POTUS Shots: Part Deux

9 10 2008

I love a good sequel.

Like, Batman 2, Mrs. Potato Head and a fourth slice of pizza.
So I’m pretty pumped about this second debate. The NY Times has provided this handy-dandy cheat-sheet for both sides and I’m anxious to see whether or not they follow it.

I will admit that I’m a little nervous. Barack has been slowly making gains and taking over the lead in nationwide polls and I just don’t want anything to derail his (and his campaign’s) hard work. The McCain campaign has pulled out the ugly stick (Oh, look! Cindy McCain is running for office too! [P.S. Cindy, the Obama’s totally win Class Couple and Most Likely to Succeed.])and have begun to wave it about the head of the American public.

[And side-note: This, “Who is Barack Obama?” “I don’t know him/them,” crap is really getting to me. I just think that it’s pretty fucking telling that suddenly “America” wants to “know” a candidate when that candidate is Black.

Was America asking this question when Bill Clinton was running? Was America asking this question after the Monica Lewinsky debacle? Has America asked “Who is Sarah Palin?” I mean, this is a lady who came out of nowhere and still refuses to answer direct questions that might actually give us an idea about who she is?

How come America is not asking, “Who is John McCain?” Is it because he wrote a book? Oh, right, Obama’s written two.
Is it because America knows John McCain? They know that the man running on the (Family)/Country First platform cheated on his first wife and helped cover up the possibly illegal pill problem of his current wife?
They know that the man running on the “reaching across the aisle” line, frequently only reaches far enough to get a more comfortable position up Dubya’s butt?
They know that the man who’s talking about how Obama is an elitist and is out of touch with “Joe six-pack {Which: only White people get to boast about being Joe and Jane six-packs. If these were Black people, or people of Hispanic descent they’d just be lay-about drunks. A drain on the great teat of America. They wouldn’t be revered as the heart of America and the GOP.} is the man who was a part of the Keating-5 whose activities closely mirror the ethically challenged activities of the current members of the failing Wall Street {Which: That’s a situation -that’s crushing Joe and Jane six-pack- that he helped to engineer with his “Regulations Bad. Cheating on our country with Corporate America Good!” policies.}.
They know the man who has never paid for his own health care and now wants to making virtually impossible for them to afford theirs.
And all of this just makes me wonder, “If you know John McCain so well why would you vote for him?” And all that I can come up with is, “Because he’s familiar. White.”]

I don’t want more of McCain’s base and baseless character attacks to goad Barack into having to sling mud; but I also don’t want his above the fray demeanor to be misconstrued as weakness.
I want a nice clean game with the home team winning handily, but without embarrassing the other team by spiking the ball in their face and faux-peeing in their direction.
(I reserve the right to change my mind about that depending on how low-down the McCain team plays. Sometimes when the opposition keeps up with the pass-interference and the face-masking you have the right to spike the ball in their face and dance around it while faux-peeing in their direction. Just saying.)
I think that the “Town Hall” format is kind of stupid and gives aid to McCain’s doddering Grandpa ruse.

The ruse doesn’t work on me. I take one look at John McCain and I think, “Old man smell!”

Anyhoods tonight it’s just me and Girlfriend.
Secretly I’m glad. It means we didn’t have to clean.
We’re going to drink but there’s no drinking game. We don’t need an excuse to drink. I would say that we are Jane and Jane six-packs but I’m Black.

DVR will be in play.
Time stamps will not be.

The Players:
Girlfriend (GF)
John McCain
Barack Obama
Oxtail from the Jamaican bakery on the corner
Heineken Minis
Coca Cola
Tom Brokaw (Moderator)
Uncommitted Ohio Voters (Green line, men. Goldenrod line, women.)
Two chairs both alike in dignity. In fair, (Wait, where the fuck is this debate?) where we lay our scene.


Let’s get ready to rumble!

Hello Tom. You sound phlegmy, are you sick?

Green line: Dip.

Brokaw: The world has changed. There’s no bottom it seems, to our descent. Now that I’ve started things off nice and cheery-like, I’m going to throw it to the audience. Section A from Allen Shaffer.


