Thursday, April 17, 2008

Debating the debates

I've reached this point where I show up to work and read like 800 blog posts and news articles purely about the 2008 Democratic primary campaigns. Literally. I can't help myself, and I feel like each one, separately, contains at least one nugget of awesome important information. I've been trying to decide if that just means I've been sucked in or if it's because what I should do is turn this blog into what it has been almost by default lately, which is a source for pro-Obama and anti-McCain news. After the debate last night, you know I have lots of opinions. I didn't watch it but all sources seem to indicate it was a disaster, not entirely because of Obama's performance (though that was, again according to all sources, not great), but because the ABC moderators spent the entire first half of the debate talking about entirely pointless non-issues instead of anything serious that is actually facing the country. No war, no health care, no economy. Just all the bullshit. It's incredibly not surprising and incredibly disappointing and incredibly rage-fueling. And Hillary Clinton just went with it, which I know does not surprise many people (at least those who are anti-Clinton liberals), but I had been clinging (oh! bad word) to this notion that Clinton was not as bad as everyone said. But after all this, I'm just so frustrated that she's buying into this, or rather, that she's selling this. She is not a victim right now, she's a perpetrator, and I get the feeling it's been like this all along and I just didn't really want to admit it. But she is doing John McCain's job for him. How royally fucked up is that?

A few links...
-The entire debate on NYTimes website
-I've become freakishly hooked on Andrew Sullivan's blog, perhaps because he's as information-addicted as I am, even though he's one of those conservatives where I don't actually understand why he's conservative, and in general I try to read liberal-biased media (ha! some would say that's all media, but after yesterday, really, how could you agree?), even though that sounds stupid of me
-"Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"
-A really interesting blog post about whether or not there will be backlash against Clinton for her negativity, and a lot about the "narratives" going on right now in the campaign (this is a "damn the MSM man" moment for me)
-All about the "shoddy, despicable performances" of the moderators last night. Highlight:

Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities and obsessiveness over any misstatement a candidate might make along the way, whether in a speech or while being eavesdropped upon by the opposition. The tactic has been to "take one statement and beat it to death," he said.

Interesting pair of info about the definition of the "middle class" in America:

Sens. Clinton and Obama used different definitions of “the middle class” in answer to Charlie Gibson’s attempt to extract from them a “no new taxes” on the middle class from them. Hillary Clinton defined the middle class as families earning an income lower than $250,000, a definition with which I’d agree. Basically, that’s all but the top 1% of income earners. Sen. Obama’s definition was families earning an income below $75,000. I think that’s an extremely narrow definition. It doesn’t even include all of the fourth quintile who to me are obviously middle class. (via)

Compare that to this:

Charlie Gibson has been asserting that $200,000 is a solid middle-class income, blissfully unaware that just 3.4 percent of U.S. households have an income of $200,000 or more. You could be richer than 96 percent of your fellow citizens, but still just folks to Gibson.

This one particularly pisses me off because yesterday at the gym I was watching Lou Dobbs (I avoid cable news like the plague except on election returns nights, but it was on the big screen with subtitles) and they showed Michelle Obama talking about how her family was working class and Obama had just recently paid off his student loans and then immediately afterwards, another lame-ass "gotcha" move from the lame-ass TV networks, Dobbs said, with a gleeful look on his face, "But that was just before the Obamas released their 2007 tax returns and they made 4.whatever million dollars this year!" As though this proves that they are elitist, because they make money now. GAH.

I promise I won't exclusively post about this kind of stuff, since I don't exactly want to turn this into a hotbed of controversy, but it's all I can think about this morning. (That, and how to mitigate the effects of the Double Daddy and the Brother David I had at Gestalt last night. Prescription for overdosing on carbohydrates, admittedly in the form of sugar alcohols? MORE carbohydrates! Bring on the cereal and the Vitamin water!)

On a side note, which is not actually a side not but really a segue in my head since that's the way I'm operating today, I kind of feel like making one of those statements where I promise to be honest on my blog more often. Like the fact that I currently am hungover. Or whatever. But the point is just that I feel like I've neglected this poor thing and it could be better than it is.

So apparently the election isn't the only thing on my mind. It's just the primary thing. Which reminds me, if you are an Obama supporter, now would be a good time to donate.


Anonymous said...

