Wednesday, October 8, 2008

‘I’m Just the Hired Help Here’

The words that, in my opinion, are forever immortalized by my new favorite reporter, Tom Brokaw. Last night during the town meeting style Presidential debate Tom showed his humor to the world, and although the candidates both did amazing jobs of sharing their policies and feelings, Tom was the clear cut winner with that one sentence alone. He had to remind both men of the style of debate their campaigns agreed upon -- questions asked and directly answered with no chance for rebuttal -- and that each response was limited to one minute. When Obama and McCain attempted to follow up on points made by the other Tom threw his hands up on national television basically admitting he was just a guy being paid to sit there. After his comment (yes it is true that both men still maintained lengthy responses to the questions) they both attempted to reign it in somewhat and begin to answer the questions asked of them.

There were a few things I was personally concerned with hearing responses for last night so I grabbed a notebook and pen and began taking notes as each man spoke. It was interesting to hear how both men responded to questions of another Cold War with Russia ruled by Putin, response to Iran and the possible nuclear threat, support for Israel, and how we should locate and remove bin Laden from Pakistan, but those are not the most pressing issues this country faces in my mind. Foreign policy and diplomacy are certainly important as we work to clean up our image around the world but without first taking care of our own people, it will be impossible for us to care about what happens overseas. There were three areas discussed last night which I took great interest in. First, how they prioritize healthcare, energy and social security. Next, anything related to sustainable/renewable energy or efforts to move away from foreign oil sources was another hot topic for me. Finally what they propose occurs with the current issues of overextended credit and debt and what they would do to clean it up.

On the question of prioritizing social security reform, energy and healthcare as President, McCain responded by placing those topics in the order I have listed here although he did indicate we could tackle all three at once (which I find extremely unrealistic). As a person in their mid thirties I am certainly concerned with the state of social security and its future availability but my biggest concern is that I have somewhere to live in the next thirty years before I would need it. If all three issues are put to be discussed and resolved at once I truly believe that energy discussions will fall off the back end in a McCain Presidency. Obama listed his priorities clearly although not once was social security mentioned. He listed energy, healthcare and education as his priorities as President. Obama indicated a desire to invest fifteen billion dollars over the course of ten years toward alternate sources of energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The one thing that did not sit especially well with me there is he is focused on investing in the mythical clean coal technology. Coal is not clean, could never be clean and again is a potentially non-renewable resource.

When asked what each man would do over the course of the next two years to better the environment and create green jobs both responded eloquently but only Obama actually stated how many jobs he would look to create. Although Obama is a supporter of clean coal he also discussed solar, wind, geo-thermal and nuclear (in that order) as potential ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and create innovative technologies. He indicated that if a national investment in alternative energy is given attention it could create upwards of five million jobs. McCain briefly referenced the need for more hybrid cars and potential use of hydro power (water) but his main areas of interest were nuclear and off shore drilling. He maintains that nuclear power is safe and clean and he did indicate it will help create jobs but never said how many he would look to open up to the American people.

In response to my final hot button issue of cleaning up the credit debt the people of this country have found themselves in I will be honest, if I had not felt a stronger pull toward one candidate previously this is the question that put my decision over the edge, although he never fully answered the question. McCain discussed a spending freeze, the fact that new jobs should be created, a $5,000 health tax credit, buy back of the loans at the realistic figures they should be at (ie you bought the house at 200K, it is worth 100K, Joe Taxpayer gets to foot the bill for each 100K bad debt as an “investment in the country”) and slammed Obama for talking about raising taxes. Then he uttered unthinkable words; he would reduce people’s tax rate based on the number of children they have. My jaw dropped. I understand that children do bring a tax benefit but as a family who has no children, and no plans of having them, I was completely put off by essentially being told that procreation was one of the only ways to get a break in this country. Will that $500 break pay for a year worth of what is needed to raise a child? I think not. Obama strongly indicated that Washington must lead by example. I paraphrase but he basically said ‘hey, we have a multi-trillion dollar deficit in this country right now, how do you think the American people feel about that?’ He does not want to outright freeze spending but cut it instead and did not mention if he plans to raise taxes as McCain indicated.

Although there are still plenty of topics I do not agree with Obama on fully, I did not feel less of a person for not having children, I feel his investment in the planet will be greater and I truly feel as if he and his wife, Michelle, are far more concerned with helping the people of our country first before jumping into fixing problems of other nations because without the support of the American people the President has nothing to lead but his own agenda. We all see where that has gotten us in just eight short years.

The one thing that pleases me to hear is that both major candidates agree on one fact: this country needs to change.

Please watch the next debate on Wednesday October 15 and see if both men give Dan Vogt a reason to be as funny as Tom Brokaw was last night.

Yes we can.


High Desert Diva said...

I agree with so many items you stated. Clean coal is an oxymoron.

McCain's plans irritate me. The tax credit for people with children is one of the issues. Have more children... you'll get more of a tax break. Leaves the rest of us out of it. And his plan for tax breaks for the wealthy. Yeah...they need more tax breaks.

Ok...going off on my own rant here... sorry.

Obama is the man for the job.

