Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Morning

I'm going to my alma mater's homecoming game (against my other alma mater, but undergrad trumps in this sort of thing) this weekend, and I expect that I'll be pretty conflicted over whether or not to blog. For the first time in several years I'm hoping my hotel doesn't have free wi-fi.

I don't spend a lot of time on national politics, but as I threw out some preview for last night's debate, I may as well follow up:

1) I must admit I missed much of the debate. When Toddler-C was not in bed by 9pm we hoped she'd get bored and fall asleep on one of us early in the debate. When that didn't happen it resulted in an attention-seeking machine in the TV room for half-an-hour followed by a not-wanting-to-fall-asleep-daddy-seeking clarion in her bedroom for 45 minutes. I heard a lot more of the debate than I saw, and my wife recapped what I missed in both modalities. Take that into account.

2) Palin came across as a mainstream Republican politician. She didn't have many more cringe-worthy moments than McCain did in his debate. If I'm the GOP, I'm thankful for her performance.

3) Joe Biden was also near the top of his game, and clearly was more engaged in the details without going off into bad college lecture mode.

I'm seeing two possible sources of voter movement as a result:

A) There is a segment of the electorate that was more likely to vote for McCain in the days following his choice of Palin and her address to the RNC. Many of those folks had drifted back into the undecided range over the past few weeks. Some of them may be reassured.

B) It is easy to get distracted by personality in the Presidential race, and it might have been easy to be distracted by personality and rhetorical style in this VP debate. In the absence of the striking personalities at the top of the ticket, and in the absence of many moments that truly drew attention to the VP candidates as candidates, the debate comes down largely to the one thing pundits won't touch with a ten foot pole - the underlying issues being discussed. What should we do in Iraq? What should we do to protect our economy? How do we regain our stature in the world? How do we help the middle class? Right now, more people agree with Democrats on those questions. When those questions are front and center, rather than McCain's temperament or Barack's religion, the choice becomes clearer. I think this moves some people to Obama.

Now let me take off my analyst hat for a second and simply go off on Governor Palin. She thinks that the Vice President has the opportunity to assume more power than even Cheney has assumed? She thinks, and I might not have followed her logic exactly here, but she seems to think that increasing American consumption of gas is good for climate change because it prevents other countries from consuming that gasoline in a less environmentally friendly way. What?!? And I know it's petty, but she said she doesn't attribute man's activities to climate change. Which would mean that she doesn't think that global warming is the major cause of man's activities, which is true but pretty irrelevant. She meant that she doesn't primarily attribute climate change to man's activities. She may be proud to not use words in the way that I or the moderator would like, but you have to wonder how all those English-as-official-language types feel about having a non-speaker potentially a heartbeat away.

Whew. Glad that's off my chest.

Anyway, in other news, the Dispatch has (1 , 2) anti-Tiberi LTE's today. They both take pretty good shots at Pat, and for the most part they're pretty accurate. I will say that I could do without the gratuitous anti-Kilroy point, but more importantly - VOTE FOR DAVID ROBINSON! Just because the Dispatch refused to name Tiberi's opponent is no reason to assume that the Dispatch will refuse to actually print it if you mention it. Those of you reading this post, you already know that Pat is not a moderate, has grown not only more conservative but more mean-spiritedly partisan in the last couple of years, and when it comes to his primary jobs, writing and voting upon legislation as a representative of voters in the 12th District, he has been woefully inadequate. I know this, you know this, the Dispatch letter writers know this, the rabble-rousers in Delaware and Licking County know this... but...

In the absence of a viable alternative, people don't/won't care. And truth be told, I'm under the impression that there are still a substantial number of people who do not realize just how viable of an alternative they have. If you have not gone to Robinson's website and watched some of the videos, or gone to the candidate forums, you might be thinking that Robinson is another Ed Brown. You'd be wrong. David Robinson, would, in fact, be a better Representative than Pat Tiberi. I highly encourage you to tune into the debate sponsored by WBNS/ONN next week, and I encourage you to talk it up to your friends and neighbors in the district. You're going to watch the next presidential debate, right? But how much new information are you really going to get? The second highest office you'll be voting for is the U.S. House of Representatives, and there's still plenty for you to learn in that race.

The case against Tiberi was made pretty well two years ago (I still giggle watching this), but if you're looking for vision, intelligence, and change in Washington, don't stop at the top of the ticket. And if you're throwing another $5 bucks to those guys this morning, what's another $5 where it'll have a bigger impact?

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