Oh please. Hillary has every right to continue the campaign to give all the upcoming primary states a chance to express their choice. What is the harm in letting people have a choice? What do you want her to do, drop out? More people have been registering in upcoming states (which means more potential voters in the general election) and a higher sense of voter efficacy (citizens feeling like they had an influence in the primary season when the nominee is usually already decided) sounds pretty good to me.
She won major states like Ohio, Arizona, California, New York, Texas, New Mexico, and Massachusetts (with Pennsylvania next) so of course she is going to feel in her heart that she is a viable candidate. She should drop out because Obama collected a bunch of shit states like Utah and Kansas that he's never going to win in the general election anyways? Give me a break.
The debate was not an Obama burial, as both candidates got it-she was questioned over things like her Bosnia fairy tale as well. For a lot of people both candidates are very similar in their issue positions-so the way in which they distinguish the two is through character/personality considerations, which a big part of the debate was.
Do you honestly think Obama and Hillary are going to have wildly divergent views as to how to address high gas prices and education? The differences are mostly minute, cosmetic, and can't be conveyed in a debate response.
Obama really struggles with this too-for someone who is allegedly so eloquent he is a terrible, terrible debate participant. He is been bad in every debate-you would think he would get better since there have been so many. He is better served by talking about "pointless non-issues" because he can take his Jesus-like "I'm above this" stance. When he gets to talk about issues he stammers out vague responses. He has to get better if he does end up facing McCain.
Hillary is playing the hand that was dealt her-how would you act is something you wanted your whole life was oh so close within reach but everyone told you you can't have it (even though the gap between her and Obama isn't really that sizable). Unfortunately it is late in the game so this small gap will be hard to overcome, but she should still be allowed to campaign. Obama can't win with just pledged delegates either-he needs the superdelagates as well. Let the process play out. The world isn't going to end.
Telling her to suck it up and quit just because you think McCain is getting traction is really disturbing. She isn't hurting the Democratic party and I'm convinced of this-she is only strengthening the support of a lot of working class voters to the party. Obama could have been doing this in Penn., but I guess he was too busy at San Fran fundraisers eating avocado cheese toast with a bunch of rich pricks.
Why is it her fault that Obama has been unable to finish her off? It will be a cold day in hell before I support Obama-I think I'll vote for Nader if he is the nominee.
Sorry for the rant-maybe I should get my own blog, but the internet is infested with this Clinton hatred that is totally without merit and it seems like you are veering that way. When will liberals stop supporting aloof pieces of crap like Kerry and Obama?

supporter of hilary 2008

Emily said...

i'm not really complaining about hillary remaining in the race, i'm complaining about the fact that the entire media -- and hillary is doing it too -- is buying into all these bullshit non issues instead of talking about the REAL ONES. and yeah, they have similar issues, i'm not saying they don't. i'm not even saying hillary should drop out. i just can't stand this pointless bickering. and i do think obama has a fighting chance against mccain -- AT LEAST as much as clinton does if not more.

i can't believe you're really bitching about obama being in sf with rich pricks, as though every candidate doesn't have to woo all kinds of voters. "aloof pieces of crap" my ass.

anyway, we clearly could get into this but i (respectfully) disagree with most of what you just posted, and i also would like to say for the record that i haven't gotten into personality arguments about clinton (aside from her negative campaigning tactics, which i agree a lot of folks are being pretty down on her for), because i understand that she's in a tough position and she's been in one her whole life. i have a lot of sympathy for her as a woman and as a person, and i respect her a lot for her successes. i'm just not rooting for her. however, i will support clinton if she wins the nomination, which is more than you are saying for obama, which in my opinion is insane because otherwise we are getting bush 2 (or would it really be bush 3! ha).

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing how her tactics are negative or wrong. I admire her for at least admitting she is taking advantage of the oppurtunities that come her way and campaiging hard against Obama. It seems like Obama's staff and the Obama worshipping press are doing all the negative tactics against Clinton so the blood isn't on Obama's hands and he can remain pure. I admire her for being tough and letting her hands get a little dirty. I like a fighter so I really respect her a lot, but I understand that many people don't. Still, I honestly don't think this campaign has been particularly vicious compared to years past.
The reason for that in part is that oftentimes when Hillary or a supporter (like Geraldine Ferraro) criticizes Obama they are branded a racist. It is hard to campaign against someone with your hands tied behind your back. So Hillary is trying a bunch of things and seeing what sticks-this is understandable because it seems like it is her against the world. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone-Bill Clinton being labeled a racist and black supporters of Hillary being labeled an Uncle Tom. If Obama is so concerned about bridging the divide, why hasn't he consistently and vociferously went against such statements. I guess he doesn't want to get his hands dirty.
And by the way, why does Obama have to woo the rich pricks when we all know he has their support? He's just trying to get some more cash when he can buckle down, roll his sleeves up and go door to door every day in Pennsylvania and Indiana and try to show the voters that he is the candidate for them. He would do this if he wasn't so aloof. Obama says he wants to bring people together but he has no history in the Senate of bringing legislators together or in making a concerted effort to get people outside his voting bloc to support him. I'm worried he has that either you're with me or you're against me personality-this is kind of exhibited in his mediocre debate performances. He can talk at people well, but not with people when they are not necessarily on his side.
If Obama wins, we might still have Bush 2- a Bush personality with liberal policies. I'm not really sure if this is anything to get excited about.

Emily said...

do you have an e-mail address? i feel like blogger is not the most productive place for this... although i do feel like this is the point of blogs! ha! who knew?

i guess i could say that the vast majority of donations that obama has received have been small donations from regular people all over the country. i could also say that i don't think he has that you're with me or against me thing, and talk about clinton being divisive. (although i think that's largely just another media narrative bullshit thing.)

i'm also supposedly an anti-feminist because i support obama instead of clinton. so there are weird gray areas everywhere. the stuff about geraldine ferraro being a racist i completely disagree with, and i think that's yet another dumb political non-issue that is blown out of proportion (it does go both ways -- i don't really care about the bosnia thing either).

also i actually genuinely believe that the reason why obama declines to talk about most of these things is because he thinks they aren't the point. cleaner politics and all that. maybe i'm buying the line, but i think it's true.

you can email me if you want at kettering AT gmail