Friday, October 03, 2008

NewsWatch 10.3.08

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Trends and Tremors
How about that Joe Biden?

Not what you expected to hear from me today? Well, not to toot my own horn, but I've highlighted Biden's contributions to this ticket several times in my posts, and last night I think everyone got to see why. Joe Biden is a convincing and smart guy, and when he can stay within himself, he does a remarkable job. That's why he won the debate in all the polls, and that's today's trend.

It's absolutely true that Palin exceeded her expectations coming into the debate, but that couldn't have been hard given that her expectations were so low. What is perhaps more important and more surprising is that Biden actually polled well with voters, with 64 percent saying he also exceeded their expectations in CNN's snap poll. After all is said and done, the consensus seems to be that the VP debate was not a game changer, and that's a win for Biden and Obama, if not the death knell for McCain it could have been had Palin goofed. But since neither Biden nor Obama had any control over Palin's performance, and given that a Biden gaffe could have been costly, they'll happily take last night's result.

So in the end, and given Biden's focus on McCain, the attention on the debate will quickly fade and go back to John McCain's potentially disastrous economic ideas. That said, let me go back to Biden's performance. He clearly resonated well with Democrats, and expect to see Obama's support among his own party, especially in blue collar battleground states, grow in the coming days. It may not be a huge trend, and the debate itself will certainly fade from the media quickly, but I believe Biden delivered last night.

The Economy
So the bailout passed the house. And both candidates voted for the bill in a Senate vote earlier this week. So what was different? Only two things.

First, an increased sense of urgency from lawmakers, Wall Street lobbies and average Americans alike after the economy took a hit when the first bill failed. Turns out what happens on Wall Street affects Main Street, too.

But more importantly for the election, the bill now contains $110 billion of that much-maligned earmarks, added on to appease...House Republicans. Now, both candidates voted for the bill, but remember that it's John McCain who constantly grandstands on pork-barrel spending, which is by and large a fake issue. Viewed in this light, McCain's vote is particularly inexcusable given that he not only didn't "make them famous," he barely even had an impact on this bill!

Meanwhile, Obama was lauded for his behind-the-scenes efforts, and unlike McCain, he didn't feel the need to create a press fanfare to, er, make phone calls. From the same TIME article:

Obama, who mostly stayed away from the negotiations and argued that the injection of presidential politics would only complicate the process, worked the phones in the final days to help push 33 Democrats into changing their votes to ease final passage...Having been burned by his participation last week, the Republican largely stayed away. "They told me [McCain] was going to call me," says Rep. Sue Myrick, a North Carolina Republican who switched her vote. "He didn't."
So the net effect of each candidate in this entire process? By panicking, McCain derailed the entire process, sent the Dow tumbling, and as a result got pushed aside when the bill came around again, this time with the earmarks he so dreads. By being calm, Obama, on the other hand, didn't really affect the first bill, but actually helped pass the second one by securing 33 additional Democrat votes in the house, more than enough to make up the 12 votes it needed last time. Who's ready to serve? I'll let you be the judge.

'I Was Annoyed'
Oh, I get it. Sarah Palin couldn't answer questions about Supreme Court cases or newspapers during the Couric interview because she was annoyed! I also routinely forget everything when I'm annoyed...So that's a pretty thin defense. Palin was also apparently ticked off that she was forced by the evil liberal media elite to, you know, answer questions as asked:
"The Sarah Palin in those interviews is a little bit annoyed. Because it's like, no matter what you say, you're going to get clobbered. If you cease to answer a question, you're going to get clobbered on the answer. If you choose to try to pivot and go on to another subject that you believe that Americans want to hear about, you get clobbered for that, too."
Yup, it's that blasted media double standard. If you don't answer a question because you don't know the answer, you get clobbered, and if you don't answer a question because you avoid it, you get cloberred! Is there no good way to not answer a question in today's world? Is there?!?

Today's Top Headline
Obama combines love and politics
The Associated Press

Okay, this isn't a great headline, I'm just being lazy. Happy anniversary nonetheless, Barack and Michelle, and have a good night off.