Yay, debate! You know the drill by now – drinking games, tallies of popular phrases, hatred of the McCain. I actually do hate him more than usual today – I don’t have the energy to link to anything, but he and Palin have been unacceptably vociferous in their racist attacks and encouragement of same in the past couple days.
Alas, it looks as though I won’t be recapping from the Big Bad Room full of unabashed liberals tonight, but rather from the TV room in my dorm. Ah well; ’twill be good anyway. Pandanose has a bingo for Obama and McCain; Jezebel’s liveblog is here, Feministe has a combination liveblog/drinking game, a play-by-play with actual facts and linkage and such from Alternet showing how McCain is off the deep end, and you obviously know where I am, so I think we’re all set. See you in 50!
8:57 I catch the last couple minutes of 90210. Intriguing. From what I hear, the old one was better. All I can say is that I better not miss any of the debate for this drivelish.
9:00 NBC News has their ridiculous logo, complete with Grecian columns. I’m sorry, but would you mind being just a tad more dramatic? Thanks so much. This will be a town-hall type debate, with 80 preselected, uncommitted voters. Questions submitted by same and by millions of Americans, by e-mail. Let’s get it on! Brian Williams tells us that the economy sucks, like we didn’t already know. The debate is in Nashville, across from the house of one of my friends.
9:01 Tom Brokaw is the moderator, and he tells us that this is the only debate with the town-hall format. Whoople-dee-doo. He tells us that there is a loooong list of questions, and goes all dramatic when explaining the ground rules. The audience, as usual, has agreed to behave themselves, unlike my room.
9:02 Gentlemen! Each wears a tie with the color of their party. Blue is a better color anyway. The world has changed a great deal since their last debate, and so lots of questions have to do with the economy. Bad luck for McCain – first question is for Obama.
9:03 Allen from the audience has an accent and asks what the fastest, most positive solution is to help all the regular citizens. Great Depression name-check, woot! He tells us we’re worried. Just like a psychiatrist. He tells people that it’s all Bush’s and McCain’s fault, but it seems more effective when he’s actually up right next to people and talking to them in person. He says the first step was the bailout, which passed. And AIG are being douches, and should be fired. Duh. He also says that we should lower taxes on the middle class, and set up jobs so that the economy can bounce back. Barack is the one that thinks of you, not the lobbyists!
9:06 McCain says it’s good to be with Obama, like people told him he acted like an ass last time. McCain tells us we’re afraid. He brings up energy independence – which doesn’t seem like the most important thing right now. He says we have to stop the spending spree, but neglects to mention that it’s Bush’s fault and was supported by him. He says we’re going to have to “do something about home values” – can you just do that? Isn’t that inflation? He says something about the Secretary of the Treasury buying up bad homes – does this make any kind of fiscal sense? Econ majors, take me away! He says creating jobs and fixing the economy is important, but neglects to tell us about his “proposal”.
9:08 McCain would appoint…he hits on Tom Brokaw first. Who would he appoint to the Secretary of the Treasury? A supporter of Obama’s. Always riding his coattails, Johnny. And he names a woman. Oh, McCain’s not sexist anymore! I guess I can cancel my plans for a feminist tattoo. He says something about eBay that I unfortunately miss. He says we don’t trust our institutions, but neglects to mention that he’s part of those institutions.
9:09 Obama says the guy McCain named would be good, but there are other choices. He says it’s key that the next Secretary cares about the middle class, not just the rich and trickle-down bullshit. Obama speaks to the fiscal problems of the everyman, and points out the “fundamental differences” between his and McCain’s philosophies. I feel that if I were taking a test on knowledge of their talking points, I would ace it.
9:11 Tom Brokaw yells at them for going too long. Next question: how is the bailout package going to help us? McCain says it’s not bailout, it’s rescue. Wuh? He mentions suspending his campaign, like this was a good decision, or like he actually did. Obama’s eyes are dancing like sugarplums as he gazes at McCain. Why do they make them sit on stools? Obama’s pretty tall. It must be uncomfortable. McCain says that Obama and his “cronies” are solely responsible for Fannie and Freddie and the entire Great Depression 2.0. Obama still gazes beatifically, like he will kill him with kindness. McCain still goes on about F & F; he says “shore up” and mentions buying bad loans again.
