Saturday, September 6, 2008

Moving forward...

My initial reaction to McCain's speech was that it wasn't nearly as bad as most of his efforts. Damning with faint praise, perhaps, but there weren't the usual awkward laughs, flubbed lines, and just generally poor stagecraft that we're used to seeing from McCain. I guess that makes sense, given that it was the goddamn convention afterall. And also, only catching bits and pieces of it, I thought that it was remarkably light on hate and dishonesty, at least compared to the other speakers who "graced" the arena in St. Paul.

Guess I was wrong:

Last night, in his speech, John McCain said, "My health care plan will make it
easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan
will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a
government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your
This is so incredibly, blatantly dishonest, I don't even know where to start.

Government run health care system? From Obama ? Obama got hammered in the primaries precisely because his plan wasn't a mandated universal health care system. Obama's plan does nothing but subsidize private health insurance. There's no "bureaucrat" standing between you and your doctor.

Conservative demagoguery on universal health care drives me absolutely nuts. John McCain, for his part, has had "government run health insurance" every day of his damn life, and there he is shamelessly lying about Obama's plan to make private health insurance more affordable. Ezra Klein has a good proposition :

I should say, of course, that not only isn't this true, but it's nonsensical. Where exactly is the bureaucrat supposed to stand? In the waiting room? Outside your car? Obama's health care plan is basically a way to subsidize private insurance. There's a regulator involved, but he has nothing to do with you or your doctor. Instead, he stands behind your insurer, tapping his foot, and warning against denying you coverage on grounds of ill health or bad luck.

That said, here's the question I'd love to see John McCain asked: "Senator McCain, can you describe how Senator Obama's health care plan works?" And if he gets it wrong, I'd like to see the moderator correct him and ask what he thinks of the actual plan.

McCain certainly talks Obama's plan down plenty, and fair enough. But I'd bet good money, and a fair amount of it, that there's no way he could describe it. And I wouldn't mind seeing the same question put to Obama. The two of them should be forced to display some rudimentary understanding of what this debate is actually about, and if either can't, that should say a lot about the salvos that have been unleashed thus far.

But the media will NEVER do this, because they don't give two shits about the issues. To them, this election is all some inane personality contest. To read the poll numbers today, it seems Americans have a more favorable rating of Sarah Palin than Barack Obama or John McCain. And Obama has only a slight edge in the question of experience.

To which I would ask: are American voters completely retarded? I won't go through everything all over again, but I will ask this:

Are we going to even see Sarah Palin again until October? Will she do any interviews? Field questions from reporters that aren't softballs?

Apparently not .

This is still a farce, despite the best efforts of partisan blowhards on the Right to convince us otherwise. What kind of VP candidate needs to be kept in complete seclusion from the media? But never fear, the McCain campaign assures us that we'll learn all we need to know about her from carefully choreographed speeches and campaign ads:

Great days for democracy, eh?

The more I think about it, the more insulting this is. McCain thinks that all he needs to do is dangle a pro-life evangelical in front of social conservatives for a few days, and he'll have them in the tank. Never mind Palin actually campaigning for him, or taking the time to introduce herself to the public (and even to evangelicals, many of whom are not single issue voters, and who do not know her well at all). It's a remarkably cynical strategy.

And then there's this:

If she goes out and makes a mistake, that is something that [voters will] care
about, and that's something that will haunt [McCain] for awhile, so I think this
is a smart move.

I need a drink.

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