Friday, October 3, 2008

Did You Take De-Bate?

The grumpy train has left the station and hopefully won't be back around for a long, long time!

So why the snit? Honestly...I don't know in specifics, just the overall combination of life's crap being flung in my face for an extended amount of time I suppose. No different than what I'm sure each of you has felt or dealt with at one point or another. Anyway, no point in dwelling on the junk right? Movin' on.

I'm sure there will be posts of all sorts today referring to last night's Vice Presidential debate. My apologies up front to those of you in other countries who aren't as interested in this. Thought I'd weigh in with a couple of thoughts and then turn it over to all of you in the comment section to offer up your two cents worth.

Four years ago I had some pretty rigid political blinders on, and wasn't looking past what was straight ahead. I had been inundated with the message that one candidate was the clear choice for my value set. That although deep within my heart I wasn't sure he was the best choice to lead this country, he did have a job to finish and I would give him my support by checking the box next to his name that November.

Four years later. . .(actually sooner it hit) I asked myself, "What the hell was I thinking?" and then it dawns on me. I wasn't thinking for myself. I was being led by others who I felt had a better handle on what my decision should be. Feel free to call out whatever expletive you would like to at this point, I can take it.

So here we are a month away from the next opportunity to voice our opinion on who should be deemed the Commander and Chief. I vowed that this year I would not be led by a group of people (or an individual for that matter) telling me which direction I should go. "Be open minded, be objective!" became my mantra. I'm quite proud of the fact that I have followed that principle up to this point.

With that mind set I've sat down and watched both debates thus far. I'll admit, I was already leaning one direction prior to them, but wasn't going to commit 100% until I'd had a chance to see and hear from both sides of the podium.

In the first one, body language and posture, seemed to resonate with me as much as the words themselves. Strange thing to base an opinion on you may say? Perhaps, but the words each of them spoke were, for the most part, things I'd heard from each of them before. With that being the case, I was looking for a sense of which of the two I would most trust. As a small business owner, I viewed each of them as if I were entering into a contract with them. "Who would I trust with the largest transaction of my well being?" I asked myself.

Obama made eye contact with his opponent, the mediator and the camera. He seemed confident in his responses and well prepared. McCain looked straight ahead and would not engage. He seemed almost nervous and unsure of his answers at times. In an oversimplified synopsis, there was a clearly a difference in who I would go into business with out of the two.

Last night was an opportunity to see the VP nominations square off. Again, I was leaning in a particular direction, but was not ready to color in the oval on the ballot just yet. Remember that part about being objective? Ya, I did too.

In this debate, the words that were spoken are what I focused in on. "What were they saying?" I asked, and perhaps equally as important, "What were they not saying?" The media hype of course, had Palin set up to fall flat on her face. An expectation she didn't completely make I felt. Sure, she had her moments, like the "Joe six-pack" reference and the general "by gosh and by golly" way in which she spoke, but overall, I think she did a decent job of hanging in there. What I didn't appreciate about her, was the way she kept avoiding the question put in front of her and going on to what she had been prepped for. It seemed like she had a list of about a half a dozen items she was comfortable talking about and no matter what was being asked of her, she would spin the conversation back to one of those topics.

Biden, on the other hand, oozed of politician. He did manage to offer up what he and Obama would stand for, but he did it more through attacking McCain than anything else. By the end of the ninety minutes, I was so sick and tired of listening to him go on and on about McCain, McCain, McCain I was about ready to throw-up. The school yard name calling was completely lost on me. Quit telling me what an asshole you think the other guy is and focus on what your guy can and will do!

Well, in the end I came up with the following conclusion: Palin didn't make a compelling enough argument to make me want to vote for McCain, and Biden didn't piss me off enough to want to not vote for Obama.

I'm curious what you all thought about it, especially if you are or were undecided in who you'll vote for. I'll be honest, I'm not really interested in hearing vile hatred spewed about either of them. I'd much rather hear a civil discussion about why you're bent one direction or another. I say this not to attempt to squash your input, but to keep it as something we can all glean insight from. With that I will turn over the comment section to you.


Akelamalu said...

Can't/won't comment on the politics but I'm glad to hear the grumps are over. :)

Bond said...