Shaffer: With the economy on the downturn and retired and older citizens and workers losing their incomes, what’s the fastest, most positive solution to bail these people out of the economic ruin?

Obama: 1. Oversight. 2. Tax-cuts for the middle-class.

McCain: 1. Energy independence. 2. “Let’s not raise any taxes on anybody today.” Tomorrow, maybe, and only for the dirty masses.

BPD: I’m creeped out about the way that John McCain moves. It’s like an aggressive robot.
GF: No-mo arigato Mr. Roboto.
BPD: He’s been told to work the room, but jeebus, my grandma who’s missing a toe moves better than him. Hi, Grandma!
GF: Hunny, you know your Grandmother still doesn’t trust the internet.
BPD: Yeah, she still calls it The (singular) Internets (plural).

Brokaw: Who should take over the Paulson post?

McCain: Not you.

BPD: Babe, is this what it’s going to be like when I’m old? All flat jokes all of the time?
GF: No. You’re already there.

McCain: “I like Meg Whitman, she knows what it’s like to be out there in the marketplace.” She knows that women generally get paid less than their male counterparts. “But the point is it’s going to have to be somebody who inspires trust and confidence.” Someone that we can trust not to rock the boat on fair pay.
Here’s a joke: What has two thumbs and takes the crony right out of cronyism and puts it in this Presidential race? THIS GUY.

Obama: I like Warren Buffet. But I don’t want to lock myself into anything right now before I can really take a look around at what I’m working with, so I’m just going to repeat my tax plan.

Brokaw: Gentlemen, let’s just KISS and make up. And by KISS I mean, Keep It Simple Stupids. Obey the time limits. And now, a question from the nervous black guy in the audience. Let’s put on this nervous Black guy. Oliver Clark, who is over here in section F.

Clark: Well, Senators, through this economic crisis, most of the people that I know have had a difficult time. And through this bailout package, I was wondering what it is that’s going to actually help those people out.

McCain: it’s not a bailout it’s a rescue. I believe that the head-honchos in the corporations who, much like me, can’t remember the number of homes they own, deserve rescue. I suspended my campaign to make sure that the middle class was going to be protected. “But you know, one of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” And we all know, because Fox News told us, that people like you lit the match that lit the fire.
So that’s why, as I move very close to you, like angry Johnny 5, I’m going to aggressively let you know that I want “Americans, like Alan,” to “realize the American dream and stay in their home.”
Not you. You never deserved one.

Green line: Drop.
Golden rod: Let’s give him a chance. Oh, what the hell. Drop.

Obama: Now I’ve got to set the record straight because the old man just lied to you. Deregulation got us in the mess. John McCain LOVES deregulation.

“I never promoted Fannie Mae. In fact, Senator McCain’s campaign chairman’s firm was a lobbyist on behalf of Fannie Mae, not me… This is not the end of the process; this is the beginning of the process. And that’s why it’s going to be so important for us to work with homeowners to make sure that they can stay in their homes.”

BPD: McCain LOVES the word crony. Have you ever noticed how the words crony and corny share the same letters?
GF: Hunny, you’re so crony!

Brokaw: We’re going to continue over in Section F, as it turns out.
Sen. Obama, this is a question from you from Teresa Finch.

Finch: How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got — got us into this global economic crisis?

Obama: (pause)

“Well, look, I understand your frustration and your cynicism, because while you’ve been carrying out your responsibilities — most of the people here, you’ve got a family budget. If less money is coming in, you end up making cuts. Maybe you don’t go out to dinner as much. Maybe you put off buying a new car.
That’s not what happens in Washington. And you’re right. There is a lot of blame to go around.”

Blame it on Bush. And McCain. When I’m elected I’m going to spend some money on key issues that we’ve got to work on: health care, energy independence, education.

Green & Goldenrod line: For REALS!

McCain: The system is broken. I’m a reformed. I’ve reached across the aisle (meds willing). I’ve reached across the aisle to (that fucking cock-block) Joe Lieberman.

