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Biden vs. T.V. Anchor:

This is one of the most tendentious interviews of a political candidate I have ever seen. Despite his reputation as a gaffe-prone blowhard, I think Biden handled the questions, and the questioner, very well.

Joseph Weisenthal (mail) (www):
I'd seen various conservative sites trumpeting this video, but I hadn't gotten around to watching it.

To be honest, I don't see where he looks bad. Tough questions (though it feels like she's reciting talking points, but so does the entire media) and he handles them fine. What are we supposed to see in this interview that's so bad?
10.25.2008 10:41pm
J. Aldridge:
I can't believe someone from the media would have the audacity to ask a Democrat tough, probing questions. /s
10.25.2008 10:45pm
NickW:
Joseph: I think the point is that the liberal media is in the tank for Obama. Or something like that.
10.25.2008 10:46pm
Ryan Frank (mail):
The point most conservative sites are making isn't so much Bidens response (to be honest, he did better than I would've expected considering the gaffes he has made in the past) its that the Obama campaign responded to tough questioning by cutting off the station.
10.25.2008 10:49pm
js5 (mail):
David,

Are you joking? is this a joke? or is this a real blog post?

heh.

I think he handled the questions pretty damn well, too. (and I'm not voting for Obama, either). Looking forward to the remarks following this post about whether Palin could have answered as cogently.
10.25.2008 10:49pm
js5 (mail):
I think the Obama campaign would be correct in cutting that tv station out. I mean, she went so far but just shy of asking, "isn't it true that you're subtle ideology is complicit in the murder of tens of millions of people?"


She might as well have asked, "have you stopped beating your wife?"
10.25.2008 10:52pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
Unfortunately, in our discourse "handling well" includes telling good lies.

If "spreading the wealth around" isn't shorthand for socialist, then I don't what is.
10.25.2008 10:52pm
anon252 (mail):
I don't think the Democrats have ever made a secret of their desire to redistribute wealth, but despite how poorly this scores in opinion polls, this is the first presidential campaign where I've seen the Republicans make an explicit issue out of it.
10.25.2008 10:59pm
Obvious (mail):
It is just silly to suggest that either Obama or Biden are socialist.

OTOH, I do understand they're anticipating being able to make the trains run on time...
10.25.2008 10:59pm
gavinjdow (mail):
I watched that interview earlier today. One thing I can't stand is an adversarial media -- it's one thing to ask tough questions, quite another to ask questions that make rational viewers question the motivations of the reporter.

She all but said that Obama was a communist. The guy's economic policies are certainly pretty far left wing, and he's got socialist/statist impulses, but that does not a communist make.

The troubling aspect of this is that questions like that -- is your candidate a Marxist? -- crowd out the legitimate questions about Obama's economic policies. It's a shame.
10.25.2008 11:01pm
NickW:
For comparison, West's recent interview of John McCain is here.
10.25.2008 11:02pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
If you see the whole "spreading the wealth around" sequence in context it seems to be just a poor choice of words. The policy he was promoting with the comment was a return to the Clinton tax policies for incomes over $250,000. That is not "socialism." It's a modestly graduated income tax system. What Obama was trying to say is that giving the tax breaks to the customers (from the bottom up) rather than to the higher earners (trickle down) would put more money into more people's hands.

It is only as socialist as the Clinton tax scheme is socialist.
10.25.2008 11:04pm
armchairpunter:
Biden had a golden opportunity to educate all of us about what isn't socialist about the plans he and his running mate have for the country. He chose instead to suggest that the question posed was a joke.
10.25.2008 11:04pm
armchairpunter:
"crowd out the legitimate questions about Obama's economic policies"

In view of Obama's comments in the debates and on the campaign trail, questions like "aren't you essentially an advocate of redistributionist policies?" strike me as more legitimate and pressing than the usual "what flavor of koolaid will you introduce first?"
10.25.2008 11:08pm
js5 (mail):
Well, his plans are socialist, just as much as McCain's plans are. There's no way around that; the government is going to redistribute the wealth whether you're a democrat or republican, and I hate that this isn't being made clear.
10.25.2008 11:08pm
Mikey:

This is one of the most tendentious interviews of a political candidate I have ever seen. Despite his reputation as a gaffe-prone blowhard, I think Biden handled the questions, and the questioner, very well.


Agreed, the interview was tendentious, but Sarah Palin has endured how many of those without the McCain campaign cutting off the networks.

I guess the difference is the Obama campaign just doesn't know how to deal with an interviewer who doesn't approach on his/her knees, with slobbering, mindless devotion and lob softballs at them. Perhaps this interviewer deliberately overstated the case to see what reaction she'd get.
10.25.2008 11:12pm
js5 (mail):
Mikey--> if Biden had totally faltered, then I think you'd have a point. But he kinda did hit it out of the park as far as not messing up, stuttering, or blabbing. And there's no way some interviewer has asked palin, "do you know your religious beliefs are considered insane by even the fundamentalist christians?"
10.25.2008 11:15pm
Mikey:

Mikey--> if Biden had totally faltered, then I think you'd have a point. But he kinda did hit it out of the park as far as not messing up, stuttering, or blabbing. And there's no way some interviewer has asked palin, "do you know your religious beliefs are considered insane by even the fundamentalist christians?"


Don't get me wrong, Biden did well considering the circumstances. Given his propensity for verbal implosions, I was surprised, actually.

My point was that the campaign's reaction doesn't look all that great, especially in the context of the fawning kid-glove treatment they've been getting for the last few months. One station throws a couple of hardballs at them and they take their toys and go home? Ridiculous.
10.25.2008 11:23pm
therut (mail):
If the media was fair this clip would be played over and over again with the pundits of all stations saying how Biden did not answer the question. Seemed like he did not understand what the reporter was talking about. Maybe he might not be qualified or quite mentally capable as he once was ----you know about a year ago. Oh, and he looked a little angry and grouchy. Maybe he has an anger problem(which HE REALLY DOES)???
10.25.2008 11:27pm
EricPWJohnson (mail):
David? Hello MSNBC Does not even bother to interview Republicans - its a 3 hour Obama commercial every night replayed twice

Dan Rather

GHW Bush

Any Reagan interview (Oh thats right he cut off the Media - good for him)

And I don't know - but I just saw Brian Andrews make insipid opinionated remarks off interview about Palin and McCain during the supposed granting of access

Someone asking tough questions?

AN ATTORNEY BRINGING THAT UP!
10.25.2008 11:27pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):

If you see the whole "spreading the wealth around" sequence in context it seems to be just a poor choice of words. The policy he was promoting with the comment was a return to the Clinton tax policies for incomes over $250,000. That is not "socialism." It's a modestly graduated income tax system. What Obama was trying to say is that giving the tax breaks to the customers (from the bottom up) rather than to the higher earners (trickle down) would put more money into more people's hands.

It is only as socialist as the Clinton tax scheme is socialist.


As has been pointed out many times, Obama's characterization of "tax cuts" is pretty laughable. Sure, there are some who actually pay income taxes, who will receive a tax cut from Obama. OTOH, 40% of Americans don't pay income taxes and yet will receive a "tax cut." Pray tell how something can be cut or rebated when it isn't paid in the first place (by 40% of taxpayers).

Before you say it, talking about the payroll taxes is sophistry. Those are specific taxes that go to specific programs and aren't usually part of the government's general revenue. Providing a "tax cut" for those portions (payroll taxes) necessitates taking money from the general revenue to cover the money lost to those programs. And guess where that money comes from? Those that pay federal incomes taxes.

The "modestly graduated" is funny also. 40% of Americans pay ZERO in federal incomes taxes. I can't tell you how many times more the higher brackets pay in taxes, because anything times zero is zero! So, wow, u're right, there really must not be much of a difference in tax rates for the rich and poor under the Bush tax cuts! Afterall, the rich pay have a tax rate that is zero times higher than the bottom 40%.
10.25.2008 11:28pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):

Well, his plans are socialist, just as much as McCain's plans are. There's no way around that; the government is going to redistribute the wealth whether you're a democrat or republican, and I hate that this isn't being made clear.


There is a large difference between giving back money to people who actually pay federal income taxes and giving money to those who don't.
10.25.2008 11:31pm
second history:
The whole "socialist" and "spreading the wealth" arguments are canards. The multi-trillion bailout (not just the $700B bailout package supported by both candidates) is a historic redistribution of wealth. This is money we don't have, and will depend on foreigners to provide, but must be paid back by the American taxpayer (I'll believe it when I see it if the government makes money on these transactions.) If investing directly into banks (and now possibly insurance companies next week) and purchasing commercial paper from GE (for example) isn't considered socialism, I don't know what is. Of course it is rationalized as a "rescue package," but what is the difference?
10.25.2008 11:33pm
Larry Sheldon:
Well, it has taken a while, but I'll have to say it has finally gotten through to me.

There is no intelligent life here, Jim
10.25.2008 11:33pm
js5 (mail):
add to the 700 Billion to the 300 billion dollars we send to farmers (just saw the John Stossel feature the other night...stunning stuff!)
10.25.2008 11:35pm
B11:
Compare:
http://www.wftv.com/video/17712615/index.html
10.25.2008 11:37pm
first history:
Humble Law Student sez:

There is a large difference between giving back money to people who actually pay federal income taxes and giving money to those who don't.

The Earned Income Tax Credit has done that for years, since 1975, after being signed into law by President Ford. Hardly a new concept.
10.25.2008 11:40pm
Sam H (mail):
Biden was just flat out lying

"U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now for services the Democrat's campaign says it mistakenly misrepresented in federal reports.

An Obama spokesman said Federal Election Commission reports would be amended to show Citizens Services Inc. -- a subsidiary of ACORN -- worked in "get-out-the-vote" projects, instead of activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary."
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
10.25.2008 11:43pm
RPT (mail):
Only nuts complain about ACORN.
10.25.2008 11:48pm
therut (mail):
Biden will say he did not lie about ACORN as it was money spent during the PRIMARY. After all the Obama is NOT just a usual slick(lying) politician (snicker).
10.25.2008 11:57pm
Kelly (mail):
There's an issue being made about the Obama campaign "cutting off the network" after this interview. My understanding is that the campaign canceled an interview that Jill Biden was supposed to have with the same network later. I don't think that is an unreasonable response - any spouses or other family members of the candidates should be free to only give fluffy interviews (or not give interviews at all) if that's what they want. If the campaign thought the station would be equally tough in questioning Mrs. Biden, I see no problem with canceling the interview.

If the campaign blackballed the network in other ways, then that of course is a different story.
10.25.2008 11:57pm
marcystrauss (mail):
i think the press should ask hard hitting questions, and I don't think campaigns should cut off access, but it is incredible to compare her interview with BIden and her love letter to McCain. I thought Biden did great in the circumstances.
10.25.2008 11:58pm
byomtov (mail):
Bernstein is correct. I don't know what Biden's critics here were watching, but that interviewer is an imbecile and Biden not only answered well, he rightly laughed at some of her questions.

Is this going around conservative blogs to attack Biden? Really?

And just for fun let me again remind all the critics of refundable tax credits that not only do we have the EITC, and not only did Milton Friedman himself advocate a negative income tax, but McCain's health plan is based on refundable credits. If you don't like them, fine, but don't act like they are tools of the devil only being used by Obama.
10.25.2008 11:58pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
I don't mind a hard interview, but I can't stand things like this. The interviewer reads a "hard" questions it's obvious someone else has written for them, the interviewee responds sometimes not answering the question, the interviewer moves on to their next prewritten question.

This is pretty damn useless in learning anything about the interviewee and is also stale and boring to watch. Sure Biden did fine, but he wasn't really tested here.
10.26.2008 12:03am
wolfefan (mail):
Hi -

Glad someone pointed out the EITC. FWIW, doesn't McCain's health plan include a tax credit that might end up putting money in people's pockets, even people who don't pay income taxes? And don't people who don't pay income taxes still pay social security taxes? I know that many conservatives have said that those folks should have some of that money back to invest as they wish, and the money all goes into the same pot more or less...

There was a time when "spreading the wealth around" was considered kind of a Christian thing to do. The Old Testament certainly seems to be no friend of accumulated wealth, since all debts are forgiven and all property goes back to the original owners every jubilee. And of course there is the NT idea where of those to whom much is given, much is expected.

Some will argue that "I earned it all; none of it was given to me." Fair enough, depending on your faith perspective. Some would argue that all good things come from God, and that whatever gifts and talents you have and the ability/ambition to use them wisely and productively to accumulate wealth also comes from God, thus more is expected of you than those less talented and productive.

I know that I'll get shot down very convincingly and fairly shortly on both of these points, because I recognize that almost everyone who posts here is smarter than I am, or at least better informed on these issues and much better at arguing their positions and pointing out the weaknesses of others. That's one of the reasons I rarely post. Nevertheless, I wanted to put this out there for what little it might be worth.

Best regards.
10.26.2008 12:03am
Mikey:
Kelly:

There's an issue being made about the Obama campaign "cutting off the network" after this interview. My understanding is that the campaign canceled an interview that Jill Biden was supposed to have with the same network later. I don't think that is an unreasonable response - any spouses or other family members of the candidates should be free to only give fluffy interviews (or not give interviews at all) if that's what they want. If the campaign thought the station would be equally tough in questioning Mrs. Biden, I see no problem with canceling the interview.

If the campaign blackballed the network in other ways, then that of course is a different story.


The campaign did cut off the station entirely. From the Orlando Sentinel:

"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election," wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.
10.26.2008 12:03am
A. Zarkov (mail):
The interviewer had a wooden almost zombie like demeanor. Perhaps the network had to drug her in order for her to ask challenging questions. This ranks as one of the stupidest interviews I've ever seen.
10.26.2008 12:07am
Kelly (mail):
Mikey,

Thanks. Yeah, that is petulant, and pretty stupid to say. There are only about 9 days left in the campaign. If you don't want to do another interview with that station, cancel Mrs. Biden's and just don't schedule any more.
10.26.2008 12:07am
Calculated Risk:
Humble Law Student,

Your point that regressive payroll taxes "don't count" just doesn't make sense. These people getting tax cuts DO pay taxes out of each and every paycheck. END OF STORY.

