Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Debate and Onwards

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Where to from here? Palin develops laryngitis (seriously) and McCain develops some substance to go with the pissy attitude. Seriously, he couldn't have made eye contact with Obama and addressed him by name once?

    And McCain might like to stop describing Obama as "naive" -- I lost count at around six -- until he has some economic policy beyond drilling in Alaska to 'eliminate our dependence on foreign oil'. That's not only naive, but utter bullshit.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    'eliminate our dependence on foreign oil'

    What I particularly love about this line is how it's trotted out as a solution to oil prices, as if good ol US oil comes out easier and cheaper than Russian. And is not sold on an international market.
    It's a possibly valid line from a national security POV but that's not really the issue at the moment.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Seriously, he couldn't have made eye contact with Obama and addressed him by name once?

    I think it was Tomasky at the Guardian who pointed out this might have been recommended by McCain's advisors as, due to the height difference between the two of them, McCain would have to be looking up to Obama to look him in the eye and this suggests a submissive position.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Another thumping snap poll on the debate for Obama, this time USA Today/Gallup:

    The poll, taken Saturday, found 63% of those surveyed watched the first debate in Oxford, Miss. By 46%-34%, those who watched said Obama did a better job than McCain. Obama led McCain, 52%-35%, when they were asked which candidate offered the best proposals for change to solve the country's problems.

    Something happened there, and we might find ourselves talking about it as a campaign turning point.

    Or maybe Bristol's wedding to Levi will trump all. For. Fuck's. Sake.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The debate was inconclusive, which is all Obama needs because paradoxically even though he is the front runner he has the most convincing to do to many white Americans. I reckon the only reason McCain is still in the race is white American racism, the elephant in the room that the US media refuses (or is extremely reluctant) to discuss. Otherwise Obama would be another 6-10% ahead of McCain and threatening a landslide. McCain's purely tactical gamble on Palin could come back to haunt the GOP in the VP debate. I squirmed watching the Palin CBS interview, it was clear Palin hasn't got a clue. She is clearly unfit to be vice president of the United States. I was struck by her apparent brittleness, and I would imagine that if she merely repeats that performance on Friday against Biden the credibility of the Republican ticket will be shot to pieces, and if she cracks under pressure and makes some true howlers, it could be game over for McCain/Palin.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    he couldn't have ... addressed him by name once?

    That's Plan B, if the polls get worse.

    "My opponent here, Barack Hussein Obama - hey, I'm just sayin' ..."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1332 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Or maybe Bristol's wedding to Levi will trump all. For. Fuck's. Sake.

    People keep saying McCain is running the most dishonourable and vicious campaign ever.

    I think it's more likely the most retarded campaign.

    Having said that, are we surprised that POTUS campaigns are now this disingenuous? And if it does work and somehow McCain does win the election, do we say that they deserve what they get?

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I reckon the only reason McCain is still in the race is white American racism, the elephant in the room that the US media refuses (or is extremely reluctant) to discuss.

    I don't really think this is much of a factor. Most of the people who won't vote for Obama because of his race would favor a Republican candidate anyway. White men broke overwhelmingly for Bush in 2004 and his opponent was another rich white dude.

    Or maybe Bristol's wedding to Levi will trump all. For. Fuck's. Sake.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens if the McCain campaign's reality TV strategy actually works. The Obama campaign can't copy it because he's a young black guy and if he bases his campaign on doing random, insane stunts he'll scare the horses.

    But in 2012 both candidates probably be rich white guys, both picking the craziest VP's and competing with each other to see who can pull of the dumbest publicity stunts. That'll be change I can believe in.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think it was Tomasky at the Guardian who pointed out this might have been recommended by McCain's advisors as, due to the height difference between the two of them, McCain would have to be looking up to Obama to look him in the eye and this suggests a submissive position.

    I thought McCain letting Obama sniff his arse, before rolling over on his back, would suggest a submissive postion. :) If you really want to parse it to an absurd degree, refusing to make eye contact is submission to a superior -- and even, in many cultural contexts, can be read as a deliberate insult.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Ran across this on snopes.com:

    While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President. The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle." Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle .You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with."

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Bill Maher:

    Now, take a look at these pictures. Here are the CEOs of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and the Lehman Brothers. I know the first thing that jumps out about these faces is that they all happen to be white, and they all happen to be responsible for stealing. But what you have to understand is that these whites are a product of a society that made them that way. It was the neighborhoods and the schools they went to: Harvard, Yale, the Wharton School of Business. They never learned the value of doing real, actual work and the first step to fixing that is better role models, so kids growing up white today don't think the only way out of Westchester is corporate crime. Or a government handout or sailing. So I get it, the temptation is to look at McCain and vote against him because you don't see an individual, you just see another typical welfare whitey.