Green and Goldenrod lines: Flat line.

McCain: Pork barrel!

BPD: Listen, Joe and Jane six-pack love little more than pork rinds.

The Passage of time and propaganda.

BPD: Uhm, I zoned out and when I came back I noticed that Barack Obama 1. Just referenced JFK and 2. Said something that got both of the lines soaring. So… sweet!

Brokaw: All right, gentlemen, I want to just remind you one more time about time. We’re going to have a larger deficit than the federal government does if we don’t get this under control here before too long. (badum chink!)

Sen. McCain, for you, we have our first question from the Internet tonight. A child of the Depression, 78-year-old Fiorra from Chicago.

“Since World War II, we have never been asked to sacrifice anything to help our country, except the blood of our heroic men and women. As president, what sacrifices — sacrifices will you ask every American to make to help restore the American dream and to get out of the economic morass that we’re now in?”

McCain: Everything that you need. Like health care. Medicare. Drug research. Everything except for the wars I want to fight. “We’re Americans!” And by we, I mean, “Not you.”

Obama: That’s not the kind of sacrifice America needs, John.

“You know, a lot of you remember the tragedy of 9/11 and where you were on that day and, you know, how all of the country was ready to come together and make enormous changes to make us not only safer, but to make us a better country and a more unified country.
And President Bush did some smart things at the outset, but one of the opportunities that was missed was, when he spoke to the American people, he said, “Go out and shop.”
That wasn’t the kind of call to service that I think the American people were looking for.
And so it’s important to understand that the — I think the American people are hungry for the kind of leadership that is going to tackle these problems not just in government, but outside of government.
And let’s take the example of energy, which we already spoke about. There is going to be the need for each and every one of us to start thinking about how we use energy.
I believe in the need for increased oil production. We’re going to have to explore new ways to get more oil, and that includes offshore drilling. It includes telling the oil companies, that currently have 68 million acres that they’re not using, that either you use them or you lose them.
We’re going to have to develop clean coal technology and safe ways to store nuclear energy.
But each and every one of us can start thinking about how can we save energy in our homes, in our buildings. And one of the things I want to do is make sure that we’re providing incentives so that you can buy a fuel efficient car that’s made right here in the United States of America, not in Japan or South Korea, making sure that you are able to weatherize your home or make your business more fuel efficient.
And that’s going to require effort from each and every one of us.
And the last point I just want to make. I think the young people of America are especially interested in how they can serve, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m interested in doubling the Peace Corps, making sure that we are creating a volunteer corps all across this country that can be involved in their community, involved in military service, so that military families and our troops are not the only ones bearing the burden of renewing America.
That’s something that all of us have to be involved with and that requires some leadership from Washington.”

Brokaw: How would you break America’s bad habit of too much debt and easy credit?

Obama: By blaming Bush.

McCain: My friends, I remember Herbert Hoover. He was the best door-to-door vacuum salesman I ever did meet. My friends, I’m making up policy on the spot. Undefined unspecific policy that sounds like crazy. “Well, you know, nailing down Sen. Obama’s various tax proposals is like nailing Jell-O to the wall.” And while I am all for Jell-O shots for all Americans (not you, Oliver)(You know who would really go crazy for Jell-O shots? Nancy Regan. Ronald would have to pull her away from the table every time.) his tax plan doesn’t make any sense to me.

Obama: That’s because it’s about the people. The middle class not about people who avoid taxes by putting their money into off-shore bank accounts and fancy investment options.

Brokaw: Sen. McCain, two years for a reform of entitlement programs?

McCain: Sure. Hey, I’ll answer the question. Look — look, it’s not that hard to fix Social Security, Tom. It’s just…

Brokaw: And Medicare.

McCain: “… tough decisions. I want to get to Medicare in a second. Social Security is not that tough. We know what the problems are, my friends, and we know what the fixes are. We’ve got to sit down together across the table.” It’s been done before my 26 year tenure in Senate.

Green and Goldenrod lines: If it’s so simple why haven’t you done it? Yawn!