Yes, we can.

Sahara said...

I watched last night too. Tom Brokaw was something, wasn't he.

I find it hard to listen to McCain because all I think about when he talks is how many homes he has and he doesn't even know the exact number of those. The man also is known to make rash decisions, that's not someone you want in the most powerful seat in the world.

And Obama I hear, but I'm still cautious about his lack of experience, I want to know that he's going to surround himself with the elite. Smart people who won't let us down. I don't think he would personally, but unless you have the experience to make tough decisions, it's the people that surround you that will ultimately call the shots.

I almost never talk politics. However, seeing how I’m just commenting on what I observed at the town meeting, I think it’s safe to express my opinion. :)

I’m a John Cusack fan too! :D

Rosebud Collection said...

I won't kid you Jenn, I am very concerned with this election..I have already told the girls to learn to be self-sufficient..I don't care which one gets in, there isn't much they can do. The greed in Washington is selling out our country..I don't usually give my thoughts..but we are in a really sad state..I am shocked to see all the bias in reporting..You could teach a few lessons..your report on the debate was great and unbiased..Good blog..

Bridgete said...

I remember Obama spoke about his tax plan not in this last debate, but in the prior one. What I remember him saying was not raising taxes, but rather closing the loopholes and getting rid of some of the breaks that wealthy people get and therefore making it so that wealthy people actually pay what they should be paying. McCain calls that "raising taxes" but Obama doesn't plan to raise any taxes for middle and lower class families, and really isn't raising them for the wealthy people either, just getting rid of some of the cuts they get, sometimes just by the nature of being wealthy (e.g., did you know you can write off "family gifts" of up to $10,000? But only if you're in a certain special tax bracket.).

Naturally, I understand what is going on in the discussions about tax policies because I understand at least more than the average person about tax law at this point. But I know that what I got out of the conversations about tax policies is rarely what the general public hears. They hear the key phrases, and it irritates me that McCain is abusing that by throwing in scare tactic phrases about Obama's tax policies because he knows that's what the public will hear.

Anyway, that's my vent about the tax thing.

I'm going to go write a blog about my interview yesterday. =)

ginger said...

OMG! what a great post! thanks for bringing this up jenn.

i just want to clarify for anyone who is being romanced by mccain's $5000 health care credit and make them aware that that credit will go directly to an insurance company...and most health care policies run about $12000 a year. also, to pay for that credit, everyone that has health care through their employer will have their cafeteria benefits taxed. these benefits are not curently taxed because it's money we don't actually see. so see? who's raising taxes now? if that happens i will lose another $50 per paycheck for my insurance alone...what about someone that has a family plan and pays 4 times what i do?...ggrrrr...aggravating.

plus, mccain's economic policy would add another trillion to our deficit while obama's would lessen it by at least a half-billion.

and if someone is still undecided i suggest they look at the vice presidential candidates. if something happens to the president they will be your new leader. i trust biden waaaay more than anti-first amendment, joe six-pack, hockey mom, beauty queen palin.

pastrywitch said...

I missed the debate - I was in my ai chi class (tai chi-like exercise done in a warm water pool). When I turned to the right, I could see (but not hear) the debate on the tvs in the gym. When I turned to the left, I watched the moon rise. Much more soothing.
So thanks for the post - I didn't know about McCain's breeder tax break. That's lame.
I'm really sick of all the political ads and coverage - from here on out, I'll be getting my news from you and from the Daily Show :)

TheresaJ said...

Great post -- well thought out and stated. I'm an Obama supporter, for all of the reasons you stated, and so much more. What I completely hated about the debate last night, as well as the past two, is the pandering the GOP does. How many times do we need to here that America is the greatest, that Americans are the best, that we are the greatest innovators, etc., etc., etc. It's just patriotic rhetoric (because we all know republicans are the true patriots and if you don't vote for a repub, you're not patriotic), blowing smoke up everyone's you know whats. I wish they'd just stick to the issues and stay on point instead of trying to win everyone over with meaningless rhetoric.

Just my two cents.

Chris Stone said...

great write up! i'm impressed. I listened closely to the first debate... the second i caught parts of. I support Obama because I think he would be a good administrator and hopefully a great leader... but I do try to be impartial when i listen. Not only do i want to hear what Mccain has to say, I want to hear what others hear when they listen to Obama.

And it is difficult!

I agree with you on the "clean" coal technology.

Bree said...

hmmm...Maybe I'll vote for Tom Brokaw! :D

draagonfly said...

Jenn, you so rock for a beautiful post on the debate. It's especially valuable to me because I can't afford TV right now so I have to wait to see this stuff on YouTube or CNN or wherever I can get it on the web.

And that "Breeder tax" (what a great phrase to coin Kate!)... OMFG. What is he thinking? As if the planet is not already overpopulated enough!!! This will be my first year without Katy as a tax deduction. I am so NOT excited to do my taxes come January. :(

Judi FitzPatrick said...

I was going to say I'm with Bree, but I think I'm going to vote for you (and not just because I'm your mother!) - someone who is not so aligned with a party that they can no longer think for themselves! Great post, very provocative!
Love, Mum