ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [50] -- Can I Call You Joe?

[ Posted Friday, October 3rd, 2008 – 16:08 PDT ]

The weirdest moment in last night's vice presidential debate (at least for me) happened before the debate officially had even begun. Not realizing their mikes were being picked up by the networks, Sarah Palin (while shaking Joe Biden's hand) asked him "Can I call you Joe?"

Now, in normal life, this is a petty innocuous question. It's a bit of politeness, asking someone if you can refer to them informally, by using just their first name. But this isn't normal life, this is a debate viewed by millions, between two people who not only have full names, but also titles (Senator, Governor). Knowing that Palin only asked this because she had some zinger up her sleeve, I was waiting for it all night, until (near the end) Palin finally pulled it out -- "Say it ain't so, Joe!" Whew. That was less "zingy" than I had expected... and she followed it up by trying to be Reaganesque: "there you go again pointing backwards again," which (to my ears) fell pretty flat indeed.

So, in keeping with the spirit of the debate, I ask Senator Joe Biden, "Can I call you Joe?" Because I'm going to be typing his name a lot today.

Now, I refuse to get too wrapped up in the question of who "won" the debate. In general, unless one candidate obviously self-destructs, this question is answered among most Americans quite subjectively and quite personally. I thought, much as I did with the first presidential debate, that last night was largely a draw. Neither candidate completely fell on their face, both candidates spoke fairly well, and neither one completely outshone the other.

But that's not to say I didn't think Biden did better. I did... but then I'm hardly an "undecided voter" at this point, so it's almost impossible to tell what such people really thought.

I will say one snarky thing up front, though -- I think Tiny Fey is going to parody Sarah Palin's "wink, wink" to devastating effect on tomorrow night's Saturday Night Live.

Because I've had a day to find a transcript (since this debate was on Thursday rather than Friday), I'm going to turn the Friday Talking Points part of the column over to what I consider to be Biden's best lines from last night. But first, our weekly awards....

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Bill Clinton has to get at least a nod of acknowledgement here, for finally getting some fire in the belly on the stump for Obama. Maybe it took John McCain putting Clinton in one of his campaign ads to get Bubba annoyed, but for whatever reason it is good to see. Clinton, when he's "on" is one of the best campaign speakers of all time in American politics, and his erratic nature throughout just about the entire campaign season was disappointing in a lot of ways. But if the "old" Bill Clinton is back, then send him out stumping some more! For this effort, Clinton gets an Honorable Mention this week.

But the clear winner of Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was Senator Joe Biden, for his debate performance. In all the media hype preceding the event, Sarah Palin's weaknesses were talked about, but then the media talking heads would always try to appear fair by pointing out Biden's supposed weaknesses as well: he talks too much, and sometimes he gets caught in gaffes of his own. While much of the story last night was about how Sarah Palin exceeded the laughably low expectations set for her (by her own interviews with Katie Couric), the other side of the coin was that Joe Biden also blew away his critics in a disciplined and gaffe-free performance.

A lot of it had to do with the unbelievably tight format the candidates had agreed to (probably at Palin's request) -- only 90 seconds to answer questions, and then just two minutes of back-and-forth afterwards. Compare that to the first Obama/McCain debate, where they had an initial two minutes followed by nine minutes of back-and-forth. This seemed to make everyone -- Biden, Palin, and even Gwen Ifill -- talk really fast, in order to cram as many words into 90 seconds as they possibly could. I'm surprised the debate wasn't sponsored by Red Bull, or a major coffee company.

But whatever format, Joe Biden was impressive. He was relaxed when he needed to be, forceful when he needed to be, emotional and human at times, and (most importantly) he absolutely did not give the Republicans any reason to slap some sort of "sexist" label on him, for "treating Sarah badly." Biden (quite intelligently) barely even mentioned Palin, preferring instead to focus intensely on John McCain instead. This was the right thing to do, and it paid off in a big way for Biden.

So, Joe, for your wonderful debate performance where you showed many Americans for the first time exactly why Barack Obama drafted you as his running mate, you are clear and away the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Congratulate Senator Joe Biden on his Senate contact page to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Remember Election Day, 2006? Remember the Democrats sweeping into power in both houses of Congress? Remember the joy and hope we all felt back then?

