Friday, October 03, 2008

Follow-Up on the VP Debate

Here are some of the money quotes I didn't manage to get down last night.

Biden's response after Palin said she would welcome the VP position having more power:
Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit. The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

Palin on the same question:
"We have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation."

Biden on the use of nuclear weapons/Iran/Pakistan:
Well, they're both extremely dangerous. I always am focused, as you know Gwen, I have been focusing on for a long time, along with Barack on Pakistan. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Pakistan already has deployed nuclear weapons. Pakistan's weapons can already hit Israel and the Mediterranean. Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be very, very destabilizing. They are more than - they are not close to getting a nuclear weapon that's able to be deployed. So they're both very dangerous. They both would be game changers...

Palin on the same questions:
“An armed, nuclear armed especially Iran is so extremely dangerous to consider..."Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet, so those dangerous regimes, again, cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, period."

And finally, Biden on McCain's "maverick" status:
Can I respond to that? Look, let’s talk about the maverick John McCain is. And again I love him, he’s been a maverick on some issues but he’s been no maverick on things that a matter people’s lives. He voted four out of five times for George Bush’s budget which put us half a trillion in debt this year and over three trillion in debt since he got there. He has not been a maverick in providing healthcare for people. He voted against including another 3.6 million children in coverage of an existing health care plan in the United States Senate. He’s not been a maverick when it comes to education. He has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college, he’s not been a maverick on the war, not been a maverick on virtually anything that generally affects the things people really talk about around the kitchen table. Can we get mom’s MRI? Can we send Mary back to school next semester. We can’t make it. How will we heat the house this winter? He even voted against what they call LIHEAP, for assistance for people with oil prices going through the roof in the winter. So a maverick he is not, on the important critical issues that affect people at the kitchen table.

I'll leave it to you to decide.

But can we just be honest here regarding Sarah Palin? Let's just say it: If she were
a man offering last night's debate performance, she would have been roundly mocked and summarily shunned from political life. Please don't tell me she "rocks" (Michelle Malkin) or that "she articulated better than anyone I've seen recently" what our country needs to solve its problems (Lindsey Graham). Whatever your political views, can we at least agree that, while she did not embarrass the ticket, she hardly "rocked" or "articulated" anything. I laughed out loud when I heard Graham say that, since the one thing Governor Palin seems patently unable to do is articulate a single coherent thought on any matter beyond Drill Baby Drill.

My remarks may seem anti-feminist, but they are actually forcefully pro-feminist. Why? Because anytime someone allows a woman to deliver a subpar or passable performance and then leaps to say how fantastic! it was, that person is undermining women everywhere. As a feminist, I expect to be held to the same standards (no more, no less) than a man. So seeing the GOP rush to applaud what is clearly--clearly--a muddled and ill-informed debate performance just pisses me off on behalf of women. And that's not sexist to say. After all, Hillary Clinton could have (and already has in the primaries) answered those questions in an intelligent manner. You know--you know if you are honest with yourself--that if Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney or Bill Richardson delivered that exact same non-performance, that same shamelss refusal to answer questions, that same fallback to folksiness in the face of valid questions, we would all be having a wild time discussing their political self-immolation. They would have ZERO credibility, and we all know it. Instead, because she's a woman, Sarah Palin is being applauded for....basically, not destroying her ticket. THAT is sexist in the extreme.

And finally, I just have to discuss it again. The baby at the event--and believe me I'm holding Todd Palin accountable here as well. Michelle Obama was criticized for not attending the 9/11 memorial in NYC. She stayed at home in Chicago because it was her daughters' first day of school. She was criticized by the Right for being unpatriotic for not showing up. I was mystified at the time that the party of "family values" would be so upset at a mother for staying home to make sure her kids' first day of school went off okay. Obama's kids were not at the most recent debate--because they were kids and because they had school. Is it just me, or do I have my "family values" all backwards? How can you demand that your family be off-limits and then trot them out at all hours of the day and night at every event where you discuss your motherhood as a qualification for office? Believe me, being a mom qualifies me to do so many things I couldn't do before. But be Vice President? Even the self-aggrandizing E knows she ain't qualified.

And one final note: even after all my irritation at Palin, the sad truth for John McCain remains. That is, that John McCain's biggest hindrance is John McCain. His record, his temperament, his conduct of the campaign, his lack of integrity--and yes, his choice of Sarah Palin as the person who would potentially lead this country during these times of very serious crisis--all combine to tell me he is not the person we need in the Oval Office.


Julie said...

Was anyone else surprised that some pundits were talking about her as a viable Presidential candidate for 2012? I kind hope she does run.

Nick said...

Palin never said "nuclear."

She said, "nucular."