I’m looking forward to the debate for two reasons. First, I think that Sarah Palin is going to do a lot better than many people expect – she’s going to win the debate. Second, the debate itself will put an end to the drivel that passes for commentary on Memeorandum these days.
So here we go…
Bailout bill – best or worst of government
Biden: Neither. Bush economic policies are worst ever, deregulation and lack of oversight lead to our current problems. Barack Obama will not write bailout checks without proper oversight and will support homeowners, make Americans investors in any bailout, and make sure that CEOs don’t benefit from it.
Obama will focus on the middle class to grow economy.
Palin: Ask parents at a soccer game how they feel about the economy and you’ll find fear there. People want to know if they lost money and how they will fund college & businesses.
The feds haven’t done proper oversight but remember that 2 years ago McCain pushed for Freddie Mac/Mae reform and the senate didn’t respond.
How to end political polarization?
Biden: That’s what I’ve done – reaching across the aisle. I have almost as many friends on Republican side as on the Democratic side.
Two weeks ago, John McCain said economy was fine, later that day we were in an economic crisis. He’s out of touch.
Palin: McCain was talking about the American work force which is the greatest in the world. As a mayor I was a reformer and John McCain is too while Obama is a 96% party-line voter. He needs to put politics aside and get down to business.
Americans want something different and that’s why we need to send John McCain, the maverick, to the White House.
Who’s at fault in lending crisis
Palin: Darn right it was the predatory lenders. There was deception there and corruption on Wall Street. McCain and I will get rid of corruption. People need to band together and make sure we don’t get taken advantage of again.
We also need not to get ourselves in debt. Don’t live outside our means. Take personal responsibility for ourselves. We can learn lessons from this.
Biden: Obama warned about this crisis two years ago while McCain was surprised there was a problem.
McCain’s response is to deregulate everything – 20 times he voted that way – while Obama wanted to re-institute scrapped regulations. A while back McCain was saying that he would do the same thing for health care as he’s done for the banking industry.
Palin: We need tax relief so that jobs can be created here. Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes instead of siding with the people. That won’t bolster our economy. Govt needs to be more efficient and learn to live with less. Obama supported increases on taxes this year and that will kill jobs.
Biden: Obama did not vote to raise taxes and John McCain voted the same way. But you didn’t address the question.
Palin: I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know what I’ve done, cutting taxes in many ways in my jurisdictions.
Biden: 100M families didn’t get a single tax break from John McCain. Obama wouldn’t increase taxes on anyone earning < $250K, no taxes of any kind will increase. McCain wants to give $300B in tax cuts to wealthy and business. It’s a different focus and people won’t pay under than they did under Ronald Reagan.
Palin: Small businesses fit into the $250k+ category and they’ll pay more. Paying taxes is not patriotic; govt is often the problem and not the solution and the middle class just wants us to get out of the way.
Palin: John McCain’s plan is clear: a 5K tax credit that’s budget neutral, as opposed to a govt. run program. Health care being taken over the feds won’t make anyone happy. We will erase state lines to increase competition and bring down prices. We don’t believe in wealth redistribution.
Biden: Redistribution isn’t the same as giving Exxon a tax cut – it’s fairness. 95% of small businesses earn < $250K and won’t pay more taxes.
In the McCain plan, health care is paid for by taxing as income everyone’s health care contribution paid by your employer. As a result, 20M people dropped from employer coverage and lose out on a $12K/year plan in favor of a $5K tax credit.
Promises we can’t keep
Biden: We may have to slow down our foreign aid. And we’re not going to support the tax cuts and tax cut increases the Republicans want because that’s not fair to middle class Americans.
We’re not going to compromise on education or health care but we will eliminate a $100B tax dodge people use by moving their addresses and businesses offshore.
Palin: John McCain doesn’t tell one group of people one thing and others another. For instance, the energy plan Obama voted for gave the oil companies the big tax breaks that you’re talking about. I took on the oil companies in my state and they’re not by biggest fans. I broke up a monopoly there and made sure the people there benefited from the drilling being done there.
I haven’t made any promises in 5 weeks that I can’t keep but I have promised to do what’s right for the American people.
Biden: Obama voted for the energy bill b/c it supported alternative energy. When votes are separate, Obama voted against tax breaks for big oil companues.
