Debate Catharsis

My intentions here are two-fold. One, if I do some ranting here, I am less likely to throw a brick at the TV screen. Two, speaking to a larger audience than just talking back to the TV – it’s kind of like expecting a football team to hear me screaming “block that kick” from a thousand miles away.

There is value in going back to the written transcript, and thinking about what the candidates were really saying.

[Obama] I want to end the tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas…

Am I the only one who ever wonders just what tax breaks he’s referring to? I’ve never heard of an outsourcing tax credit or anything else I’d consider a tax break for shipping jobs overseas.

[Obama] What I’ve said is I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans, 95 percent.

The faulty math in this assertion doesn’t say much for Obama’s Harvard education, not when almost a third of tax filers pay no income tax at all. You can’t cut something that doesn’t exist. You can’t refund something that hasn’t been paid. What Obama will do is increase taxes on the top 5% and use a substantial portion of the proceeds to send checks to people who don’t pay any income taxes at all. It’s not a tax cut, it’s income redistribution. He’s playing Robin Hood and trying to obscure it by calling it tax cuts.

[Obama] So, look, nobody likes taxes. I would prefer that none of us had to pay taxes, including myself. But ultimately, we’ve got to pay for the core investments that make this economy strong and somebody’s got to do it.

Newsflash, Senator Government. Government “investments” are not what make the economy strong. American businesses are our economic strength.

[McCain] I oppose subsidies for ethanol because I thought it distorted the market and created inflation; Senator Obama supported those subsidies.

Glory glory hallelujah! Thank you, Senator McCain. Ethanol is a fraud – it not only ends up producing more greenhouse gas than gasoline, it has caused a spike in prices that has had a huge impact on the poor, and especially starving people overseas.

[McCain] Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.

About time! Why they couldn’t think of this for the first debate is beyond me.

[McCain] But it’s very clear that I have disagreed with the Bush administration. I have disagreed with leaders of my own party. I’ve got the scars to prove it.

Whether it be bringing climate change to the floor of the Senate for the first time. Whether it be opposition to spending and earmarks, whether it be the issue of torture, whether it be the conduct of the war in Iraq, which I vigorously opposed. Whether it be on fighting the pharmaceutical companies on Medicare prescription drugs, importation. Whether it be fighting for an HMO patient’s bill of rights. Whether it be the establishment of the 9/11 Commission.

I have a long record of reform and fighting through on the floor of the United States Senate.

I wish this were a campaign commercial.

[McCain] Every time there’s been an out-of-bounds remark made by a Republican, no matter where they are, I have repudiated them. I hope that Senator Obama will repudiate those remarks that were made by Congressman John Lewis, very unfair and totally inappropriate.

That he has, pissing off lots of conservatives in the process. He inexplicably will not call out the Democrats on many of their outrageous claims. His comments about Lewis were a rare exception.

[Obama] And 100 percent, John, of your ads — 100 percent of them have been negative.

[McCain] It’s not true.

[Obama] It absolutely is true.

No matter how many times you say it, it still isn’t true. For a period of one week, almost all of McCain’s ads were negative, but he has done positive ads as well. And as part of having more money to spend overall, Obama has outspent McCain on negative ads.

[Obama] But when people suggest that I pal around with terrorists, then we’re not talking about issues.

It’s a legitimate issue to me. It’s less the terrorism forty years ago than the anti-capitalist, black separatist school “reform” you worked with Ayers on, though.

[Obama] Let me tell you who I associate with. On economic policy, I associate with Warren Buffett and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. If I’m interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden or with Dick Lugar, the Republican ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO.

Those are the people, Democrats and Republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House. And I think the fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Senator McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me.

Those aren’t really the people “who shaped your ideas”, Senator. Why don’t you mention the communist Frank Marshall Davis, Saul “The Red” Alinsky, the Marxist professors you sought out in college, or Reverend Wright? Isn’t the title of your second book evidence that Wright has indeed “shaped your ideas”?

And what it says about McCain is that he also sees the significance of your anti-capitalist radical worldview and what it means to America if elected.

[Obama] Just yesterday, I was in Toledo shaking some hands in a line. Two women, both of them probably in their mid- to late-50s, had just been laid off of their plant. Neither of them have health insurance.

And they were desperate for some way of getting coverage, because, understandably, they’re worried that, if they get sick, they could go bankrupt.

It’s called COBRA, Senator. Sometimes I don’t think Obama could get a clue if he slathered himself in clue musk and danced naked in a field of horny clues in the middle of clue mating season.

[Obama] If you don’t have health insurance, then what we’re going to do is to provide you the option of buying into the same kind of federal pool that both Senator McCain and I enjoy as federal employees, which will give you high-quality care, choice of doctors, at lower costs, because so many people are part of this insured group.

Are you going to subsidize this insurance the way it is for Federal employees? Doesn’t that throw a wrench in the free market, tempting people to give up private plans and run to the subsidized government plan?

[Obama]We’re going to make sure that insurance companies can’t discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions. We’ll negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price on drugs.

We are going to invest in information technology to eliminate bureaucracy and make the system more efficient.

And we are going to make sure that we manage chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, that cost a huge amount, but could be prevented. We’ve got to put more money into preventive care.

This will cost some money on the front end, but over the long term this is the only way that not only are we going to make families healthy, but it’s also how we’re going to save the federal budget, because we can’t afford these escalating costs.

We, we, we, Kemosabe? Read his comments carefully. It sounds like a government takeover of healthcare is indeed in the works, no matter how much he denies it now.

[Obama] I exempt small businesses from having to pay into a kitty. But large businesses that can afford it, we’ve got a choice. Either they provide health insurance to their employees or somebody has to.

Right now, what happens is those employees get dumped into either the Medicaid system, which taxpayers pick up, or they’re going to the emergency room for uncompensated care, which everybody picks up in their premiums.

There he goes again, with the “because they can afford it” business.

And he left out a third option, which doesn’t surprise me. Democrats often forget about personal responsibility – i.e. responsible people who buy their own health insurance if their employer doesn’t offer it.

I could go on. But I’m sure you’ve had enough for now.

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