Well, the 110th Congress just folded its tent and packed it in until January, meaning that we can take a look back at their two years in office now. And, I have to say, I'm underwhelmed.

This was our only chance to hold George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of them responsible for what they have done to American democracy. And now that Congress has given themselves a four-month vacation, there will be no further chance to do so until after the Bush administration has left office.

Now, I wasn't one of those who were loudly calling for impeachment on day one, and I took some heat for my stance. For one thing, we didn't have anywhere near the votes in the Senate, so it would have been largely futile. More importantly, I saw rushing to impeachment as putting the cart before the horse. I thought the congressional committees would do their job of investigation, and present some evidence of wrongdoing... and then we could all discuss whether impeachment was the way to go or not.

Those committees did make a halfhearted attempt to do some investigating. But Bush and his minions thwarted them at every turn, ignoring subpoenas and stonewalling worse than Nixon ever did. And history will little note nor long remember the Democrats' response. Instead of immediately identifying such obstructionism as a blatant attempt to run out the clock, and immediately responding by appointing an Independent or Special Prosecutor (think: Ken Starr); Democratic committee chairmen instead spent their time waffling and sending "strongly-worded" letters to Bush and the Department of Justice. Like I said, not exactly one for the history books.

OK, to give credit where credit is due, we did get rid of Alberto Gonzales and Michael "heckuva job" Brown. But that's not good enough. Not by a long shot.

So, collectively, the entire Democratic delegation to the 110th Congress receives a joint Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, for allowing Bush to run out the clock and skate away. For shame!

[Contact your congressional representative's local office to let him or her know what you think of Congress' inaction.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 50 (10/3/08)

Wow, is it really Volume 50 already?

[Ahem.]

We now turn the rest of the program over to the best, most effective lines Joe Biden had during the debate. Everyone has their own favorite moments, and this stuff can appear to be pretty subjective, but I'm not just quoting the lines I liked the best, but rather the ones I think are the most effective talking points.

In general, I thought Biden was incredibly effective. He tripped over his own tongue once or twice, which I chalk up to the frenzied 90-second pace. But he never stumbled badly. The only verbal "tic" that began to get a little annoying (just a little, not a lot, because he used it effectively every time) was his habit of enumerating his answer -- "That's number one... and number two..." Pretty minor. Overall, I'd give Biden a solid "A" for his performance. The best thing Biden did (which Obama did not, in the first debate) was to hit McCain's voting record again and again. Throw a specific number at them! "McCain voted against puppies and kittens 477 times in the Senate." This is basic Debating 101, and Biden nailed this aspect of it, over and over again. Obama needs to learn this trick before next Tuesday. Biden also made good use of forcefully rejecting Palin's talking points, saying over and over again "that is just not true" or "that is a lie" or something similar. Americans respect you when you stand up to falsehood, it shows strength and character.

These are given in the order they appeared in last night's debate. Transcript is from RealClearPolitics, any transcription errors are theirs.

 

Early on, Biden starts hitting McCain on his record, in this instance on being a deregulator.

So what you had is you had overwhelming "deregulation." You had actually the belief that Wall Street could self-regulate itself. And while Barack Obama was talking about reinstating those regulations, John [McCain] on 20 different occasions in the previous year and a half called for more deregulation. As a matter of fact, John recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the health care industry deregulate it and let the free market move like he did for the banking industry.

So deregulation was the promise. And guess what? Those people who say don't go into debt, they can barely pay to fill up their gas tank. I was recently at my local gas station and asked a guy named Joey Danco. I said Joey, how much did it cost to fill your tank? You know what his answer was? He said I don't know, Joe. I never have enough money to do it. The middle class needs relief, tax relief. They need it now. They need help now. The focus will change with Barack Obama.

 

Here's another good example of throwing McCain's record in Palin's face, and of calling her a liar at the same time. This is in response to the fully-discredited claim that Obama voted to raise taxes on "those families making only $42,000 a year."

The charge is absolutely not true. Barack Obama did not vote to raise taxes. The vote [Sarah Palin is] referring to, John McCain voted the exact same way. It was a budget procedural vote. John McCain voted the same way. It did not raise taxes. Number two, using the standard that the governor uses, John McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes. It's a bogus standard it but if you notice, Gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending John McCain about not going along with the deregulation, letting Wall Street run wild. He did support deregulation almost across the board. That's why we got into so much trouble.