Gov. Palin voted in a windfall profits tax in Alaska and that’s what Obama wants to do now nationally. But John McCain won’t support that effort.
Palin: I would have supported bankruptcy changes making it harder. But the economy is changing rapidly and we need to look back and realize the John McCain warned us about the Freddies’ problems two years ago. This is a toxic mess on wall street and we need to work together to do what’s needed.
Biden: Mortgage holders didn’t pay the price for the bankruptcy changes. And Barack Obama wrote the the Secretary of the Treasury two years saying that there was a sub-prime mortgage crisis coming while McCain was surprised by it.
I think that bankruptcy judges should be able to adjust mortgage rates and the principle owed by borrowers. I’m not sure but I think John is against that.
Palin: That’s not so. But when we talk about energy, we need to do everything to become energy independent. It’s nonsensical to restrict access to energy sources here at home and pay other nations who don’t like us to provide our energy.
It’s the key to our economic future and our national security. Energy is the key to our future.
Palin: In Alaska we see climate change’s effects more than other states. There’s a natural cyclical effect as well as man-made impact. But how do we address the problem? I was the first gov. to form a cabinet to work on the problem and John McCain is right there with an "all of the above" approach to becoming energy independent and cleaning up the planet.
Biden: It’s clearly man made. That’s why the polar cap is melting. We consume 25% of the oil in the world. McCain has consistently voted against alternative energy, 20 times he’s done so. Obama wants to invest in solar and clean nukes and clean coal technology.
Drill we must but it will take 10 years to get any of that oil into use.
Palin: John McCain does support clean coal technology. People want us to drill because that’s what we need. We’re drilling for clean natural gas even now. You’ve gone on record saying that drilling is "raping the offshore environment".
Biden: I have 20 years on the record in support of clean coal. Why did McCain vote against alternatives.
Biden: There would be no legal distinction in the Obama administration between same-sex and hetero couples. It’s only fair under the Constitution. Visitation rights, property rights, insurance, ownership, would all be equal.
Palin: I wouldn’t support expanding Alaska’s same-sex rights law nationally if it redefines the definition of marriage, which is unfortunately where these things lead. But I would be very tolerant of others and John McCain wouldn’t try to reduce gay rights.
I don’t support defining marriage as everything other than a man and a woman.
Biden: Neither Obama nor I support changing civil marriage.
Iraq Exit Strategy
Palin: I’m thankful that we do have a good plan for getting out of Iraq. The other ticket opposed the surge and funding the troops. Obama voted against that and I applaud Biden for calling him out on that during the primaries.
We can’t afford to lose in Iraq and we’re now down to pre-surge troop numbers in Iraq and we can put them in Afghanistan. We can’t afford to lose to the extremists there. It would be a travesty if we left.
Biden: I didn’t hear a plan. But Barack Obama has a plan to get out. McCain voted against funding the troops because it had a timeline and Barack Obama voted the same way. We need a timeline to get Iraqis to step up. It’s time for them to spend their own money.
This is a fundamental difference: We would this end war and John McCain would have it go on forever.
Palin: Your plan is a flag of surrender in Iraq. You opposed the surge and Obama still can’t believe it worked. We can leave when the Iraqi govt can support its people. We’re getting closer.
Joe Biden said that he supported MCain’s policies during the primaries and said Obama wasn’t ready to be Commander-in-Chief, before he became the VP candidate.
Biden: McCain voted against the funding too, because of the timeline. I said that we wouldn’t be greeted as liberators, that we wouldn’t be out quickly, and I was right.
Mccain’s been dead wrong about everything about Iraq except the surge.
Pakistan vs. Iran
Biden: Pakistan already has nuclear weapons and can already hit Israel. But Iran isn’t close. Both are dangerous. John McCain’s central focus is on Iraq but I promise that if we’re attacked again it will come from Afghanistan or Pakistan, not from Iraq.
We need to help them build schools along the border and compete with the terrorists there for hearts and mind.
Palin: Both are extremely dangerous. General Petraeus and al Qaeda both say the central war against terrorism is in Iraq. Iran cannot be allowed to acquire nuke weapons, period. Israel is a sinking corpse per Iraq and this country cannot be allowed to acquire these weapons.
