Seriously, I said I wasn’t going to nitpick this debate, but I just can’t help it…
Obama wants to “spread the wealth around”… McCain replies, “I want small businesses to spread the wealth around… why would you want to increase anyone’s taxes right now?” If the choice is between Robin Hood and capitalism with government monitoring, then I want the latter.
O: “I want to cut taxes for 95% of America. Now, it is true that my friend and supporter Warren Buffet could afford to pay more in taxes in order to give additional tax cuts to Joe the plumber… Exxon-Mobil… can afford to pay a little more so that families can, how they’re going to afford food…”
Who is he to decide anyone can “afford to pay more taxes” so that someone else can get a tax cut? Those who make money did something to earn it (or inherited it from someone who did something, and who’s going to argue that you can earn good money, but can’t pass it to your kids?). The fact that my husband makes good money and I homeschool doesn’t mean we got it handed to us, it means we both worked hard in high school, got into the Naval Academy, served our country as naval officers, saved, kept a budget, bought a house and took good care of it, and live within our means to make this work. How does that translate into I don’t deserve my money and someone else does, just because I have “too much money”?
I’m all for charity. (heck, compared to Sen. Biden, my household should qualify for tax status as a charitable organization.) But government’s job is to pay for the military, diplomats, federal parks, corporate and environmental regulation, etc. In short, the federal government’s job is the things we, the people, can’t do for ourselves on a more local level. It is not government’s job to tell me to sacrifice more of my money for government to hand out. My pastors can feel free to lecture me about how I should be determining how much I give to the Church and to other charities, about digging a little deeper to care for the poor and hurting among us… but not the government.
M: “Nobody likes taxes; let’s not raise anybody’s taxes. The fact is, businesses today are paying the second-highest tax rate of anywhere in the world. Our tax rate for business is 35%… where are companies going to go?… we need to cut the tax rate, encourage business, create jobs…” This was a point McCain had to hit and hit hard; corporate tax cuts aren’t about giving gifts to big businesses, it’s about encouraging businesses to stay in the U.S. and create jobs here. And we aren’t being very encouraging with that tax rate.
And Sen. Obama wants “individuals living beyond their means” to become more responsible. Really? How are we going to encourage that behavior, when the government is in the middle of bailing them out from their current irresponsible decisions?
M: spending freeze, “That’s a hatchet, and then I’ll get out the scalpel… we have presided over the largest government increase since the Great Society…”, cut subsidies for ethanol, eliminate tariff on sugar-based Brazilian ethanol, fight for line-item veto and cut pork barrel… All good ideas, starting with cutting government. Don’t rely on coupons when you can start by eliminating expenditures completetly.
Also, given that my minivan is getting about 8% fewer miles per tank than it did before 10% of my gas became ethanol, I think ethanol is just another in a long line of well intentioned environmentalist ideas gone awry for lack of foresight. And that’s before we even mention the worldwide food crisis caused by farmland being turned over to corn for ethanol and the ensuing corn riots across the globe.
M: “$3 million for overhead projector in a planetarium in Chicago…” as pork. Ok, I’ve been to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago; it’s a wonderful museum and planetarium. To be fair, it isn’t just an overpriced overhead projector; it’s one of those special planetarium projectors. Still, why did the federal government pay for it?
M: “Sen. Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should’ve run four years ago.” Finally, a little bit of taking on the accusations head-on. “… He voted for the energy bill that was full of goodies for the oil companies that I opposed… Let’s look at our records… I have fought against spending, I have fought against special interests, I have fought for reform. You have to tell me one time that you have stood up to the leaders of your party on one single major issue.”
O: tort reform, merit pay for teachers, clean coal… important, but not really major issues.
M: climate change, torture, conduct of war in Iraq, fighting pharmeceutical companies on drug importation, establishment of the 9/11 commission… “[Your] argument for standing up to the leaders of your party isn’t very convincing.” Nor about very major issues.