By the way, bitching about help going to the middle class sounds a whole hell a lot less persuasive when people, through no fault of their own, are struggling to get jobs and you have huge bailouts going to banks run by extremely well-educated and privileged Wall Street bankers.

When the government guarantees that Citibank will only have to absorb X amount of losses, but no more, to facilitate the acquisition of Wachovia, I do not understand how that is not "spreading the wealth" to Citibank executives and shareholders. Does that make Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a socialist, a Marxist, or a communist?

The bottom-line is that those with very broad definitions of socialism one cannot avoid having their Republican friends also picked up as well. Guess what. People who don't pay taxes also get to use and benefit from things like public roads, police and fire protection. Is that socialist? Well then, under that definition, socialism is a moderate policy. In fact, the only sensible policy. We aren't going to make all public infrastructure off limits to individuals who do not pay individual fees.

All taxes and all government inherently and always redistributes wealth in some way. Now, it can redistribute wealth to a few, it can "concentrate wealth" (i.e. corruption, giving lucrative jobs to cronies, government contracts to cronies, etc.) or it can can "spread the wealth" (i.e. public highways, public parks, police and fire services, public schools, free school lunch for children from lower income families.) Tax cuts which primarily go to upper income individuals is an example of government policy that concentrates wealth. Obama has stood his ground and said he doesn't regret his remarks. Good for him! He is being intellectually honest and firm in the face of those who would absurdly twist his words. He is a Democrat with spine. You have to admire that. If Obama would were to back down, it would only make it as if though these intellectually vacuous attacks have some legitimacy and force.

The bottom-line is this. These word games, calling people names like socialist, just are not enough to win elections anymore. It is not being bought anymore by the American people. You are going to have to talk about policies in a much more deep and specific way to make your case, instead of superficially gravitating towards labels. Thank you Ronald Reagan for helping defeat the Soviet Union! We can finally have a rational discourse on these issues. You can attack Obama for being a socialist for talking about "spreading the wealth." Fine. But, under that extremely broad definition of socialism, John McCain and pretty much all mainstream Republican politicians are going to be caught in that net too. You have to admit that if you are intellectually honest. A broad definition that encompasses everyone in the mainstream simply does not have any sting.

Using words to scare the American people is much less effective when they have something more concrete to fear in terms of lost jobs, inability to change jobs they do not like, worries about their mortgages, and the future of their children and the ability of their kids to get an education. I hope that after Republicans get creamed in this election they go back and realize that they have to address the concerns of the American people with more than ridiculous attacks and guilt by association charges. Instead, they should come back with constructive and concrete policy proposals. Characters assassination and name calling is no longer enough to win elections. The political age dominated by the low-life and intellectually dishonest tactics of the Karl Rove's and Lee Atwater's of the political world is over.

After this election, I hope to see the Republican party put itself together in an intellectually respectable manner and actually challenge the Democratic party in a substantive and intellectually defensible manner. That would be much better for the American people. Until Republicans do this, they deserve to be out in the political wilderness.
10.26.2008 12:13am
Anon Y. Mous:

If the campaign blackballed the network in other ways, then that of course is a different story.

Well, they have:

Biden so disliked West's line of questioning that the Obama campaign canceled a WFTV interview with Jill Biden, the candidate's wife.

"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election," wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.
10.26.2008 12:14am
Calculated Risk:

not only did Milton Friedman himself advocate a negative income tax


Milton Friedman was a socialist! He must have hated freedom, America, apple pie, and puppies. What else could explain his advocacy of this "spread the wealth" policy?

This is a great example of how an overly broad definition of socialism catches everyone in the mainstream in the net.
10.26.2008 12:16am
Calculated Risk:

The Earned Income Tax Credit has done that for years, since 1975, after being signed into law by President Ford. Hardly a new concept.


President Ford was a socialist!
10.26.2008 12:18am
Kevin. (www):
not only did Milton Friedman himself advocate a negative income tax

Wikipedia gives the impression that Friedman advocated for it as a temporary replacement for all other public welfare programs, on the way toward eliminating public welfare programs altogether.
10.26.2008 12:34am
Gaius Obvious (mail):

What are we supposed to see in this interview that's so bad?
Not once did he wrinkle his brow in spite of being animated and angry. Pretty firm evidence of botox. Which is not a problem except for his overwhelming vehement denial that he had not done so. Anyone how can lie that easily and with that force is pathologic and dangerous.


"I don't know how to say no firmly enough. Absolutely not. That's not a misdiagnosis, that's called malpractice," said his spokesman, David Wade.

"Completely untrue, completely unsubstantiated, completely stupid, and I'd remind Dr. Slupchynskyj that the last doctor who made a diagnosis based on something he saw on television was Bill Frist and it cost him his credibility," Wade said, referring to the infamous 2005 diagnosis of brain damage patient Terri Schiavo by the then Senate majority leader from the floor of the Senate.
10.26.2008 12:36am
anon999:
I don't think Jill Biden, the VP candidate's spouse, should have to go through this kind of questioning, so I'm not suprised they cancelled her interview. I thought Joe Biden answered the questions well.
10.26.2008 12:38am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Kevin:
Wikipedia gives the impression that Friedman advocated for it as a temporary replacement for all other public welfare programs, on the way toward eliminating public welfare programs altogether.

I'm not sure negative income tax was to be temporary. These ideas were floating around in the late '60s. Big government was seen as bad, and the thought was, rather than run a huge bureaucracy, just give money, minimize the administration costs. Poor people would make the right choices as to how to spend the money.
10.26.2008 12:43am
Kevin. (www):
The questions were very partisan. Biden handled himself very well, but he should have been challenged on some of his answers. The interviewer was non-interactive. It's like she was just trying to get through the questions and couldn't really defend them.
10.26.2008 12:47am
road warrior99 (mail):
A pretty strong interview I agree. I was surprised on rough he was, it kinda felt like was a bit testy. And he used a pretty normal illuminati tactic, pretty much working around what Obama has said about "spreading the wealth". Maybe Biden was giving commentary on what Obama has said but he said it and I think he at least should have admitted that. But I agree, Biden did pretty well n that interview.
10.26.2008 12:48am
byomtov (mail):
Kevin,

I don't think Friedman intended it as temporary. See here for one discussion.

I might be wrong, but Wikipedia is not the most reliable source for anything remotely controversial, and it is hard to imagine that Friedman believed that the NIT, once in place, could be easily repealed.
10.26.2008 12:53am
Cavarbiter (mail):
Loophole 1998 posted:

"The policy he was promoting with the comment was a return to the Clinton tax policies for incomes over $250,000. That is not "socialism." It's a modestly graduated income tax system."


I agree that calling Obama's tax plans "socialist" is plain silly. But it's inaccurate to contend that all he's doing is calling for a return to Clinton tax rates -- which would entail an 3% or so increase in marginal rates for incomes over $250K (BTW, taxable income or gross?) But in addition to that increase (which I think is what you're talking about) Obama proposes to raise (eliminate?) the cap on income subject to the self employment tax. That would add another 15+% to the increase in the marginal rate for the self employed small business person. Is the result still simply a "modestly graduated" tax structure? I guess folks could reasonably disagree about the characterization, but no way is it simply a return to "Clinton rates."
10.26.2008 12:55am
sputnik (mail):
Yes, how is allowing a "temporary" 3% tax reduction on marginal income over $250K to expire not Communism?

Also,mr. Biden, why do you love terrorists so much?

These are excellent questions, and I believe the Palin/McCain campaign should continue to push them right up to the election.
10.26.2008 1:03am
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
Calculated Risk,

You fail to understand the important difference between payroll taxes and income taxes. I explained the difference in my post, and won't bother again.

Obama dramatically changes what anyone has previously understood to constitute a "tax cut" to make his blatant welfare policies more acceptable. For example, after Obama has provided "tax cuts" that not only eliminate the bottom 40%s payroll taxes, what next? Why not "tax cuts" that go against what they pay in sales taxes? After all, that is technically a "tax cut." You may totally agree with such proposals, that's fine. But it isn't what people have previously understood to constitute as tax cuts.
10.26.2008 1:04am
Jer:
Interviewer: McCain's plan will give additional tax breaks to the wealthy, shifting a greater portion of tax burden onto those who have fewer resources. This makes him a hero. Meanwhile, Obama wants to "spread the wealth around." How long until Obama forces the middle class to start a Long March?

Biden: For the last eight years, the wealthiest people in our country have received a disproportionate share of the tax breaks. We want to "spread the wealth around" by allowing the middle class to also benefit from government largess.

Interviewer: OK, moving to the next question. Doesn't Obama hate puppies?

Biden: no, and I'm not sure what that question has to do with anything in the national discourse.

Interviewer: I'll move on to the next question. Does Obama hate kittens?

Biden: No. Our campaign looks favorably at both puppies and kittens.

Interviewer: You know who else loves puppies and kittens, William Ayers.

Biden: That's it. We're not going to talk to you anymore.

Interviewer: How long have Obama been afraid of answering tough questions?
10.26.2008 1:04am
byomtov (mail):
That would add another 15+% to the increase in the marginal rate for the self employed small business person.

For a very small percentage of small businessmen. And note that Obama also has tax breaks for small business. The vast majority will come out ahead.
10.26.2008 1:06am
therut (mail):
If I remember right Bush cut taxes for everyone. Some in the 10% bracket now pay no taxes. Some of those paying 15% now pay 10%. The top bracket was just cut 3%. Why does everyone seem to fall for the lie that Bush only cut taxes for the top 1-5-10% (pick your number). I just do not understand? I have never understood why people think "rich" people having alot of money takes money from THEM. It does not. Only thing I know that takes money from this middle income person is the government. No rich person has ever taken a penny from me. But if I listened to class warfare rhetoric I should hate rich people cause they have MY money. How ignorant can a person be?????
10.26.2008 1:14am
MQuinn:
Admittedly, this "socialist" argument is politically effective. However, it is simply not supported by reality.

America has among the lowest income taxes in the world. Compare to England, Germany, and Japan. We have lower taxes -- particularly in the highest brackets -- than any of these countries. And do I need to mention that these countries are hardly third-world communist slums? True, Obama wants to raise taxes for the top two brackets. However, we would still have lower tax rates than any of these economically powerful countries.

Further, America's top two brackets are currently taxed at the second lowest rates in the past 60 years! See here. Obama proposes to "raise" them to the -- wait for it -- third lowest rate in 60 years. Gasp!

I understand that many of you find the "socialist" label helpful because it energizes the base and scares the uninformed, but perhaps you should face reality -- unless you are prepared to define any tax hike as socialist, then Obama is most certainly not socialist.
10.26.2008 1:15am
sputnik (mail):
what I don't understand how people think a few percentage points increase for the wealthiest people in america is "REDISTRIBUTING" the wealth. Or better yet, trying to point at it as socialism, as if socialism is some sort of foreign scary thing synonymous with communism. Half of the people that call it socialism or communism probably don't even know the difference between the two.

If you're so scared of socialism, we might as well get rid of police, fire departments, roads, etc.

Here's a better idea. Let's PRIVITIZE all of them, so instead of just having the BENEFIT of these services, we can pay a monthly fee for a CONTRACT with the police department, or fire department.

THAT'D be a great idea.
10.26.2008 1:18am
Kevin. (www):
byomtov and Johnny Canuck,

I don't know enough to judge, so you guys may be right.

But even if Friedman wanted NIT to be permanent (or thought it would be), the point that he advocated it as the lesser evil to replace all other public welfare programs adds some useful context for me since it's more consistent with my general sense of Friedman.
10.26.2008 1:18am
MQuinn:
A Challenge to Anyone:

Link to an interview where either McCain or Palin's interviewer was as adversarial and biased as the Biden interviewer at issue in this thread.
10.26.2008 1:21am
Justin (mail):
I agree with Jer. The comparisons to Palin, with the exception of the CNN quotation of Lowrey, were all fair points about a candidate who was sort of a blank slate. There were no accusations that she was a fascist or hated poor people, etc. And in none of the questions did any interviewer ASSERT false statements about any alleged scandal, and then asked Palin to explain things that weren't true in the first place.

To compare this to, say, Katie Couric, is simply absurd.
10.26.2008 1:21am
BlackX (mail):
RICO Biden handled it fairly well considering the situation but he was blinking like a ship-to-ship signaling device. Would have loved to see a polygraph hooked up to him for that segment. Nice to see the shoe on the other foot for once though.
10.26.2008 1:21am
Mike Keenan:
I don't much like Joe Biden, but even I felt sorry for the guy. Quoting the Communist Manifesto to the guy? Are you kidding me? Rush Limbaugh would have been less biased than this interviewer. Boy, was that an uncomfortable thing to watch.
10.26.2008 1:27am
Melancton Smith:
So who are these greedy people not paying their fair share?

In 2007
If you made Paid
25,000 3,363
50,000 8,930
100,000 22,111
200,000 52,068
300,000 84,074

So what is my 'fair share'? Do I get extra services from my govt for my extra contribution?

Seems to me that I'm paying way more than my fair share.

I used to not care much about it. I didn't care for how my money was often wasted, but I figured it as a cost of doing business.

Now I feel insulted by Obama and others saying I haven't been paying my fair share.
10.26.2008 1:31am
John Moore (www):
MQuinn,
Just look at the Gibson interview of Palin. Not only was it biased, it used a quote completely against context to trip her up. It was far worse than the interview linked in this post.The only difference was that it was more effective propaganda, because it was more subtle a hit piece.

