Thursday, October 16, 2008

Say goodnight, Sarah

A well-meaning conservative friend sends me Joe Biden gaffes followed with the question: “What if this were Palin?”

Here’s one of the better Biden quotes: “Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”

Why doesn’t this make national news? Because it is not news. Long ago, Joe Biden accepted full ownership of his gaffes.

That one (Sarah Palin) doesn’t even know when she is goofing up.

Media bias? I submit it’s more a case of ignorance about the way media works than bias. Frankly, I am glad the media has the courage to withstand the withering incoming fire from the right. Spiro Agnew has not yet left the building.

As for last night’s debates – thankfully, they are done. Old news soon.

Poor John McCain. The format hurt him as well as his own words. He lost the battle of the split-screen. At times, he looked downright scary. He talked scary. He was scary. But Obama never took the bait and remained cool, collected. (Am I biased? Of course.)

After the last eight years, we don’t need another cowboy in the White House.

The presidential race is not over, certainly, but if he were smart, McCain would re-focus his twilight on an attempt at saving GOP seats in the U.S. Senate. But I don’t think his ego will allow him to share the spotlight.

There's a reason he's a maverick.


Jeff Hebert said...

I think the word "gaffe" gets used improperly.

To me, a "gaffe" is an inadvertent statement or action that either belies your previous statements or unintentionally reveals something embarrassing about you or your campaign.

Using that working definition, the Biden quote you give isn't a "gaffe", it's exaggerating your opponent's position to make it look bad. It doesn't embarrass the speaker by accidentally revealing something they'd prefer to have hidden -- clearly, the meaning here is that Biden thinks McCain's economic plan is crap, as you'd expect. Nothing new, unexpected, or revealing about that. You might think Biden's wrong on the merits, but that's different than a gaffe.

On the other hand, John McCain claiming in the debate last night that Palin knows more than anyone about autism -- repeatedly -- is a gaffe, because he almost surely confused autism (which Palin's child doesn't have) with Down Syndrome (which she does). It's a gaffe because it implies that McCain either doesn't know crap about his own running-mate's child or he doesn't know the difference between autism and Down Syndrome. Either would be accidentally embarrassing, and thus would be a gaffe.

Unfortunately, gaffes do fit into larger narratives that get built about a candidate or even their party. Thus if a Republican has a verbal slip and, as happened in Virginia I think it was, calls an ethnic minority there a "macaca", it's a gaffe because -- right or wrong, and I believe it's wrong -- Republicans carry the burden of being branded as racists in general. The same is true of Democrats and anything involving patriotism. Both are unfair characterizations, but you have to live in the world that is, not as you wish it were.

Which is all a long way around proving that nothing ruins a joke -- or a gaffe -- like having to explain it.

The South Plainsman said...

I am appalled to see that the Democratic Party has now subscribed to Marx's philosophy of "spreading the wealth around" through state action. What was it Marx said? "From each according to his ability to each according to his need." Isn't that essentially what Obama said to Joe the Plumber, who is apparently not a plumber? "We are going to tax you to help those behind you." I think that is a pretty accurate quote.

The Democratic Party has come a long way since I left 30 years ago.

Ken Martin said...

I think the South Plainsman misses the point about Democrats and taxes. Democrats generally believe vital functions such as defense and education must be paid for, and choose to say those who benefit most from this country's economic system should pay more than those on the low end of the economic scale. Republicans just seem to see all taxes as unjust and unnecessary without respect to the need for the things that only taxes can pay for. These are both overgeneralizations, of course, but I think they are pretty much in line with the party lines.

JohnSBoles said...

Damn Marxist Democrats, the next thing you know they will be buying the banks so they will really control the money down to the last dime. Not to mention the fact that at that point Homeland Security will have really easy access to anyone's financial comings and goings. What? Oh. Never mind.

ollie gravis said...

Marxist Democrats, Fascist Republicans... what's a feller to do?

