under me.

Him: But if she's willing to accept the VP nomination, she should know there's great public scrutiny that comes with it.

Me: I agree.  I hope in the homestretch - the final month of the campaign - she'll open things up.  And I really look forward to that.  I think the campaign is being really too careful with her right now and she'll surprise them when she's allowed to start speaking off-script.

One only hopes.  I would hate for her to positioned as a joke - which is beginning to happen.  Check out this article from CNN's Campbell Brown:  Go, Sarah!

With Friends Like These...

So now that everyone knows I'm undecided, many of my friends have started sending me emails encouraging me to vote one way or another.  In all honesty, most of them are anti-McCain/Palin. (Where are all the anti-Obama folks?)

Here are the three most recent: 

Sarah Palin hates the environment (thanks, Charla) -

Sarah Palin is "exceptional" according to The New York Times (thanks, Staci) -

Network news conceals the real John McCain (Staci again) -

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Stop

So this is annoying:  John McCain is pausing his campaign at exactly the wrong time, and I hope Barak Obama doesn't follow suit.  Honestly, the two of them being in the Senate right now isn't going to make solving the crisis any easier.  And now more than ever, we need them both to campaign so we can choose the right one to be the next president.  We desperately need the debates to put these guys head to head on policies and approaches.  And who is to say when the campaigns start back up?  Two weeks?  Four? We don't have the time.  And we certainly can't choose a president without debates.  It's un-American and would potentially ruin this political season for nerds like me all over the country.

From the PR side of this announcement, it kinda looks like McCain is slow to move and scared to debate Obama.  And yet he's set the perfect PR trap for Obama.  If the Senator from Illinois refuses to suspend his campaign, it will be spun as though he doesn't care about the middle class Americans he's targeted with his ads and speeches.  On that front, well done by the McCain camp.

I've been wondering since last week if and how the candidates would make themselves relevent to the economic conversation.  And with this line in an email just sent by the McCain camp he took at bold step in that direction:

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

Will it right Wall Street?  Probably not.  But McCain has certainly taken the leadership role here.  Can't wait to see how Obama responds...

The World Votes

This is pretty cool:  Since the president is often called "The Leader of the Free World" - the rest of the world's concerns should be considered.  It makes me angry when people say that they don't care about what the rest of the globe thinks or cares about.  We're in a global economy with global communications and let's face it - global politics.  Americans as a whole know much too little about other people and countries.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making McCain

Ok - let me put it out there.  I would've voted for McCain if he were running against anyone else (especially Hillary) or if he were the same person he was 8 years ago.  I'm serious.  

McCain has always had significant support amoung the younger types.  Even some of my most liberal friends in college loved him.  Then, he was truly an outsider and a maverick.  The Bushies hated him and destroyed him, which was really sad and unfortunately.  But his reaction was moreso.  Since gaining the nomination - and maybe even before that - he turned his boat around from the middle towards the shores of the conservative Evangelicals.  He sounds more and more like Karl Rove every day. 

The worst part is really the empty rhetoric.  He speaks in these broad strokes that gave us the once promising concept, "compassionate conservative."  But I know they're unfamiliar and uncomfortable with them - and I just want to shake them out of him.  Where has all the straight talk gone?  Left bhind on the bus?  I don't think this is who he really is.  

One of the worst things McCain has done during the second part of the campaign is give us his humor.  Young people related to him because he seemed real and because he made fun of himself and others.  He wasn't afraid; he was genuine.  Now it's all gone.  Whoever told him to give up his sharp sense of humor should be left to the mercy of John Stewart from now until November 2nd.

My mom came with me to the TODAY show yesterday, and some random guy came up to her complaining he couldn't get on the show.  During his rant, he mentioned that he was a Vietnam vet.  He said that neither he nor none of his friends came back sound of mind, body, and spirit.  The more my mom thought about it - the more she agreed with him.  She didn't know anyone either.  Made her look at McCain in a different way.

As for me, I'd really like to vote for McCain.  He's got my conservative values and before recently, he seemed like a middle-of-the-road, practical guy.  I'm hoping all the talk of change didn't change him.


I thought it only fair to share with you where I get my news and analysis so that you can have a greater understanding of how or why I form opinions.  If you have a suggestion of other sources, please let me know and I'll try to incorporate them into my decision-making process.  Here you go:

NBC News (Nightly and TODAY)
Meet the Press
Daily Show


Yesterday, I was on the TODAY show talking presidential politics because I'm the undecided, unmarried in PA type.  Which means I'm the target of the both the Obama and McCain campaign.  Awesome until they ring your door bell in the middle of the Eagles/Steelers game.  

Anyhow - the experience was a lot of fun and Meredith is great, but there just wasn't enough time to get into all the issues that matter to me and the other undecided women on the panel - Gen and Debbie.  So I've decided to put my verbocity to work here on this blog.  

As a primer - here's a rough profile of me: 27, Catholic, single, live and work in Center City Philadelphia, employed by Braithwaite Communications (marketing and PR agency), politics major in college (Catholic University - DC), originally from New Jersey, don't own a car or home, registered Republican.

Politically, I fall in line with the Republicans on my pro-life stance, low taxes, small government, "hands off" approach to the economy, gun rights.

My other primary issues include: foreign relations, environment, investment in technology and alternative energy, education, gay rights, equal pay for women, crime, and the ECONOMY.

Right now, I'm leaning Obama.  I think he's the special kind of politician we only get once a generation.  I also believe he's a fundamentally reasonable person - which I value tremendously.

I'm also excited by Sarah Palin because of her pro-life stance, her ability to balance work and family, and her ambition.  She's the kind of woman I know and like.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to add to this blog at least once a day.  My goal is to share how my opinions change in response to the debates, ads, PR, and policy plans the candidates put forth between now and the election.  

I really wish I had done it during the 30+ hours I spent watching the Conventions.  By there's no time like the present.  So here we go...