On McCain...

As promised, Kevin and I are diligently reading up on McCain.

I have 2 books that I am currently reading, reviews pending.

1. Citizen McCain
2. The Myth of the Maverick.

Over at Moderate Voice is an interesting blog on how McCain could win (*gasp*)

Here's how (according to Moderate Voice):

John McCain has roughly three weeks to turn his campaign around. If he can clearly articulate concerns about one-party government and the combination of over-extended federal involvement in over-reaching social policies, and find a more widely-appealing running-mate (preferably one with some gravitas this time), I think he’d have a real chance at the presidency.

Debate #2

Kevin and I TiVo'd this debate like the others. I thought that McCain did better at this debate than in the first debate (which was dreadful.) Unlike most of the bloggersphere I think that McCain did better than what they think. Both candidates often avoided the questions - that really annoys me. But I thought McCain did a good job at answering the questions without sounding deranged (and completely ancient.) He was strongest on foreign policy, and on his voting record. Weakest on the economy - I mean why must we renegotiate the principle on mortgages? Isn't that socialism? Supply and demand will determine the cost/ value of a home. Where people need help from govt is renegotiating the terms of the repayment not the amount of the loan. (Why should taxpayers essentially "buy" down market values simply because people paid too much for their homes?) I also don't like his health care plan - really awful.

I also think, again contrary to most of the pundits, that Obama actually came out weaker in this debate than Debate #1. Debate is not his strong point. He is much more comfortable with speeches and lecturing - the comfortable "professor" approach. Again - as I pointed out after the DNC - I get the overarching themes of an Obama Administration - but please give me specifics. I thought he did good on Health care.

Both he and McCain were merely average on the economic woes.

So I went into Debate #2 leaning in favor of Obama. If I was deciding my vote solely on Debate #2 I would be undecided, and be seriously giving McCain a second look. (I know - gasp, shock horror, gasp, gasp.) But I want more from Obama - give me details. Here's what I would like to see in Debate #3- Obama - strong, calm with respect to foreign policy. Don't be afraid of sticking up for USA interests. USA foreign policy should not be governed by a delusional popularity contest, but about putting USA interests first. (Everyone else does that so why not the USA?) I think Obama would also win kudo's from me if he could balance out the optimistic dreamer side with some reality. Is govt the solution to every aspect of our financial woes? Realistic answer - no. We are going to have to feel some more pain people before things come right.

Bottom line: McCain is not out of the race yet. Don't count him out. (Now if he could get rid of that awful Palin woman he would be a serious candidate.)

My ballot has arrived - I have signed up for the mail in ballot mainly because of the convenience, and also because I am quite suspicious of our auto correction devices (electronic voting machines.)

Can't wait for the next debate. Bring it on.

VP Debate

The one and only VP debate is over. I was dreading watching Sarah Palin - she has been quite cringe inducing. But I was pleasantly surprised. I thought she did good. Did she do enough to make me change my mind? No.
Joe Biden did well too - he managed to control himself, he came across as authoritative, experienced and rational. And no, he did not come across as patronizing. Palin did her folksy thing - which I think while charming can be annoying when overdone. I liked that Biden mentioned Kosovo and Darfur. I think he came across as strong on foreign policy. Actually I found the Veep debate more entertaining and interesting than the Obama/ McCain debate last week. Interesting.
I also think Biden did well on criticising McCain's voting record, and correcting Palin on some of her assertions. Of course the blogs will pick it apart, and make sure that he was accurate on some of his accusations. (Right now I am simply taking the debate on face value.)

I liked Biden's answer about when he had to change his view concerning supreme court justice picks. I found Palin's winking (she did it a few times) annoying. Once charming and sweet, twice - not. I got quite choked up listening to Biden talk about the loss of his wife and tragedy to his family. It made him seem more approachable.

Despite the flap over the moderator, I liked her. I thought she kept the debate moving along nicely, and didn't seem to want to share the spot light like some moderators we've seen.

Economy - To be or not to be, That is the question

I've been watching the rollercoaster ride, watching, like everyone else the stock markets not so much fall but plummet. The US Federal Bailout didn't pass. Shock (not). There is just so much finger pointing going on. Politicians are such asses.

Blame. There is quite a lot to spread around.

I found an interesting article that talks about the sub prime market and the causes for the collapse. Believe it or not it is not the poor people's fault, but just old fashioned greed.

The question is:

Rhetoric aside, the argument turns on a simple question: In the current mortgage meltdown, did lenders approve bad loans to comply with CRA, or to make money?

And the answer:

Law didn't make them lend. The profit motive did.

So why must I, as a taxpayer, give Wall Street a nice big blank check? I understand that we need to do something to keep the infrastructure - especially the credit infrastructure stable- so that individuals and businesses can continue to do business by tapping into the credit markets. And yes, it is a bad thing when your bank goes belly up. But why must we invest in something which really doesn't give us a good rate of return? I want a return on my investment, and I want some oversight please. If you invest in a high risk, high yield venture, why then when things go south do you get a bail out? Why didn't companies diversify their risks?

I guess I just don't get it.

Oh and by the way - I am singularly unimpressed with our Political Leadership. Don't give me hysteria - give me logical reasons why a bailout should be supported by the taxpayer. And if not, can't you guys come up with some alternatives other than "give me a blank check"?!

Preparing for the Elections- November 2008

Confession: I've TiVo'd the debate last Friday between Obama and McCain, but have not gotten around to watching it. My bad.
This week we have the Veep debate to look forward to: Biden vs Palin. I am not looking forward to watching Palin. She makes me cringe. Is it just me, or does she really sound so vacant about so many things except Alaska, and her family? One great thing about the Palin pick is now we know anyone can be a Veep, even me!