Max Fischer said...

SP makes a great point. It's not about "spreading" the economic pie, which smacks of Marxism. The vernacular Obama should be using is "expanding" the pie. May seem insignificant but it's really not. In an age where effective politics is at times just a clever bumber sticker, language and spin is important. "No Child Left Behind" is one example. And how about abortion? The abortion debate took a decided shift several years ago when President Bush began calling OBGYN's "Abortion Doctors". At any rate, I too am uncomfortable when Obama - and H Clinton in the primaries - talk about "spreading" the wealth.

Jeff Hebert said...

I think it's funny that SP is so worried about Obama being a Marxist just a week or two after his party nationalized the banking system.

By the time Obama takes office he won't be able to make us Marxists, because we'll already be there thanks to the Republican Party.

Well played, fellahs! I guess one way to keep the Democrats from turning us all into Socialists is to do it before they can take power, I admit I never thought of that.

The South Plainsman said...

Well, after all night, nobody has refuted the Marxism bit.

As for the socialism business, I noticed that a vast majority of Democrats supported all of that, and most Republicans did not....but that is no matter.

What the Republicans probably should have done is be doctrinaire and just let the whole thing go down the drain. That would have made for an interesting next decade or two. But they would have remained pure.

That still does not defend Obama's Marxist redistributionism.

Jeff Hebert said...

Well, after all night, nobody has refuted the Marxism bit.

Because a statement that idiotic is self-refuting, SP. Here's another one: John McCain hates Black people and thinks all Democrats should be shot.

What, you haven't refuted it? Then it must be true!! It can't possibly be that it's so obviously foolish that trying to "refute" it would be a waste of time.

Seriously, it's comments like your last two that make me think the whole "Conflicted non-partisan" schtick you put on here is a complete sham.

Jeff Hebert said...

As for the socialism business, I noticed that a vast majority of Democrats supported all of that, and most Republicans did not....but that is no matter.

This is the kind of thing I am talking about. A Republican President endorses and pushes for a proposal made by a Republican Treasury Secretary during a Republican Administration which is flogged by the Republican Whip and the Republican Senate Minority Leader and yet it's the Democrats' fault it passed.

It's a complete alternate reality you're living in. Nothing is ever your party's fault, your party's ideas are never wrong, and your party's leaders are always right, while the other side is always wrong and everything they say is evidence of their imminent betrayal of the country.

Serious, serious wingnuttery.

Ollie Gravis said...

South Plainsman, I'm full up to running over with your bunch implying a Democrat or any open-minded, compassionate, liberal thinker is a socialist, Marxist, commie or what ever nasty innuendo that has un-American smeared all over it. Ain't the health care of the military socialism in your book? Want to change that? If you want government to stay out of everything, how about the Anarchy Party? Talk about purity...

Jeff Hebert said...

Here's how it works, Ollie, if you're a Republican.

Tax proceeds used to give benefits to poor people via government program (i.e. Head Start, tax cuts for the middle class, Social Security, national health care) = socialism.

Tax proceeds used to give benefits to rich people via government program (i.e. capital gains tax cuts, deregulation of the all-new commodities default swap shares, subsidies to oil companies) = good ol' American capitalism!

See, it's easy when you get down to basics.

And I say that as someone who, by good fortune and hard work, is going to be asked by the Obama tax plan to pay more than I would have under McCain, at least up front. I'm not, sadly, in that 95% who stand to see their taxes cut.

But I'm smart enough to understand that if more people get to keep more of their money, they'll be able to spend on the stuff that makes my living.

Ollie Gravis said...

Jeff, seems to me you got it figured out alright.

I always thought capitalism was like the Monopoly game where one person ends up with everything from Mediterranean Avenue to Boardwalk and no friends.

Seems to me we need a social programs and honest enterprise. In these hard times, without social programs some folks might quit playing Monopoly and turn to criminal enterprise.

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