Brokaw: The next question does come from the hall for Sen. McCain. It comes from Section C over here, and it’s from Ingrid Jackson.


Jackson: Sen. McCain, I want to know, we saw that Congress moved pretty fast in the face of an economic crisis. I want to know what you would do within the first two years to make sure that Congress moves fast as far as environmental issues, like climate change and green jobs?

McCain: I feel the need for speed. And I’m going to quickly turn away from you, black lady, and turn towards the safe-looking white people in the front row. This is the kind of speed that I’m talking about.

BPD: I wish that John McCain would choke on a pork barrel. I don’t know if I’d be consistently bragging about voting against bills that had “Christmas Tree Ornaments” that help other people and ease the bill’ passage.
GF: McCain looks so creepy when he’s not speaking. He’s just tottering around.
BPD: That is the smile and sway of senility.

Brokaw: Quick discussion. Is health care in America a privilege, a right, or a responsibility?

McCain: “I think it’s a responsibility, in this respect, in that we should have available and affordable health care to every American citizen, to every family member. And with the plan that — that I have, that will do that.”

Obama: (sighs) (thinks, “It’s like shooting ducks in a barrel.”)

“I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can’t pay their medical bills — for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.
So let me — let me just talk about this fundamental difference. And, Tom, I know that we’re under time constraints, but Sen. McCain through a lot of stuff out there.
Number one, let me just repeat, if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it. All I’m going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You’ll still have choice of doctor. There’s no mandate involved.
Small businesses are not going to have a mandate. What we’re going to give you is a 50 percent tax credit to help provide health care for those that you need.
Now, it’s true that I say that you are going to have to make sure that your child has health care, because children are relatively cheap to insure and we don’t want them going to the emergency room for treatable illnesses like asthma.
And when Sen. McCain says that he wants to provide children health care, what he doesn’t mention is he voted against the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that is responsible for making sure that so many children who didn’t have previously health insurance have it now.
Now, the final point I’ll make on this whole issue of government intrusion and mandates — it is absolutely true that I think it is important for government to crack down on insurance companies that are cheating their customers, that don’t give you the fine print, so you end up thinking that you’re paying for something and, when you finally get sick and you need it, you’re not getting it.
And the reason that it’s a problem to go shopping state by state, you know what insurance companies will do? They will find a state — maybe Arizona, maybe another state — where there are no requirements for you to get cancer screenings, where there are no requirements for you to have to get pre-existing conditions, and they will all set up shop there.
That’s how in banking it works. Everybody goes to Delaware, because they’ve got very — pretty loose laws when it comes to things like credit cards.
And in that situation, what happens is, is that the protections you have, the consumer protections that you need, you’re not going to have available to you.
That is a fundamental difference that I have with Sen. McCain. He believes in deregulation in every circumstance. That’s what we’ve been going through for the last eight years. It hasn’t worked, and we need fundamental change.

Goldenrod line: Yeah boyee! Off the charts!

Brokaw: Phil Elliott is over here in this section, and Phil Elliott has a question for Sen. McCain.


Elliott: Yes. Sen. McCain, how will all the recent economic stress affect our nation’s ability to act as a peacemaker in the world?

McCain: “Well, I thank you for that question, because there’s no doubt” that the only questions that I like to answer are questions that relate to war.
“America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world.” Ignoring the Trail of Tears. And the slave trade. And how the railroads were built. And the Japanese Internment Camps. And the Atomic Bomb. And Agent Orange. And torturing detainees in Guantanamo. And our inability to help Haiti or Darfur or Zimbabwe. Or our unwillingness to safely educate our own children.

Brokaw: Senator Obama, let me ask you if — let’s see if we can establish tonight the Obama doctrine and the McCain doctrine for the use of United States combat forces in situations where there’s a humanitarian crisis, but it does not affect our national security.

Obama: (This is what being Michael Jordan in the 90s must have felt like.)

