The Presidential Debates Debrief

First, thanks to the commenters again who tuned in and commented during the Live Blog I did on the presidential debates on last Friday night.  And for interested parties, I believe I killed in my own debates in Church History class on Saturday morning; we were arguing if “The Trinity Doctrine is nonsense. Arianism isn’t so bad.”

What side do you think I argued on?

Also, I’m giving a birthday shoutout to Mama Uppity who’s celebrating her 62nd birthday on this planet called earth!

Now, to the debates.

First, I just want to say I got mad at the networks all over again because they pushed Donna “Press and curls fit me” Brazile all the way to the end like 25 minutes into the post-debate talks.  And then that did nothing but further remind me that “us folk” are quite paltry when it comes to being on the networks for true real commentary.

But, anywho…

I thought the debate started off well and went quickly downhill.  I think that was evident in my live blog because I remember more than once I wrote “I’m bored.”  As the CNN commentators said, there was no “Youtube” moment in the entire debate which was quite true.  I also thought it was an unfair criticism of the commentators that none of them drove home the critical nature of the economy.   Well, there was a mid-air shift in the questions because this was orginally supposed to be the “foreign affairs” debate.

And yes, if you can’t name drop and pronounce the name, or get the name right, just keep it to yourself.

I think most everyone agrees, though, that there was no standout moment for either candidate except Sen. Barack Obama turning and facing Sen. John “My name is Jim” McCain and Obama’s “John, I have a bracelet too.”   I must admit everyone I knew thought that was a hoot.  Folks started posting that on their Facebook status message it was that funny. 

Personally, I wasn’t swayed either way as to who came into the debates having to prove themselves more.  If it wasn’t for the stunt Fool Fest pulled earlier last week, I would have said Obama’s lackluster or should I say milquetoast debates in the primaries, not to mention his Saddleback sandbagging forum with Rick Warren, would have put him at a disadvantage.  But, I think the two went into this debate with an equal amount of debits and credits to their name, and sadly, they left at about the same level.

I wish the campaign operatives would just have told the truth and said this ddebate was a draw.  As I’ve already said, there was no stand out moment on any issue.  There was no extremely entertaining moment in the debate either.  Oh, yeah, the talking heads were saying they didn’t know what to make of this “John, you’re right” refrain Obama kept echoing the whole night.

Here’s the first one in response to the back and forth about “fundamental” differences between how each, as president would lead the country out of the financial crisis:

Well, I think Senator McCain’s absolutely right that we need more responsibility, but we need it not just when there’s a crisis. I mean, we’ve had years in which the reigning economic ideology has been what’s good for Wall Street, but not what’s good for Main Street.

Well, Senator McCain is absolutely right that the earmarks process has been abused, which is why I suspended any requests for my home state, whether it was for senior centers or what have you, until we cleaned it up.

And he’s also right that oftentimes lobbyists and special interests are the ones that are introducing these kinds of requests, although that wasn’t the case with me.

But let’s be clear: Earmarks account for $18 billion in last year’s budget. Senator McCain is proposing — and this is a fundamental difference between us — $300 billion in tax cuts to some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the country, $300 billion. [Emphasis added.]

Now, $18 billion is important; $300 billion is really important.

And in his tax plan, you would have CEOs of Fortune 500 companies getting an average of $700,000 in reduced taxes, while leaving 100 million Americans out.

So my attitude is, we’ve got to grow the economy from the bottom up. What I’ve called for is a tax cut for 95 percent of working families, 95 percent.

And that means that the ordinary American out there who’s collecting a paycheck every day, they’ve got a little extra money to be able to buy a computer for their kid, to fill up on this gas that is killing them.

And over time, that, I think, is going to be a better recipe for economic growth than the — the policies of President Bush that John McCain wants to — wants to follow

Here’s the second one in which he acknowledged John McCain being right when the issue of tax codes were brought up.  Also, at this point, let it be known, Obama had stuck it to McCain twice, a point that Lehrer had brought up:

My definition — here’s what I can tell the American people: 95 percent of you will get a tax cut. And if you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime’s worth of tax increase.

Now, John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he’s absolutely right. Here’s the problem: There are so many loopholes that have been written into the tax code, oftentimes with support of Senator McCain, that we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

And what that means, then, is that there are people out there who are working every day, who are not getting a tax cut, and you want to give them more.

It’s not like you want to close the loopholes. You just want to add an additional tax cut over the loopholes. And that’s a problem.