9:13 Obama’s turn! He explains the problem with the loans across the economy and the country. He brings it back to deregulation, which McCain loves more than his red ties. Obama says two years ago he was trying to talk to people in financey-government things, and nobody cared (least of all McCain). Obama talks about some bill McCain brought up to make himself look better, but points out that it wasn’t his bill and it didn’t pass. He says this is just the beginning of a long process, and that the next president needs to work with the Secretary…oo, Brokaw! He asks Obama to clarify if he said that the economy will get worse before it gets better. Obama stutters, backtracks, and says our economy will get better but we will have to work hard and be smart. Fair enough.
9:17 McCain says the economy might not get worse; depends on what we do. Brings back the buying of loans again, brings up “cronies”, and verbally masturbates about the American Workers again. They are the best workers in the world. Who does this jingoism and xenophobia actually work for?
9:18 Next question, for Obama: she is pissed off! She glares at him and yells about how BOTH PARTIES got us into this economic crisis, and awkwardly sits down. He says it’s a good point, that most of the people in here haven’t been doing anything but minding their own business. Obama takes it back to history, and points out how when Bushie came in, we had a national debt that was half its current size, and a budget surplus, so while it’s true that nobody is completely innocent, Bush has been the worst in American history. So Obama would spend some money on key issues: health care, energy, college affordability. Obama says he’s actually cutting more than he’s spending, contrary to what McCain would say, and so there’s a net spending cut.
9:20 McCain thanks her and says the system is broken. He says he reaches across the aisle, and mentions climate change, and bipartisanship. Senator Obama has never taken on the leaders of his party on a single issue, apparently; he namedrops ‘”rhetoric” to mean “smooth-talking jive turkey”. He says he’s fought against earmarks and what have you; and mentions Obama’s new spending proposals, like he didn’t just tell us about that himself. McCain gets creepily close to the people near him, and looks like a turtle with bad hair. He mentions energy independence again, and drilling offshore, and pronounces “nuclear” correctly. Damn.
9:23 In what order will your priorities be, out of healthcare, energy, and Social Security/Medicare. McCain writes the three down very dramatically, says we can work on all three at once – zoinks. He mentions sitting down across the table and reaching across the aisle, completely ignoring the question and going on about nuclear power plants again. Ooh, alternative fuels! Is that Arizonan for “healthcare reform”? No? Oh, he says “terrorist”, dog-whistling “you scary black man” to all you racists following along at home. Tom Brokaw yells at McCain again.
9:25 Obama actually answers the question. Energy first (he knows Nashville’s gas price), because we’re buying fuel from other places. He says his goal is in 10 years to be free from Middle Eastern oil in ten years – does he mean we’ll get it all from Venezuela instead? Healthcare is 2. And number 3 is education. Obama mentions McCain’s ridiculous tax cuts. Yay!
9:27 Tom yells at them AGAIN, and mentions a time deficit better than the financial one in the government. You know Tom, we’re not watching this for you. It would behoove you to remember that. A question from Fiora, from the Web: what sacrifices would they ask the American people to make? Fiora has it going on. He mentions things in the government that aren’t working – does this have to do with the American people? EARMARKS. Oyy. He says we’re going to have to tell the American people that we have a spending freeze except for defense and veteran’s affairs – like, nothing else is going to need money. Basically, McCain is asking American citizens to lie back and think of England. He mentions earmarks again and I die inside. He also wants to go back a second. He says we can attack healthcare and energy at the same time – direct quote: “we’re not rifle shots! We’re Americans!” Jingoism for 10!
9:30 Obama mention 9/11. This will not be good – or will it?. He says the country was ready to come together and make changes and sacrifices, but President Bush told us to go shopping instead. He says that wasn’t the call to service we were looking for (it WAS good!). He says we’re hungry for the leadership that will attack the problems head-on. he goes back to energy, and says we’ll have to come up with better ways to get oil and coal and nuclear energy. but each individual is going to have to save energy at home, and he’ll provide incentives. Yay! Gold stars for everyone! He thinks the young people of America are especially interested in serving, and wants to double the size of the Peace Corps, to disseminate the burden from the troops.