    And it's true, he's spent his entire life shuffling from one low-paying government job to another. Well, except those years he spent in prison. Typical! And between you and me, he's not very articulate. Oh, he may have some street smarts, but he's not what you call an educated man. He freely admits he's ignorant about the economy. And apparently the only thing his white running mate knows how to do is crank out one baby after another. And now of course, her teenage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. Because she learns it at home! But that doesn't mean we should assume all white people are like that, just because so many of them are.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    it was clear Palin hasn't got a clue. She is clearly unfit to be vice president of the United States.

    Really any US VP candidate needs to run on 2 criteria:

    - can they be president (ie they are really running to be president)
    - can they chair the senate

    So ideally any VP debate is the same as a presidential debate (plus maybe questions on Senate rules of procedure/etc)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And here's something else that would piss me off, if it wasn't so sad. Obama actually, like a grown-up, was willing to say "well, John's right there" or "John has a point, but..." and that's treated like some horrible weakness?

    I don't know about you, but I respect politicians who have the maturity and (dare I say it) leadership skills to acknowledge that they don't have a monopoly on insight or wisdom. As G.K. Chesterton once said, 'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.'

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    It was good to see the debate take place at the Ole Miss, people like James Meredith must be pleased to see Obama take to the stage.
    In New Jersey this week flyers from a white supremacist group began appearing in neighbourhoods saying countries run by blacks are the "most unstable" in the world.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    - can they chair the senate

    So ideally any VP debate is the same as a presidential debate (plus maybe questions on Senate rules of procedure/etc)

    The Senate really doesn't need chairing. It operates on a very consensual basis - pretty much nothing is done procedurally without unanimous consent. The VeeP is hardly ever there.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    What I particularly love about this line is how it's trotted out as a solution to oil prices, as if good ol US oil comes out easier and cheaper than Russian. And is not sold on an international market.

    It's mad, but not unfeasible. Most oil (Canadian oil sands possibly excluded) costs a lot less to produce than the market price - the difference is largely taken up with royalties / petroleum revenue tax or the equivalent. If a net oil producer were to limit exports and/or reduce the tax take on oil for domestic use, they could have oil cheaper than world market prices. Most Gulf states do this.

    Of course, this limits the incentive to economise and sends consumption up, creating a monster shock when local production fails to meet demand.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Yeah I know - but it's the VP's only real job until the big guy croaks - and they do get to resolve ties

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    That post turtle term is a classic.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • John Fouhy,

    Did you see the footage of McCain standing up David Letterman? He was meant to be a guest on Letterman, but he called and cancelled at the last minute, saying he had to fly to Washington to save the economy. In fact, he was actually just three blocks away doing a different interview on CBS news. Letterman found out about this while he was taping his show..

    Youtube link

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I thought McCain letting Obama sniff his arse, before rolling over on his back, would suggest a submissive postion. :)

    And certainly make the debates a load more entertaining.

    If you really want to parse it to an absurd degree, refusing to make eye contact is submission to a superior -- and even, in many cultural contexts, can be read as a deliberate insult.

    Yeh, I don't get it really, but I'm not a visual communications expert like these guys undoubtedly have coaching them on every nuance and advantage they can gain.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Now, take a look at these pictures. Here are the CEOs of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and the Lehman Brothers. I know the first thing that jumps out about these faces is that they all happen to be white...

    Brilliant, thanks Stephen!

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The Senate really doesn't need chairing. It operates on a very consensual basis - pretty much nothing is done procedurally without unanimous consent. The VeeP is hardly ever there.

    For the most part, that's a fair point. But less formally, Vice Presidents can have a hell of a lot of influence on Capitol Hill. I think it would be fair comment to say Johnson and Kennedy weren't exactly bestest buds, but LBJ didn't spend six years as Senate Majority Leader without knowing where all the bodies were buried, and how to twist the arms that needed to rammed up somebody's back to pass a legislative agenda.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    True - but Biden can do that, Palin can't (unless you need pork for Alaska ...)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Watts,

    And here's something else that would piss me off, if it wasn't so sad. Obama actually, like a grown-up, was willing to say "well, John's right there" or "John has a point, but..." and that's treated like some horrible weakness?

    Have a look at the new McCain ad based around just that point.

    McCain Is Right

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    McCain would have to be looking up to Obama to look him in the eye and this suggests a submissive position.

    This might be because of the legend - don't know if its true or not and I really can't be stuffed looking it up - that the taller candidate in US presidential elections usually wins.

    Don't know how that worked for FDR, since he was usually photographed sitting down, but anyway....

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

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