Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saying It Doesn't Make It So.

Dusk during the debate.

I need more time to digest before I have much to say about tonight's debate. Part of this is due to an odd disconnect in the way my mind works. When I read something that is supposedly factual, I am constantly analyzing it for plausibility, internal inconsistencies, lapses in logic and variance with previously established facts as I understand them. But when I hear a speech, even as part of a debate, I'm a bit more gullible. Even politicians whose positions I abhor acquire a certain Grima Wormtongue quality when delivering their prepared remarks, and sometimes I come very close to buying into the truthiness of it all. (By the way, although I don't watch his show, Stephen Colbert deserves the thanks of a grateful nation for two highly useful words, "truthiness" and "wikiality.") It sometimes takes me a while afterward to apply the same kinds of standards to the spoken word as to the written one. I say "same kind" because they can't quite be the same actual standards. Everyone misspeaks, stumbles over an occasional spoken word, and says things off the cuff that don't quite make logical sense. A certain amount of slack must be cut.

Homemade signs at Pima County Democratic HQ

So listening to George W. Bush the other night giving his economics speech, I had to grudgingly admit he did a pretty good job of explaining the situation we're in, if not necessarily exactly how the bailout will help. And listening to the debate tonight - on tv at home, in the car, at Democratic HQ, and finally in various post-debate wrap-ups - I found myself sometimes agreeing with what John McCain was saying. As did Barack Obama, it turned out, who graciously acknowledged when McCain came out with something similar to Obama's own policies. And no, I don't count it as a weakness to acknowledge when your opponent is on the right track. That is intellectual honesty and consensus building, not weakness and deference to the superior debater or candidate.

Yes we can eat cake! (But I didn't)

But McCain wasn't gracious in return, and maybe that's why the Wormtongue effect didn't work very well tonight. Much has been made already of McCain's failure to look at his opponent throughout the debate, beyond a fleeting glance or two in his general direction. It's difficult to be charming and ungracious at the same moment.

Maybe that's why McCain's frequent claims that Obama "just doesn't get it" hit my ears as a desperate and condescending lie rather than a sincere attempt to point out a genuine weakness in his opponent. Obama consistently showed a wide-ranging knowledge of foreign policy issues and the major players involved, and was even able to connect the dots between the individual conflicts and the strategic disadvantages of being dependent on foreign oil. Meanwhile, McCain showed a similar level of knowledge at times, but stumbled over a few names, got a few facts wrong, and stated no clear policy of his own while frequently distorted Obama's. When your opponent just proved to anyone who is listening that he has a strong working knowledge of the subject, it seems dishonest and pointless to claim otherwise a second or two later. Say that you disagree with your opponent's assessments, and here's why your opponent's ideas won't work. Don't try to pretend that the disagreement stems from ignorance, not when the other candidate is clearly demonstrating the opposite. Whom was McCain trying to convince? Maybe, maybe, sound bytes of his accusation will be believed by people who rely on such things, and will never hear what was said immediately before or after. But those are the people who already believe the ignorance and inexperience claim. To everyone else, each repetition just made McCain look more petty and desperate, and more as though he's the one who doesn't "get it."

Dog park sunset, Thursday. We didn't get there Friday.

Between my near all-nighter last night, volunteering this afternoon and a bit of unseasonable rain, I didn't manage to get Pepper and Cayenne to the dog park today. But the dogs, and a certain cat, were very much on my mind. Having consulted with Carly over permission and what photo of Carly's to use, I now present the Elvis edition of the Cool Cats for Barack button:

And this next one was requested at the campaign office, but I figure there may be a person or two here who is interested:

Here's another tweak. There was a concern that Tuffy on the Barkers for Barack buttons looked too much like a German shepherd, a breed some people associate with racist attacks and police brutality. I kind of hate to see my poor little mixed chow caught in such a blanket condemnation. Nevertheless, I redid that button with Cayenne pictured instead. Here's the post I prefer for it:

And here's the main one the campaign will be using:

We can't leave Pepper out, can we? The Pima County campaign for Obama can, but we can't:

As with last night's buttons designs, today's additions call all be seen and downloaded on my Obama gallery on Picasa. Share and enjoy!



barrettmanor said...

I was kind of disgusted over how much was made over the fact that neither candidate would say whether or not they'd vote for the bailout, or say exactly what they'd have to cut from their grand plans next year. The plan is still being negotiated, and they obviously both support the process. And I do have to agree with both that it's really too early to say. Still, they both said things that bothered me. And things that I support. Nothing was said to sway me, though.

Now I have to watch Palin's schedule for next Friday as she's visiting Dallas. Thursday - Friday morning we'll be making many runs to the airport to pick up guests for FenCon. It's more of a logistical issue than a political one for me right now. Not that I could afford $1000 to eat chicken for any political candidate anyway. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ha! Yes, I'm happy to be another Sarah for Obama/Biden.

I think your analysis of the debate is excellent, and as astute as anything on the "after tv" programs or the morning papers. Of course, the fact that I agree with everything you say may elevate may opinion of it! :)

bea said...

I love Cayenne's pose for the button. I wasn't able to watch the Obama Debate as I was painting a plate for our school fundraiser, but learned that I can catch a replay of it. So I will. I checked out your gallery... pretty cool! How about a button for "Teachers for Obama" ??? I'd love one of those!