Not to try and leave off where I did but below you will find additional topics covered last night in the vice presidential debate. I have tried hard to not listen to or read very much on the debate today so these are my thoughts.
Climate Change Causes – This topic is a tie. Sarah Palin said that Alaska sees more climate change and its effects than other states. Not all of the changes are caused by the activity of man. Some changes are due to the cyclical nature of climate. She also stated she didn’t want to argue about the cause but about fixing it. Evidently, this is a strategy both houses of Congress can understand since it is basically what they did with the bailout – oh, I mean rescue – bill. She stated that she made a position dealing with climate change a sub-cabinet position as governor. She also spoke to the importance of alternative energies. Joe Biden stated flat out that climate changes were manmade. Having studied environmental sciences in college – albeit many years ago, there is something to cyclical changes but manmade impacts have made these cyclical changes harsher. Biden also said if you don’t understand the cause, you can’t come up with a solution. I go back to the recent votes in both houses of Congress on this one. Did they just drop $820,000,000,000 without finding out the root of the problem? Biden discussed clean coal at length and said we should export the technology to prevent dirty coal from China polluting our Western coast. He also noted that John McCain voted twenty times against bills with alternative energy sources in them and indicated that McCain was “drill, drill, drill.” Palin rebutted with “the chant is drill, baby, drill.” but that she was in favor of the McCain all of the above approach to energy, not just drilling. Biden was rebutting when he was cut off by Gwen Ifill, the moderator, as the time for this topic was over. The reason I called this topic a tie is because I don’t believe either was speaking for the top of the ticket who will have the real policy ability.
Same Sex Benefits – This topic, at least as far as moderate, undecided Democrats and independents are concerned, goes to Palin. Biden stated the response by saying there would be no distinctions between same sex couples and opposite sex couples. He said there cannot be constitutionally. He brought up equality in visitation rights at hospitals, property ownership. He even mentioned the word marriage. Palin agreed that a McCain-Palin administration would not discriminate against same sex couples for hospital visitations, property ownership, benefits. She did make sure, though, that this was not the same thing as same sex marriage which does not exist. Marriage is traditional and between a man and a woman according to Palin. I think the agreement to same sex benefits will say a few undecideds. Since a definition of marriage is a matter for the states, not the federal government, she may be safe here and tipped the topic her way as it was new material as far as I can find.
Iraq – Please realize that Ifill pointed out that both either have a son in Iraq or on his way to Iraq. I have to give this area to Biden. Neither candidate did much more than tow the party line. Palin said that she and McCain have a good plan. She attempted to attack Biden on the fact that he called his running mate, Obama, out on his votes against funding. She stressed that we cannot afford early withdrawal. She said we were down to pre-surge number now which is incorrect. Biden said that we should set up a timeline of 16 months to get all of our troops out of Iraq. We can use this time to shift responsibilities to Iraqi security. Biden also pointed out that McCain voted against funding at one point in time as it had a timeline attached. We MUST have a time line according to the Obama-Biden ticket. Iraq must spend its own money also. Palin rebutted that the Obama-Biden plan was the white flag of surrender as we are getting closer to victory. Biden reiterated that McCain voted against funding because he didn’t want a timeline. Biden also stated that McCain was dead wrong about the fundamentals of the war from the beginning.
On which is more dangerous: a nuclear Iran or an unstable Pakistan – I place this one in Biden’s camp too, though only by a small margin. Biden plainly stated that both are a threat. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Iran is not close to a deployable nuclear weapon. He also asserted that John McCain continues to tell us that the home of terrorism is Iraq. This is not a statement I have ever heard and I listen to a lot of politics. Sarah Palin called Iranian president Ahmadinejad not sane or stable. She lumped him in with Kim Jong Il and the Castro brothers as those who are downright dangerous. She also asserted that Barack Obama would meet with leaders like this without preconditions. Palin sort of ignored the part the Pakistani portion of the question, hence the topic going to Biden.
Former Secretaries of State have encouraged diplomacy – This topic was basically a follow up from Ifill that deals with Iran and Pakistan and also other countries mentioned by Palin in the previous topic area. Palin agreed that we must have this but not on the presidential level which is what Obama has said he would do. Diplomacy with countries such as Iran and North Korea is hard work by serious people. Biden says Obama didn’t say anything about sitting down with Ahmadinejad but our allies want us to sit down. No one is as bad as John McCain who said a few weeks ago that he would not even sit down with the government of Spain – a NATO ally. Palin did not even rebut this claim but went on to talk about Israel and a two state solution. She asserted that Secretary Rice is still trying. Biden responded with no one is a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden, which means if you are playing the “official” vice presidential debate drinking game you get a few beers as he referred to himself in the third person.
I am beginning to understand why I kept thinking, last night, that hte debate was way too long. I have pages more of notes and cannot continue. Reliving it is living in the past – and whether I learn from my mistakes as Palin assured the American people that a McCain-Palin administration would do from Bush mistakes or whether my past is a prologue to my future as Biden asserted in talking about foreign policy – and I need to get on with the present and future. I may give you all a third installment or I may go out, seeing it is Friday and all.