Monday, October 13, 2008

"Pants on Fire Wrong"

A's "Truth-O-Meter" characterizes the idea that Senator Obama ran a radical educational foundation, as not simply false, but malicious. Given the way this subject has raised fear among people, I wish some folks would read the whole piece.

At a time like this, with so much at stake, a run on theTruth-O-Meter seems urgent.

"In short, this was a mainstream foundation funded by a mainstream, Republican business leader and led by an overwhelmingly mainstream, civic-minded group of individuals. Ayers' involvement in its inception and on an advisory committee do not make it radical – nor does the funding of programs involving the United Nations and African-American studies.

This attack is false, but it's more than that – it's malicious. It unfairly tars not just Obama, but all the other prominent, well-respected Chicagoans who also volunteered their time to the foundation. They came from all walks of life and all political backgrounds, and there's ample evidence their mission was nothing more than improving ailing public schools in Chicago. Yet in the heat of a political campaign they have been accused of financing radicalism. That's Pants on Fire wrong."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ferocity, Fraud,and Fear

John McCain,

You delude yourself when you act shocked at the offense taken by John Lewis at the tactics being used by you and your campaign.

Why is that man at your rally afraid for Barack Obama to be president?

Why are my former student and my colleague at school afraid of a potential Obama presidency?

You said it yourself--he is not a man to fear.

You are not debating policy--you are conducting a campaign of fear.

Sarah Palin says Barack Obama pals around with terrorists. You know that isn’t true.

Your approve an ad asserting Barack Obama would give comprehensive sex education to five year-olds. You know that isn’t true.

You let your wife communicate her blood-chilling reaction to Barack Obama's vote on a war funding bill for the troops because there was no timeline for withdrawal, but she excuses your vote against a funding bill because it did include a timeline. You know that is a false rage.

You say we don’t know Barack Obama? You presume we know Sarah Palin in a few weeks, yet we don’t know this man who has revealed his thinking and his life in two books and over two years of interviews and press conferences?

You create a campaign of character assassination--not a policy debate--and then tell your raging crowd that you want a respectful campaign. Ferocious, but respectful?

You feign respect while you fan contempt.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Fear Factor

One of my former students commented:

I think that McCain and Obama are both scary candidates for different reasons, McCain is less scary to me;therefore I have to vote for John McCain.

Gentle student, what do you fear?

An economic meltdown?
An attack on our country?
A wreckless move into an unnecessary war?
An administration that would ignore habeas corpus?



Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who do you want whispering in the President's ear?

Documentarian, Ken Burns, expresses his views of the McCain campaign:

"Even the most ardent true-believers among us must be privately shaking in their boots contemplating a heart-beat-away Palin presidency during these difficult times. When Putin acts up, who do you want whispering in your President's ear: Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?

McCain is a man who once championed openness and fairness in government, who now wants to continue the failed policies of the current administration and who increasingly wants to make the crucial decisions of our democracy behind closed doors with the same cronies who got us into this mess in the first place. And he has shown a profound indifference to and often startling ignorance of economic affairs just as our country inches toward depression.
That threatens to make him the next Herbert Hoover if he should win."

Abortion, Obama, Our conscience

Obama's stance on abortion poses a persistent problem for many of my friends.

Abortion rights stand as a significant issue for many people of faith and conscience--so much so that many feel the Democratic Party platform prohibits them from voting for any candidate of that party. I maintain that there are multiple moral issues at stake in this and other presidential races--issues of justice, of life and death--so that one issue alone does not determine my vote. Further, in a legal and political sense, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. To me it means--in a world of some very ugly realities--we should not criminalize this procedure.

In this regard, more than one prominent Catholic anti-abortion scholar has come out for Obama. The Boston Globe's Articles of Faith column, " Another Anti-Abortion Scholar Endorses Obama." brings to light the stance of Nicholas P. Cafardi:

"Obama's support for abortion rights has led some to the conclusion that no Catholic can vote for him. That's a mistake. While I have never swayed in my conviction that abortion is an unspeakable evil…A vote for Sen. John McCain does not guarantee the end of abortion in America. Not even close....Every faithful Catholic agrees that abortion is an unspeakable evil that must be minimized, if not eliminated. I can help to achieve that without endorsing Republicans' immoral baggage. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not the only way to end abortion, and a vote for Obama is not somehow un-Catholic."

