Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Second Debate

What to say about it? You can read the entire thing Here. McCain proved himself to not only be a fossil and a one note Johnny but also a fucking lunatic. Not as crazy as some of the other contenders for the Republican nomination were likely to be but a lunatic none the less. The one note that John McCain constantly sounds is earmarks. It's a very convenient strategy, focussing on earmarks as if the only parties existing in the United States were the government and the people, all while the banks are failing all around us. There are three forces here: the corporations, the people, and the government. By ignoring corporations, by acting as they don't even exist, and instead focussing only on earmarks and government spending, John McCain provides excellent cover for them. They can go on doing what they're doing, cutting jobs, gouging prices, engaging in practices contributing to the failure of the economy, while the attention is focussed on whether or not Obama included an earmark for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Another blind is to act like all the businesses that exist in the United States are small businesses, something that people can more easily identify with than AIG or Lehman Brothers. Tax relief to businesses does not mean tax relief to small businesses only, but to the large corporations that constitute the core of our economy. Small business is no longer the driving force behind the American economy and it hasn't been for some time. The real core is industry and big business. By appealing to the idea of small business McCain puts forward a comforting illusion that hasn't been true for a long time. Foreign policy was also a fun one in the debate.

Mainly, it was interesting to see the candidates both advocate humanitarian interventions with the goal being using the U.S. as a global peacekeeper while the economy crumbles. Obama, to his credit, advocated cooperating with international organizations to do this, while McCain just completely ignored them and acted as if we can do anything we want in the world unilaterally. Well, the U.S. is a little like an oblivious, palace bound, monarch who thinks that he can wave a finger and have everyone respond while the forces opposing his arbitrariness are gaining ground and losing tolerance with him. I'm guessing that if the economic crisis causes deep, long lasting we'll be able to send gift baskets, with international approval, but not much else.

Then there was the environment. McCain, in response to to the question of what to do to address the ecological crisis, suggested that we needed to build more nuclear reactors. Classic. Obama suggested alternative energy and developing alternative energy technologies that we could then export to the rest of the world, thereby creating jobs.

McCain did better in this debate, not completely sticking to Republican talking points, but in revealing how he would deviate from pure ideology he showed that he was a fucking nutcase. Obama didn't do as well, but won nonetheless, the reason being, I think the time constraints put on the candidates. McCain mastered the art of replying in a way that included multiple insults against Obama in a short period of time that Obama couldn't completely address without ignoring the question he was supposed to answer. Hopefully the last debate, happening next Wednesday, will allow for more in depth questions and answers.

Additionally, and this doesn't have to do directly with the debate, I seriously question the meme that's been going around about WHITE women jumping ship en masse and going over to the McCain camp. I capitalize 'white' because this is just another recycling of the Hillary myth, i.e. that women (who in the subtext are assumed to be white) would rather vote for McCain than vote for Obama. This would theoretically be a response to Obama winning the primary.

There's a real problem here, and it's called Sarah Palin and John McCain. While Clinton and Obama were close enough so that liberals could fluidly go between them, it's beyond belief that lots of Hillary supporters would suddenly embrace Sarah Palin as their savior. It's like supporters of '68 Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey suddenly going over to George Wallace. Things like that just don't happen, or at least don't happen without a large, compelling, very public, cause. There is no cause like that this time, leading me to think that this is a myth circulated by the same people who developed a pathological hatred for Hillary during the primaries.

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