I thought Senator Biden did a good job between swiping at the opponent and also talking about what he and Senator Obama would do.

I also thought it was insulting for Governor Palin to state she would answer the questions the way she wanted to. Insulting to the moderator and to the public.

I believe she did better than expected, but the bar was set so low, how could she not.

I do not want a gosh-golly, be my buddy in the White House. I want someone who can face the tough questions and answer them.

Thus, choice made...

katherine. said...

I think your Grumpy train left Oregon and went to Ohio. Must be an "O" thing.

or maybe it is a lack of "O" thing?


Jeff B said...

Akelamalu- Understood. I'm glad too.

Bond- I don't see her "down home country girl" type of conversation flying in any sort of foreign relations. And you're right about how low the bar was set for her. Kind of a sad commentary when we don't expect a potential VP to do much in a debate.

Jeff B said...

Katherine- Sorry to have passed the baton. As for the "O thing" . . . probably best I don't stick my foot in my mouth with a comment about that.

katherine. said...

on the debate....I am not overly thrilled by any of the four candidates. so...I have a whole list of things I don't like about each of them.

There is so much animosity and outright anger towards each of these four individuals... I am rather concerned that no matter who wins...half of this nation will be furious at the people who voted for the President and VP. I don't see a landslide happening.

At a time when half a dozen countries pose a serious threat to our way of life...(and our econompy tottering) we will be unable to come together as a nation.

The "divided we fall" concept is what truly worries me.

Jeff B said...

Katherine- I just went by Matt's place and now know what the "O thing" is. hahaha

I thought the Bush-Kerry division was pretty strong, but as you say, this election is gearing up to be a doozy along those lines too.

There certainly seems to be a "lessor of two evils" feeling in the voting public this time around.

I'm not sure either choice will cause our country to fall as a result of our division. The civil war wasn't able to do it, so I don't think this will either. We do need to come together though if we are going to move forward.

nitebyrd said...

I unfortunately forgot to tape it while I was at school and will need to read about it and/or catch some clips online. Basically, I try to avoid political and religious issues. I'm also happy the grumpyness has departed.

katherine. said...

i don't actually thing the country will fail...or fall....

I'm watching the hateful animosity citizens feel toward another because they do not agree with their political decisions.

Real Live Lesbian said...

I thought both of the VP candidates did well. And I'll leave it at that.

Glad your case of the grumps are over!

Jeff B said...

Nitebyrd- Typically I stay out of the political arena too with my opinions. In the past it's been because of my lack of knowledge in the matter. I still have much to learn about politics, but the biggest gain I've made is to not be led by any one or group telling which way i should go.

Mentioning either politics or religion can ignite a hotbed of discussion can't it?

Katherine- That citizen animosity is very real. I don't know that I'll put any type of support sign in my front yard this year for that reason.

That could be an interesting topic to discuss in a future post sometime. The belief in free speech and the fear of retribution for exercising it. Hmmmm.

Jeff B said...

Real Live Lesbian- That grumpy bit was the pits. Glad its gone too.

Jay said...

I got tired of the way that Palin would get a question, and then look down at her notes for the talking points for that subject (or a similar subject) and then just read them off.

It seemed to me that Palin's understanding of each of the subjects brought up last night is no deeper than the talking points and slogans in front of her.

I thought Biden started off slow and then picked it up. Yeah, he took a lot of swipes at McCain, but Palin took just as many at Obabma.

They both told a bunch of whoppers.

But, overall Biden didn't insult my intelligence quite as much as Palin did.

Jeff B said...

Jay- It's always interesting to listen to the fact finder people to see what was bogus in their comments. I only caught a couple of them last night, but I'm sure there were plenty of them to find.

Palin was sort of like one of those dolls with a string in the back. Pull on it and it will say one of 4-5 prerecorded messages.

I think Biden started off slow or muted on purpose. I'm pretty sure his party told him not to blow people out of the water right out of the gate. It seemed like a pretty effective strategy if in fact that's what it was.

Anndi said...

It's good when the grumpies leave.

I watched and I'm from another country!! Do I get extra points? :)

OK.. pet peeve number one: Since when does a candidate get to decide that the basic principles of a debate don't apply to them?!