He could have said, “a vote for Obama is not un-Christian.”

The article mentions the position of Pepperdine Professor of Constitutional Law, Douglas W. Kmiec which might be of interest on this topic as well.

Today, Krista Tippet's discussion with Amy Sullivan about "Faith: The life of the Party" discussed the left and it's stance this and other issues.

The McCain campaign is going negative as a strategy. I have no doubt that they will be using this issue in a manner that smears Obama by slogan and by distortion. His position alone, without the distortion, is arguable. Taking pro-choice view has its moral challenges, I agree.

But war, torture, immigration, healthcare, poverty, equal justice, taxation, and stewardship of the the economy and the earth present persistent moral problems for the party and the candidacy of John McCain.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Biden argues; Palin speaks and winks

9:00 p.m. Time for the VP Debate to begin.
Okay, I am really nervous. Will she be as full of nonsense as she was with Katie Couric? I know she won't because she's been at debate camp and she's good on stage. I would love to be at Washington University in St. Louis tonight. I think I'll just enter the debater’s remarks as they stand out to me. See my reactions in italics...

Palin: Can I call you Joe?

Palin: Let's go to a kid's soccer game and ask the parents how they feel. Fear is what we will hear.

Palin: John McCain has been for reform. Oh yeah, I remember--he was for reform when he wanted to avenge his 2000 loss to W in South Carolina. I think this man may have some issues with revenge, but I'm not too sure about country first reform. Maybe country club first reform?

Ifill: How would you shrink the partisan divide?
Biden: Follow Mike Mansfield's advice: Don't judge motives. The temperament of Joe Biden as a senator--in actual governance--conveys a good bit about what Obama stands for. Compare this man's stature in foreign policy, in temperament, in bi-partisanship with McCain's choice in Governor Palin.

Ifill: Who was at fault in the subprime meltdown?
Palin: Darn right--it's the greedy lenders.
I hear a cheer: Joe Six Pack; Hockey Moms across the Nation UNITE! UNITE for OVERSIGHT!

Palin: Obama voted 94 times for tax increases
Barack Obama raised taxes on people making $42,000.00
Aren't these distortions? Governor Palin is relying on the ignorance of average Americans about how votes are taken on resolutions in the legislative process. Yes, distortions are us.

Biden: Fairness--- no one making less than $250,000 will get a tax increase

Palin: Patriotic is saying no to government?
I think some conservative Republicans have adopted "government that governs best governs NOT. Review: Katrina; subprime mortgage meltdown ghenna; the Gonzales Justice Department; and the invasion and occupation of Iraq

Palin: on McCain's healthcare plan...I think I heard her say I'd don't think I want to talk about necessarily what the moderator wants to talk about. I don't think I hear the moderator with any pushback on that. Hmmmm.

Yes, tax credits--what every middle class person needs to pay for healthcare. The people who think tax breaks help average income folks come up with the cash to pay for healthcare are not people who have average incomes. McCain’s plan means you are on your own. McCain’s plan means you can choose not to buy any plan, because you are not going to be able to afford it. Having $5,000 available to pay healthcare plans that cost a minimum of $12,000 doesn’t sound too encouraging to healthy people. God forbid that you have any health problems.

Joe Biden's best line so far---McCain's healthcare plan is a bridge to nowhere.

After the debate update: I judged high school policy cross-examination debates for years--often judging novice rounds and junior varsity rounds. This reminded me of having a varsity debater in a round with a junior varsity debater. The varsity debater has to throw out all of their usual high powered argumentation to be fair in the debate. The judge sometimes suspends some of the pickiness, so as to let there be an educational experience for all. The junior varsity debater-Sarah Palin, in my view might win the speaker points--for eye contact-with a minor subtraction for winking.

Joe Biden, on my flow sheet, won the argumentation in the line by line.

Posted by Beverly Choate Dowdy at Thursday, October 02, 2008 0