The media is in the tank for Obama, et al. The attention given one silly local reporter who overdoes it in the other direction just testifies to how unusual it is for the Democrat candidates to face tough, or unfair questions.
10.26.2008 1:38am
Kelly (mail):

A Challenge to Anyone:

Link to an interview where either McCain or Palin's interviewer was as adversarial and biased as the Biden interviewer at issue in this thread.



The "problem" with Palin's interviewers, especially the meeeeean Katie Couric, was that they had a tendency to ask follow-up questions. That makes it much more difficult to get away with reciting talking points.

Fortunately for Biden, this interviewer didn't understand the issues she was asking about enough to challenge any answer he gave. She had a list of questions (really her own talking points) to ask and not much else.
10.26.2008 1:40am
Steve2:
Does anyone else think it's bizarre that the final question was "What do you say to the people who think Barack Obama will want to turn American into a socialist country, much like Sweden?"? I mean, Sweden? Wouldn't it have made more sense to go with, oh, I don't know, Venezuela or Cuba, or even France? You know, a country with negative associations in pop culture, not innocuous ones like Ikea and the Swedish Chef or positive ones like tall voluptuous women and melodic death metal.

And I'd always thought "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" was a quote from John Smith of the Jamestown settlement, not Karl Marx, although I may be mistaking it for a quote along similar lines.
10.26.2008 1:40am
ChrisIowa (mail):

Wikipedia gives the impression that Friedman advocated for it as a temporary replacement for all other public welfare programs, on the way toward eliminating public welfare programs altogether.

I'm not sure negative income tax was to be temporary. These ideas were floating around in the late '60s. Big government was seen as bad, and the thought was, rather than run a huge bureaucracy, just give money, minimize the administration costs. Poor people would make the right choices as to how to spend the money.


Nixon had a negative income tax proposal in about 1970. His plan was to do away with most welfare agencies and their overhead, and was also promoting it as a way to do away with the intrusive nature of the welfare system. By giving everyone a certain minimum income through the IRS, you would not need caseworker's for example and do away with the entire welfare apparatus. (I read a bunch of the Nixon administration's literature/propaganda on it at the time and may have it in a box around here somewhere, or not.)

Obama's proposals do not include the part about cutting government, or attempting simplify things, but will only further complicate the tax system.
10.26.2008 1:43am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Kevin:

The NIT was initially conceived by the American economist George Stigler, in 1946 (George Stigler, "The Economics of Minimum Wage Legislation," American Economic Review (1946) pp. 358-365.), as another way of achieving the objectives of minimum wage legislation, and refined by another American economist, Milton Friedman, in 1962 (Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962).), into a full-scale alternative to all social assistance and income support programs.


You can read about the concept from a Canadian perspective at the following site

http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/ssrgai.htm
10.26.2008 1:51am
loki13 (mail):
Actually, I thought it was Adam Smith.


The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.


Seems kind of like "From each according to his ability, to the government according to its needs."

G'night.
10.26.2008 1:56am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
ChrisIowa:

Obama's proposals do not include the part about cutting government, or attempting simplify things, but will only further complicate the tax system.


Because he is not doing anything nearly as radical. He is just tweaking the marginal tax rates, and adding a few tax credits.
10.26.2008 1:57am
Daryl Herbert (www):
Joe Biden did very well . . . his lies about Acorn were convincing, just like his lies during the VP debate.

Why, no politician is more well-qualified to lie to the American public without missing a blink. He can keep a straight face no matter what.
10.26.2008 2:16am
Randy R. (mail):
I don't see where Biden is 'angered' by the questions. did I miss that part?
10.26.2008 2:30am
Calculated Risk:
Humble Law Student,

I understand the distinction. I just don't care. I think it has no real moral force. Payroll taxes, like income taxes, does in fact result in a redistribution of wealth.

You shouldn't assume that just because someone rejects an obviously vacuous distinction you desperately thrust forward, that they do not understand what you are trying to say.
10.26.2008 2:31am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Ultimately, what we need to know about Joe Biden is whether he'd be a good president if something should happen to Barach Obama, and it seems like he's do just fine. Sarah Palin would have to hope that McCain would survive a couple of years and do extensive training. She'd probably do okay after that.

That said, Saturday Night Live did a good parody of Joe Biden tonight, with him cheerfully spouting apocalyptic gibberish while John Murtha was comparing his constituents to the hillbilliees from Deliverance. Joe does have a tendency to let his mouth travel well in advance of his brain, and they didn't have to tweak him all that much to produce the parody.
10.26.2008 2:35am
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Wow that's the most ridiculous interview I've ever seen. That "reporter" should be dragged out into the street and shot. Utterly pathetic.

Politicians should be asked hard questions. And I'm sick of them being given softball questions all the time. But this is just round after round of "have you stopped beating your wife" questions. Biden did a fine job of dealing with it, but that interviewer (who clearly got her "questions" from Rush Limbaugh) should never be allowed on TV again.
10.26.2008 2:37am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
randy R.:I don't see where Biden is 'angered' by the questions. did I miss that part?

See comment at 11:03 PM re cancelling further interviews, and look at Biden's eyes, and comments about not knowing who writes your questions, and no one except the extreme right wing of the Republican party would think Obama trying to turn US into Sweden.
10.26.2008 2:39am
metro1 (mail) (www):
Joe Biden has a long, repeated history of plagiarism and dishonesty.

He handled some tough questions well for a few minutes? Wow. Go tell Robert Bork.

The reporter didn't even ask him about his plagiarism in 1987 and in law school.

I think Joe (and Barack) need a few more tough questions.
10.26.2008 2:41am
Calculated Risk:

But even if Friedman wanted NIT to be permanent (or thought it would be), the point that he advocated it as the lesser evil to replace all other public welfare programs adds some useful context for me since it's more consistent with my general sense of Friedman.


Did Friedman himself ever say it was the "lesser evil" or is that something you are inserting to satisfy yourself that he agreed with you one everything?
10.26.2008 2:42am
metro1 (mail) (www):
Biden got a fairer interview than Palin ever does.

No one edited his answers. No one used false quotes against him. No one edited the video tape. No one took him out of context. No one pissed and moaned about his wardrobe or his hair plugs. No one has asked to see his kid's birth certificate. Thin skinned much, Obama campaign?
10.26.2008 2:44am
Cold Warrior:
Wow, that really was weird. Who is this interviewer? What's her story? She seemed to be reading woodenly from a mixture of McCain-Palin talking points and her writer's own bizarro "Marxist" question. No, I don't blame the Obama campaign for cutting them off. Particularly when you compare the same interviewer with McCain just a week ago.

Honestly, I see where Biden was coming from when he asked whether the "how is that not Marxist?" question was a joke. What a nut, this woman ... I feel for you, Orlando.
10.26.2008 2:47am
Calculated Risk:

Actually, I thought it was Adam Smith.


The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.


Adam Smith, like Milton Friedman, was obviously a socialist!
10.26.2008 2:53am
Cold Warrior:
Good quote, Calculated Risk ...

... By the way, I think the "is Obama trying to make the United States into something like Sweden?" question is fair. At least in the abstract it's fair. But following on the heels of the preposterous "How is that not Marxist" question, I don't think anyone but the most strident McCainite was still treating this as a serious interview.

Interviewing skills, Lesson 1: after you've asked a ridiculous question, even your subsequent sensible questions will not be taken seriously.
10.26.2008 3:00am
metro1 (mail) (www):
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. -Karl Marx

The extent to which the platform of the Democratic Party of Obama and Biden matches the platform of the Communist Party USA is telling. Go see for yourself.
10.26.2008 3:16am
Nathan_M (mail):
Good lord, all you libertarians here and the only one who has read Milton Friedman's "Capitalism &Freedom" is the socialist from Canada? (Admittedly, I've never thought of myself as a socialist, but by the standard being applied to Obama here I think Milton and I qualify.)

Quoting from Milton Friedman:

One recourse [to alleviate poverty], and in many ways the most desirable, is private charity. It is noteworthy that the heyday of laissez-faire, the middle and late nineteenth century in Britain and the United States, saw an extraordinary proliferation of private eleemosynary organizations and institutions. One of the major costs of the extension of governmental welfare activities has been the corresponding decline in private charitable activities.

It can be argued that private charity is insufficient because the benefits from it accrue to people other than those who make the gifts -- again, a neighborhood effect. I am distressed by the sight of poverty; I am benefited by its alleviation; but I am benefited equally whether I or someone else pays for its alleviation; the benefits of other people's charity therefore partly accrue to me. To put it differently, we might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did. We might not be willing to contribute the same amount without such assurance. In small communities, public pressure can suffice to realize the proviso even with private charity. In the large impersonal communities that are increasingly coming to dominate our society, it is much more difficult for it to do so.

Suppose one accepts, as I do, this line of reasoning as justifying governmental action to alleviate poverty; to set, as it were. a floor under the standard of life of every person in the community. There remain the questions, how much and how. I see no way of deciding "how much" except in terms of the amount of taxes we -- by which I mean the great bulk of us -- are willing to impose on ourselves for the purpose. The question, "how," affords more room for speculation.

...

The arrangement that recommends itself on purely mechanical grounds is a negative income tax. We now have an exemption of $600 per person under the federal income tax (plus a minimum 10 per cent flat deduction). If an individual receives $100 taxable income, i.e., an income of $100 in excess of the exemption and deductions, he pays a tax. Under the proposal, if his taxable income minus $100, i.e., $100 less than the exemption plus deductions, he would pay a negative tax. i.e.r receive a .subsidy. If the rate of subsidy were, say, 50 per cent, he would receive $50. If he had no income at all, and, for simplicity, no deductions, and the rate were constant, he would receive $300. He might receive more than this if he had deductions, for example, for medical expenses, so that his income less deductions, was negative even before subtracting the exemption. The rates of subsidy could, of course, be graduated just as the rates of tax above the exemption are. In this way, it would be possible to set a floor below which no man's net income'(defined now to include the subsidy) could fall -- in the simple example $300 per person. The precise floor set would depend on what the community could afford.


That's from the chapter on the alleviation of poverty in Capitalism and Freedom, and I haven't taken anything out of context. Milton Friedman advocated a permanent negative income tax, whatever Wikipedia says.
10.26.2008 3:21am
trad and anon:
You fail to understand the important difference between payroll taxes and income taxes.
The important difference is that income tax are progressive, while payroll taxes are progressive. We like to pretend that payroll taxes pay for specific programs, but in reality the government moves money back and forth without paying attention.

This is why the Social Security Trust Fund is b.s. Currently, revenue from the "Social Security payroll tax" exceeds Social Security's obligations. If the payroll tax were really dedicated to paying for Social Security, the government would save the extra for the future. Instead, however, it just spends the extra money on something else.

In other words, the idea that payroll taxes pay for specific programs is bunk. Money is fungible.
10.26.2008 3:21am
Grover Gardner (mail):

No rich person has ever taken a penny from me.


You're kidding yourself.
10.26.2008 3:34am
Mike Personal (mail):
Makes me wonder about the NBCBrian Williams interviews of Mccain and palin are just butt-kissing at best
10.26.2008 3:38am
metro1 (mail) (www):
This reporter was right.

Barack Obama sought the endorsement of the far Left New Party in Illinois:

* * *

Obama began seeking the New Party endorsement in 1995. ... By the time the ballot was drawn up for the 1996 election, Obama's was the only name in the race.

Nonetheless, Obama still coveted the New Party endorsement. ... Obama did not need to support a party that was, in effect, a front group for communists; yet he still chose to. The July issue of the New Ground noted that 15% of the New Party consisted of Democratic Socialists of America members and a good number of Committee of Correspondence members.

Barack Obama, not needing to, chose to affiliate himself with this band of quasi-communists. As the nation moves closer to the election, it is clear that Obama chose to affiliate with assorted anti-American radicals. Machiavelli once noted that we can know a leader by the people he surrounds himself with. What does that say about Barack Obama, who chose to surround himself with people committed to overthrowing the United States and capitalism?

* * *

Compare:

Here's the platform of the Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

And here's the platform of the Communist Party USA.

They look like they came out of the same organization, don't they?

That's not surprising. As discussed above, Barack Obama sought the endorsement of the far Left New Party in Illinois.
10.26.2008 3:40am
EH (mail):
Man, many here are indulging in extremism. Obama is as socialist as McCain is libertarian. Try a little more rigor and less emotion in your arguments.
10.26.2008 4:32am
Asher (mail):
Here's the platform of the Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

And here's the platform of the Communist Party USA.

They look like they came out of the same organization, don't they?


Metro1, what strikes me is how moderate the Communist Party's platform is. Raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour? End racial profiling? Really radical stuff!
10.26.2008 4:48am
Stash:
Here's a little two-part rule I have:

1. When lefties call Republicans fascists, I stop listening.
2. When righties call Democrats marxists, I stop listening.
10.26.2008 5:10am
PhanTom:
Asher,

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

Clearly, you're an Anti-American plant sent here to make the communists seem moderate. But we're on to you.

--PtM
10.26.2008 5:26am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Bruce M wrote above:

Wow that's the most ridiculous interview I've ever seen. That "reporter" should be dragged out into the street and shot. Utterly pathetic.


So you're advocating political hate crimes. I see no reason not to take you seriously. Have the VC authors pulled your commenting privileges here yet and reported your IP address to the FBI? I would if it were my blog. (But then, if you're who I think you are, you're already banned at my blog.)

Prof. Bernstein: The questions were aggressive, but if anyone was "tendentious," it was Biden. Other than expressing disbelief that the reporter had the nerve to dare challenge him (i.e., to do her job), he didn't actually respond to the substance of her questions, and instead simply repeated whatever memorized talking point came marginally closest.