If you want to talk directly to Americans, that's what the campaign trail is. In a debate, you are asked questions and the expectation is that you will answer those questions. All she proved to me was: she doesn't know much and can't back mcCain in anything. I would think a VP could be an advisor, added wisdowm. Not a debutante.

Pet peeve number two: what's with the winking? is that code?

Biden smiled too much. But that's really all that bothered me about him.

Jeff B said...

Anndi- Gold star next to your name for watching.

The winking bit was too cutsie wasn't it. Then again...maybe it was directed at me...ya, that's what it was. OK, I'm alright with it now.

It was more of a campaign speech than a debate for her. I hadn't really thought of it in that light, but that's what it looked like.

buffalodick said...

Simply put; I want leadership for this country. I want people in office to do what is right morally and more importantly, ethically. Wordsmiths and intelligent people can be hired by the people I would like to believe in, to advise them to better explain or do the tasks we need done. I am sick of hidden agendas and favor trading for votes. It is not what our Constitution was written for. Me and my soap box are goin' home now..

Mel said...

ROFL @ katherine

k.....I've totally lost anything intelligent that I mighta had to say.

Yeah right...LOL

Jeff B said...

Buffalo- Soap boxes are always welcome here. Interesting response though, I'm thinking it could apply to either side of the isle.

True leadership would certainly be a refreshing change wouldn't it? How nice it would be to have a President who had the backbone to stand up and make a difference.

Mel- I think you're just holding out on us.

buffalodick said...

Jeff- In one of my unusual double comments to a post- I have to say this. This country hasn't needed leadership more than now. We are screwing around with other countries problems, and we're not paying attention to the country we love. Illegal aliens are declining- they don't want to be new rats on a sinking ship! In times of trouble we need leadership- in times of prosperity we need managers. When the crap hits the fan, who is going to buy the United States raincoats?

Travis said...

I'd like to commend the people commenting here for not sniping at each other. I haven't wanted to comment on politics, mostly because I don't want to be attacked for my opinion. But I feel a bit safe here, so here's my thoughts.

I'm already locked in with my vote. I just wanted the candidates to answer the questions.

Senator Biden dodged a few, but he answered most of the questions. He was specific and clear for the most part, and he mostly supported his positions with sources and some facts. There were some distortions, but I don't think that they were egregious and the fact checkers seem to agree today. I particularly appreciated that he did not dodge the question of some of his positions that diverge from Senator Obama. He admitted it, and then went on to explain how that could be a positive aspect of the relationship between a President and his Vice President.

As for Governor Palin, she did perform better than expected. But I just wanted her to answer the questions and not give me campaign buzzwords. I did not care for her "folksy" demeanor. Let's face it...this is politics and these are politicians, and this is an election to determine the leaders of this country for the next four years. So let's respect the American people and answer the questions. I did not like that she seemed to dismiss history as irrelvant. I did not like that she felt that there was no need to change her opinion ever, even in light of new information or changing circumstances.

I think that in the end, neither did harm.

Jeff B said...

Buffalo- I'm still trying to figure out if you're for or against either of the options?

I would whole heartily agree that we are in desperate need of strong leadership at this point in our country's history. McCain may have an edge in experience simply because of his age, but I don't know that I would agree with where he wants to take us. Obama's weakness in this area may or may not be founded, but I feel he is more likely willing to explore alternative means of pulling this country out of the mess it's in.

Whoever does make it to the White house, I hope they are willing to back up their campaign words and get to work for the American people.

Thanks for weighing in.

Travis- like you, I've been very impressed with the viewpoints that have been shared here. No one has gone into attack mode, for that I'm grateful.

I was actually hoping we'd hear from some McCain supporters too for an opposing viewpoint.

I'm surprised that anyone in a debate isn't more careful with the "facts" they throw out there. They've got to know the fact checkers are going to call them out on any discrepancies.

Had Palin stayed more on point and not gone so casual with her approach, I think she would have appealed to a much wider audience.

Gene Bach said...

Jeff, let me start by saying you're still a loser...grumpy or not.

1) Bush is an idiot. I don't like him

2) Bidden is a flaming jackass. I don't like him.

3) McCain has the personality of an eggplant. I don't like him.

