Post Biden-Palin Monologue

I can’t really call what I witnessed last night a “debate”. It was more of a monologue or even a man countering a campaign ad with slogans being recited by a pretty woman with something in her eye.

Okay, she was winking at me. ME. Several times. Did you see her? She was staring right AT me, for the entire show! I know we had a connection there…

Most people watched the debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden last night, for the same reason people watch NASCAR or go to air shows — they are looking for the crashes. If people were expecting a crash from Sarah Palin last night, then they were disappointed. RS Janes called it a “snoozer”, and you can see why — nobody got hurt.

The bar of expectations were so low that pundits had to dig a ditch in which to place the bar. For a week, talk show blatherers filled their three-hour time slots with predictions that Sarah Palin was going to choke, or she was going to speak in tongues and speak for entire blocks of 90 seconds without uttering a coherrent sentence.

Most of us watched it on television live, and we were amazed that here was a woman who appeared bright, perky, and engaging. She quipped, she was folksy, it was as if she were singling YOU out of the enter audience and having a conversation with you.

The woman was starring in our eyes without blinking!

It might have taken four (maybe five) schools for Sarah Palin to get her degree, but she did get one — in journalism. She knows how to work a camera from the hair-dried studio makeup side of it. She was a news/sportscaster at one time.

Joe Biden would look at moderator Gwen Ifill as he answered her questions. He might glance out into the audience from time to time while he listened to Palin’s responses, but he seldom acknowledged the fact that there was a camera pointed at him beaming his face all over the world.

After I watched the debate last night, I knew I was being tricked by visuals. Hell, I almost wanted to like Sarah Palin, but I knew something was wrong. So I decided to replay the entire debate and turn off the monitor and just listen.

You should try it — the results are quite amazing. Without being dazzled by the pretty woman with the pretty smile, winking and leaning into the camera like she is talking to you across the table, her “answers” to the questions were anything but. She was reciting pre-selected talking points.

If she was asked a question on the economy, she recited 90-second speech number B-2. If the topic was foreign affairs — speech number A-3. There were also the questions she didn’t want to talk about, so she gave a quick response and launched into some totally unrelated talking point she wanted to share with the audience.

When it was pointed out that she wasn’t answering the questions, she got snarky:

“I might not answer questions the way you and the moderator want me to, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people.”

It came off as folksy on the tube, but just listening to it, I thought she was being arrogant. She was going to do it HER way, and to hell with the program.

Oh Well.

I can’t help about the shape I’m in
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to

My apologies to Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac. I just know someone here is going to re-write the lyrics to this song (I dare you)

But I digress.

There were gaffes on both sides last night. Some were minor mistakes, some were just plain out of ignorance, and some were just the same misleading lies that have been repeated over and over again until they become faux-fact.

Here are a few:

  • Sarah Palin claims that the troop levels in Iraq have dropped below “pre-surge” levels. McCain made the same mistake earlier this week. Unfortunately, the claim is false. Even with the President announcing 8000 troops leaving by February of next year, the troop levels will still be higher than before the surge began.When the surge was announced in January 2007, there were 132,000 troops in Iraq. Today there are 146,000. Even with the 8,000 troops coming home or re-deploying elsewhere by February, the levels will still be 6,000 troops higher than before the surge started.
  • Sarah Palin kept repeating the claim about Barack Obama supporting a tax increase for families making $42,000 a year:Palin: “Barack Obama even supported increasing taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year. That’s a lot of middle income average American families to increase taxes on them. I think that is the way to kill jobs and to continue to harm our economy.”The problem with her claim is that it is flat out wrong. Obama did not in fact vote to increase taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 per year. What Obama actually voted for was a budget resolution that called for returning the 25 percent tax bracket to its pre-Bush tax cut level of 28 percent. That could have affected an individual with no children making as little as $42,000. But a couple would have had to earn $83,000 to be affected and a family of four at least $90,000. The resolution would not have raised taxes on its own, without additional legislation, and, as we’ve noted before, there is no such tax increase in Obama’s tax plan. (The vote took place on March 14 of this year, not last year as Palin said.)Even when Biden corrected her, she continued to repeat the lie.
  • Palin also repeated the exaggerated Republican talking point that Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes.That number includes seven votes that would have lowered taxes for many, while raising them on corporations or affluent individuals; 23 votes that were against tax cuts; and 17 that came on just 7 different bills. If she didn’t know any of this, then she is ignorant of the facts. If she did know it, then she is purposely lying. Either way…
  • Palin claimed that both Biden and Obama voted for “the largest tax increase in history“.Palin is referring here to the Democrats’ 2008 budget proposal, which would indeed have resulted in about $217 billion in higher taxes over two years. That’s a significant increase. But measured as a percentage of the nation’s economic output, or gross domestic product, the yardstick that most economists prefer, the 2008 budget proposal would have been the third-largest since 1968, and it’s not even in the top 10 since 1940.
  • Palin claimed that McCain’s health care plan would be “budget neutral”, costing the government nothing:Palin: “He’s proposing a $5,000 tax credit for families so that they can get out there and they can purchase their own health care coverage. That’s a smart thing to do. That’s budget neutral. That doesn’t cost the government anything … a $5,000 health care credit through our income tax, that’s budget neutral.”The McCain campaign hasn’t released an estimate of how much the plan would cost, but independent experts contradict Palin’s claim of a cost-free program.The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that McCain’s plan, which at its peak would cover 5 million of the uninsured, would increase the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 10 years. Obama’s plan, which would cover 34 million of the uninsured, would cost $1.6 trillion over that time period.

For a complete list that includes some of Joe Biden’s mistakes, go check out FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate.

I would have posted this earlier, but I am going through some medical treatment right now that prevents me from posting when I want to. Sometimes I am “up” and sometimes I am “down”. There is no real schedule to it other than from now on for almost the next year, my weekends are going to be kind of a rollercoaster.

For example, right now I am feeling a bit tired, so I am going to go lay down…