On Bill Ayers:
O: “He’s a college professor… when I was eight, he committed horrible acts of terrorism, which I have condemned… ten years ago, I served on a board with him… Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign… Now, with respect to ACORN… apparently, some of the people out there didn’t actually register people, they just filled in names… I was [one of the attorneys] on a case… that helped people register [to vote] at DMV’s… On economic policy, I associate with Warren Buffet and former Fed Chairman Paul Voker…”
Sen. Obama is still trying to distance himself from his associations with Ayers. This isn’t about Obama as an eight-year-old, it’s about his choices of friends and employers as an adult.
M: “It’s not the fact that Sen. Obama chose to associate with a man who, in 2001, said he didn’t bomb enough…” Yep, the main question is why did Sen. Obama try to hide this association? And the “educational foundation” he worked on wasn’t actually working to improve math scores; it was trying to “radicalize students.” If that’s what Sen. Obama believes in, I want to know that. If that’s his position, he should’ve said that, not hidden it out of fear that most of America won’t agree that that is what public education is supposed to be doing. (Strangely enough, most of us think public education should be graduating students who can do math, read, and write… not taking them to their first grade teacher’s lesbian wedding. (California, where else?))
On the vice presidential candidates:
M: “Oh, I think Joe Biden is qualified in many respects, but I do point out that he’s been wrong on many foreign policy and national security issues, which is supposed to be his strength… voted against the first Gulf War… in Iraq, he had this cockamamie idea about dividing Iraq into three countries…”
M: “I believe we can… eliminate our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and Venezuelan oil. Canadian oil is fine. By the way, when Sen. Obama said he’d unilaterally renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Canadians said, ‘Yeah, we’ll sell our oil to China.’ You don’t tell countries you’re going to unilaterally renogtiate agreements with them…” We keep hitting this variety of, “You just don’t do that in foreign policy,” kind of stuff with Sen. Obama. He seems to be busy stepping on toes, and he isn’t even elected yet.
On Supreme Court nominees and abortion:
M: “I have never imposed a litmus test [on Supreme Court nominees]… I think [Roe vs. Wade] was a bad decision… I think that decision should rest in the hands of the states; I’m a federalist… We should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their qualifications rather than any litmus test… You [Sen. Obama] chose not to [join a bipartisan effort to end a judicial gridlock] because you were afraid of the appointment of, quote, ‘conservative judges.’ I voted for Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsberg, not because I agreed with their ideology, but because I thought they were qualified… Elections have consequences, they [the judges] should be judged on their qualifications…”
O: “… women, in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisors…” No, because the father of the baby has no rights at all to say that the baby should be allowed to be born. This is just the usual lie. If Sen. Obama succeeds in getting the Freedom of Choice Act passed, which would strike down state laws about parental consent, among other common sense restrictions, this would more accurately be rendered, “A 15-year-old girl, in consultation with her 25-year-old soccer coach ‘boyfriend’ and the Planned Parenthood rep looking to sell her quota of ‘procedures’ for the month by convincing this kid that her parents shouldn’t be told because they ‘wouldn’t get it’…”
O: “I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it, that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum…”
For a guy who taught Constitutional law, this is downright stupid. “Privacy” does not include the right to murder someone in the privacy of your own home or doctor’s office.
And then Sen. Obama veered off into an “equal pay” story. My right to be paid fairly has nothing to do with murdering children in the womb. Conflating the two just telegraphs that Obama knows that most Americans do not agree with his extreme views of “abortion rights.”
M: “We have to change the culture of America. Those of us who are proudly pro-life understand that. And it’s gotta be courage and compassion that we show to a young woman who is facing this decision. Sen. Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate, voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide immediate medical attention to a child born of a failed abortion. He voted against that, and then, on the floor of the Senate, he voted ‘present’.. He voted against a ban on partial birth abortion, a late term abortion, a bad procedure, really terrible. And then, on the floor of the Illinois State Senate, he voted ‘present.’ I don’t know how you vote ‘present’ on some of that. I don’t know how you align yourself with the extreme aspects of the pro-abortion movement in America…”
Perfect. But will enough people care? Sadly, 401k-loss-I-can-see trumps dismembered-babies-I-can’t-see for many people.