 

Biden strongly defends taxing the rich, and strongly makes that case that middle class families will not see their taxes go up. Nice use of Reagan's name, as well.

Well Gwen, where I come from, it's called fairness, just simple fairness. The middle class is struggling. The middle class under John McCain's tax proposal, 100 million families, middle class families, households to be precise, they got not a single change, they got not a single break in taxes. No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax. And 95 percent of the people in the United States of America making less than $150,000 will get a tax break.

Now, that seems to me to be simple fairness. The economic engine of America is middle class. It's the people listening to this broadcast. When you do well, America does well. Even the wealthy do well. This is not punitive. John wants to add $300 million, billion in new tax cuts per year for corporate America and the very wealthy while giving virtually nothing to the middle class. We have a different value set. The middle class is the economic engine. It's fair. They deserve the tax breaks, not the super wealthy who are doing pretty well. They don't need any more tax breaks. And by the way, they'll pay no more than they did under Ronald Reagan.

 

OK, this one was a cheap shot, but I have to say I enjoyed it. Biden's talking about McCain's health care plan, and ends with a zinger.

I call that the "Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere."

 

Biden goes on to destroy the enormous fallacy in Palin's logic on whether global warming is man-made or not. Palin's carefully-memorized talking point is that it is not productive to figure out what is causing global warming, since we should focus on solutions. Biden eviscerates this idiocy.

Well, I think it is manmade. I think it's clearly manmade. And, look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden -- Gov. Palin and Joe Biden.

If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting.

 

On Iraq, Biden was clear and concise.

Gwen, with all due respect, I didn't hear a plan. Barack Obama offered a clear plan. Shift responsibility to Iraqis over the next 16 months. Draw down our combat troops. Ironically the same plan that Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq and George Bush are now negotiating. The only odd man out here, only one left out is John McCain, number one. Number two, with regard to Barack Obama not quote funding the troops, John McCain voted the exact same way. John McCain voted against funding the troops because of an amendment he voted against had a timeline in it to draw down American troops. And John said I'm not going to fund the troops if in fact there's a time line. Barack Obama and I agree fully and completely on one thing. You've got to have a time line to draw down the troops and shift responsibility to the Iraqis.

We're spending $10 billion a month while Iraqis have an $80 billion surplus. Barack says it's time for them to spend their own money and have the 400,000 military we trained for them begin to take their own responsibility and gradually over 16 months, withdrawal. John McCain -- this is a fundamental difference between us, we'll end this war. For John McCain, there's no end in sight to end this war, fundamental difference. We will end this war.

 

He follows up with "McCain was wrong, Obama was right."

John McCain voted to cut off funding for the troops. Let me say that again. John McCain voted against an amendment containing $1 billion, $600 million that I had gotten to get MRAPS, those things that are protecting the governor's son and pray god my son and a lot of other sons and daughters.

He voted against it. He voted against funding because he said the amendment had a time line in it to end this war. He didn't like that. But let's get straight who has been right and wrong. John McCain and Dick Cheney said while I was saying we would not be greeted as liberators, we would not -- this war would take a decade and not a day, not a week and not six months, we would not be out of there quickly. John McCain was saying the Sunnis and Shias got along with each other without reading the history of the last 700 years. John McCain said there would be enough oil to pay for this. John McCain has been dead wrong. I love him. As my mother would say, god love him, but he's been dead wrong on the fundamental issues relating to the conduct of the war. Barack Obama has been right. There are the facts.

 

OK, this one was a cheap shot as well. McCain was confused, and really didn't mean what he said when he said it. But it's a valid thing to point out to people who haven't heard the story, since if they look into it they'll be left with only one conclusion -- McCain was confused. And "McCain = confused" is a good thing to plant into voters' minds.

The last point I'll make, John McCain said as recently as a couple of weeks ago he wouldn't even sit down with the government of Spain, a NATO ally that has troops in Afghanistan with us now. I find that incredible.

 

When Palin took Biden to task for tying John McCain to George W. Bush, Biden was ready. Nice use of repeating the phrase "I haven't heard how McCain is going to be different."

Look, past is prologue, Gwen. The issue is, how different is John McCain's policy going to be than George Bush's? I haven't heard anything yet.