I agree with several commenters that the reporter wasn't quick on her feet — if she had been, she'd have pointed out Biden's obvious attempt to recast his remarks about Barack Obama being tested within six months and needing the specific support then of Barack Obama's supporters into a tame, disingenuous "Every new president is tested" meme. That's tantamount in this context to simply lying about what he said, but it's another Obama-Biden Official Talking Point™ alrighty.
10.26.2008 6:58am
10ksnooker (mail):
How dare her question The naive One's sidekick as if he were a Republican.
10.26.2008 8:13am
Angus:
People comparing this to Palin's interviews with the media are just nuts. The questions she asked don't even compare to "How has being governor of Alaska given you foreign policy experience."

Call me when a reporter asks this of Palin: "You advocate strong militarism and an all-encompassing patriotism which elevates the needs of the nation above the needs of its people. How is that not fascism?"
10.26.2008 8:23am
Bored Lawyer:
Here are two questions I would like asked of Biden, and Obama for that matter:

1. What is the moral difference, if any, between Bill Ayers and the 19 young men who perpetrated 9/11? Apart from the fact that the latter were far more succesful than the former, is there any moral difference between the two?

2. Given Obama's associations with Ayers in the past -- which treated him like an honored citizen with something valuable to contribute to public policy, and this even after Ayers' infamous interview with the NY Times published on 9/11 -- how can Obama bring any moral authority as President of the United States to the War on Terror?
10.26.2008 8:42am
Arkady:

Here's a little two-part rule I have:

1. When lefties call Republicans fascists, I stop listening.
2. When righties call Democrats marxists, I stop listening.


Agreed. A significant portion of the commentors on political blogs fall into one of two groups:

1. Those who seem to always be looking for the ghost of Joe Stalin under their bed,

and

2. Those who seem to always be looking for the ghost of Adolph Hitler under theirs.

Perhaps when this campaign season is over, both groups could throw a pajama party and compare notes. They could invite the aficionados of the Illuminati Conspiracy to join them. Someone could film the get-together as a documentary: Ferocious Dust Mice--The Fight for America's Extremes.
10.26.2008 9:18am
Ken Ashford (mail):
I was waiting for the question: "And when did you stop beating your wife, Mr. Biden?"

That's because all of the interview questions were skewed and based on faulty premises. In Journalism 101, when they get to the part about "loaded questions", this video should be shown.

Biden, of course, deftly handled each question by attacking the premise. After a few rounds of that, he mocked the clear bias of the questions.

Interestingly, when this same interviewer interviewed McCain recently, the first question out of her mouth, posed in the same "tough" tone, was why the McCain campaign wasn't going after Obama hard enough on ACORN. Just saying....
10.26.2008 9:19am
pops1911 (mail):
Not a bad interview except Biden lied about 75% of the time his mouth was open as usual. He is quite good at deflecting questions that are meaningful &his answers are as bad as BHo's lies. Peas in a pod!!! Go Commies!
10.26.2008 10:03am
Sarcastro (www):
I think metro1 was the interviewer.
10.26.2008 10:10am
Steve2:

Actually, I thought it was Adam Smith.



The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.






Interesting, Loki. I appreciate that. Turns out, though, sleeping's restored my memory to better condition. I was actually thinking of Paul of Tarsus in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, by way of John Smith of Jamestown: "if any man will not work, neither let him eat."

I'm in agreement with many here that the difference between a legitimate tough question ("You propose N, but X, Y, and Z strongly indicate N is unable to succeed, and A, B, and C indicate N will have undesirable consequences 1, 2, and 3. Why, then, do you continue to propose N?") and a tough-because-it's-loaded question.

And I'm still not seeing the inherent downside to being more like a country full of Valkyries, Vikings, and vodka.
10.26.2008 10:21am
just me (mail):
The thing with Biden is he is such a good liar you don't even realize he is feeding you a massively huge line of bull.

Any takers on just how much Palin would have been reamed by the press had she made the US "kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon" claim?
10.26.2008 10:40am
just me (mail):
The thing with Biden is he is such a good liar you don't even realize he is feeding you a massively huge line of bull.

Any takers on just how much Palin would have been reamed by the press had she made the US "kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon" claim?
10.26.2008 10:40am
EricPWJohnson (mail):
wolfefan

Much of that is rebated through the EITC (that was the purpose to make sure the poorest didn't pay too much social security taxes)

Obama wants this to be just a grant from me to others
10.26.2008 10:53am
GaryC (mail):

loki13:
Actually, I thought it was Adam Smith.

The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.


Seems kind of like "From each according to his ability, to the government according to its needs."

G'night.

That sounds to me like advocacy for a flat tax "in proportion to the revenue" rather than a progressive rate like the current system.

Here is Melancton Smith's table, slightly modified to include percentages.

In 2007
If you made Paid
25,000 3,363 13.5%
50,000 8,930 17.9%
100,000 22,111 22.1%
200,000 52,068 26.0%
300,000 84,074 28.0%

This is the effective total rate, rather than the marginal rate.
10.26.2008 10:54am
Morat20:

This is the effective total rate, rather than the marginal rate.


Just an FYI -- while it's probably not too big a problem here, any discussion of US tax policy needs to start with whether or not your audience understands how tax brackets work.

A surprising number of people believe bracket rates are retroactive, that is if 60k is the cutoff between 20% and 25%, that making 60,000 dollars means you pay 12,000 in taxes, but make 60,001 dollars and you pay 15,000.

That little misunderstanding has come up enough that I think it should preface any discussion on income taxes in the US.
10.26.2008 11:04am
Lawman 1:
Here is the wiki on the inquisit...err interviewer Barbara West:

Barbara West is married to Republican strategist Wade West. Wade West is "a popular consultant for political candidates ranging from local elections, to more than 85 members of Congress and members of the President's cabinet." In addition, West has made multiple campaign contributions to the Republican Party.

Shame on the campaign for not sniffing this out before hand and dealing with it in advange
10.26.2008 11:13am
FredGarvin (mail):

The interviewer had a wooden almost zombie like demeanor. Perhaps the network had to drug her in order for her to ask challenging questions. This ranks as one of the stupidest interviews I've ever seen.



Nope. For me it was CNN's, Drew Griffin's interview with Sara Palin, asking why Conservative writer Byron York had characterized her as "incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above." --- an obvious falsehood to those who actually read Byron York.

What's scary is that there will be a percentage of the television-addicted voter bloc that use Griffin's mistake in their political assessment.

Doesn't have much bearing on this Biden interview. But I believe something within our media outlets has certainly been removed.
10.26.2008 11:18am
Northeastern2L:
Watching conservatives twist themselves into knots to convince voters that Obama is a socialist, terrorist, Muslim plant. . . that's amusing.

Having said socialist, terrorist, Muslim plant then crush the Republicans in the general election . . . that's priceless.
10.26.2008 11:19am
FredGarvin (mail):

...The whole "socialist" and "spreading the wealth" arguments are canards. The multi-trillion bailout (not just the $700B bailout package supported by both candidates) is a historic redistribution of wealth.

...Of course it is rationalized as a "rescue package," but what is the difference?



The difference is the government is not assuming the means of production for the banks. That is to say, the U.S. government will not be staffing these businesses with thier own, manage the business, or "run the business".
10.26.2008 11:24am
Oren:


Having said socialist, terrorist, Muslim plant then crush the Republicans in the general election . . . that's priceless.

Shhh. . . wait until he's elected!


...Of course it is rationalized as a "rescue package," but what is the difference?

The US will eventually liquidate all of the assets purchased?
10.26.2008 11:41am
George Lyon (mail):
The problem with this interview is she let Biden run off at the mouth without answering a single question other than his spin. In other words she did not followup and cut him off when he did not answer these legitimate question.
10.26.2008 11:55am
EricPWJohnson (mail):
Just an FYI especially to those who state the poor pay taxes


Earned income amount is more. The maximum amount of income you can earn and still get the credit has increased. You may be able to take the credit if:
You have more than one qualifying child and you earned less than $37,783 ($39,783 if married filing jointly),

You have one qualifying child and you earned less than $33,241 ($35,241 if married filing jointly), or

You do not have a qualifying child and you earned less than $12,590 ($14,590 if married filing jointly).


Also if you have 2 children married or head of household and make 17,300 per year you get 4,716 tax free so the social security is in essence refunded as well as a bonus of 20%

Obama wants to increase this benefit - some say to 50%

Sooo, someone making 17,300 would possibly get over 7,000 more direct from the FEDS tax free under Obama

A Single man right now making 25,000 is going to pay 1,900 in social security and a little more in Federal taxes so about 4 grand

According to the 1040A DOING IT IN MY LITTLE BRAIN a family of 4 making 29,000 pays 0 in Federal Taxes, 2100 in social security taxes and gets an EITC of 2106 so their total tax burden is 2100 FED&FICA minus 2100 EITC in 2007

Under Obama they would be getting 3150 and not paying any social security or any taxes in 2008 not too shabbby

Can I have Democrats for 1,000?

Buying the Presidency WHOOHOO

So if you are a family of 4 making 50,000 under Obama you stand to be saving all your taxes and all your social security and about a 1,000 thrown is as an xmas bonus.
10.26.2008 11:59am
AF:
David Bernstein:

Thanks for the intellectual honesty, so rare this close to election day.

Your stock has risen in my book this election season, just as much as Lindgren's has gone down.
10.26.2008 12:01pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dyer:

That's tantamount in this context to simply lying


Since you're such a stickler for accuracy, I want to remind you that you have still not corrected various statements you made that are "tantamount … to simply lying." Even though I pointed them out in detail.
10.26.2008 12:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bored:

Here are two questions I would like asked of Biden, and Obama for that matter: 1. What is the moral difference, if any, between Bill Ayers and the 19 young men who perpetrated 9/11?


Here's a question I would like to ask you, McCain, Palin et al. What is the moral difference, if any, between Bill Ayers and Eric Rudolph?

A few days ago, Palin refused to call Rudolph a "terrorist" (video, text). Righty blogger Rick Moran thinks this is a form of "moral cowardice." What do you think?

Speaking of elastic morality: Eric Rudolph put a bomb in a gay club. He said it was his duty to fight "the homosexual agenda." Falwell said "AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals." He also blamed 9/11 on "the pagans, the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians." Aren't these statements a form of moral support to Rudolph? In 2006, McCain delivered the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University. Isn't that a form of moral support to Falwell? Why does McCain pal around with someone who provides moral support to an unrepentant terrorist?

And something else you might not know:

when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr


Speaking of people who have issues with "the US government:" Palin has various close associations (video, video) with the organization that was founded by, and which glorifies, the man who said this:

The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. ... And I won't be buried under their damn flag.


Vogler, the founder and hero of AIP, was apparently interested in certain things that may not have been strictly legal. For some strange reason, he was killed "in a plastic-explosives sale gone bad."

And I haven't even mentioned McCain's friend Liddy, who was involved in multiple murder plots.

IOKIYAR.
10.26.2008 12:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
garvin:

an obvious falsehood to those who actually read Byron York


Griffin apologized, and York accepted the apology.

On the other hand, York has no trouble promulgating an obvious falsehood put out by the McCain campaign (see here and here), and there is no correction or apology in sight. Not McCain, not from York, and not from Lindgren, who helped spread the falsehood.

The difference is the government is not assuming the means of production for the banks. That is to say, the U.S. government will not be staffing these businesses with thier own, manage the business, or "run the business".


It takes a great deal of mental flexibility to claim that a progressive income tax is socialism, and nationalizing banks is not.
10.26.2008 12:03pm
FredGarvin (mail):
sputnik wrote:


Here's a better idea. Let's PRIVITIZE all of them, so instead of just having the BENEFIT of these services, we can pay a monthly fee for a CONTRACT with the police department, or fire department.


Everyone working as their own contractor would most definitely prove one thing: people would be more sensitive to what they actually pay the government for all of these "services".

It'd probably have a profound effect --- people would finally have a sense for what they'd shell out each quarter, instead of just depositing a bi-weekly paycheck and getting a "refund" (pfffttt) at the end of the year, never truly understanding what they actually earned.
10.26.2008 12:06pm
Clyde (mail):
Frankly, I enjoyed watching it. It was man-bites-dog: You just don't see journalists who aren't in the tank for Obama-Biden. Must have been one of the 5% that aren't registered Democrats.

The Obama campaign's response is instructive, however. An Obama administration would be secretive and disdainful of anything resembling a free press; non-lapdogs need not apply. Basically, it would be a Nixon administration in donkey drag. From each according to his abilities... Indeed.
10.26.2008 12:17pm
FredGarvin (mail):
It takes a great deal of mental flexibility to claim that a progressive income tax is socialism, and nationalizing banks is not.

Never claimed progessive income tax is socialism. My reply shows that, clearly, the U.S. government is not taking over the means of production for all banks.

By all means feel free to show me how these nationalized banks will be staffed --- will it fire everyone first and re-staff the banks with government-badged workers? Or just the current entire bank employee roll becomes "government worker"?
10.26.2008 12:31pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Can anyone here specify a system of taxation and spending that does not redistribute wealth in any sense?

Good luck...
10.26.2008 12:52pm
Steagles:
Sorry if this has been said . . .

I seem to recall McCain canceling a Larry King interview because King's CNN colleague, Campbell Brown, refused to play Wolf Blitzer with McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds.

And as for MSNBC, both Palin or McCain refuse to go on that network's evening programs . . . in fact, I think only once has a McCain spokesman been on any of them.

So Obama's campaign canceled further interviews with a questions that were talking points with a question mark at the end.

Life's tough. Get used to it. Anyone offended by the Obama camp's approach can know what it's like to be a non-kool-aid drinking American during the past 8 years of Bush/Cheney.
10.26.2008 12:57pm
richard cabeza:
It takes a great deal of mental flexibility to claim that a progressive income tax is socialism, and nationalizing banks is not.

What this indicates is a failure on your part to distinguish between "A is bad" and "B is good."

For what it's worth, they're both socialist. You're welcome.
10.26.2008 12:59pm
richard cabeza:
Life's tough. Get used to it. Anyone offended by the Obama camp's approach can know what it's like to be a non-kool-aid drinking American during the past 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

Yeah, because Bush's approval rating is sky high and the media treats the administration as if it's the second coming of FDR.

