The transcript for the debate can be found at CNN.
Comments on Joe Biden:
- He claims that the Constitution calls for same-sex couples to have the same benefits as married couples. If this were so you’d think the Supreme Court would have ruled on the matter and same-sex couples would currently be enjoying the same benefits as married couples. He could have just said he supports such benefits without coming up with a non-existent justification for his view.
- His attempt to justify his vote giving the president the power to attack Iraq is futile (“I voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted”). You don’t give any president the authorization to go to war unless you think a war is justified at the moment you are voting.
Comments on Sarah Palin:
- She claimed that McCain suspended his campaign and put country first. If McCain had not announced he was suspending his campaign I doubt any observer would have said it looks like McCain is suspending his campaign. In other words, it was a suspension in name only. You don’t need gimmicks to show that you care about the U.S.
- It is hypocritical of her to attack Obama for voting largely along party lines when McCain has done the same thing. Obama is running as a Democrat because he largely agrees with the Democractic party platform. McCain is running as a Republican because he largely agrees with the Republican party platform. I don’t believe either candidate has broken with his party more than 10% of the time and thus neither can truly call himself a maverick.
- I liked that she urged the American people to take personal responsibility for making wise economic choices. However, she tried to let Americans off the hook by saying they are not to blame for the hurting economy. The fact is that those Americans who made poor economic decisions are partially to blame for the hurting economy. Her call to personal responsibility is weakened by the fact that she does not hold Americans responsible for their actions.
- She said she “may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you [Biden] want to hear . . . .” This severely hurt her attempts to show that she is knowledgeable enough to be (vice-)president. One wonders whether she said whatever she wanted when she couldn’t answer the question posed to her. This undercuts her claim that McCain puts country before politics as it appears McCain put politics before country in selecting his vice-president.
- She criticized Obama’s healthcare plan by saying Americans don’t want the government to run things. But earlier in the debate she stressed that McCain would regulate the economy and get the government involved there. Is there a rational reason to assume the government will do a good job regulating the economy and a bad job administering healthcare?
- She stresses domestic drilling for oil as if it will have any noticeable benefit. At best it is a short-term band-aid but it in no way constitutes a long term solution to our energy problem. Renewable energy is the only long-term solution.
- She said McCain would do nothing to prohibit hospital visitations for same-sex couples. It is telling that she did not say she would fight for same-sex couples to have the guaranteed right to visit a partner in a hospital.
- She claimed that McCain has a good plan for exiting Iraq but did not provide any details beyond saying we’ll know when we get there. Biden gave a detailed answer that actually gives Americans hope we will be out of Iraq in the near future. Palin called the Obama plan a white flag of surrender. This is nothing but a scare tactic. If we withdrew in 16 months and Iraqis governed their country well that would be a success, that would be victory. I’m not saying Obama’s plan guarantees success but it is not a surrender. At worst it is a misguided plan.
Comments on both:
- They both dodged answering when they would feel justified in using nuclear weapons. That could have been a very interesting.