4) Obama is a lying sack of shit. I don't like him.

5) Palin hunts moose and is a hottie. I like her.

Who the hell thinks it's going to make a difference after the bailout bil that passed today? At this point we're well on our way to socialism and we're screwed no matter who wins the election.

Keep this in mind: the president, no matter who he is, doesn't do much of anything without the approval (votes) of congress. If Bush has put us in the middle of a big mess then every one of those bastards needs to take a bite of the crap sandwich because they are equally guilty. Maybe that's why their approval rating is even lower than Bush's?

This is the worst bunch of pukaticians that I've ever had the mispleasure to have had to watch. The candidates suck, congress sucks, and the media sure as hell sucks right along with them.

The two most experienced of the bunch are McCain and Bidden...the other two haven't been around long enough to have a frigging clue. I keep hearing, "CHANGE! CHANGE! CHANGE!" and yet Obamaessiah says absolutely nothing SPECIFICALLY about what he wants to change or how he wants to change it. Palin can't answer a question to save herself.

And how about the choice of the moderator? Wasn't it nice to have someone who has a book ready to sell that will make a lot of money if a certain candidate wins? What a bunch of crap!

Until they come up with a "none of the above" button to push I think I'll stay with the moose hunting hottie.

Jeff B said...

Gene- or should I say Eeyore...Sounds like you're ready to pack up and head for Canada. Don't know about their political system, but at least the fishing's good!

I wasn't aware the moderator had a book deal pending. Even so, I think her questions were good and she kept the debate rolling along without any hidden agenda that I could see.

buffalodick said...

"Say what you mean, mean what you say- and then do it!" I wrote that in a sales handbook I edited 20 years ago. Remember when your word was your bond? We've lost that.. In the hustle for votes, both sides will say anything. Maybe we need a third voice- a third party.

Gene Bach said...

Buffalodick is right. Unfortunately, with the way things are a third party doesn't have a chance.

Think what you want about my attitude Jeff, but this country is headed for a big change and it isn't gonna be good if we keep on our current path.

Our congress is worse than pathetic. Our candidates for president suck. Not a one has any idea what the truth is. The media has completely abandoned simply reporting and have now become unabashed advocates for the person of their choosing.

I dispise either party. The Republicans want to let big business run everything in our lives. The Democrats want to run everything in our lives themselves. And God forbid you disagree with anything a Democrat has to say our you're branded a racist or made out to be an idiot.

Sorry bro, our politicall system is run by thieves and liars and they are getting bolder and bolder everyday. Got any idea how much pork was put into the "bailout" that had ZERO to do with anything remotely close to the situation? They didn't even try to hide it. Why? Because the people of this country had their collective heads stuck so far into the sand that there is no way they can see past grains in their pupils.

Politicians are getting away with murder because people don't want to be bothered with the details, all they want is for the goverment to come along and give them whatever they need, whenever they need it.

Look at our "leaders", or our future "leaders"...we're not getting what we need, we're getting what we deserve.

A lot of people have shed their blood to make this a great and free country and we are willingly throwing it down the crapper. We ought to be ashamed of what is happening, but are we? Nope, we just keep wondering where the next handout is coming from. We suck.

However, Sarah Palin is still a moose hunting hottie.

Jeff B said...

Buffalo- The say anything for a vote is quite evident in the bending of facts or outright lies that were and are portrayed from both sides of the isle. What amazes me is that the fact checkers the day after the debate present this deviations from the truth as comical. They actually think it's funny that "so and so got away with that one!" Very irritating.

The lines between the Dems and Reps are becoming so muted that third party would make a lot of sense, in fact maybe we could call it the Common Sense party.

Gene- I don't disagree with you that the choices we have this year are anything but mediocre at best. I also don't think we can just say, "everyone sucks, so I'll just abstain."

I wish I had the right answer to turn this country back around. Fact is I don't.

Greed and corruption have overrun Washington and unless you have enough money to catch the attention of those in office, you/we are powerless to do anything about it.

As for your attitude, well, every time you comment here you preface it with "You're a loser" or "You suck" or some other gem. I know we've always teased each other, but it gets frustrating hearing that every time.

Raven said...