Oh, wait.
10.26.2008 1:00pm
FlimFlamSam:
This blog post is somewhat bizarre. Conservatives have been interviewed in this fashion for years and years. Now all of a sudden a liberal gets hit with these tactics and it suddenly becomes "one of the most tendentious interviews of a political candidate" ever? With all respect to Professor Bernstein, that's just a dumb comment.
10.26.2008 1:03pm
FredGarvin (mail):

Can anyone here specify a system of taxation and spending that does not redistribute wealth in any sense?


Why? I was under the impression that the argument is "how much" to redistribute and about giving a "tax cut" to 40% of people who aren't even taxpayers.
10.26.2008 1:03pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
It's hilarious to see Republicans whining about the press when they have an entire news network that is basically an arm of the Republican party.
10.26.2008 1:07pm
o rly? (mail):

In 2006, McCain delivered the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University. Isn't that a form of moral support to Falwell? Why does McCain pal around with someone who provides moral support to an unrepentant terrorist?


Really? You think giving a commencement address at a school named after a guy who supported another guy's violent act = Obama palling around with Ayers?

I suppose in your view that also means that when Cheney spoke at my law school graduation I somehow became a war criminal.

Nice job, rofl . . .
10.26.2008 1:07pm
PC:
Now all of a sudden a liberal gets hit with these tactics and it suddenly becomes "one of the most tendentious interviews of a political candidate" ever?

Yes, Prof. Bernstein is in the bag for Obama.
10.26.2008 1:26pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"A few days ago, Palin refused to call Rudolph a "terrorist" (video, text). Righty blogger Rick Moran thinks this is a form of "moral cowardice." What do you think?"

This is an inaccurate statement. Williams never explicitly asked about Rudolph and never mentioned his name (based on the text you provided)- you mentioned his name.
10.26.2008 1:58pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
FWIW, doesn't McCain's health plan include a tax credit that might end up putting money in people's pockets, even people who don't pay income taxes?


I think you're talking about the refundable credit for medical plans, since that's what Obama's referred to in the past. The answer to your question is "no", since that part of his plan is inseparable from his change to remove the deduction that made employer-provided care especially tax-privileged. The net result is to make health care less dependent on keeping your current job, and therefore hopefully more portable.

There was a time when "spreading the wealth around" was considered kind of a Christian thing to do.


Nope. It's not Christian or Jewish to spread other people's wealth around.

-Wm
10.26.2008 2:05pm
SenatorX (mail):
It's going to be very interesting to see what happens in the media and blog comments if Obama wins. Are they just going to switch to praising the government at every turn? The political comedy shows might as well just close down too. What I do expect, and what will be especially annoying, are what the blog commenters (trolls at this site) will switch to. I suspect it will be a mix of blaming every failure of the government on Bush (still!) and others in our society that just won't play ball. The racists, libertarians, conservatives, republicans, the greedy and the rich will get blamed for every failing because of some sort of implied sabotage. Does Mugabe or Chavez accept blame for any wrong policies? It's just not in the makeup. I wonder if total comments on this site for example will go down if Obama wins. I'm thinking myself that though I will still lurk here it probably won't be a good idea to comment anymore, I can't be the only one. Then again maybe comments will increase but with an increase in trolls (by trolls I mean people philosophically/psychologically opposed to libertarianism who like to come here and comment negatively on every post remotely connected to libertarianism).
10.26.2008 2:24pm
dcuser (mail):
Seems to me like the anchor asked a series of increasingly ridiculous questions (e.g., "How is Barrack Obama different than Karl Marx"), and Biden hit them out of the park.

Hysterical to think that the right wing thinks this comparable to Katie Couric's gotcha questions like "What are some Supreme Court decisions other than Roe v Wade that you disagree with"
10.26.2008 2:33pm
MLS:
Barbara West, a news anchor at Channel 9 in Orlando, is a teleprompter reader. She is not an investigative reporter. Thus, it is no surprise the "questions" she asked were so pro-forma in nature and without any follow-up. Take the teleprompter away and Barbara is in trouble, as is the case with virtually all news anchors.

The questions I really want to hear are those trying to figure out just what these competing" tax plans actually entail. I have read what each candidate represents is his tax plan, and as yet have not the slightest clue what I would be looking at come April 15th of each year. under either plan.

One thing that adds further confusion is that each candidate proffers health plans so inexorably intertwined with their tax plans that for all intents and purposes treating them as separate and distinct issues only adds to my confusion.

In view of many of the above comments, I do not believe I am alone in being confused.
10.26.2008 2:34pm
byomtov (mail):
Now all of a sudden a liberal gets hit with these tactics and it suddenly becomes "one of the most tendentious interviews of a political candidate" ever?

Do people think this was a "tough" interview?

It wasn't. It was an idiotic interview. West turned a bunch of worn talking points into "questions." She asked nothing meaningful about foreign policy, the bailout, health plans, etc. Her question about taxes was boilerplate GOP rhetoric. She demonstrated no knowledge of any serious issue. She didn't follow upon anything, mostly because none of her questions were worth following up on.

If I were a McCain supporter I'd be disgusted by this interview.
10.26.2008 2:36pm
byomtov (mail):
FWIW, doesn't McCain's health plan include a tax credit that might end up putting money in people's pockets, even people who don't pay income taxes?


I think you're talking about the refundable credit for medical plans, since that's what Obama's referred to in the past. The answer to your question is "no", since that part of his plan is inseparable from his change to remove the deduction that made employer-provided care especially tax-privileged. The net result is to make health care less dependent on keeping your current job, and therefore hopefully more portable.


Actually, the answer to the question is "Yes."

Not everyone gets employer-provided health insurance, yet everyone will get the refundable credit. So it's plainly true that McCain's plan will put money in the pockets of people who pay no income taxes.

Of course, it's not wicked "socialism" when McCain proposes it.
10.26.2008 2:42pm
Jim Hu:
I guess I'm weird. I agree that the interview was unusually tendentious, but I don't think Biden handled it particularly well either.

But from the description I've seen of how these things are done, both interviewer and interviewee probably deserve to be cut some slack. Apparently the campaign sets up a block of time where local channels each get about 4 minutes, and the candidate has to do a whole bunch of them back to back. This doesn't really allow much opportunity for followups, and it must be absolutely mind-numbing for the candidate.
10.26.2008 2:43pm
first history:
Fury &JBG:

To be fair, the exact answer concering aborition clinics that Palin gave was (the video is here):


WILLIAMS: . . . Are the people who set fire to American cities during the '60s terrorists in -- under this definition? Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under this definition, Governor?

PALIN: There's no question that Bill Ayers, via his own admittance, was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There's no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to -- I don't know if you're going to use the word terrorist there, but it's unacceptable, and it would not be condoned, of course, on our watch. But I don't know -- if what you're asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayers as an unrepentant domestic terrorist, I don't regret characterizing him as that.

WILLIAMS: No, I'm just asking what other categories you would put in there, abortion clinic bombers, protesters in cities where fires were started, Molotov cocktails were thrown, people died?

PALIN: I would put in that category of Bill Ayers anyone else who would seek to campaign, to destroy our United States Capitol and our Pentagon and would seek to destroy innocent Americans.


Her second response ("I would put in that category . . .") is, of course, the answer she wanted to give to a question that wasn't asked. Apparently while bombing an abortion clinc isn't terrorism, it is "unacceptable."

But, according to the FBI, terrorism is "the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or its territories without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." (page 5).

Sounds like terrorism to me.
10.26.2008 5:29pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
The interview was jarring because we are simply unused to a TV anchor asking tendentious questions from a right-wing perspective. More typical is the softer but still tendentious question so often asked of Palin which goes like this: "explain why we should take you seriously." The implication is that the very popular female governor of Alaska is NOT to be taken seriously. It's not a policy question, it's an insult.

The interviewer could have rephrased the questions of Biden and come off softer and slyer, but the fact is that the questions she asked are being asked by real people in flyover country. And no one in the Washington press corps has the stones to ask questions like these. Instead we get a confrontation between David Corn and some workers in which he insults them as only a Liberal can.
10.26.2008 6:25pm
Asher (mail):
The interview was jarring because we are simply unused to a TV anchor asking tendentious questions from a right-wing perspective. More typical is the softer but still tendentious question so often asked of Palin which goes like this: "explain why we should take you seriously." The implication is that the very popular female governor of Alaska is NOT to be taken seriously.

The interview's jarring because her questions are nuts. Obama's talking about raising the top rate three points, and she asks why that isn't Marxist. Why isn't McCain's (shelved, but still disturbing) proposal to cap the salaries of executives at bailed-out investment banks at $400K Marxist? That's a lot closer to being a reasonable question.
10.26.2008 6:39pm
Melancton Smith:

Here is Melancton Smith's table, slightly modified to include percentages.

In 2007
If you made Paid
25,000 3,363 13.5%
50,000 8,930 17.9%
100,000 22,111 22.1%
200,000 52,068 26.0%
300,000 84,074 28.0%


Regardless of rate, my question is what is fair? It appears to me that the guy making 300k is paying 10x the amount that the guy making 50k is. What more does he get for that?

When the guy making 300k goes to the store to by apples, he pays the same that the guy making 50k pays. Not only that, but he doesn't pay progressively more for subsequent apples.

So what is fair? How is it 'unfair' that the guy making 300k is paying 'only' 84k? How is he not paying his 'fair share'?
10.26.2008 6:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
"And no one in the Washington press corps has the stones to ask questions like these. "

We had three presidential debates. Two of them had journalists asking the same questions to each of the candidates. So were those questions tough or were they softballs? If they were tough, then you can't complain that Obama hasn't been asked tough questions. If they were softballs, then you can't complain that the press is too tough on McCain.

"the questions she asked are being asked by real people in flyover country."

One of the debates was townhall style, whereby the people in flyover country had an opportunity to ask these 'tough' questions, and either they did or they did not. If they did, then I don't know why you are complaining, and if they did not, then people obviously are not really asking these questions anywhere.

As for what the fly over people are thinking, the rural people across the country are now giving a slight edge to Obama.

As for the interview, I'm not concerned about it. If conservatives want to ciruculate among them themselves and feel good about the 'tough' questions, it's not moy concern. It isn't changing anyone's opinions.
10.26.2008 7:02pm
Ben P:

Regardless of rate, my question is what is fair? It appears to me that the guy making 300k is paying 10x the amount that the guy making 50k is. What more does he get for that?

When the guy making 300k goes to the store to by apples, he pays the same that the guy making 50k pays. Not only that, but he doesn't pay progressively more for subsequent apples.

So what is fair? How is it 'unfair' that the guy making 300k is paying 'only' 84k? How is he not paying his 'fair share'?


That's a horrible example.

Even if we had a flat rate of 17.9% (what the 50k level is paying) the person making $300k would STILL be paying 6x the amount the man making $50k is.
10.26.2008 7:03pm
Melancton Smith:

That's a horrible example.

Even if we had a flat rate of 17.9% (what the 50k level is paying) the person making $300k would STILL be paying 6x the amount the man making $50k is.


Why is that a horrible example? Explain how 8x is not enough? I'd love a flat rate...that would be one step towards real fairness.
10.26.2008 7:07pm
Ben P:

The interview was jarring because we are simply unused to a TV anchor asking tendentious questions from a right-wing perspective.


I'm calling BS confirmation bias on all of these comments.

Sure, liberal commentators have opined about Bush being fascist, but can you name any instance where a reporter was granted an interview with Bush or Cheney and directly asked him "how is that not fascism?"
10.26.2008 7:08pm
Ben P:

Why is that a horrible example? Explain how 8x is not enough? I'd love a flat rate...that would be one step towards real fairness.


You're talking about "apples costing the same" and people getting the same service regardless of what they pay.

That was the bad example. If you carry the analogy into taxation it implies being in favor of charging numerically identical amounts to people regardless of taxation. It's just math that if you make more money, you'll pay more taxes in any percentage based system.

I see nothing wrong with a flat tax in the abstract, but it simply will not exist. The primary assumption of most flat tax plans is that we remove most of the "loopholes" that we give as part of a graduated system.

But we run up against the cold hard fact that if you take 10% of a poor person's income, you're hurting them much more than someone who has more discretionary spending.

So it's a plain fact that in any tax system some people will be exempted. Even if we say it's the poverty line, people will end up exempted because not only is there no political will to force people to starve or be homeless to pay their taxes, it's just not a good idea.

Then, voila, we're back to a tiered income tax system, even if it's "flatter" than it was.
10.26.2008 7:15pm
eyesay:
Asher wrote "Why isn't McCain's (shelved, but still disturbing) proposal to cap the salaries of executives at bailed-out investment banks at $400K...."

Why is this disturbing? Why should an executive who led a financial institution into such a disaster that the company had to be bailed out at taxpayer expense receive a salary greater than that of president of the United States? It is time for corporate shareholders to veto by whatever means these stratospheric corporate salaries. There are plenty of people capable of managing any corporation on a salary of $400,000.
10.26.2008 7:21pm
Michael B (mail):
Big deal.

This is a local news reporter/talking head, not a national or nationally syndicated talking head. When local news types interview national political figures they very often make one of two mistakes, they either 1) ask obsequious, softball questions or 2) attempt to ask more probative, more penetrating questions but fail to address the issue and the question in a manner that can be more aptly framed within a ten or twenty or thirty second sound bite.

That's not intended as a caustic criticism of local news types, Biden, for all his gaffe prone ways, is still a national political figure exercised in the ways of sophistical media b.s. Did anyone expect Biden, in the interest of underlying truth, to correct this local questioner and admit Obama's campaign had in fact paid ACORN $800,000 during the primaries? Or that there is in fact pronounced ideological and political sympathies between ACORN and the Obama/Biden ticket? Of course not, this isn't about veracity, it's about sophistical media pretense.
10.26.2008 7:36pm
Melancton Smith:
Sure, a flat tax (like IL state tax---btw, filing is easy and since no loopholes very predictable) allows for a standard deduction. This makes sense and we all get the 10k, 15k, whatever deduction off gross income.