9:33 Bush says “Wall Street got drunk”; what would Obama do to fix our problems nationwide? He says it starts with Washington; they have to be good role models. He calls McCain on not “sharing the burden” because he’s just giving tax cuts to rich CEOs instead of the teacher who’s making $35,000 a year. Duh. So he says the president should set a tone that we’re all gong to contribute and be better. he says a spending freeze is a hatchet rather than a scalpel, and says he wouldn’t give rich dudes like McCain any help. Heehee.
9:35 McCain is an idiot and talks about Jello. Maybe he’s hungry. He mentions Hoover, like the world is exactly the same as it was in 1929. He says Obama has a secret that will increase taxes on 50% of small businesses; we all agree that this is crap. Now he’s talking about his healthcare tax credit. I’m so sick of his bullshit.
9:37 Obama wants to answer, but Tom shuts it down. Tom asks about Social Security, Medicare, etc. He asks if they would fix Social Security in two years, as apparently everyone agrees that it is a ticking time bomb. Obama says we might not be able to do this in the first two years, but during his first term. He also says that McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” lost a wheel. Haha. Obama addresses the tax thing, and reiterates that 95% of people will see a tax cut. Small businesses – only a very small percent make >$250,000, so they wouldn’t be affected. He says McCain wants to give a $300 billion tax cut to the very richest people in the country, which is not fair and doesn’t work. HEAR HEAR. My God, people. The fuck.
9:40 McCain yells at Tom and gets all grumpy, but then calls us “my friends”, for approximately the 50th time tonight. He namedrops Ronald Reagan and then I miss what happens because everybody [in the TV room] is talking. Shut up. Back to tax cuts! He goes back to “rhetoric vs. record” He says Obama never tried to pass legislation in the Senate to give tax breaks to the middle class.
9:42 Tom will not ask a follow-up question. The question is, how would McCain make Congress move fast (as it did for the bailout) to fix the environment and provide green jobs. McCain talks about our planet and children and grandchildren A girl in here points out that McCain only thanks the Caucasian people for their questions by name, because he can’t remember the other ones. It’s true. He does something else that makes people giggle. He talks about alternative energies, and battery-powered cars, and mentions strongly disagreeing with the Bush Administration.
9:45 Obama says this is one of the biggest challenges of our times, but also an opportunity. He says we can easily create 5 million jobs by trying to be green, but we’re going to have to make an investment. He draws parallel with the development of the computer, and says this is a national security issue as well. He also favors nuclear power as a part of the package. McCain has said, according to Obama, that Washington hasn’t done anything on energy for the last 30 years, but he’s been there for 26 and voted down alternative energy bills tons of the time. So, he’s full of shit. Obama says we can’t drill our way out of the problem, and it can’t be a solution, especially because fossil fuels contribute to global warming.
9:47 Tom yells at them yet again, and McCain asks him to wave his arms when it’s time for him to stop, as he’s going blind. Tom says something about a nuclear bomb, meaning to be talking about nuclear power. I do not think that word means what he thinks it means. McCain points to Obama and calls him “that one”. He is such a piece of shit.
9:49 Lindsay from the audience says that healthcare has been a successful industries in the country; should it still be a commodity? McCain paces and lurks around in the background, even though Obama always sits quietly and respectfully when it’s not his turn. Here’s what Obama would do – if you’ve got healthcare and are happy with it, you can keep it, and he’ll lower your premiums. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll get the same kind federal employees have; with a huge pool, they can drop the cost. Obama mentions that McCain will tax your healthcare for the first time in history and will strip away things that say you can’t be excluded for preexisting conditions. Obama says this is not the change that we need.
9:52 McCain says she’s identified one of the major challenges in the country, and we need to make it more efficient, and says that people in the know call medical mistakes “errors”, like they don’t in any other field. McCain mentions Obama mandating healthcare, and says Obama will fine them for not having healthcare. I think there’s a difference between helping people get healthcare and keeping them from getting it. McCain seems to think we’re all tickled at the prospect of going out and shopping for insurance plans with slightly more money. His “shut up light” went off a while ago, but he’s still trucking.
