Right to the Point10/09/08

10/09/08

By  Michael Benevento

Musings on the debates

First presidential debate — blame Bush …

If you were like me, when you watched the first presidential debate, you could easily discern Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s strategy. During his debate with Sen. John McCain, Obama took almost every opportunity to blame President George Bush for our nation’s woes. Obama’s main objective was to make us believe that everything was Bush’s fault.

Then, after bashing Bush, Obama tried to link McCain to the President — like McCain was one of Bush’s lackeys. The package Obama tried to sell America was simple — if we elected McCain, Republicans would carry out four more years of Bush’s policies. And so, to avoid four more years of Bush, vote Obama for “change.”

It did not work, starting with the Bush caused everything claim.

This just in — Obama believes the president handles the money …

The highlight of Obama’s lack of responsibility was when he said the current Wall Street financial crisis was caused by “eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Sen. McCain.”

Afterwards, I found myself wondering if Obama thinks Congress is responsible for anything. Who do you think handles the money, Barack, President Bush or Congress? Who levies taxes? Who writes the budget — with all its entitlements, pork barrel spending and outlays?

Except for Obama (and the rest of the “Blame-Bush-First-Club”), most Americans know that Congress controls the nation’s finances. As the Constitution provides, the president makes recommendations, but Congress controls the budget. By blaming Bush, Obama tried to avoid Congress taking any responsibility for its role in our nation’s economic crisis.

Congress fiddles as Washington burns … through our money!

It seems that Democrats love to spend money to “solve” problems, especially when it is someone else’s cash. By handing out goodies, they feel good and pat themselves on the back for helping out their neighbor. The fact that they had to take from one neighbor in order to give to another doesn’t really seem to bother them. Besides, they reassure themselves that they are only taking it from the rich — who obviously have too much money to begin with anyway.

During the debate, McCain said Obama “asked for $932 million in earmarked and pork-barrel spending” since becoming a senator in 2005. Obama, trying to shrug off the fact, emphasized that earmarks only account for a small fraction of federal spending. I guess $18 billion is small change to him. However, to taxpayers pinching pennies to pay for healthcare, fuel, food and education, it could go a long way.

Several times during the debate, McCain pointed out that we must control spending. In contrast, Obama kept on rattling off one promise after another after another. As he did so, I found myself asking where he is going to get the money to pay for it all — especially when the $700 billion bailout package is factored in?

Well, you see, that is the beauty of it all. He doesn’t have to pay for it. American taxpayers will.

Vice presidential debate — Palin’s drawing power …

A quick question for you: Which had more viewers, the presidential or vice presidential debate? If you answered the VP debate, go to the head of the class.

That’s right, more people were interested in the vice presidential debate than they were in watching Sens. Obama and McCain duke it out. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the reason.

Usually a vice presidential debate does not draw a big audience. However, because of Palin, the VP debate proved to be very popular. Last week’s debate between Palin and Sen. Joe Biden was the most-watched vice presidential debate of all time. According to Nielsen Media Research, it was seen by more than 70 million viewers. This was a third more than the 52 million who tuned in for the Obama/McCain debate.

Winners and losers … does it matter?

A USA Today/Gallup Poll taken after the first presidential debate found by a 46 percent to 34 percent margin that Obama “won” the debate with McCain. Along the same lines, a CNN/Opinion Research poll showed that 51 percent of the people who watched the VP debate favored Biden, while 36 percent thought Palin did the best job.

Interestingly, the majority of viewers said that the debates made no difference in how they will vote. John Kerry’s pollster in 2004, Mark Mellman, said, “Historically, debates don’t change races; they reinforce people’s pre-existing dispositions.”

I agree. In the long run, it probably does not matter how the four candidates did during the debates. Most of the voters’ minds were already made up.

Michael Benevento is a former Air Force fighter jet weapon systems officer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Military History and a master’s in International Relations. Mike resides in Williston with his wife Kristine and their two sons, Matthew and Calvin.