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Tag: Debate ’08

Prediction on Tonight's Debate

Posted by – 10/15/08

I predict I won’t be watching.

Belmont's Debate Results?

Posted by – 10/7/08

That’s about two hours of my life I’ll never get back. Seriously. The deep sleep into which the candidates nearly forced me would have definitely been worth it. Nobody won, except perhaps the fact checkers, who will now enjoy a much deserved respite. Nothing to be fact checked; nothing new was said.

“Hey Senator, I’m going to ask you a very specific question. Could you please answer it?”

“You know what? I’d like to, but I see you mentioned the words ask, specific, and answer, and I think I’d like to respond to those instead. You see, it’s time the American people got answers from their government for the specific questions they ask…”

Which candidate? Doesn’t matter, apply it generously to either. Both of them picked out key words from questions, and proceeded to answer by using their generic stump speech regarding those key words.

I’m supremely disappointed, and I think it’s mostly because it was the first presidential debate ever held in Tennessee, and it was at my alma mater. I don’t know why I was expecting more. Given the history of debates in this election cycle, it was foolish to do so. Seems kind of like so many Americans’ strangely unwavering faith that the government will be the fix to all their problems, despite stark historical evidence to the contrary.

Anyway, hopefully someone in the world will do something insane here in the next day or so. I’m not sure I can handle the media rattling on about that debate for very long. The debate itself was painful enough.

UPDATE: Good to know I’m not alone on this. Perhaps this means that no reasonable person will even be talking about who won, who lost. Can I even hope for that?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

UPDATE II: Wow, looks like I got my wish for someone doing something insane. And much sooner than I thought.

Barbara's will be on NBC Nightly News!

Posted by – 10/6/08

As you may know, I am a proud alumnus of Belmont University, the location of tomorrow’s second presidential debate. The news teams have already swarmed into town, and from what I understand, McCain’s going to be bedding down in Nashville tonight. Obama will be arriving sometime tomorrow.

I went to get dinner with a friend at Barbara’s Home Cookin, my favorite restaurant (local or otherwise), and was delighted to find that NBC Nightly News had been in at lunch today to interview her for her take on the current political goings on.

Not that Barbara’s doesn’t get national attention already. She’s been the focus of at least one Food Network segment, and there are several framed magazine articles on the wall. Behind the checkout counter, there were somewhere between 25 and 30 signed head shots of celebrity patrons, ranging from the obvious country stars to several Fox News anchors and even Snoop Dogg. (Yes, I just had to ask about that one. He was recording a country/blues album at The Castle back in the spring, and the locals all told him to take himself and his entourage down to Barbara’s for dinner. Apparently Barbara called him Snoopy. And Snoopy told Barbara that he hadn’t had a meal that good since his own grandma passed away.)

In re-telling the story, Barbara seemed a bit taken aback that a national news outlet would think that she’d be the person to ask about such things. “I’m a simple person,” she told me. “The economic crisis hasn’t affected our business at all. It’s cash based, just like it’s supposed to be.” Dave Ramsey’s head shot is one of the lucky few to have made it through the most recent head shot wall clean-up, positioned closest of all to the cash register if I remember correctly.

I’m proud to see Barbara’s getting the more attention. To folks who might be in Nashville for the debate, do yourself a favor and check her place out. It’s a classic Southern meat ‘n three style restaurant, and though it’s a bit outside the city, it’s worth every minute of the beautiful drive to get there.

1232 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37069
Phone: (615) 794-9533

Still in the tank: reactions to the two debates

Posted by – 10/5/08

Is anyone else enjoying the dramatic irony of the mainstream media’s reactions to the VP debate when compared with the first presidential debate? We’re supposed to believe that Biden vs. Palin came down to substance vs. style. If you’re not sure which one is the positive, I don’t blame you. When the libs watched the VP debate, it was incredibly clear: the man with substance was the winner. When they watched the presidential debate, it was also incredibly clear: the man with nuanced style was the winner.