Just one last point I want to make, since Senator McCain talked about providing a $5,000 health credit. Now, what he doesn’t tell you is that he intends to, for the first time in history, tax health benefits.

So you may end up getting a $5,000 tax credit. Here’s the only problem: Your employer now has to pay taxes on the health care that you’re getting from your employer. And if you end up losing your health care from your employer, you’ve got to go out on the open market and try to buy it.

It is not a good deal for the American people. But it’s an example of this notion that the market can always solve everything and that the less regulation we have, the better off we’re going to be.

It’s time’s like these when I wish I had been a journalism major, because I think we see way too much sloppy journalism and just outright laziness because anyone with a brain can read these transcripts and see that this was Obama taking in the fine points of communication: you agree with your opponent, cordially and that softens the blow.   That’s him “reaching across the aisle” and not him really aligning himself with Republican ideals as the commentators tossed up.  After each agreement, Obama would go in for the kill.

McCain and Lehrer knew that.  Why else you think McCain’s 5’9″ @$$ never looked at Obama directly.

Well, that’s my take on the debates, what did you think?

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL


2 thoughts on “The Presidential Debates Debrief

  1. Uppity ones, my daily dose of reality that I’d like to share:

    From: Shirley Young
    BRONZECOMM 10-3-08

    Subject: Barack Obama, John McCain and the Language of Race

    Barack Obama, John McCain and the Language of Race

    It was not that long ago that black people in the Deep South could be beaten or killed for seeking the right to vote, talking back to the wrong white man or failing to give way on the sidewalk. People of color who violated these and other proscriptions could be designated “uppity niggers” and subjected to acts of violence and intimidation that were meant to dissuade others from following their examples.

    The term “uppity” was applied to affluent black people, who sometimes paid a horrific price for owning nicer homes, cars or more successful businesses than whites. Race-based wealth envy was a common trigger for burnings, lynchings and cataclysmic episodes of violence like the Tulsa race riot of 1921, in which a white mob nearly eradicated the prosperous black community of Greenwood.

    Forms of eloquence and assertiveness that were viewed as laudable among whites were seen as positively mutinous when practiced by people of color. As such, black men and women who looked white people squarely in the eye — and argued with them about things that mattered — were declared a threat to the racial order and persecuted whenever possible.

    This obsession with black subservience was based in nostalgia for slavery. No sane person would openly express such a sentiment today.

    But the discomfort with certain forms of black assertiveness is too deeply rooted in the national psyche — and the national language — to just disappear. It has been a persistent theme in the public discourse since Barack Obama became a plausible candidate for the presidency.

    A blatant example surfaced earlier this month, when a Georgia Republican, Representative Lynn Westmoreland, described the Obamas as “uppity” in response to a reporter’s question. Mr. Westmoreland, who actually stood by the term when given a chance to retreat, later tried to excuse himself by saying that the dictionary definition carried no racial meaning. That seems implausible. Mr. Westmoreland is from the South, where the vernacular meaning of the word has always been clear. The Jim Crow South institutionalized racial paternalism in its newspapers, which typically denied black adults the courtesy titles of Mr. and Mrs. — and reduced them to children by calling them by first names only. Representative Geoff Davis, Republican of Kentucky, succumbed to the old language earlier this year when describing what he viewed as Mr. Obama’s lack of preparedness to handle nuclear policy. “That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button,” he said.

    In the Old South, black men and women who were competent, confident speakers on matters of importance were termed “disrespectful,” the implication being that all good Negroes bowed, scraped, grinned and deferred to their white betters.

    In what is probably a harbinger of things to come, the McCain campaign has already run a commercial that carries a similar intimation, accusing Mr. Obama of being “disrespectful” to Sarah Palin. The argument is muted, but its racial antecedents are very clear.

    The throwback references that have surfaced in the campaign suggest that Republicans are fighting on racial grounds, even when express references to race are not evident. In a replay of elections past, the G.O.P. will try to leverage racial ghosts and fears without getting its hands visibly dirty. The Democrats try to parry in customary ways.

    Mr. Obama seems to understand that he is always an utterance away from a statement — or a phrase — that could transform him in a campaign ad from the affable, rational and racially ambiguous candidate into the archetypical angry black man who scares off the white vote.

    His caution is evident from the way he sifts and searches the language as he speaks, stepping around words that might push him into the danger zone.

    These maneuvers are often painful to watch. The troubling part is that they are necessary.

    Just trying to keep it uppity and radically real

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