Things I wish Obama had said in this debate

Saturday, 27 September 2008

1. After McCain first mentioned the surge and Obama’s opposition to the surge:

“When our generals first concieved of the surge, their goal was to reduce the violence in Bahgdad to give the Iraqi politicians time to reach a political solution.  The question at issue here is not whether the surge has reduced the violence in Bahgdad, but whether the surge–now that it’s over–resulted in a lasting political solution.  The answer is ‘no.’  We are still in Iraq; when my administration or Senator McCain’s administration begins, we will still be in Iraq; we must remain in Iraq until the obligations we have incurred to the Iraqi people are borne out.  I do not think that it’s unreasonable to say, then, that the surge has actually failed in its goals.  Our generals are very good at what they do–when President Bush told them to reduce the level of violence, they did.  The failure was not on that tactical level, but on the strategic level of the President.  Had President Bush used the opportunity of the surge to push for a political solution in Iraq, we might have been able to welcome our soldiers home before he leaves office.”

2. When McCain first mentioned “winning” the Iraq War:

“Senator McCain just said that we ‘are winning’ and ‘will win’ the war in Iraq.  What John McCain and George Bush have never done is tell the American people what ‘winning in Iraq’ really means.  At first we thought it was eliminating WMDs, then we thought it was turning Iraq into a democracy.  Last year, at the time of the surge, ‘winning’ seemed to mean ‘reducing the level of violence.’  This is a question that the current administration has avoided answering through the entire war, and Senator McCain is still not answering it.  He’s talking about ‘coming home with victory.’  But while he’s trimming 18 billion dollars of spending from the budget, he’s going to be letting American taxpayers shell out $10 billion every month for a war in which he, as President, will not even tell us what we’re fighting for.  I say: our involvement in Iraq is not a traditional war with victory and defeat measured by objectives captured or lives lost.  There is no point when we can declare ‘Mission Acomplished’ until we define what our mission is.  If I am elected, I will be looking for a stable Iraqi government and an Iraqi security force that is capable of maintaining order without leaning on hundreds of thousands of our soldiers and trillions of our dollars.  I will work towards that goal as quickly as I can, and I will give our capable generals the resources that they need to accomplish it.  But I will also put pressure on the Iraqi government to reach a lasting political solution, so that our brave servicemen and women can come home before my first term ends.  That is what I will work towards as victory.  Senator McCain, you cannot talk about winning the war without telling us what war we are fighting.  What would you call ‘winning’ this war?”

3. When McCain mentioned Obama’s “naivete” or said he “doesn’t understand:”

“Senator McCain just brought up, again, the issue of my potential inexperience.  That is a good thing; the American people should weigh their decisions very carefully in this election.  Let me just say this: I know that I don’t have the level of policy experience that Senator McCain has.  That is why I have brought many advisors more experienced than I am into my campaign.  That is also why I chose Joe Biden as my running mate.  He complements my skills and weaknesses so that, when you vote for me and Joe in November, you will be casting your ballots for a ticket that does have the combined experience that America needs.  Because it’s not just me who thinks these so-called ‘naive’ things–Senator Biden, Senator Clinton, and many other experienced Democrats and Republicans share my views.  But more than that–I may not have years of making foreign policy decisions, but I have lived in foreign countries and know what issues are important in the wider world and what the rest of the world thinks of America.  These are important things for a President of the most powerful country in the world to consider.  Finally, when I don’t know something back to front, I’m willing and eager to find out everything I can from the best experts.  We’ve just gone through eight years where our President had absolutely zero foreign policy experience–less than I have–when he was elected to the White House.  He was not willing to find out about the world, learn from his mistakes, or consult experts.  I will completely change that attitude, because it has gotten us nowhere good.”

4. When McCain said that he would solve the economic crisis by cutting earmarks:

“There’s a difference here in what Senator McCain has said he would do, and what his actions imply he would do.  He’s brought pork home to Arizona before.  What’s more, in the last few weeks, he chose a running mate who said ‘please’ to the Bridge to Nowhere that John railed about so much in his campaign ads.  Governor Palin only decided to oppose that bridge after it became a national scandal.  That’s the same attitude that got us into the current financial crisis: deregulate, deregulate, let the free market take care of it, and only when it becomes a national scandal and financial crisis does Senator McCain talk about regulating Wall Street to prevent this sort of thing from happening and costing taxpayers a trillion dollars again some time in the future.”

5. Instead of saying “that’s just not true, I don’t know where John is getting his figures” to the $900-million-dollars-of-earmarks comments:

“Now I don’t know where John is getting his figures here, but the truth is that his campaign has been spreading disinformation about me for quite some time now.  He is making these claims that aren’t backed up by facts, just trying to get the American people to make a snap judgment about me that is a completely inaccurate mischaracterization.  This is Karl-Rove-style, South-Carolina-2000 politics, and America is sick of this.  I respect Senator McCain, but I respected him a lot more back when his ‘Straight Talk Express’ meant something.”


meteorite thin sections

Sunday, 21 September 2008
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Veepgate: Hey, newly-minted feminist Republicans…

Friday, 19 September 2008
  1. That the media presses Gov. Sarah Palin hard on issues and asks her tough questions (not enough, in my opinion) is not sexist.
  2. The media presses Gov. Sarah Palin hard on issues and asks her tough questions  because they take her candidacy seriously.
  3. The media presses Gov. Sarah Palin hard on issues and asks her tough questions because they want the public to be well informed.
  4. The media presses Gov. Sarah Palin hard on issues and asks her tough questions because that is the treatment they would give to a male candidate.
  5. The only reason to take umbrage at the media so pressing Gov. Palin is as a defensive reaction if she is not, in fact, equipped to handle that pressure–as if McCain did not intend her to be taken seriously when he picked her, but instead just wanted to make a publicity stunt and grab for Clinton supporters.
  6. And that, newly feminist Republicans, would be sexist.

We only have one. Take care of it.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008