Nevermind the baseless authority with which Biden spoke and rattled off facts — ones that are easy to come by, of course, given their incipience in Joe’s head — the Dems absolutely loved him. And since the mainstream media is packed to the brim with Dems, what do you expect the columns might be filled with this week?

So they’re in love with factless substance now? Great.

Obama, on the other hand, seems to know very little about a lot of things. And though Palin’s been blasted over the last few days for her folksiness and inability to adhere to the Dems pre-determined agenda, somehow every one of Obama’s absolutely show-stopping public train wrecks have been swept under the rug. Nothing to see here, move it along. Shoo.

Obama’s teleprompter-powered speeches might make some weak in the knees, but his reticence does nothing to impress me. I suppose I can’t blame him. Every time he reacts instinctively, he tends to be wrong. Iran? Wrong. Georgia? Wrong. Freddie and Fannie? Wrong.

Yeah, gotta love that nuance. And all that substance from the Senatorial veteran. Facts don’t matter in the Obamanation. It just has to sound right.

Wrong again!

Posted by – 10/3/08

Yup, that’s me. I got it wrong again. Turns out the Veeps looked more presidential to me than either of the heads of their respective ticket. Yeesh.

Of course there was Biden, the foreign policy hand of his ticket, getting his math on Afghanistan wrong. Not that I had the numbers with me, but when Biden let this one out, I immediately said, “You know, that doesn’t sound right, and if he’s wrong, he’s gonna get nailed on that.” Welp, he was wrong.

3 weeks of Iraq – $6.3 billion
7 years of Afghanistan - $150.5 billion

(UPDATE: More on Joe’s ignorance of Lebanon. And Joe being wrong on Gaza and the West Bank.)

He also doesn’t seem to have nearly as firm a grasp on the Constitution as he appeared to have during the debate. To answer Gov. Palin’s famous question, “What does a VP do?” Ace responds, “Under the Constitution, the VP only has two things to do: break ties in the Senate and wait for the President to die.” More information on Ace’s blog, but essentially almost nothing Biden laid out concerning the VP in the Constitution was correct.

I think the best thing that could’ve happened with the moderator, Gwen Ifill, was the news coming out so close to the debate that she has a book about the historic nature of Obama coming out on inauguration day. I think it forced her to be fairly even handed. She was just as tough on Biden as she was on Palin, and certainly didn’t produce the kind of underwhelming questions that her colleague did the week previous. One thing of note: she didn’t ask any questions on energy, which was odd. Not to worry, Gov. Palin took it upon herself to answer one (or several) anyway.

I think Palin did much better than most people expected, given the public perception of her based on several poor interviews. I have a tiny little conspiracy theory about that. Can I share? I know it sounds ridiculous, but McCain is known for enjoying the fun of tactics, maneuvers, and outflanking professional observers. Do you think there’s a chance that the campaign intentionally set her up to appear less than impressive before the debate? I dunno. Just a thought. (UPDATE: Justin Hart at Culture 11 seems to share my conspiratorial thought: “She basically had to show up and not get sick on camera.”)

Biden did fairly well, in my opinion. None of his toes tickled the back of his throat once all night. For Anchor Joe to come off a debate with nary more than a couple stutters is a miracle. Maybe a miracle of modern medicine, even. Brokaw’s pre-debate analysis: Joe needs to be succinct. “And for Joe Biden to be succinct, he may have had to undergo a gene transplant today.”

Who won? Oh, that depends so much on the rubric you use to determine a debate winner. The Governor is still a Rorschach test. Few that hated her before have changed their minds. It’s all in the undecideds; strategically, that’s really the only demographic either campaign should care about now. Just like with the first post-debate polls, the results are all over the place. Here’s one from Frank Luntz’s focus group:

I think the real winner will be whoever gets a sizable boost in the polls after this. I was impressed enough with Palin’s performance, but ultimately, all that matters is the results of the election come November 4th. Every little thing up to that is merely a chess move.

