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Hullabaloo


Friday, October 12, 2012

 
Master Debaters

by digby

I've been struggling to come up with something interesting to say about last night's debate, but I've got nothing. It was fun to watch because I hate Paul Ryan and I enjoyed the contempt and incredulity Biden showed him and his word salad. (Why people assume this guy speaks inscrutably because he has a deep command of the facts eludes me.) What's not to like?

The Republicans are predictably having a case of the vapors over that horrible Joe Biden's terrible manners, which is hilarious from the people who had no problem with Newt Gingrich browbeating the moderators to their faces or audience members screaming out "yeah!" when Wolf Blitzer asking if people who don't have insurance should die. To hear them go on today, fainting couches have sold out all over the country.

I have one little piece of advice for what these delicate Republicans should do when confronted with a Democrat who behaves aggressively:



I thought Raddatz was much better than Lehrer, but so what? She ended the debate with a couple of vapid questions that would have made Barbara Walters cringe. The one asking about these two middle aged men's feeling on abortion from a personal perspective really floored me. Ryan took her seriously and talked about his experience looking at an ultrasound and said that his opposition to abortion stemmed from the "scientific" observation of the "bean" in his wife's uterus as much as his Catholic religion. Wow.

Naturally, he is also far more concerned with an employer's freedom to impose his religious views on his employees than individual workers' freedom to use their compensation and benefits in any way they see fit. He is a Randian through and through and the parasites must be controlled.

Biden gave a good answer, which is the one that most liberal Catholics give, namely that he personally follows his Catholic religion's edicts but doesn't believe he should inflict his religious views on others. The "pro-choice" camp includes many people like him. It would be very nice if the President could make the case on the basis of liberty and personal autonomy, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ryan concluded his statement with this:

We don't think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.

Right. Women's neighbors, bosses and state legislators are the ones who should decide when and if she has children. For all of you states' rightists out there who think that basic human rights should be dependent on the superstitions and beliefs of the people who live between arbitrary lines on a map, this will be good news.

Me, I'm just an old fashioned American who believes the individual is far better placed to make such personal and intimate decisions.


As for the rest of the debate, I agree with what C.A. Rottwang writes in an email:

I thought Biden forced some key admissions that ought to have some sustained impact on the campaign. These of course are preserved for all to see:

Romney/Ryan are warlike. They are soft on getting out of Afghanistan, eager to involve the U.S. in risky adventures in Iran and Syria. Relatively speaking, Biden was the peace candidate in a national political climate that is tired of the pushes in the ME.

R/R are ready to outlaw abortion. As others have said, this could have been hammered a bit more, but it's out there.

R/R are hypocrites on spending and the deficit (WI earmarks, votes for wars, Medicare Part D).

R/R have now established their refusal to specify a tax plan as a principle. I think the D's should say they simply have no plan. There is no there there.

R/R are the party that has always hated Medicare and SS, and still want to privatize it. Ryan did not back down from the latter, toxic formulation.

That last is extremely important, I think. And Biden summarized it very well: "Folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this?" Anyone over the age of 40 knows that the Republicans want to privatize Social Security and Medicare. They know this because they've proposed it over and over again. Appealing to gut-level common sense on this is very smart politics.

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