Friday, October 3, 2008

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin

I have to hope that the undecided voters aren't waiting to see who's more likable or who's prettier. They're weighing issues and competence. And when PALIN/mccain are weighed and measured they lose the vote. Taking an average of each side I'd go so far as to say that the Obama/Biden ticket is prettier too. And more likable. Wait. Remind me: why is anybody supporting McPalin?

The VP debate was not the bloodbath that many were hoping it would be. Sarah Palin had all her lines memorized like a good automaton. Biden wisely softened his smile and he tempered the edge on his gaze. He focused on McCain and let Palin remain empty even while letting her seem half confident. Seem. Half. Where she fell apart was in the issues that reveal her backward views. This isn't about a stupid person serving next to the president; it's about dangerous philosophies that would poison the Potomac.

Palin believes the role of the vice president is ambiguously suspended between the legislative and executive branches. This is the philosophy that allowed Dick Cheney to deflect accountability and oversight while breaking knees and biting ears for the President.

Palin wants to deny rights to same-sex marriages if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. She promised that she is and would be nothing less than tolerant. But don't believe it. It's not tolerance that fights against changing a bigoted tradition saying unfortunately, that's sometimes where those steps lead. It is only intolerance that is unwilling because of tradition to take the step of granting every couple the right to choose marriage.

Palin told Katie Couric that she would find some examples of McCain pushing for more regulation. Joe Biden gave her an opportunity to show the fruits of her research. And her response?

Palin: I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.

I'm hoping the undecided voters have been waiting for an answer. I'm hoping they're demanding one. Because she gave none. Last night was an opportunity to go beyond mere personality. But from Palin we saw no policy revelation or delineation of steps for change. And if that camp can't come up with evidence that McCain will likely push for regulation then why the hell don't they come up with an argument that he shouldn't. That's his stance. That's the pedigree of his economic philosophy. And there are many many people out there who are still on board with that philosophy. The refusal to argue the point is both stubborn and weak. And it reveals not just their lack of resolve on an issue, but also the inability to formulate any argument that effectively contradicts Barack Obama's stated goals and the history he has of pushing for them. This is evidence enough that a vote for McCain is based not on any faith in his ability to manage the economy.

Vote for McCain -- Because you don't care about the middle class either.

So it's a foreign-policy/defense thing? McCain supported the surge. But what next? What standard to leave Iraq? His plan doesn't say how; it says when. So when? According to McCain it doesn't matter. He believes in the dignity of waiting.

Biden called for some specifics of a plan for Iraq, and all McCain has put in the chamber is a call for victory. He expects the voters to trust him when he says that waiting is necessary.

Well it's not. It's not necessary because we should not stay in Iraq just to prove that we can. Palin had nothing to add to this. She had nothing because They have nothing. And the most disturbing thing is that it seems to be a bragging point for her. No wait. The most disturbing thing is that these answers worked for some viewers.

I can understand that some voters have made up their minds and they're not listening for arguments. We're all guilty of that at times. And some voters argue on a platform of values that I don't share. If you believe homosexuality is a sin and you believe the constitution should define it as an aberration because of your reading of the bible, then I'll assume that you don't care much for distestablishmentarianism. You might take issue with my conjecture but at that point the argument changes and it's no longer about the candidates.

So getting back to them--

We don't know what the undecided voters are waiting to hear. It might be that they're not sure what the economy needs. They might be unclear on Iraq. Perhaps they have not yet resolved the competing stories. If they haven't seen the numbers they don't know how to judge the tax plans. If they haven't read the bill they don't know what to think of Obama's support of kindergarten sex-education. They might not know if the arguments are misleading or incomplete.

Ignorance is accepted. And it's easy to remedy. In the debate Palin showed some rhetorical dexterity. But she did so by encouraging ignorance by flaunting her necessary incuriosity. I hope that undecided voters are still monitoring the balance because of their refusal to settle on that same ignorance.

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