A more important question is…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Partial List of Questions for Tonight's Debate

Posted by – 10/2/08

I’m re-posting from Treacher because this is awesome and I hope he doesn’t mind. Some of Gwen Ifill’s questions for the VP debate:

Mayor Palin, Barack Obama is a handsome, charismatic demigod. How many boxes of Kleenex will you need after your crushing loss?

Senator Biden, what is your favorite color? And if you have time for a follow-up question: Why?

Mayor, you talk funny and you own a tanning bed. Why haven’t you released Trig’s birth certificate?

Senator, have you seen those pictures of Obama in his swim trunks? If not, I have them right here.

Mayor, what are the names, ages, and blood types of all 71 members of the Belgian Senate? And why are you unwilling to admit that your inability to instantly produce any and every fact I demand makes you unfit to stand in the way of history?

Senator, you’ve spoken at length. Could you please continue?

Mayor, which is your preferred method of stifling dissent, banning books or burning them? Since it’s both, please explain how you can deny the accusation that you’re a fascist, which I am making now.

Senator, could you please sign my book?


And as Treacher points out, maybe SNL will pick this idea up for a skit as well.

Prediction for VP Debate

Posted by – 10/1/08

Well, I was definitely wrong about the first debate, and I’ll own up to that. No promises here, but I’ve got a prediction about the VP debate. Get ready for it!


The best I’m hoping for is great comic fodder, from either of them. Last Friday’s debate didn’t give SNL much to work with, and the resulting skit was pretty ho hum. I don’t think Sarah Palin will impress many, given her lackluster performance in recent interviews. Now, I know she’s not experienced with the national press going for the jugular as they do with all candidates, but still, I was hoping for more. I’ll temper that statement by saying that I like her regardless of her performance. Unlike an apparently large swath of the electorate, I don’t make my voting decisions based on the feel-goodiness of the candidate. As I’ve said before, I look at their stated beliefs and promises, and then compare their political and public track record with those beliefs and promises. Running Gov. Palin through that rubric brings me a great level of satisfaction.

That doesn’t mean I think she’ll do well in the debate. But I’m willing to be wrong about this. Once the debate’s over, you can expect the standard issue spin from both camps, just like we’re seeing in the pre-debate positioning now. At this stage in the game, I think Palin is, as many have said, a partisan rorschach test. Same with Obama, to be honest. If you don’t want to like them, nothing they do will change that. If you love either of them, you’re bound to be impressed by even a sneeze. Anyway, those are my pre-debate thoughts.

Oh, and I think Joe Biden is supposed to be there, too.

In Response to Larissa

Posted by – 9/29/08

This comment response grew to the point of absurdity in length and earned itself the status of a post. It is in response to my friend Larissa’s comments here about Braceletgate. Wait, I promised not to do that.

Well! To which comment shall I respond? First, glad to have you here. I always enjoy a lively debate.

I haven’t gotten an opportunity to really opine on the happenings of Friday night’s debate yet as I’ve been working and getting sick all weekend. The one probably led to the other.

In short, my thoughts are this: reactions to the debate are absolutely all over the place. Pundits have a mishmash, smorgasbord of opinion. A poll can be found to agree with almost anyone’s perception of the debate. Diehard Republicans and Democrats, a group to which I believe you reside, seem to be sure their respective candidate wonderfully trounced the other and came off looking great. In the last two days, I’ve seen and read The Faithful of both camps feverishly repeating the rhetoric from spin alley, and the broad spectrum of polls taken after the debate, both scientifically and otherwise, seem to reflect the defined positions of those being polled more than anything else. What’s funny is that much of the criticism of the candidates could be, and actually is, applied to either. You mentioned that you thought McCain was rude and disrespectful. I’ve heard the same argument leveled at Obama for his continuous interruptions and references to McCain as “John.” (I had actually not read the arguments about McCain being disrespectful anywhere until I looked up network news coverage of the debates to get their poll numbers. Seems that was a common thread amongst former Democratic operatives like Stephanopoulos.) What a person saw in the debate depends largely on the political lenses through which they watched. More…