I haven't heard how his policy is going to be different on Iran than George Bush's. I haven't heard how his policy is going to be different with Israel than George Bush's. I haven't heard how his policy in Afghanistan is going to be different than George Bush's. I haven't heard how his policy in Pakistan is going to be different than George Bush's.

It may be. But so far, it is the same as George Bush's. And you know where that policy has taken us.

We will make significant change so, once again, we're the most respected nation in the world. That's what we're going to do.

 

Excellent summation of why Obama is running for president, when asked how a Biden administration would be different than an Obama administration if the worst happened. Nice dig in the middle of it, too -- Biden knows what the Bush Doctrine is.

God forbid that would ever happen, it would be a national tragedy of historic proportions if it were to happen.

But if it did, I would carry out Barack Obama's policy, his policies of reinstating the middle class, making sure they get a fair break, making sure they have access to affordable health insurance, making sure they get serious tax breaks, making sure we can help their children get to college, making sure there is an energy policy that leads us in the direction of not only toward independence and clean environment but an energy policy that creates 5 million new jobs, a foreign policy that ends this war in Iraq, a foreign policy that goes after the one mission the American public gave the president after 9/11, to get and capture or kill bin Laden and to eliminate al Qaeda. A policy that would in fact engage our allies in making sure that we knew we were acting on the same page and not dictating.

And a policy that would reject the Bush Doctrine of preemption and regime change and replace it with a doctrine of prevention and cooperation and, ladies and gentlemen, this is the biggest ticket item that we have in this election.

This is the most important election you will ever, ever have voted in, any of you, since 1932. And there's such stark differences, I would follow through on Barack's policies because in essence, I agree with every major initiative he is suggesting.

 

Excellent summation of "McCain doesn't get it" and "are you better off now than you were eight years ago," all wrapped into one answer.

Look, all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years. And then ask them whether there's a single major initiative that John McCain differs with the president on. On taxes, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on the whole question of how to help education, on the dealing with health care.

Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get it. They know they've been getting the short end of the stick. So walk with me in my neighborhood, go back to my old neighborhood in Claymont, an old steel town or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded. It's time we change it. Barack Obama will change it.

 

Biden responds to Palin's praise for Dick Cheney, and how the Constitution is somehow "flexible" on what the Vice President does. This may have been Biden's best line of the entire night. No mincing words here. Tell us how you really feel, Joe!

Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

 

Near the end, Biden shows some honest emotion, even choking up at one point. This could have come off as inauthentic, but did not. Women across America reached for a tissue to blot their eyes after this answer.

Look, I understand what it's like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it's like as a parent to wonder what it's like if your kid's going to make it.

I understand what it's like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, "I've got to leave, champ, because there's no jobs here. I got to head down to Wilmington. And when we get enough money, honey, we'll bring you down."

I understand what it's like. I'm much better off than almost all Americans now. I get a good salary with the United States Senate. I live in a beautiful house that's my total investment that I have. So I -- I am much better off now.

But the notion that somehow, because I'm a man, I don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone, I don't know what it's like to have a child you're not sure is going to -- is going to make it -- I understand.

I understand, as well as, with all due respect, the governor or anybody else, what it's like for those people sitting around that kitchen table. And guess what? They're looking for help. They're looking for help. They're not looking for more of the same.

 

And finally, Biden directly attacks the "maverickness" of John McCain. Once again, tell it like it is, Joe!

Look, the maverick -- let's talk about the maverick John McCain is. And, again, I love him. He's been a maverick on some issues, but he has been no maverick on the things that matter to people's lives.

He voted four out of five times for George Bush's budget, which put us a half a trillion dollars in debt this year and over $3 trillion in debt since he's got there.

He has not been a maverick in providing health care for people. He has voted against -- he voted including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan, when he voted in the United States Senate.

He's not been a maverick when it comes to education. He has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college.

He's not been a maverick on the war. He's not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table.

Can we send -- can we get Mom's MRI? Can we send Mary back to school next semester? We can't -- we can't make it. How are we going to heat the -- heat the house this winter?

He voted against even providing for what they call LIHEAP, for assistance to people, with oil prices going through the roof in the winter.

So maverick he is not on the important, critical issues that affect people at that kitchen table.

 

That's it for this week's debate wrapup. Next week's debate is Tuesday, so this column will return to a more traditional format as a result.