9:55 Healthcare: privilege, right, or responsibility? McCain says the latter, insofar as we should give people money to get it. But he’s nervous about the government. My level of nervousness with the government is directly proportional to the number of Republicans in it. He mentions Obama fining people again, and Obama takes it away.
9:56 Obama says it’s a right, and that it’s ridiculous for people to go bankrupt because of medical bills. He brings up his cancer-ridden mother, who apparently died still haggling with the insurance companies. McCain sighs and crosses his arms really pissily behind Obama. Obama will not have a mandate for small businesses, but he will for children because they’re cheap and because we should, duh. Also McCain voted against expanding SCHIP, because he eats babies. He also says it’s important for the government to crack down on fraudulent insurance companies, which McCain neglected to mention oooh. The problem with shopping state-to-state is that they will find one where they can force you to get the short end of the stick, and then all move there. Tom tries to interrupt him.
9:59 McCain whines about the size of the nonexistent fine. Some dude from the audience asks McCain about peacemaking. He says that America is the greatest force of good in the history of the world – like, I can’t even deal with you anymore. He also says the four corners of the earth – I knew he wasn’t very scientifically-minded. He says we can make a difference by stopping genocide, preventing terrorism, even though we haven’t always done that, but we can because we’re a nation of good! Gag me with a large stick.
10:01 Obama points out that McCain said he doesn’t understand; Obama says he doesn’t understand why we invaded Iraq instead of getting bin Laden in Afghanistan, whereas McCain was a huge fan of the idea and it turned out to be crapola. Obama mentions how much he loves the troops, but says we’ve spent almost as much as the bailout on defense, which is ridiculous, and if we do what McCain says, it will go over 1 trillion. The Iraq economy has a surplus, and we need that money here! Obama says we are the greatest nation – ugh – but says there has never been a country that saw economic decline and still maintained its military might, in addition to everyone in the world hating us because of good ol’ Dubya, so now we can’t do as much as we could.
10:03 What’s the Obama doctrine for the use of U.S. combat forces? For example, the DRC or Rwanda. Obama says we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we do have moral issues at stake. We should have gone in w/ the Holocaust, Rwanda, etc – ethnic cleansing, that kind of thing. It is part of our national interests to do that, but at the same time we can’t do everything everywhere all the time, so we must work with our allies (which we haven’t been doing). He says we should lead and organize and delegate.
10:05 McCain says “my friends” yet again, which creeps me out. McCain doesn’t answer the question, and SAYS IT AGAIN. God in Heaven. McCain says Obama would have brought the troops home in defeat, whereas McCain will bring them home in victory. He’s like a 5-year-old child. He says we need a cool hand at the tiller – if he’s talking about himself, I’ll laugh until my intestines fall out. He says Reagan is his hero. Oy gevalt. He says you have to realize we’re sending our most precious asset into harm’s way and so we should be careful, but obviously is completely ignoring the whole “we didn’t do that in Iraq” thing.
10:08 Next question for Obama: should we respect Pakistan sovereignty, or pursue Al Qaeda? He says it’s difficult because we made a bad judgment by going into Iraq instead of staying in Afghanistan, and diverted resources. He says that’s where the Central Front of the War on Terrorism ™ is, and it will end there just as it started. We can’t coddle a dictator who will turn around and kiss the Taliban’s ass. So we will expand the nonmilitary aid, but insist that they go after Al Qaeda, and if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights, then we do go in.
10:10 McCain says his hero is a guy named Teddy Roosevelt (apparently Reagan did something awful in the last five minutes, because Reagan was his hero before then). He says Obama likes to talk loudly. He also seems to think we have the support of the Iraqi people, thus prompting me to do a spit take. He says we should talk softly but carry a big stick.
10:13 Obama wants a follow-up, and McCain won’t give it to him without having a follow-up follow-up. Obama says he didn’t call for a Pakistani invasion, despite what McCain said – it’s just if they have Al Qaeda and won’t do anything about it, we have to take matters into our own hands. McCain is pacing around, and winces when Obama brings up “Bomb Bomb Iran” and threatening to annihilate North Korea. Obama says that McCain doesn’t speak responsibly and does stuff that undermines our ability to speak responsibly.