Barack Obama says that he would meet with Iran, et al, without condition. That’s dangerous and should not be undertaken without serious diplomatic work beforehand.
Henry Kissinger and I share a passion for diplomacy but these dictators who hate American cannot be met with on a presidential level. Diplomacy is very important and we’d engage in it. But it’s important to use friends and sanctions before sitting down with Iraq.
Biden: The theocracy controls the security apparataus in Iran, not the president. Our friends and allies want us to sit down with Iran. Finally President Bush is ending diplomats to Europe to meet with Iran because that’s what’s needed.
Meanwhile, John McCain wouldn’t sit down with the govt of Spain, a NATO ally. I find that incredible.
Palin: A 2-state solution is the solution. Sec. Rice has been trying to do that and a McCain/Palin ticket will work hard on that . We will never allow another Holocaust, no matter what Iran does. That commitment will be there.
Biden: Israel has no better friend than Joe Biden and I wouldn’t compromise on that. But we needed NATO forces in Lebanon and they didn’t go in. Now Hezbollah controls it. The Bush admin’s policies have been an abject failure. We must back Israel and stand with them.
Palin: I do not believe that the Bush admins polices have been a failure. There have been huge blunders, as there are in every admin, but there’s too much finger pointing. We’ll learn from out past mistakes and put excessive partisanship aside. Change is coming.
Biden: How different is McCain’s policy from Bush’s on Iran or Israel? I haven’t heard anything. It’s the same so far. We will make significant changes.
Interventionism on Nukes
Palin: Our nukes are used as a deterrent. But North Korea and Iran must be subject to economic sanctions so they don’t develop or spread nuclear weapons.
With regard to Afghanistan, the surge principles from Iraq need to be carried out in Afghanistan. Obama said that all we’re going in Iraq is bombing villages. But that’s not true. We’re fighting terrorists and building schools.
Biden: Today our leading general in Afghanistan said that surge will not work in Afghanistan. We need more troops, govt building, and infrastruture. We spend more in 3 weeks in Iraq than in 7 years in Afghanistan.
McCain voted against a nuke test ban treaty and voted against an amendment that would have supported inspections while Barack Obama worked with Republican Richard Lugar to create legislation to control nuclear proliferation and McCain voted against it.
Palin: McCellan didn’t say that the surge principle woun’t work, though conditions are different in that country.
Biden: John McCain thought Afghanistan was a sucess while Obama was saying we needed more troops and money in Afghanistan.
The American people have a stomach for success. We saved thousands of lives in Bosnia and it worked. It’s stable, as if Kosovo. What I don’t have a stomach for is genocide as in Darfur. ‘Ive seen the camps in Chad were thousands have died. It’s within our power to address these situations.
Palin: There you go again, Joe. You voted for the war and now you’re against it. It was a war resolution and you supported McCain’s strategy until you became the VP candidate.
We agree that America should help in Darfur. In Alaska, we put together legislation to divest our investment in the Sudan.
Biden: We need to draw a line where we have the capacity to succeed, when a country is genocidal or harbors terrorists, it’s time to intervene. I never supported McCain’s strategy, which is the same thing that Dick Cheney said. I said that we’d be there for a decade and lose 100s of billions of dollars.
The conduct of the war has been wrong from the outset.
Palin: Say what you want, I know what you said during the Democratic primaries. The pundits will give us proof of who said what when tomorrow.
McCain knows how to win a war, how to work with the different parties involved, and get the job done.
A Heartbeat Away
Biden: (rambles…) I would follow through on Barack’s policies because I believe in every single one of them.
Palin: I’m would keep pushing John on ANWAR. He wants to have an open discussion on policies with me. I would continue his policies of cleaning up corruption and greed on wall street and I think we need some main street Wasilla wisdom brought to Washington.
The middle class just wants the government not to do anything more to them. The choice in this election is between winning the war and cutting taxes versus creating jobs and raising taxes.
Biden: Ask anyone if the Bush admin policies have made them better off. The people in my neighborhood know that we’re getting the short end of the stick. Wealthy and corporations have done well while the middle class hasn’t.