“Well, we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake.
If we could have intervened effectively in the Holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in?
If we could’ve stopped Rwanda, surely, if we had the ability, that would be something that we would have to strongly consider and act.
So when genocide is happening, when ethnic cleansing is happening somewhere around the world and we stand idly by, that diminishes us.
And so I do believe that we have to consider it as part of our interests, our national interests, in intervening where possible.
But understand that there’s a lot of cruelty around the world. We’re not going to be able to be everywhere all the time. That’s why it’s so important for us to be able to work in concert with our allies.”

McCain: My friends. Let’s talk about Iraq.



Brokaw: Next question for Senator Obama, it comes from the F section and is from Katie Hamm. Katie?

Hamm: Should the United States respect Pakistani sovereignty and not pursue al Qaeda terrorists who maintain bases there, or should we ignore their borders and pursue our enemies like we did in Cambodia during the Vietnam War?

BPD: Katie Hamm did not write this question herself.

Obama: “Katie, it’s a terrific question and we have a difficult situation in Pakistan. I believe that part of the reason we have a difficult situation is because we made a bad judgment going into Iraq in the first place when we hadn’t finished the job of hunting down bin Laden and crushing al Qaeda.” And fundamentally, Pakistan is not acting like an ally of America. Alliances go two ways and if one side is not holding up its end of the bargain, it’s not a useful alliance.

McCain: You know, my hero is a guy named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt used to say walk softly — talk softly, but carry a big stick.

BPD: Teddy Roosevelt! “Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards!” Plus, doesn’t “Talk softly but carry a big stick” mean, “Be nice. But be prepared to bash them over the head with that big stick, repeatedly if necessary, if they can’t hear you”?

McCain: Surge!

Green and Goldenrod lines: DROP to flat line.

Obama: “Senator McCain, this is the guy who sang, ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,’ who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don’t think is an example of ‘speaking softly.'”

BPD: It looks like Biden taught Obama bow to crack a joke.
GF: Maybe Sarah Palin could teach John McCain.

McCain: Vladimir Putin has 1.5 letters in each eye!

Green and Goldenrod lines: Whaa?

BPD: I think that’s a no.

Brokaw: All right we have to move along. Over in section A, Terry Shirey — do I have that right, Terry?

Shirey: Senator, as a retired Navy chief, my thoughts are often with those who serve our country. I know both candidates, both of you, expressed support for Israel.

If, despite your best diplomatic efforts, Iran attacks Israel, would you be willing to commit U.S. troops in support and defense of Israel? Or would you wait on approval from the U.N. Security Council?

McCain: Well, thank you, Terry. You’ve given me the perfect opportunity to angry robot over to you and awkwardly pat you on the should. “And thank you for your service to the country.” I’d like for your to ignore the fact that I don’t show that service any more respect than some empty platitudes. I wouldn’t wait for ANYone. Just like my pal Dubya.

Obama: Yup. I’m no cowboy. Or, the kind of rancher that uses the gimmick of not branding his cattle as a means of stealing others’ cattle. I understand the importance of working within fruitful alliances.

Brokaw: All right, gentlemen, we’ve come to the last question.
And you’ll both be interested to know this comes from the Internet and it’s from a state that you’re strongly contesting, both of you. It’s from Peggy in Amherst, New Hampshire. And it has a certain Zen-like quality, I’ll give you a fair warning.
She says, “What don’t you know and how will you learn it?”

Obama: “My wife, Michelle, is there and she could give you a much longer list than I do. And most of the time, I learn it by asking her.”

BPD: Obama for the win!

McCain: I don’t know what is unknown and as it is unknown I don’t know how I would learn enough to that I can know it. “We will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know where they are on the map, some Americans” because we can’t read because I refuse to fund education for fear or raising taxes.

BPD: Uhm? That what you want to end with.
GF: That’s not comforting.
BPD: Well, that’s what you get when you’re looking for comfort from the Troll on the Bridge. GOP, this is your candidate.

I chalk this up as win number 2 for Obama and it looks like I’m not the only one. And that’s without factoring in “That One.” I just love how nervous Oliver Clark shifts in his chair when McCain says that. I just want to lean over and say, “Yeah, you heard that. Still undecided?”




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