Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm So Over It...Has The House Voted Yet?

photo credit: Rick Wilking/AP
I'll give Sarah Palin credit--she appealed to her base and she didn't bomb. That being said, I also got exactly what I expected from her in terms of dodged questions, unsubstantiated maverick references, knocks on Joe Biden's "experience" (which is, quite ironically, a shorter experience than John McCain's) and absolutely no sign of her being qualified to be Vice-President of the United States of America.

One of the pundits on CNN made a compelling point that I haven't been able to get over. When you think of the Vice-President taking on the fate of the world in the event of a global crisis and the demise of the President, would Sarah Palin be your choice to make the ultimate choice? Is average Joe-sick-pack qualified to make that choice? No. There is a reason we entrust only very few with this task--it's a big freakin' deal and not everybody is capable of making a prudent choice for humankind. Nice as she seems, genuine as she seems, she has in no way demonstrated a sufficient understanding of the world, in the "five short weeks" she's been at this, that would warrant that responsibility being placed on her shoulders.

I've also got to give Joe Biden credit. He reigned himself in and had a clean debate. I saw absolutely ZERO instances of gender bias or sexism. It was a clean debate and I'm prodigiously proud of him for that. He respected his opponent and took Palin on as he would have any other politician. He was even able to avoid too many wordy, wonky diatribes on policy (not all, but nobody's perfect I suppose). When he did begin to wander down that sure-fire path to audience boredom, he seemed to check himself and switch back to connecting personally with the audience through his own experience as a single dad, as a parent of a soon-to-be Iraqi soldier or as a former middle-class citizen of America.

I'm re-watching the debate right now, and more and more I am impressed with the vice-presidential candidates' performances over that of their "principals." In terms of substance and in terms of addressing many of the issues that got lost in McCain and Obama's tit for tat, I'd almost go so far as to say that Biden and Palin did a better job of presenting their tickets' ideas than the actual ticket leaders. They certainly listened to the advice commentators, pundits and hopefully their own advisers gave in regards to strategy in this debate and executed it to the best of their abilities.

The one area notably left out of the debate was the financial situation we are in as a nation. That subject absolutely must be addressed in the next presidential debate in great detail. In lieu of Iraq, policy and reform in this area is going to be the trademark of the next presidency. Things have changed. For the first time in a long time, Americans are listing the state of our economy as their number one concern. This is no longer an election about getting out of Iraq--it's about the bill we are stuck with, partially as a result of Iraq, and how the hell we are going to pay it off . It's a no-brainer that the next president will go down in history for how he handles this situation.

I can't believe I'm still saying it, but the race just gets more interesting everyday. I could go on for another hour about the dynamics of the debate and comments made by the candidates, but I haven't much time for that. The House is musing over this so-called bailout bill and how they'll handle the ball the Senate threw back into their court with overwhelming support. Frankly their vote tomorrow trumps anything that went down tonight.

I'll wrap it up, so you and I can get to bed and get a few hours of sleep before the chaos that may ensue once we wake. Bottom line: The fight goes to Biden, but Palin held her own. No knockouts and the never-ending race goes on. 33 days until we pull the lever and punch our chad in what will certainly be the most important presidential election of my life--maybe yours too. McCain, Obama or Mickey Mouse--the point is this: get out there and get involved. Our country is not living up to its potential and the only way we can turn it around is engage with all the intensity we can muster. This little girl knows a thing or two about using her voice and I urge you with every ounce of volume I've got to use yours and tell our leaders what you need with resounding resolve. This land is your land, this land is my land--it's time to take better ownership of it.

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