Well, I think you know where I stand politically... not much of a secret. I expected Palin to do about what she did in the debate. It's a much safer format for her where she can give semi scripted responses - not necessarily to the questions, but... I'm fascinated by her ability to do what I think of as gobbeldy-gook answers. Responses that ramble around and sound like they might go somewhere but really don't. The winky folksy thing doesn't do that well with me. I might like my neighbor, but I don't know that I want him or her to have the ability to start wars in my name. I think both candidates made false statements, but I think the degree of falsity feel much more strongly with Palin who seems, much like Bush, never to have met a lie she didn't like telling, either about her own record or her opponents. I admit to a double bias. I have always liked Joe Biden. I thought he looked angry a lot, which isn't something I associate with him, but the difference for me - above and beyond my disagreement ideologically - is that his responses seemed to come from a depth of knowledge rather than a script. They may have carried some of the sound-bite crap that we are barraged with, but they come from a very different place, intellectually and emotionally. Whew. Sorry this is so long and a day late. Off to read your wordzzle now.

Dianne said...

I enjoyed reading this and all the comments. I have nothing to add as it relates to the debate specifically or to the election in general.

What did interest me was your reluctance to put up a campaign sign. And you mentioned it might become a future post so I'll give you some food for it ;)

I get hate mail - partly from a few of my posts. Mostly because I responded to a global e-mail attacking Obama with well documented research.

I have 2 Obama bumper stickers on my car and an Obama cap in my back window.

I bought a box load of the bumper stickers to give out to the VFW guys I feed ;)
but turns out I needed them since someone rips them off at least once a week.

A guy came way too close to my face in the grocery parking lot - called me "a nigger loving leftie cow" - the words didn't bother me - he clearly had no other way of communicating. what did scare me was the level of hatred in his face and how very close he came to me physically. I could literally feel his energy smack me and I was gripping my cane (yep foot still in cast) wondering if I could really use it.

My son has begged me to "de-Obama" my car. I refuse. Actually I put on more and I wear my Obama shirts almost every day. I am NOT looking for trouble but I will NOT be intimidated. Maybe becasue I grew up during the civil rights movement. Maybe because I went to school during the first days of busing and remember parents frightening black children as they tried to go to school. I think America has forgotten way too much.

I could go on but suddenly I feel sad. I'm going to go back and re-read the Wordzzle and look at Lisa's stew, that was happy.


katherine. said...

I knew Travis watched "Dancing With The Vice Presidents" !!

And I think Mel is laughin' about the "O Train" and not my political commentary.

Maybe Gene needs to fire-up his sleeping weblot? He seems to have a lot to say.....90% of which I agree with. (Jeff is my fave of the Bach Boys)

The Executive branch of our government is not only the POTUS...or the POTUS and is a VERY influencial and powerful group of advisors.

I have lost just about all respect for the people Obama has surrounded hisself with. I think Biden is past his prime...and is on the ticket to give the dems some semblance of experience...too bad Baden can actually REMEMBER what his experience has been.

I think the advisors McCain brings to the game will serve our country THIS point...I think Palin is far more capable of learning what she needs to know that other VP choices. She has the skills but not the experience.

I wonder about a slightly different system....where the two candidates (in this case Obama and McCain) run for president...the winner is POTUS...the other VPOTUS? the next half a century...I think we are gonna see a one person/one vote election...and the electoral college go away....

Sandi McBride said...

I heard Biden say more than once that every decision that Obama would make, he'd be in the room. What does that tell me? This man who ran for President a couple of times but couldn't cut it with the voters doesn't feel that, as he said himself plainly, Obama is ready to be President. And that's my take on it. I hope that in the next debate it comes out that our President tried to get the entire Congress to investigate Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae in 2002 and 2005...but Barney Franks flatly told him to back off...John McCain as well tried to get them all reps and dems to pull their heads out of their asses, but apparently the smell wasn't bothering them overly much. Oh well, I'll just be glad when the first Wednesday in November gets here, my part will be done, I'll have gone and voted even if I'm not happy with either of my choices...who do I sue?
again, glad to see you back and over your mood!

jennifer said...

I am so careful about what I say about politics! Why? I am not a fan of Obama nor am I a fan of McCain. I WILL vote but I don't think I will do it with ANY confidence in the system.