 

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

15 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [50] -- Can I Call You Joe?”

  1. [1] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    So much to say... (1) McCain later confirmed his remark about Spain. It might have been a mistake at the time, but he's unwilling to admit to an error now. Nor has he responded when attacked on this point by Obama. He deserves every hit he takes on this. (2) Sarah engaged in some very weak neurolinguistic programming, trying to get Joe to call her "Sarah." This wasn't just a homey, small-town values thing; it was deliberate. Biden didn't take the bait, referring to her as "Governor Palin" all night. (3) The winking eyes are possibly meant as a signal of trust in Alaska; I'd have to consult someone with more knowledge than me, but I've noticed Canadians wink a bit more than Americans. It still drove me nuts, and it's going to equal Al Gore's sighs. (4) For my money, the "bridge to nowhere" line was the most devastating. Biden got the first laugh from the audience (in fact, he pretty much commanded the audience's laughter all the way through), and he provided the Obama campaign with a devastating, ready-made TV commercial. This was the "where's the beef" line of 2008. (5) I noticed that the CNN realtime opinion tracker peaked as Biden choked up, and then flatlined as Palin used the word "maverick" for the seventh time just seconds later. Biden's attack on that word was not only perfectly timed, it fed into a growing public distaste for the cliché.

    But that's just MHO..

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Osborne Ink -

    I just answered an astonishingly similar comment over on HuffPost, but unfortunately their comment server promptly ate it. Sigh.

    So I'm going to answer it here this time, and then cut and paste.

    (1) You're right about the Spain thing. I think the McCain campaign is terrified that he will appear senile, and so have defended his remark. Which is why it was brilliant for Biden to bring it up. They can either defend it on its face, or admit that he had a "senior moment" -- neither one a good choice. (2) I don't know, I still give her the benefit of the doubt. They both seemed like they thought their mikes were cold to me. But I have heard your viewpoint a lot today, so I could be wrong. (3) Al Gore's sighs! Boy, doesn't that take you back... ahem. Tiny Fey is absolutely going to NAIL this one tomorrow night on SNL, just you watch. (4) The BTNW line was definitely the funniest line of the night! (5) My wife agrees with you, and lit into me for suggesting that it might appear "fake" to some. But then I remember how Howard Dean's campaign blew up in one scream, so I'm extra-cautious I guess...

    The most interesting thing from the CBS "dial group" line (they showed it after the debate) was when Biden was talking about Iraq, the line went slowly up, and then when Palin came out with "white flag of surrender" it fell off a cliff -- lost 35 points in like two seconds.

    And I, too, have been waiting for someone to call McCain on the "maverick" label, and was glad Biden did so.

    Thanks for writing!

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    kevinem2 wrote:

    Chris..I've been meaning to ask you this for some time. Every morning while I'm having my coffee, I check the following sites to see what happened overnight and to see if my favorite writers have posted something new: Andrew Sullivan and to a much lesser extent the other "voices" at the Atlantic. Daily Kos, especially Bill in Portland Maine. Momocrats and Wonkette. The Jed Report and Firedog Lake. Matt Yglesias, and thanks to you Democrat Underground. Jezebel, and then lastly Huffpo because there is usually the most stuff I'm interested in. At Huffpo I particularly enjoy you, Jason Linkins (I live for his Sunday morning Talking Heads columns), Bob Cesca, Cenk Uygur, and Frank Schaeffer. Do you have any suggestions for sites/writers I'm missing that I might enjoy? Same question to your loyal readers. Thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to new faves to add to my list.
    A while back you asked for any suggestions about your Friday columns. While Democratic Underground's Top Ten right-wing dipshits list is a scream, maybe you could add a winner for Gold-Plated wingnut of the week to the other awards.
    Then again, maybe not. I've got Lady Froot Loops de Rothschild as the winner every week since she reared her insane head.
    Love your work, and keep on truckin.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CW,

    Well, if this 50th edition of FTP isn’t a sight for sore - very sore - eyes, then I am damn sure I don’t know what is! More about the particulars later but, for now, I’m just going to savor the moment and take my good ole time digesting every word.

    Admittedly, it has been a long and tough slog, as they say, from the fiasco in Iowa to the selection of Joe Biden as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. And, along the way, I have gained great respect for Barack Obama and for the sound and superior judgement that he obviously has - demonstrated by his choice of, and fight for, Joe Biden to be his partner in restoring honor to the promise of America, at home and abroad.