Then tax all at same percent.

I'm not sure why you are arguing. I'm saying that given our current system, no one can reasonably say that I am not paying my 'fair share' when I pay 8x what someone else does unless they've radically redefined 'fair'.
10.26.2008 7:51pm
jab:
Melancton,

Here is a hypothetical...

Person 1 makes $20,000 per year and pays 5%, or $1000 in taxes.
Person 2 makes $1,000,000 per year and pays 1%, or $10,000 in taxes.

Would you say this must be fair because person 2 is paying
10 times more than person 1??
10.26.2008 8:01pm
AF:
Melancton -- even if you tax everyone at the same percentage rate, someone making a million dollars a year is going to pay 50 times as much taxes as someone making 20k. Rank socialism.

The only way to avoid massive redistribution through the tax system is a head tax, but you can't even come close to paying for national defense that way, let alone the rest of government.
10.26.2008 8:02pm
js5 (mail):
Barbara West: "How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist?"

Joe Biden: "In what respect Barbara?"
10.26.2008 8:49pm
Melancton Smith:

Here is a hypothetical...

Person 1 makes $20,000 per year and pays 5%, or $1000 in taxes.
Person 2 makes $1,000,000 per year and pays 1%, or $10,000 in taxes.

Would you say this must be fair because person 2 is paying
10 times more than person 1??


Well that is not the case. My question stands with REAL numbers, why should I pay more? Why am I not paying my 'fair share' and then some, already?
10.26.2008 9:07pm
first history:
As long as we are talking about income, the LA Times reports today:


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who often travels with the candidate, introduced McCain's wife, Cindy, to an outdoor rally in Durango, Colo., on Friday afternoon as "a great small-business woman."

Cindy McCain heads Hensley &Co., one of America's largest beer distributorships, which she inherited from her father. She reported taxable personal income last year of $6.1 million, and is believed to be worth about $100 million.


Like McCain's estimation that $5M is middle class, calling someone worth about $100M a small-business owner just shows the McCain campaign doesn't get it. If these valuations are correct, Joe the Plumber will never be a small business owner.
10.26.2008 9:10pm
OKC Lawyer (mail):

This seems to indicate that Biden is more Gaffer prone when given softballs. He actually did pretty well with this.
10.26.2008 9:11pm
Michael B (mail):
Another perspective and contrast can be seen in how prominent bloggers opine upon the election, there's PJMedia's Fred Thompson's commentary, then there's Andrew Sullivan's MILF themed commentary that recently appeared on youTube.

The preponderance of the national MSM is one reflection of the bullshit and mephitis in general that has passed for reporting this election cycle. Prominent bloggers present another contrast. Yet a local news reporter's tendentiousness is called out as reflecting "the most tendentious ... I have ever seen."

Priorities and perspective. Amusing and revealing.
10.26.2008 9:18pm
erp:
Has everyone forgotten last week's NYT sliming of Cindy McCain and the writer going into a high school website to find out dirt on her through her teenage daughter.

Republicans have a network that's slightly less biased than the rest of the media and the left has the entire rest of the leftwing media, the arts, the academy ...

I'd rather it not happen, but if Obama wins, there will widespread buyer remorse, because like most socialist governments, they are very hard to dislodge once they get their hands on all the trappings of power.
10.26.2008 9:18pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
first history:

compared to national corporations, cindy mccain is a small business owner. she owns a beer distributorship in arizona. her beer distributorship is not going to challenge Exxon or Microsoft anytime soon - or even any mid-cap company.

do you spend your time looking for small-minded criticisms of footnotes about Republicans? Where's the birth certificate from the hospital in "Hawaii" where Obama was born? Doesn't it bother you that Biden has a repeated history of plagiarism and dishonesty? He was almost expelled from Syracuse Law School for his plagiarism. He dropped out of the 1988 Presidential campaign due to his repeated plagiarism (while he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee ... conducting hearings on Robert Bork). The plagiarist judging the judge. Focus on these big issues before you start sifting through the weeds.
10.26.2008 9:21pm
Blake M (mail) (www):


When the government guarantees that Citibank will only have to absorb X amount of losses, but no more, to facilitate the acquisition of Wachovia, I do not understand how that is not "spreading the wealth" to Citibank executives and shareholders. Does that make Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a socialist, a Marxist, or a communist?


Well... yes.
10.26.2008 9:49pm
byomtov (mail):
Where's the birth certificate from the hospital in "Hawaii" where Obama was born?

An unmistakeable symptom of ODS. Get treatment immediately, metro1. Your sanity is at stake.
10.26.2008 10:12pm
first history:
metro1 sez:

Focus on these big issues before you start sifting through the weeds.

You think plagerism committed in law school 40 years ago; forgetting once to give credit for quote in a speech; or chasing a chimera of a birth certificate are the BIG ISSUES--bigger than the collapse of the economy and the financial system, bigger than health care, bigger than the wars? Please. GMAB.

Regarding Biden, the voters of Delaware don't seem to think it was important. Concerning honesty, please be specific (with sources; gaffes don't count)--Biden may be gaffe machine, but I haven't heard that Biden committed perjury.

My point is that the McCain campaign hasn't understood its target audience. Most voters aren't part of the same economic class as the McCains. So they think somebody who is worth $5M is middle class. Of course Hensley &Co. is a small business compared to an international corporation, but it's not when compared to the mom and pop businesses that drive the US economy.

The right needs to let go of Robert Bork. If the right thinks the Fairness Doctrine is bad, then they would disown Robert Bork immediately. He favors wide-ranging government censorship and rejects most of the developments in democratic thought over the past 300 hundred years. See Ilya Somin's VC posting from May 28, 2008 and his related paper on this subject. He may have been treated badly, but it is still a good thing he never made it to the Supreme Court. America would be worse off if he did.
10.26.2008 10:13pm
CJColucci:
One thing Melancton Smith gets for his money is police protection from all the people who would find it more efficient to steal from him than from someone with no money to speak of.
10.26.2008 10:18pm
first history:
300 hundred years=300 years, not 300,000 years

;)
10.26.2008 10:18pm
Melancton Smith:

300 hundred years=300 years, not 300,000 years


You mean 300 hundred years = 300 years not 30,000 years.
10.26.2008 10:36pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):

The interview's jarring because her questions are nuts.



Sorry Asher, the questions being asked by the MSM and people like you are considered nuts by the rest of us.

Someone out there may consider you the authority on what questions are nuts, but from what I have read of your comments here; you may want to refrain from calling other's comments "nuts." You appear to be a few fries short of a Mappy Meal.
10.26.2008 10:40pm
first history:
Right, just 300 years
10.26.2008 10:48pm
RPT (mail):
Well it turns out that her husband, Wade West, is a political and media consultant for Republican politicians. The GOP talking points Barbara West used in her interview may have come directly from the McCain Palin communications team via her husband Wade.

From Barbara West's website "I am married to Wade West, an international media consultant to politicians, professionals and organizations."

She did the best she could given her spouse's qualifications:

"West's media communication and fundraising skills have made him a popular consultant for Republican political candidates ranging from local elections, to more than 85 members of Congress and members of the President's cabinet.

Wade West is also a Republican donor. West donated $250 to the NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE. He gave $500 to Will McBride a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida. As well as $500 to John Mica and $1,000 to Richard Keller both GOP congressional candidates in Florida."
10.26.2008 10:50pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):

We had three presidential debates. Two of them had journalists asking the same questions to each of the candidates. So were those questions tough or were they softballs? If they were tough, then you can't complain that Obama hasn't been asked tough questions. If they were softballs, then you can't complain that the press is too tough on McCain.



I love your assumptions, they are both funny and sad. Funny in the respect that your childlike faith on the "journalistic" profession is not shared by an increasing portion of the American people. As evidence, please note that the leading exponent of your brand of journalism has just had its bonds rated junk, which correspond to the product printed on its pages.

Sad in the respect that we should be cheering the slow death of a once important part of society; a part that was once designed to shine a light on malfeasance and lies.

The fact is that the questions asked were all designed to discuss the Liberal view of where the country should be headed. Can you point to any questions that would cause discomfort to Mr. Obama in the so-called "debates?"

I would love to hear candidates asked what they believe should be the maximum that anyone should be required to pay in taxes as a percentage of income.

I would like to hear a debate on the second amendment.

I would like to hear questions on the proper response to terrorist attacks on the United States or its forces overseas.

I would like to have candidates debate the First Amendment regarding the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

I would like to hear candidates tell us their position on the legal rights of infants who are born alive despite the best efforts of an abortionist.

They would be considered "nutty" questions by people like Asher and the members of the media who conduct these debates. But they are questions being asked by lots of people who view the answers to these questions as an important indicator of who they should vote into office.
10.26.2008 11:09pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I see that Barbara West is getting the Joe the Plumber treatment. Classy on so many levels.
10.26.2008 11:11pm
Asher (mail):
Moneyrunner, your questions sound like fine questions to me. Nutty is asking a guy if he's a Marxist just because he's tinkering with the tax code. Now, eyesay asks this:

Why should an executive who led a financial institution into such a disaster that the company had to be bailed out at taxpayer expense receive a salary greater than that of president of the United States? It is time for corporate shareholders to veto by whatever means these stratospheric corporate salaries. There are plenty of people capable of managing any corporation on a salary of $400,000.

Maybe it is time for shareholders to do that, but it's not time for the government to start regulating how much people make. The bit about the President is an absurd rhetorical gambit. If anything, what it tells you is that the President should make a lot more. Maybe that's why most of our presidential candidates are talentless hacks, McCain included.
10.26.2008 11:27pm
first history:
Moneyrunner:

I see that Barbara West is getting the Joe the Plumber treatment. Classy on so many levels.

Why is understanding a person's biases so bad? Lord knows the candidates get even worse treatment. The fact that her husband is a Republican Party official certainly is relevant. Just like knowing Campbell Brown's husband is Dan Senor, former Bush Administration Iraq PR flack.
10.26.2008 11:34pm
EricPWJohnson (mail):
Ben P

You must not watch White House Press Conferences
10.26.2008 11:41pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
I have a dream, where as a part of the Presidential "debates" each candidate does one hour long interview live, with an interviewer of his opponent's choosing.
10.26.2008 11:43pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Yet a local news reporter's tendentiousness is called out as reflecting "the most tendentious ... I have ever seen."

Priorities and perspective. Amusing and revealing.


So, Michael, what specifically are you implying about David Berstein's "priorities and perspective" and what about them is "amusing" and/or "revealing"?
10.26.2008 11:58pm
Bored Lawyer:
jukebox:

1. As discussed above, Palin came nowhere near supporting Rudolph, who was not even mentioned by name in the interview. Indeed, she said that bombing abortion clinics was unacceptable, although in her view not necessarily terrorism. (It seems that she views 'terrorism' as meaning making war on the U.S., as opposed to simply using violence to advance one's political ends. I don't agree with that, but that is besides the point, Palin is clear that either way such violence is criminal.) So Palin is far from treating domestic terrorists (anti-abortion or anti-gay terrorists) with anywhere near the respect Obama gave Ayers. To the contrary, her answer indicated that they would be treated like criminals, which they are.

2. The Falwell thing is a complete dodge. Falwell has never advocated violence in the name of his theological views. He does believe that God punishes those who go against his will -- a view which is mainstream theism. So I don't believe for a minute that Falwell ever gave any kind of support to abortion clinic bombers of gay-club bombers. In Falwell's view, what is permitted to God is not permitted to man.

3. The above applies all the more so to McCain, who merely gave some credence to a supporter.

So the bottom line is your attempt at the
"So's Your Mother" defense failed utterly. Left unanswered is my three points: (1) Ayers is morally equivalent to the 9/11 perpetrators -- both used organized violence to advance their political aims and to make war on this country; (2) Obama has treated Ayers with an enormous amount of respect, a virtual public citizen and hence (3) Obama has forfeited any moral leadership on the war on terror.
10.27.2008 12:07am
Kevin. (www):
Calculated Risk,
Did Friedman himself ever say it was the "lesser evil" or is that something you are inserting to satisfy yourself that he agreed with you one everything?

Friedman used the term "least bad" in reference to any taxes, and intended the NIT as an alternative to all public welfare programs, as Johnny Canuck mentioned (thanks, Johnny).

I am not trying to reconcile Friedman with my own beliefs, but rather with his other statements.
10.27.2008 12:16am
Ben P:

The fact is that the questions asked were all designed to discuss the Liberal view of where the country should be headed. Can you point to any questions that would cause discomfort to Mr. Obama in the so-called "debates?"


Congratulations, you've set the scale for the most boring debate ever. If you bothered to look into the issues you already know the answer to every question you pose.


I would love to hear candidates asked what they believe should be the maximum that anyone should be required to pay in taxes as a percentage of income.


Both candidates would give a long answer that basically amounts to "depends," and then launch into promoting their own tax plans.


I would like to hear a debate on the second amendment.


Both candidates have publically stated they now agree with the proposition that the second amendment protects an individual right. However, neither candidate would touch currently existing federal firearms law, and neither candidate has the political will or ability to force local areas where gun control measures are widely supported to go back on their positions. If you're talking about a theoretical academic debate *yawn.*


I would like to hear questions on the proper response to terrorist attacks on the United States or its forces overseas.


seriously? have you not watched any of the debates? is this really a question of the candidates not answering the question or you not hearing the answer you like?


I would like to have candidates debate the First Amendment regarding the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.


Both candidates will say they agree with the general principle of seperation of state . Obama might be cogent enough to throw out the phrase "excessive entanglement" and McCain would probably say something to bolster support among the religious right.