O: it would’ve undermined Roe vs. Wade, there was already a law on the books, the doctors’ association was against it, and “their Hippocratic Oath would’ve required them to provide care…”
Ok, going to have to wave the BS flag again, here. The Hippocratic Oath forbids a physician from performing an abortion at all. So, many doctors are already in violation of their oath, or have taken a modified form of it that allows for current cultural trends. (What’s next? If you can remove one ethical requirement, what’s to prevent the removal of more? Nothing.)
O: “I’m for banning partial birth abortion… as long as there’s an exception for the mother’s health and life…” The problem with this totally typical argument from the pro-abortion side of the debate is that “health” has been vaguely interpreted to include the mother’s mental well-being, and, by the very fact that she’s asking for an abortion, she must be upset about the pregnancy, so go right ahead, it’s just for her health. The law already allowed physicians to perform abortions when it was really necessary for the health of the mother, even when all elective abortions were illegal.
The partial birth abortion procedure is called that because the baby is delivered feet-first, with his or her head remaining in the birth canal. Then the baby’s brains are sucked out with a vacuum tool, and, finally, the baby’s head is pulled out. If the mother is really in some sort of medical distress that necessitates the immediate completion of the pregnancy, then just deliver the baby; a partial birth abortion doesn’t relieve the mother of any of the difficulties of delivery and, obviously, it kills the baby. There is plenty of knowledge about how to induce labor early, how to try to ensure the baby has the best possible chances of survival as a premie, etc. for us to save both mother and child at this point in the pregnancy.
The only reason to fight to keep partial birth abortion legal is because otherwise you have to discuss the ridiculousness of the assertion that a baby is not really a baby with rights yet because the last few inches of its body (its head) are still inside the mother’s birth canal.
The U.S. spends more per capita than any other nation on education, yet is behind most countries of the world in math and science. Is this a national security issue, and what are you going to do about it?
O: wants more money and reform, early childhood education. “Improved reading rates, reduced drop-out rates…” from early childhood education? No, early parental involvement leads to reduced drop-out rates, not increased government programs. Government does not function well as a parent.
O: “We can’t do it just in the schools. Parents… have got to start instilling that thirst for knowledge.” Yep, something I can agree with there. And moving the age for the beginning of public school earlier and earlier is not going to encourage that. Children spend most of their waking hours at school. How does that make their parents more influential in their lives?
M: vouchers, charter schools, school choice. “Throwing money at the problem is not the answer. You will find that some of the worst school systems in America get the most money per student. We need to encourage good teachers… Troops to Teachers… We must improve education in this country… We have to make those student loans available, we have to make sure they have a repayment schedule they can meet…”
O: “I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois…” All by himself? Wow. “We have to increase competition within the public school system…” Isn’t that sort of like setting up a high-end version of the local supermarket chain to “compete” with the bargain supermarket end of the chain? They’re both part of the same company, and it’s still a monopoly if they’re the only supermarkets in town. And monopolies do not tend towards real, positive change. Like the public school systems.
M: 9,000 families in DC applied for the 1,000 school vouchers. “They wanted the choice that you and I have had [to pick our children’s schools]… By the third grade, students from Head Start programs were no better off than the other students… let’s reform these programs, then fund them.” Again, throwing more money at a failing program does not make it a succeeding program, it just wastes taxpayers’ money.
My parents moved to get me and my brother out of a lousy school system; not everybody has that option. But that doesn’t mean they should be stuck with the failing public school they may happen to be assigned to. We’ve waited too long and failed too many children with the phrase, “Just wait a few more years, we’re trying to fix it.” A few more years is an eternity in a child’s education; it’s time for a solution that will work now, like vouchers.
Overall, I think the tone of this debate was much, much better. We finally got an extended discussion on abortion; maybe people will finally realize how extremely pro-abortion Sen. Obama’s voting record is. McCain looked much more comfortable and agressive where he should be. Obama, especially in his closing statement, sounded too informal and not nearly as polished as he usually does. The question, as always, is, “What did all those undecided voters think?” Will they be happy with “wealth redistribution” and partial birth abortion? Or would they prefer personal responsibility and reform in Washington, Wall Street, and education?