Sep 4, 2008

Preaching to the choir

A big zero in terms of policy proposals, a lot of sarcasm, a lot of misstatements, and a few strategic errors, such as mocking miranda rights and community organizers: Obama was helping out-of-work steel workers, who probably won't appreciate the sarcasm. Expect him to hit back hard on that. She's shown what force-level she's comfortable with. She's also shown she's willing to risk opinions on foreign policy: game on for Biden. My overrall impression was that Palin was speaking only to the base. Few independents or Clinton fans will be tempted by what they saw last night. McCain is tacking hard to the right: this election will be won in the centre.

The has a selection of some of the more egregious factual errors:—
  • PALIN: “Listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate.”

REALITY: He co-authored the Lugar-Obama bill on nuclear nonproliferation, working across the aisle to pass legislation that intercepted illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and helped destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. He also passed sweeping ethics reform in both the Illinois and US senates, leading on two big contentious measures: racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. At last count, he sponsored 820 laws in Illinois, authored 152 bills and co-sponsored 427 laws in Washington.

  • PALIN: “Victory in Iraq is finally in sight… he wants to forfeit.”

REALITY: McCain is alone in wanting to continue the war in Iraq indefinitely. Both Obama, Bush and Malaki are in agreement on a timetable for withdrawal. Bush is now following Obama's plan in Pakistan as well.

  • PALIN: “Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay… he wants to meet them without preconditions.”

REALITY: Again, McCain is alone on this. Republicans agree with direct talks with Iran. And for the record, there are no such things as "terrorist states". Terrorists are by definition stateless.

  • PALIN: “Taxes are too high… he wants to raise them... [increasing] the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

REALITY: Almost every observer agrees that the Obama tax plan will provide a bigger break for middle class families than McCain's. The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded. But Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

  • PALIN: "America needs more energy... our opponent is against producing it."
REALITY: A flat out lie. Turn it through 18o degrees and it begins to get near the truth: Obama plans to develop many more energy sources than McCain, who has skipped the last eight votes on renewable energy. She's talking about oil.
  • PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE REALITY: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. She in fact supported the "bridge to nowhere" until it was ridiculed. Then she was against it.

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