I would like to hear candidates tell us their position on the legal rights of infants who are born alive despite the best efforts of an abortionist.


Both candidates are clearly going to say that a child born alive is alive. I already know what you're referring to with this and it's been fully explained elsewhere. Obama would follow up with his talking point on leaving an exception for the life and health of the mother, and McCain would probably say something about having helped to pass the federal partial birth ban.
10.27.2008 1:19am
punditius (mail):
On Barbara West: her questions struck me as being the sort of questions that might be asked by a seventh or eighth grader. Which seems to me to be pretty much the intellectual level of television news. In spirit, if not in sophistication, they were much the same thing that Palin had to deal with. Biden handled it better, because he's a cynical product of our national political culture. Palin didn't, because she isn't, yet.

On the socialist Obama: Of course he's a socialist. He believes, does he not, in government control of the means of production? Or does he? Damned if I know. It does seem to me that he believes in government control of the distribution of wealth. That's a kind of indirect socialism. So is the government injection of money into banks in a fashion that the banks are not free to reject. My thought is that saying "socialist" is using an old term for something new, and that the something new might be a kind of socialist corporatopoly.

On taxes: The idea of "fair" taxation is a joke in this country, as I suppose it is in most. We can't even agree on what "fair" means, as can be seen in the comments here. But we do see a significant portion of the economy being "underground." We do see large corporate entities regarding their tax departments as a kind of profit center. We do see that nobody really thinks it's fair. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Obama wants to make sure that his constituency gets a positive share of the unfairness rather than a negative one. What we need, I think, is a constitutional amendment providing that no individual can be required to pay more than X percent of his gross income in federal income tax. Maybe we can agree on that, at least.

On the health plans: all I know is that any time government money is injected into the equation, prices go up or quality goes down. I get the impression that the only reason that medicare continues to work at all is that enough doctors are willing to endure financial losses that most other professions would never accept. So it does seem to me that a single payor plan would be disastrous after a while.
10.27.2008 1:22am
jab:


Here is a hypothetical...

Person 1 makes $20,000 per year and pays 5%, or $1000 in taxes.
Person 2 makes $1,000,000 per year and pays 1%, or $10,000 in taxes.

Would you say this must be fair because person 2 is paying
10 times more than person 1??



Well that is not the case. My question stands with REAL numbers, why should I pay more? Why am I not paying my 'fair share' and then some, already?


You keep stating that you pay more in ABSOLUTE numbers, which you imply means you must be paying more than your fair share... I'm trying to tease out what you mean by "fair"? According to your logic using absolute numbers, even a flat tax would be unfair. If I am wrong, and you think a flat tax is "fair", then you must really stop using absolute numbers... you are either confused or being intentionally misleading.
10.27.2008 1:27am
jab:
The above was directed at Melancton Smith.
10.27.2008 1:28am
Melancton Smith:
You keep stating that you pay more in ABSOLUTE numbers, which you imply means you must be paying more than your fair share... I'm trying to tease out what you mean by "fair"? According to your logic using absolute numbers, even a flat tax would be unfair. If I am wrong, and you think a flat tax is "fair", then you must really stop using absolute numbers... you are either confused or being intentionally misleading.
10.27.2008 1:42am
Melancton Smith:
Apologies for the above...clicked the wrong button.


You keep stating that you pay more in ABSOLUTE numbers, which you imply means you must be paying more than your fair share... I'm trying to tease out what you mean by "fair"? According to your logic using absolute numbers, even a flat tax would be unfair. If I am wrong, and you think a flat tax is "fair", then you must really stop using absolute numbers... you are either confused or being intentionally misleading.


The point isn't what I think is fair. However, I have always favored a flat tax system even when I was making much less than I do now. I think it would be *more* fair than the system we have now.

However, given that what is proposed is raising the already higher rates that some of us pay, it is incumbent upon proponents of such tax policy to state why that is fair?

Again...simple question. Just how much *is* may 'fair share'?
10.27.2008 1:45am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
garvin:

Never claimed progessive income tax is socialism


I didn't mean that you personally are making that claim, but obviously the claim is being made. Including in this thread.
10.27.2008 1:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cabeza:

For what it's worth, they're [progressive income tax and the bailout] both socialist.


So since McCain supports the bailout, then he's a socialist, right? So how is he something other than a hypocrite for accusing Obama of being a socialist?
10.27.2008 1:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rly:

You think giving a commencement address at a school named after a guy who supported another guy's violent act = Obama palling around with Ayers?


Good point. It's not equal. It's worse. Because there's no proof that Ayers ever killed anyone, or supported anyone who killed anyone (other than themselves). On the other hand, Rudolph actually killed two people and injured at least 150 others.
10.27.2008 1:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

This is an inaccurate statement. Williams never explicitly asked about Rudolph and never mentioned his name (based on the text you provided)- you mentioned his name.


I didn't make "an innaccurate statement." I said this:

Palin refused to call Rudolph a "terrorist"


Brian Williams used the phrase "abortion clinic bomber." Those words are essentially a synonym for "Eric Rudolph." Do a google on those words, and you'll get a bunch of links about him.

This kind of reminds me of how Rove sometimes said he never mentioned Plame's name. The idea here is that he 'only' said 'Wilson's wife.' And we're supposed to be too dumb to realize that "Valerie Plame" and "Wilson's wife" are essentially synonyms.

Or it could be you're trying to use a kind of ignorance defense: Palin had no idea how to interpret the words "Bush Doctrine," and she also had no idea how to interpret the words "abortion clinic bomber."
10.27.2008 1:51am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
first:

Sounds like terrorism to me.


Rudolph is a terrorist, by any sane definition. One of many people who applied that word was Gonzales:

"The many victims of Eric Rudolph's terrorist attacks in Atlanta and Birmingham can rest assured that Rudolph will spend the rest of his life behind bars," Gonzales said in press release.


Likewise for Ashcroft:

"This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent," he said.


Likewise for Freeh, head of the FBI:

"The fatal bombing in Atlanta was a terrorist attack aimed at thousands of innocent persons gathered at the Olympic Park," said Louis Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Within the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Program, there is no higher priority than the capture of Eric Robert Rudolph."


But unlike Gonzales, Ashcroft, and Freeh, Palin refused to say that Rudolph was a terrorist. Because she knows how her base feels about Rudolph:

After leading investigators on one of the most exhaustive manhunts in history, Eric Robert Rudolph… was arrested this morning…

Mr. Rudolph, who had vanished into the thick forests of Appalachia, living off a mix of wild berries, tuna fish and help from sympathetic local residents, surfaced here in the very corner of rural North Carolina where the search began five years ago. …

A white supremacist and skilled woodsman, Mr. Rudolph became something of a local folk hero…

Today, even after his capture, many people here still identified with him.

''Rudolph's a Christian and I'm a Christian and he dedicated his life to fighting abortion,'' said Crystal Davis, 25, a mother of four. ''Those are our values. These are our woods. I don't see what he did as a terrorist act.'' …

At the height of the manhunt, businesses here printed up T-shirts and bumper stickers that said ''Run, Rudolph, Run,'' and ''Eric Rudolph the Hide and Seek Champion of the World.''

Today, Mr. Rudolph told investigators he had been hiding out in the Murphy area all along, as many of them suspected.

Police officials have said that Mr. Rudolph was able to remain on the loose for five years because he turned to local residents for help. …

At the start of every hunting season -- the woods here are teeming with deer and rabbit -- F.B.I. agents held meetings with hunters and reminded them of the $1,000,000 reward.

But townsfolk remained chilly. There were those who supported Mr. Rudolph's stance against abortion. And as time went on, more and more felt put off by F.B.I. agents, who openly suspected the local populace of providing Mr. Rudolph with food and shelter.


Domestic terrorism? IOKIYAR.
10.27.2008 1:52am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bored:

Palin came nowhere near supporting Rudolph, who was not even mentioned by name in the interview


As I explained, it doesn't matter that his name wasn't mentioned. What's important is that she refused to say that someone who bombs an abortion clinic is a terrorist. And she made very pointed use of the word "innocent." It doesn't take an Einstein to understand that this was a dog whistle to her base. To them, the people who step inside an abortion clinic are anything but "innocent."

she said that bombing abortion clinics was unacceptable


Wrong. She absolutely positively did not say that "bombing abortion clinics was unacceptable." She said this:

others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities, that, uh, er, that would be unacceptable


Are we supposed to believe that she views abortionists as "innocent?" Of course that's not what she believes. And it's not what her base believes.

It seems that she views 'terrorism' as meaning making war on the U.S., as opposed to simply using violence to advance one's political ends.


If so, that means she's painfully ignorant about the basic meaning of a very important word. That would be a very alarming misinterpretation of the word, much more alarming than not knowing what "Bush Doctrine" means.

I don't agree with that, but that is besides the point, Palin is clear that either way such violence is criminal.


Palin definitely did not say "such violence is criminal." She only said it's "unacceptable" when targeting "innocent" people. But we know she thinks abortionists are very far from "innocent."

I don't believe for a minute that Falwell ever gave any kind of support to abortion clinic bombers of gay-club bombers


Falwell essentially said that gays deserve to die. This is a form of moral support to Rudolph. And he also just got some moral support from Palin.
10.27.2008 1:52am
metro1 (mail) (www):
first history:

Joe Biden committed plagiarism during his campaign for the 1988 Presidential election multiple times.

His plagiarism and dishonesty are a lifetime, repeated habit.

She the New York Times articles on Joe Biden's multiple instances of plagiarism.
10.27.2008 2:28am
metro1 (mail) (www):
Here's the New York Times on Joe Biden's multiple, repeated instance of plagiarism:

* * *

"Senator Joseph Biden's repeated lifting of language from other people's oratory, and allegations that he plagiarized while in law school, remain troubling and mystifying...

Senator Joseph Biden's repeated lifting of language from other people's oratory, and allegations that he plagiarized while in law school, remain troubling and mystifying...

As generations of teachers keep saying, plagiarism is theft. Considering their content, the Biden speeches sound like grand larceny. For instance, in a California speech last February, Senator Biden adopted almost word for word what Robert Kennedy said in 1968 about the gross national product: ''It doesn't measure the beauty of our poetry, the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debates, the integrity of our public officials.'' (Emphasis supplied.) Lifting that language trashes the very values he was urging.

What makes Senator Biden's behavior mystifying is recklessness. It's one thing to misappropriate someone else's words. It's another to take passages so clearly someone else's that you're likely to get caught. That's true of the Kennedy quotes and even more so of the Senator's abundant lifts of highly personal thoughts about ancestry from Neil Kinnock, the British Labor Party leader....

The misappropriations are troubling for another reason. Hackneyed political oratory gives voters one measure. But Mr. Biden claims to be a candidate with something to say and asks to be measured by that standard. By passing off the words of Neil Kinnock or Robert Kennedy or Hubert Humphrey as his own he deprives voters of his thoughts and his words. His message, counterfeit, clanks...

* * *

Here's more on Joe Biden's history of repeated plagiarism from the New York Times.
10.27.2008 2:35am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Some interesting facts about Cherokee county NC, where Rudolph survived for five years with "help from sympathetic local residents:" the black population is 1.8% (22% for NC overall). College degrees: 11% (23%). Median value of a housing unit in 2000: $86k ($108k).

Median household income, 2005: $31k ($41k).

Number of churches listed on the county web site: 67. Number of synagogues: 0. Number of mosques: 0.

Bush's victory margin in 2004: 34% (12%). Think McCain/Palin is going to win this county? You betcha!

Here are the words that Palin said a few days ago in North Carolina:

We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America … Being here with all of you hard-working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans.


Is she talking about "the kindness and the goodness and the courage" displayed by the citizens of Murphy, NC, who apparently kept Eric Rudolph hidden and alive for five years while the FBI was looking for him? Because if you kill people with a bomb, that's only "unacceptable" if your victims are "innocent," right?
10.27.2008 2:41am
Randy R. (mail):
Metro: "1. What is the moral difference, if any, between Bill Ayers and the 19 young men who perpetrated 9/11? Apart from the fact that the latter were far more succesful than the former, is there any moral difference between the two?

2. Given Obama's associations with Ayers in the past -- which treated him like an honored citizen with something valuable to contribute to public policy, and this even after Ayers' infamous interview with the NY Times published on 9/11 -- how can Obama bring any moral authority as President of the United States to the War on Terror?"

Yes, I'm sure Biden would be speechless at such a TOUGH question. Then he would break into tears, fall down to his knees and beg for forgiveness, now that your question clearly shows him the error of his ways.

On Barbara West: If she doesn't want information used against her, then perhaps she should rethink putting it up on her friggin WEBSITE!
10.27.2008 2:41am
Randy R. (mail):
Jukeboxgrad: "Falwell essentially said that gays deserve to die. This is a form of moral support to Rudolph."

No, it's actually much worse than you think, J. Studies have been conducted upon people who murdered gay people and are now behind bars, many on death row. (Frontline did a terrific doc on this several years ago, and I taped it). Many of these men (always men) killed gay people because they believed that they were doing 'God's work.' Where did they get the notion that killing gays is a good thing? From their religion, which often taught them that gays are not natural, hated by God, a plague upon humankind, etc.

Once convicted, about half have expressed remorse over killing a person because they are gay. But chillingly, about half have no remorse at all, and indicated that they would kill a gay person again if given the chance. All of them cite religion as the excuse for their actions.

Can the blame for the murders be laid at the feet of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and countless other ministers? (Not to mention other forms of violence against gays) I don't think so. I believe every person is accountable for their actions, and they should know right from wrong. But on the other hand, we can certainly blame these guys for creating a hostile environment in the first place.

In Washington, we have seen an alarming number of attacks against gay people recently, and a few have died from their injuries. One would think that we can find ways to reduce violence against any people for any reason, and one way would be by lowering the rhetoric against gays.
10.27.2008 2:49am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Many of these men (always men) killed gay people because they believed that they were doing 'God's work.'