10:15 McCain tries to defend his “Bomb Bomb Iran” joke. He calls us “my friends” yet again, and says only he knows how to get bin Laden, but he won’t tell us. Great.
10:16 Tom wants thoughts on something that happened in Afghanistan this week – people have said we’re failing and cannot win there; how will you fix it? Obama will be brief: we need the Iraqi government to take responsibility, withdraw our troops responsibly, and put them in Afghanistan. This is not a game of Risk, you know. he also says we’ll yell at Karzai, but not enough to make him into a dictator. McCain brings up Petraeus again; he says we do need more troops in Afghanistan. of course, he doesn’t mention taking them out of Iraq, which means CONSCRIPTION FOR EVERYONE! He also mentions the motherfucking surge yet again. He mentions bringing them home in victory, not defeat again.
10:19 How can we yell at Russia without starting another Cold War? McCain says that Russia’s behavior is out of the norms for very wealthy nations – you mean invading somewhere for no good reason? He says Putin is KGB and pure evil, and has his eye on Ukraine next, apparently. We have to make them understand that there are penalties for naked aggression. HA! Pot calls kettle black. He says diplomacy and allies, which means he’s seen the recent polls. He interrupts Tom (ooh!).
10:21 Obama says the resurgence of Russia is a major issue, and we need to provide support to the former USSR countries, and provide concrete assistance. We also have to anticipate some problems, and be strategic; also, energy is key in dealing with Russia, and says Russia “makes mischief”. I am contractually obligated to mention my former roommate.
10:23 Ronald Reagan said Russia (the then USSR) was evil; does Obama agree? He says they did evil behavior, and have impulses that are dangerous. McCain says “maybe”, and points out that there’s no right answer to that question.
10:24 If Iran attacks Israel, would you send troops or ask the U.N.? A veteran asks this, and McCain kisses up to him like whoa. McCain says we obviously wouldn’t wait for the U.N. (don’t be silly!). Iran is a threat to the stability of the Middle East because they’re getting nukes. He also brings up the old, dead horse of sitting down with or without preconditions – like, diplomacy is important. Most of us agree on this. Must we argue about semantics this ridiculously? He also says “my friend” and brings up military service and the Holocaust.
10:27 Obama kisses up too, but just a bit. he says we can’t allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, and Israel is one of our strongest allies. We will never take military options off the table or provide veto options to the U.N., but we should use all tools on the table to prevent the need of military force (thus diplomacy; also reduction of energy consumption, sanctions on their fuel, etc). he says we need to talk with our friends and our enemies, to be kind of threatening but kind of friendly. It may not work, but we’ve learned that when we take that approach we have a better chance of a better outcome. Bush decided not to talk, and those countries got tons of stuff for nukes.
10:29 What don’t you know, and how will you learn it? He mentions his wife, and says he asks her. Aww. He says it’s the challenges you don’t expect that end up consuming your time. He says scholarships and frugality and food stamps helped him get to where he is today (haha Republicans who are Social Darwinists!). Would we pass on that American dream to the next generation, because it’s diminished in the last 8 years. People don’t go to college, they earn less, and their lives suck. He says we need fundamental change, and that’s why he’s running for President.
10:32 McCain says he doesn’t know what we all don’t know – i.e., the future. Dear God (Oh, so you think time flows that way, do you? Interesting). He has spent his whole life serving this country. He tries to one-up Obama’s sad story, but doesn’t quite succeed until he brings up the POW card. Oy. He says he believes in this country and its future and its greatness. He says a steady hand must be at the tiller again, and again I wonder if he thinks that means him. Tom grumpily yells at them one last time for standing in front of his TelePrompter; the candidates stop awkwardly standing next to each other and smiling and break away like they’re two negatively charged magnets. McCain and Obama awkwardly walk around talkng to people and McCain looks awkward. But I’m so done – this was a boring and kind of pain-in-the-butt debate. Maybe the next one will be better. Cranky Tom Brokaw was the most interesting part.