Palin: Let’s look ahead instead of back. American needs to put more focus on that. Education funding needs to be ramped up and teachers need to be paid more money. Education has been a little back lax in the United States. No Child Left Behind needs more flexibility and the art of teaching needs to be emphasized.
Palin: I would use my office to support the president’s polices and I would lead in energy independence, govt. reform and children with special needs.
Biden: I don’t know of any education program that John McCain supports. But I have a history of work in the Senate. Obama wants me to help him govern and I’ll give him my best advice and not be afraid to disagree.
Palin: The Founding Fathers allowed flexibility in the office of the VP and we’ll use it to appropriately usher in the president’s agenda. It’s my years of experience as an executive that will be used in the McCain admin.
Biden: Dick Cheney has been the most dangerous VP in the history of the country. The Constitution is explicit – the VP has no authority in the Congress except to break a tie in the Senate.
Your Achilles Heel
Palin: My executive experience in a huge, energy producing state is extremely important. My connection to the heartland of America, to troops in Iraq, the struggling middle class, and with special needs is important too. My world view that McCain shares is that American is exceptional, a shining city, a beacon of hope. We represent a perfect ideal of tolerance and freedom. We can be a force for good in this world and we’re a team that has a track record of reform.
Biden: I’m not going to change. I’ll place my record for change and Barack’s against John McCain’s. I understand what it’s like when a spouse dies or your children are ill. I understand. I understand as well as anyone else what it’s like sitting around the kitchen table making hard choices.
Palin: People are looking for change. McCain is the consummate maverick and he’s taken on both parties. I’ve done that when I’ve had to and appointed people regardless of party. McCain’s independence is demonstrated by his supporters. He’s the man we need to lead us. We’ve got to win the war, we’ve got to fix Wall Street.
Biden: The maverick? He’s no maverick on things that matter, like Bush’s budget, or on education, or on health care. He voted for Bush’s budget 4 of 5 times. He’s no maverick.
Policy Issue Changes Over Time
Biden: I was trained to evaluate judges based only upon understanding of the law and a moral character. This wasn’t easy to change. 5 years later I realized ideology mattered. That’s why I led the fight against Judge Bork. If he was on the court there would have been changes made that I wouldn’t like on Roe v. Wade and others.
Palin: There have been times that I allowed budgets to pass that I wanted to zero-base budget or cut taxes. But I’ve never compromised on my core values even when working with the other side to get work done up in Alaska.
Biden: John McCain would agree that I’ve worked across the aisle. I’ve learned to never question the motives of other congressman, though I will question their judgment.
Palin: I would appoint people from both parties and walk the walk of working together and not just talk about it. The policies and proposals have to speak for themselves. We will reign in govt spending and drive to energy independence while they will raise taxes.
Palin: I want to assure you that John McCain and I will fight for average America families like mine. I’ve been there and know the challenges and joys of that life. We have to fight for economic and national freedoms or we’ll end up remembering these freedoms as something that we had back in the day. The only one of us running who’s ever fought for you is John McCain.
Biden: This is the most important election in the last 75 years. Barack Obama and I don’t measure change by tax breaks and corporate earnings. We do it by mortgage payments made or children sent to college. When we send troops overseas we’ll make sure they have the best education and health care systems in the world for them to come back to. We want to re-establish our certainty that America is the best country in the world. It’s time for America to get back on its feet again.
OK, I was wrong – Sarah Palin did not win the debate. But she held her own with a more experienced opponent, which is an achievement considering the cards in her hand. Biden hurt her on some issues of fact, specifically the record of the Bush administration, and she relied too much on the whole John McCain – Maverick, persona, a claim that is only half true at best, as Biden pointed out.
I would have liked to have seen Mrs. Palin really ram home the fallacy of the Democratic party’s energy policy (read "fantasty") and she did some of that. Her point that energy security = national security is absolutely correct and should be used to club the left into their senses. She brought it up but I would have liked to see it made crystal clear.
In short, a good performance for a young candidate on the big state for the first time, something to be proud of. But Joe Biden was better tonight. Michael Merritt, writing for my friends at the PoliGazette, agrees.
Unfortunately, all of this makes me almost certain that we’re staring the political trifecta of doom – a Democratic monopoly on government – dead in the face once again. Wake up, Americans! Weren’t the 1960s bad enough?