    I have finally concluded that the Obama/Biden ticket is proof positive that the cream really does rise to the top, in every sense of the phrase, and that timing and circumstance has delivered to us an unprecedented opportunity to really “make hope and history rhyme”.

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Elizabeth,

    I have to hand it to you for your belief in Joe Biden. He first came to my attention when he almost single-handedly destroyed the Giuliani campaign with his "noun, a verb, and 9/11" comment.

    His performance this week really reinforced Obama's selection in my mind. Biden changed up and dealt with a format that was more fitting for Palin and overall I thought he did a great job of connecting.

    Biden gave me yet another reason to be passionate about the ticket.

    - David

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    David,

    I can count on one hand - with four digits left over - the number of political leaders in whom I have placed my faith and who have never let me down.

    Now, I'm not saying that I agree with Senator Biden on every single policy position. I'm not even saying that I know how he stands on every foreign policy issue (my personal area of interest). What I am saying is that I have never had occasion to doubt the veracity of what he has said or question his motivations or wonder if he has tried to tell the American people and citizens of the world everything they needed to know as opposed to what he thought they wanted to hear.

    I could go on...and on...but I may force CW to institute a word limit around here, God forbid. So, I'll just say that I am very happy that you are beginning to know who Joe Biden is and what he has always been all about. And, if Senator Biden first came to your attention during the presidential primaries, then you have a lot of catching up to do, my friend! I can guarantee you one thing...the effort will be well worth your time and you will not be disappointed by what you learn.

    I guess the next big event to look forward to are the state polls that may be released later this week. I am hoping that they will show a continuing trend of Independent and moderate Republican support streaming toward Obama/Biden.

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    kevinem2 -

    I would suggest two others. The "War Room" column at Salon.com is a pretty good place to get an overview of what's going on, up-to-the-minute. It's a true blog, with lots of posts per day (various writers), and short little blurbs of all the major political news of the day. It does what it does very well -- kind of a clearinghouse to catch up on a lot of things very fast. With links, so if you're interested you can go and read the full story if you like.

    Salon also used to have a column called "Blog Report" that I found very useful, and miss. It was a quick look at bloggers from both the left and right, in one easy to see place.

    The other one is specific to the White House, and is one of the most critical places in the mainstream media that I know of -- examines Bush under a microscope. It's called "White House Watch" at WashingtonPost.com and is written by Dan Froomkin. Almost nothing gets by him. He'll be doing the same favor for the next president as well, but for now it's an excellent place to keep an eye on the Bush folks.

    Both of these have links on the left side of my site (my links aren't organized all that well, so forgive me if you have to search for them). Both are good additions to a daily reading list.

    And I don't want to step on the Top Ten List Of Idiots (every Monday morning, funniest thing on the web), since I kind of patterned this column after his in the first place! This is also in my links list for anyone interested, I highly recommend it for a laugh on Mondays.

    Elizabeth -

    Somehow I thought you'd like this one!

    I thought Biden made a gaffe about "Bosniacs," but a Biden fan pointed out that he was actually using the correct term "Bosniaks" which they call themselves. I should have figured Biden would know what he was talking about.

    akadjian -

    I had forgotten "noun, verb, 9/11" but thanks for reminding me!

    Elizabeth II -

    [OK, I couldn't resist labeling you that way. Heh. Sorry.]

    Me? Institute a word limit? Never! Then I'd have to write shorter columns myself... heh heh. Or be a giant hypocrite...

    Wednesday's poll-watch column is going to be happy news, so tune in for that...

    -CW

  8. [8] 
    BLaws wrote:

    I watched this debate and more than once thought to myself:

    "Man, I bet Elizabeth from CW.com is alternating between cheering and shouting at the TV based on who is speaking at the time."

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CW,

    You may call me anything you want, just don't call me late for dinner...and keep those Bidenesque blogs coming 'cause no one does it better!

    As for the Bosnian Muslims...all I can say about that is thank God for Biden fans, eh?...or else you may have had to issue a mea culpa, like a certain New York Times columnist was persuaded to do, to his credit. :-)

    The moral of that story is that you should never, ever doubt what Senator Biden says - about anything, number one...and, number two...Biden doesn’t have a habit of making “gaffes”, don’tcha know. Seriously!