Let me say that I am SO GLAD that you are back. Grumpies are allowed, blog breaks are too... I am just a worrier. Seeing you posting again gave me peace of mind. :) Have a great weekend Jeff.

Jeff B said...

Raven- Part of me wishes there would be another debate between them, just to see if her script changed any. The other part of me wonders if it would matter.

Dianne- What you wrote about is precisely why I put the disclaimer up that I wasn't interested in the hate filled comments that could have so easily been shared by some. We should all have strong convictions about who we do and don't support, but to unleash that kind of behavior that you experienced is appalling.

Katherine- I'm quite sure I hit a raw nerve with Gene. One of the reasons I've hesitated in the past about posting anything political. It just seems to be a powder-keg ready to go off. Certainly not just with him, but the majority of people everywhere.

I keep hearing the words of Ronald Regan playing over again. (may not be a completely accurate quote)"Ask yourself, are you better off now than you were four years ago?" The answer to this for our country is HELL NO!. Even though McCain wants to label himself as a maverick, I'm not convinced he's going to take us down a different path than the one we've been on for the past eight years. I could be wrong, Lord knows I've been that before.

Like Gene indicated though, the President is often times a puppet whos strings are controlled by others.

Sandi- The whole bail out package is a farce. The writing had to have been on the wall long before the shit hit the fan. In this case no party is immune to the blame. None of the decision makers are nearly as likely to suffer the same devastation as the general taxpayer will from it.

You're right, November 4th can't get here soon enough!

Jeff B said...

Jennifer- It's a dangerous topic to navigate without ruffling at least a few feathers. Thanks for the concern, but alas, your still stuck with me! haha

Raven said...

I have to respond to Katherine that Biden is six years younger than McCain and - in my opinion more intelligent and more importantly, more thoughtful.

I would disagree with Gene that Obama has not offered specifics, they have just not been given air time. Despite accusations of him thinking he is the messiah, that is not at all true.

I would recommend that everyone check out the PBS Close-ups on each of the candidates which are based largely on interviews with their own staff and supporters. Here is the link for the first in the series on McCain and here is the link for first in the series on Obama, You can watch them in video form. I found them to be quite enlightening.

katherine. said...

Biden is indeed younger than McCain...I have no evidence of IQ. My problem with Biden is when he is thoughtful he comes out with thoughts like it was a drunk driver who killed his wife and daughter...or what the role of the VP is to the senate...or remembering FDR on TV.

I've seen the PBS gig. And I have read extensively beyond short media shows and interviews.

I would recommend reading what Biden had to say about Obama...his experience...and his programs...and his past...before Biden was the VP tag.

(handing the mircrophone to Gene)

Marilyn said...

I really appreciated your comments about body language because I listen to them on the radio and miss out on all that. I still can't picture Palin winking. That just sounds odd.

I liked how Bidin answered the last question, the one about how he changed his mind. I was prepared to like Palin a lot more than I did but I'll admit that my reaction to her is not logical.

Jeff B said...

Raven- I appreciate the links. I'll make a point of checking them out.

I've enjoyed the dialog from everybody, but especially between you and Katherine. You both have very strong views, but are expressing them in a way that can be heard without tearing the other person down. THANK YOU both!

Katherine- Thank you too for offering up an opposing viewpoint. I was thinking about something you eluded to earlier. About Palin lacking experience, but being more likely to learn the roll. (my own paraphrase) I guess the same could apply to Obama too as far as the experience.

It's interesting how the two tickets are running in parallels on some aspects; One with experience the other without. One young the other older, One the typical white guy and the other a political minority...

With this pattern it would seem that most arguments for or against a particular party can be applied equally to the other.

Marilyn- My reaction to the body language may not be considered by many to be a good indicator of who to choose, but it certainly does add to the overall picture. and one that is fuzzy at best I might add.

CrazyCath said...

D'y'know? I seem to have missed your grump and your political rant! How#s that for cute timing eh?

Rhea said...

I'm glad the grumpy train has left the station for you, but we're still your friends even if it comes back.

Interesting insight into the debates. I'm still undecided. I'm not real thrilled with either side.