This week our election books arrived. USA elections are really different to what I've experienced in SA. Prior to the elections (held in April and November) the Colorado election commission sends out a booklet with every single ballot item, with the actual proposed text of the statute, as well as a thorough analysis with pros and cons of each. Remember this is just for the State of Colorado. Then we have the Federal portion - this is where we get to elect who we want for President. Then there is a portion that just deals with the County level (like a municipality) and then all the way down to the Town of Erie.

The ballot extends for pages and pages. Unlike in SA where you simply have to put your cross next to the symbol of the party you want and be done with it. Of course now we have to vote not on paper but electronically on "Auto Correction" devices.

Essential Reading for the November Elections

Kevin and I are currently reading all things Obama right now.

I consider the following 2 books essential reading:

Dreams of my father

Audacity of Hope

Both by Barack Obama.

I am busy with a biography called, "Obama, From Promise to Power" by David Mendell which is really a good overview, and provides some interesting insights into Obama's run for not only the State Senate, but the US Senate.

For fairness sake, Kevin and I will also read books on John McCain.

RNC - Cindy and John McCain

The battle of the first ladies is over. Michelle's speech was better. Cindy really needs to get coaching on how to deliver a good speech. And her speech writer should be fired. Overall impression - Cindy does come across as being nice. But she she stay away from policy talk. Use Laura Bush as her model. (In fact Michelle Obama could take some lessons from Laura Bush too.)

McCain's speech:

Unfortunately our TiVo died in the last couple of minutes - just when things were getting good. This speech was really a speech to the independents and other swing voters. No wonder the Republican base is nervous, and so delirious over Sarah Palin.

Here's what I like about it - He talked about reaching across the aisle, about changing the tone of our discourse. Very good. I was really very moved when he talked about how is experience as a POW, being in captivity, being tortured, changed him. If only McCain had been the nominee in 2000! I also think he has worked on his delivery. Short sound bites, nice breaks for the crowds to cheer him. I didn't like too much reference to Sarah Palin (I am still dubious about her.) The part that I watched, when he spoke about Palin - she seemed to get bigger cheers than McCain. (Cindy had the same response when she mentioned McCain.) I find that disturbing that the base is more excited about the VP than the actual nominee.

Jon Stewart's Daily Show, and the Colbert Report (2 very popular Comedy Central "fake" news shows.) are doing some wonderful stuff on the Conventions.

Obama Campaign's Response to Palin Prose

In response to Palin's unveiling last night the Obama campaign emailed their supporters:

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

Criticism okay. But mockery? Not.

I especially like this part... "Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies."

Republican National Convention - OMG?! WTF?

So, like many I have been puzzled by McCain's VP pick. I mean exactly who is Sarah Palin? To me, it smacked of old boy paternalism. The media seemed crazed to pick to death meaningless details - such as Sarah Palin's teenage daughter's pregnancy - Who cares?

Tonight at the RNC we got a chance to see why McCain chose Sarah Palin over better more well known candidates.


I am impressed. And I didn't even want to be.

No wonder that Republicans and the Fox News talking heads are wetting themselves. She is certainly more exciting than the actual Presidential nominee. Sarah Palin is a new political star.

Now we just have to see how Sarah Palin holds up under vigorous media scrutiny over the next sixty odd days.

I can't wait for the debates. Bring it on!

One speech I didn't like was Rudy's. Very nasty tone. Not a dignified rebuttal of Obama's appeal. Palin has to be careful not to fall into the same trap.

DNC Ends and McCain's VP Pick

Finally things here in Colorado are getting back to normal. Luckily I was not affected by the traffic nor the closure yesterday of the I-25 for Obama's historic acceptance speech. Kevin was shooting a wedding, so I watched the DNC on TiVO - with a bag of Cheetos and Peanut M&M's. I thought it was an amazing speech. But with someone like Obama I think we come to expect great speeches. I confess I too got swept up in the moment. I admit - I am quite giddy. I try not to be. After all, in November I get to participate in my first US Presidential election. Selecting someone to one of the most powerful jobs in the world needs to be serious business. It should not be motivated by giddiness.

So now the show business is over. Now I want details. I want Obama to tell me exactly what he intends to do if elected, and how is he going to do it. Give me some details. Please. Instead of speeches, I want debates. Lots of them. I need to compare and contrast. I need to see how Obama reacts when put on the spot. And please - Obama handlers make sure he is prepared. In some of the debates with Hilary I thought he came across as not being prepared, and almost annoyed that she was beating him.

As for Obama's choice of Biden for VP. I get that he is trying to give some balance to the ticket. Someone who would be suited to be Commander in Chief if needed. But why not Hillary? The old saying - keep your friends close and your enemies closer is applicable here. And so what if you can't stand one another? I can't believe that JFK liked Johnson, or Reagan actually liked Bush snr? So I think his choice of VP pick is wrong headed. But we shall see.

Now McCain. First off, I can't see myself voting for a guy who is yet to discover computers, or even know what "google" is. When I first heard of that McCain had selected a woman as VP I thought great!. But why Gov Palin of Alaska? If you are attacking Obama on the basis of his lack of experience and the fact that he is not ready to lead, why would you select a woman who definitely lacks experience and wouldn't be ready to lead? So therefore, the only reason you are selecting a woman, and this woman (and not a woman who is better qualified) is because all you are interested in is her gender.


I don't think I like that.

It's arrogant, and patronizing and very very paternalistic.

Republicans I am not stupid. I am not going to vote for someone solely because they are a woman. I want the best candidate for the job.

So McCain two thumbs down on your choice of VP.

If you are interested in learning more about Gov Palin go here.