    You remember...the ‘gaffe’ charge is just one of many media-conceived and driven national myths of epic proportions about Joe Biden which may now be on the verge of beginning to engender some serious blowback , so to speak. And, truth be known, I’m lovin’ it! But, not as much as I’m gonna love your poll-watch column on Wednesday.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    BLaws,

    Is that why my ears were ringing during the debate!? Actually, I was surprisingly calm, cool and collected during the whole affair. Perhaps Senator Obama is having some influence in that regard. The screaming and shouting didn't start until AFTER the debate, when the media and their silly pundits began spewing their incoherent analyses...present site and proprietor excepted, of course.

    By the way...have I said lately how impressed I am with Senator Obama and his obviously sound and superior judgement, his early primary musings about the Iraq war resolution notwithstanding? Well, impressed I am, beyond my wildest imaginations. And, I mean that sincerely!

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    kevinem2,

    Kudos to you my friend for keeping up with all of those blogs. I hope you put this one at the top of your list!

    I have one that you may be interested in - VetVoice.com, a blog and off-shoot of VoteVets.org

    Here you will find a very interesting and informative assortment of views, commentary, and analyses of veterans and troops in the field with a definte emphasis on all issues of concern to them, particularly with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    You can engage in some pretty good discussion and debate - just like here - and even produce your own "diaries" which, if recommended, get 'promoted' to the front page of the blog.

    It's definitely a unique perspective and one that is not often heard from or listened to nearly enough.

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    If you haven't been formally presented with the award yet, I truly think you qualify as "Biden Fan #1" on the entire web. Your steadfast loyalty is to be admired, and your name is becoming widely known (see comments above) as his most ardent supporter on the internet... number one... and number two... OK, that bit was hilarious. The thing I like best about you is your sense of humor.

    Others may not know this, but a long time ago when I just knew her as LizM over at HuffPost, I commented something to some other commenter about how Biden had a great fan out there named "LizK"...

    Whoops! I got a hilarious comment to that from Elizabeth which began with the salutation "To Kris..."

    That's when I knew I was dealing with quality.

    My always taking Biden seriously is what drew her in to this site, but I know it's really the lack of a word limit that keeps her here...

    Heh heh.

    But, more seriously, your steadfast support has been vindicated by anyone who saw his debate. I saw a poll where an astronomical 93% of ALL people polled (Dems, Ind, or GOP) said that Biden was up to the job of being president.

    That is simply astounding. Talk about being respected!

    Anyway, don't worry Elizabeth, there'll never be word limits here...

    :-)

    -CW

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, what you’re saying is that I definitely need to lay low for a while!

    The way I see it, if you don’t have a healthy sense of humor these days, you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. In other words, you have to be able to laugh - at yourself and the circumstances that surround us - if only to prevent completely wallowing in the other emotional extreme.

    And, speaking of awards...there ought to be one for most intelligent and enlightening discourse on politics that is firmly rooted in reality and is, in the words of a very wise man, “an island of sanity in the moronic universe of on-line political commentary”. And, http://www.ChrisWeigant.com is, quite simply and without a doubt, the best-in-class, bar none.

    The winning combination of brilliant and astute political analysis from our chief political commentator and the informative and provocative debate amongst fellow commenters like Michale, David, Blaws - and others that I haven’t quite had the pleasure to get to know yet - all infused with a great sense of humor (self-deprecating and otherwise) is precisely what keeps me here!

    Of course, any self-respecting Biden fan would love and appreciate the happy tendency toward verbosity around here - and I mean that in a GOOD way!

    Cheers, everybody...and happy debate watching!

  14. [14] 
    kevinem2 wrote:

    Thanks for the tips, Chris and Elizabeth Miller.

  15. [15] 
    Moderate wrote:

    Very very very late (so much so it has zero impact now) but I thought Biden was terrible in the debate, but didn't get called on it by the media. He made several factual errors (some have called them lies, but I'm going to avoid any incendiary language) but unlike Palin's errors (and she made plenty), his were all glossed over. I counted at least seven, I've heard some claim it was more.

    Of course it doesn't matter now. He got elected, and she didn't. And people will still harp on about Biden being better in the debate than her when he wasn't.

    I'll leave it at that.

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