Rudolph clearly believes that he was doing 'God's work.' And there are many indications that more than a trivial number of people support him. One indication is that he survived in the woods for five years, even though the FBI was offering an award of a million dollars. Another indication is the number of statements that can be found expressing support for him. ADL has a nice collection here. Stuff like this:

Babykilling Abortion Nurse Emily Lyons got a taste of her own medicine …

If there were "more Erich [sic] Rudolphs, Timothy McVeighs, Benjamin Smiths and Buford Furrows in America, we'd have a much nicer place to live."
10.27.2008 3:06am
first history:
jukeboxgrad:

Re: Rudolph's terrorism. No argument from me--my point was that Palin contradicts the FBI definition of terrorism, finding abortion clinic bombings merely "unacceptable" though under the FBI's definition they clearly are. In fact, I like your posts, since you link to sources, unlike many here who merely make assertions.

Keep up the good work!
10.27.2008 3:13am
first history:
metro1:

Re: Biden's plagerism: Again, is this a BIG ISSUE (as you asserted earlier), relative to the economy, the war, health care, etc. or is it someone's personal pecadillo? And as you note by linking to a 1987 NYT article, it's old news. Yawn.

Given the stakes of this election, I am sure the Republic will survive.
10.27.2008 3:23am
Tom Perkins (mail):
I'm sure it will be claimed this is confirmation bias, but yes, Obama is a socialist.

The questions were perfectly fair. The station is being punished because the answers to the questions, if honestly made, would show Obama is a socialist, and because Biden and Obama can't make a false denial that won't be seen as an evasion.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.27.2008 7:30am
Bored Lawyer:

Yes, I'm sure Biden would be speechless at such a TOUGH question. Then he would break into tears, fall down to his knees and beg for forgiveness, now that your question clearly shows him the error of his ways.


No, I am sure that Biden would figure out a slick way to weasel out of answering the question.

Now that you have given the snarky answer, care to try your hand at a serious answer?
10.27.2008 9:03am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
first:

No argument from me


I understand. I should have made it clear that I was just adding support to what you already said.

Thanks for the kind words.
10.27.2008 9:34am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
perkins:

I'm sure it will be claimed this is confirmation bias


Not just that. It will also be claimed that you posted a bad link, and you posted in the wrong thread. There's another thread on that subject.
10.27.2008 9:34am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Another thought about Murphy NC. Imagine that the FBI spent 5 years chasing a Muslim terrorist inside the US. Then he's found, and the FBI says that a Muslim community had apparently been helping him hide. Imagine that Obama later visits that area and calls it the "best" part of America, "the real America."

Can you picture the outrage? Rush and Sean would be jumping out of their skin. Drudge would be running a triple siren. Every hour, McCain would release a new web video juxtaposing Obama's words with pictures of terrorism victims.

Like I said: IOKIYAR.
10.27.2008 9:35am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bored:

Now that you have given the snarky answer, care to try your hand at a serious answer?


Now that you have given the snarky answer, care to try your hand at a serious answer? I showed that your claims about what Palin said are flat wrong.
10.27.2008 9:35am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"Palin refused to call Rudolph a "terrorist"

and:

"Brian Williams used the phrase "abortion clinic bomber." Those words are essentially a synonym for "Eric Rudolph." Do a google on those words, and you'll get a bunch of links about him."

This isn't about google. It's about making a clear delineation between what Brian Williams asked and what you state Palin refused to say. There's a difference between the two. Palin was asked about an abortion clinic bomber, and when I search google, I found several names of people who bombed abortion clinics.

You hold VC posters to posting accurate information with citations when they are making representations as fact, and I applaud that. Understand that some VC posters will endeavor to hold you to that same standard.
10.27.2008 9:37am
Bored Lawyer:
JukeBox:

Let me repeat, the sum total of your answer is the proverbial "So's Your Mother." Your only defense of Obama is to try to show Palin is just as bad -- mainly by twisting her words out of context, and making dubious attacks on Jerry Falwell.

But I won't play that game. My question stands: can you defend Obama's moral standing to combat terrorism without referencing anyone on the right (Palin, McCain, Falwell, etc.) From what I see here, the short answer is: NO.
10.27.2008 11:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

when I search google, I found several names of people who bombed abortion clinics


Please consider these two statements:

A) Eric Rudolph is a terrorist.
B) Someone who bombs an abortion clinic is a terrorist.

There is no meaningful difference between those two statements. Palin was handed an opportunity to say A, B or both. She very pointedly chose to say neither. That's what matters.

As usual, you're missing the point by focusing on a very minor feature of the situation. I think your complaint is that I accused Palin of refusing to say A, instead of accusing her of refusing to say B. What difference does it make? Her "moral cowardice" is the same, either way.

Understand that some VC posters will endeavor to hold you to that same standard.


You're doing a nice job of proving that you can't find any non-trivial problems with the statements that I've made. You're also doing a nice of proving that you have hard time recognizing the difference between a trivial issue and a substantive one.

Rick Moran has a long track record as a righty blogger. I'm comfortable with his description of the matter, even though your trivial complaint also applies to what was said by him:

…she is parsing the definition of terrorism so as not to offend that small, but vocal part of the conservative base who may not see clinic bombers as heroes, but refuse to place their actions in a a moral context that equates the tactics of the jihadis with the Eric Rudolphs of the world.
10.27.2008 1:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bored:

mainly by twisting her words out of context


The one who is "twisting her words out of context" is you. According to you, she said this:

bombing abortion clinics was unacceptable


Really? Show us where she said that. Are you really claiming that she views abortionists as "innocent?"

And explain why it's OK with you that she refused to call it a form of terrorism, even though Gonzales and Ashcroft described it that way. Then again, maybe it's OK with you that she literally doesn't understand the meaning of the word "terrorism." Choose your poison.
10.27.2008 1:26pm
Bored Lawyer:

My question stands: can you defend Obama's moral standing to combat terrorism without referencing anyone on the right (Palin, McCain, Falwell, etc.) From what I see here, the short answer is: NO.


Jukebox, still waiting for a response.
10.27.2008 1:39pm
Bored Lawyer:
Incidentally, the law which applies more directly to those who bomb abortion clinics is the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act. That law provides for criminal and civil penalties for those who use force and intimdiation to block access to reproductive health clinics, including up to 10 years imprisonment for acts which result in bodily injury and life imprisonment for acts which result in death.

So an abortion bomber could be prosecuted under this law and receive heavy punishment without being labelled a "terrorist," although I would agree that in most instances the person is a terrorist.
10.27.2008 1:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
can you defend Obama's moral standing to combat terrorism


Yes. There is no basis to question "Obama's moral standing to combat terrorism." There are plenty of people besides Obama who have treated Ayers "like an honored citizen with something valuable to contribute to public policy."

You should tell us how you feel about Mark Sanford, the Republican governor of South Carolina. He serves as the Ex-Officio Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of South Carolina, where Ayers holds the title of "Distinguished Scholar." We haven't heard a peep out of Sanford, condemning Ayers, and condemning the decision to grant him this title. I wonder why. Maybe you should consider the possibility that it's because Ayers has actually done some good things.

In 1997 Ayers won Chicago's "Citizen of the Year" award. So the third-largest city in the country is obviously a hotbed of radicalism.

What is the moral difference, if any, between Bill Ayers and the 19 young men who perpetrated 9/11?


There are many differences. Here's one. WUO made efforts to evacuate their targets, so that only property, not people, would be damaged. Accordingly, no one has ever proved that they hurt anyone (other than themselves).

Let us know when you're ready to start answering the questions you've been ducking.
10.27.2008 1:50pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"You're doing a nice job of proving that you can't find any non-trivial problems with the statements that I've made. You're also doing a nice of proving that you have hard time recognizing the difference between a trivial issue and a substantive one."

No, I'm trying to help you be more accurate in the statements you make on VC. Again, if you're going to hold people to certain standards about the issues they discuss on VC, that may also happen to your discussion of the issues.
10.27.2008 3:29pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"Rick Moran has a long track record as a righty blogger. I'm comfortable with his description of the matter, even though your trivial complaint also applies to what was said by him"

You seem to be saying that because a "righty" blogger wrote something it adds an air of legitimacy to what you wrote. I'm more interested in what you say on the matter. You don't have to figuratively point to Rick Moran's opinion on a topic, and jumping up and down, explain "See! See! He thinks the way I do!"
10.27.2008 3:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

if you're going to hold people to certain standards about the issues they discuss on VC


It would be good if you could show an example of me raising a complaint about anyone, anywhere, with regard to something as trivial as the complaints you're raising.
10.27.2008 4:27pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bored:

an abortion bomber could be prosecuted under this law and receive heavy punishment without being labelled a "terrorist"


Rudolph is an abortion bomber. Gonzales, Ashcroft and Freeh all said he was a terrorist. Why wasn't Palin willing to say it?
10.27.2008 4:28pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"It would be good if you could show an example of me raising a complaint about anyone, anywhere, with regard to something as trivial as the complaints you're raising."

It appears this is your way of saying you don't have to be accurate in what you post because you consider it trivial. I believe you writing "Palin refused to call Rudolph a 'terrorist'" is more than trivial because it was one of the central themes to your post. We'll agree to disagree.
10.27.2008 5:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I believe you writing "Palin refused to call Rudolph a 'terrorist'" is more than trivial because it was one of the central themes to your post.


That sentence was indeed 'the central theme of my post,' but the fact that I said "Eric Rudolph" instead of "abortion bomber" is completely immaterial.

You haven't even made a pretense of attempting to demonstrate that the distinction between the terms "Eric Rudolph" and "abortion bomber" is something other than utterly trivial (it's like Rove claiming it matters that he said "Wilson's wife" instead of "Valerie Plame"). For the purpose of Palin's interview, and the purpose of this discussion, the terms are interchangeable. The word for what you're doing is pedantic.
10.27.2008 5:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
"It appears this is your way of saying you don't have to be accurate in what you post because you consider it trivial. I believe you writing "Palin refused to call Rudolph a 'terrorist'" is more than trivial because it was one of the central themes to your post. "

Well, in jukeboxgrad's defense, I must say that even if what he raises is trivial, it really isn't. After all, Obama didn't wear a flag label pin for a while, and that had lots of people upset and kept whining. "Why does he hate America so much that he won't wear the flag?"

I also noticed that during the televised debates, Obama wore the flag, but McCain did not. Where was the outrage then?

Of course, there was none. Being trivial is okay for Republicans, but not for Democrats.
10.27.2008 7:14pm
Fury:
Randy R. writes:

"Of course, there was none. Being trivial is okay for Republicans, but not for Democrats."

When jukeboxgrad post items and represents them as fact, when they are not, I think that's a bit intellectually dishonest.

And I always thought the flag thing was a bunch of nonsense, you bring up a good example.
10.27.2008 7:35pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
first history:

If a candidate's (Biden's) honesty is not a "big issue" - I'm not sure what is. How can you rely on a candidate's promises to address any of the problems you list if he has a history of repeated plagiarism and dishonesty (as does Biden)?

I'd respectfully suggest that taking the position that a candidate's honesty is not a "big issue" will not win much support for your candidate or your Party.
10.27.2008 8:28pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

I think that's a bit intellectually dishonest


What's "intellectually dishonest" is pretending that there's any meaningful difference between the terms "Eric Rudolph" and "abortion bomber."
10.27.2008 9:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
metro:

I'd respectfully suggest that taking the position that a candidate's honesty is not a "big issue" will not win much support for your candidate or your Party.


I'd respectfully suggest that making a big fuss about "honesty" is not going to get you very far. It's incredibly easy to find Republicans pointing out what a "politically opportunistic liar" McCain is. And Palin is creating a very similar track record for herself.
10.27.2008 9:00pm
Fury:
We'll agree to disagree jukeboxgrad, but that's why I like VC, as many different viewpoints are found here.
10.27.2008 11:57pm
first history:
metro1:

If a candidate's (Biden's) honesty is not a "big issue" - I'm not sure what is. How can you rely on a candidate's promises to address any of the problems you list if he has a history of repeated plagiarism and dishonesty (as does Biden)?

I think it is a matter of degree and seriousness. There is a light-years worth of difference between Biden's 40-year old laws school plagiarism/quoting out of context/non-attributions in speeches than, say, Richard Nixon's subversion of the Constitution or LBJ's lies about Tonkin Gulf.

I don't consider plagiarism to be dishonesty on the scale as a perjurer. Yes, it's something you shouldn't due but it certainly is forgivable. Biden certainly has not cashed in his office, like many of his Senate colleagues (current Presidential candidates excepted, of course. Besides, Biden isn't running for President; when the President tells the VP to jump, he/she responds "how high?" (unless you are the current VP, then the roles are reversed.)

If this is the best you can do about Biden's "dishonesty," that's pretty weak.
10.28.2008 1:21am
Michael B (mail):
Another perspective and contrast can be seen in how prominent bloggers opine upon the election, there's PJMedia's Fred Thompson's commentary, then there's Andrew Sullivan's MILF themed commentary that recently appeared on youTube.

The preponderance of the national MSM is one reflection of the bullshit and mephitis in general that has passed for reporting this election cycle. Prominent bloggers present another contrast. Yet a local news reporter's tendentiousness is called out as reflecting "the most tendentious ... I have ever seen."

Priorities and perspective. Amusing and revealing.

"So, Michael, what specifically are you implying about David Berstein's "priorities and perspective" and what about them is "amusing" and/or "revealing"?" JosephSlater

The comment, following the links, speaks for itself. Simply put, it presents a study in contrasts in terms of how evidence is taken note of, weighed, assessed - or, elided or dismissed or rationalized away. In terms of what it reflects for any one individual, who's to say? But in general terms, it certainly reflects something about how the empirical, rational, intuitive, etc. evidence is approached and then dealt with in more definitive terms.
10.28.2008 2:16pm