Archive for the ‘Joe Biden’ Category

As an underdog, Gov. Sarah Palin scores beyond expectation

October 3, 2008

After the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin vice-presidential debate in Missouri on Friday October 2, 2008, the two parties had both claims on who won. As usual, the hardliners among the Democratic and Republican supporters had their respective clear winners heating up the presidential race towards its conclusion in November.

Millions of eager viewers were riveted on the young underdog Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and the more experienced Sen. Joe Biden (D) whose exchanges were moderated by Gwen Ifill, PBS anchorwoman. Ifill’s suitability to preside in the debate was at the late hour questioned because of an allegation of conflict of interest arising from her forthcoming book on Sen. Barack Obama. (see blog entitled “Media bias &/or conflict of interest,” October 2, 2008)

In my opinion, Palin performed far better than expected after being heavily criticized to a point of unfair ridicule by the media for her alleged inadequacy as a vice-presidential candidate. There were no outstanding gaffes that could embarrass any of the candidates. Both Biden and Palin performed very well. But Palin certainly won points that weren’t expected of her.

Facing Biden, a spirited debater who certainly displayed clear grasp and knowledge about politics in Washington, Palin was able to cut across her ideas with the public as an ordinary American who talked straight into the minds of the viewers. Presenting herself as a young governor of Alaska, she stood her ground on a wide range of issues which include the economy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and education. As a newcomer, Palin was less exhaustive (but definitely not lacking of substance) compared to Biden’s detailed exposition of facts. This is expected in a time-pressured contest which made the audience wonder if Biden was accurate in all that he said.

Palin has once again changed the dynamics of this campaign. With her down-to-earth relaxed talk which resonates in the American heartland, she clearly has given new life to Sen. John McCain’s (R) campaign which has suffered setbacks as a result the economic crisis rocking the nation. Because the biased liberal media tend to side with the Democrats, NBC News analyst Chuck Todd disparagingly says the debate doesn’t matter and will be forgotten easily. I don’t agree.

The absence of train wrecks led some pundits to wonder whether the contest, probably the most anticipated vice presidential debate in history, will quickly be forgotten.

“You’re not going to see this debate have much of an effect on this race. This probably won’t live much beyond a 24-hour period.”—NBC News analyst Chuck Todd. Yahoo.News/AP (010/3/08, Bauder,D.)

The score of the campaign will certainly show some correction in the next few days as the effects of the debate seep their way into the polls. Had the debate turned differently, Sen. Barack Obama (D) would be keeping a far bigger lead at this point of this extraordinary presidential race. (Photo Credits: Cordeman; Don Ermmert/Pool/Reuters; AP) =0=

Media bias &/or conflict of interest?

October 1, 2008

Gwen Ifill of PBS (Channel 13) has drawn sharp criticisms from concervatives for accepting the job of a moderator during the vice presidential debate of Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin slated on Friday, October 2, 2008. The veteran black anchorwoman didn’t reveal ahead of time that she has a pro-Obama book entitled “‘The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” coming out in January 2008 in time for the next presidential inauguration.

This raises the question of media bias, objectivity, and conflict of interest that are at the root of the weakening media credibility. In this age of political partisanship, the American public believes the selection of reliable debate moderators must be done with care.

If Obama wins the election, Ifill will have high financial stakes on the sale of her book. With no shortage of people capable to preside in the debate, Iffil, the contending political parties, and the American public will be better served if she withdraws. It will clear doubts surrounding her suitability as the moderator. =0=

The craziness in the US presidential campaign

September 18, 2008

Truly, there is craziness going on in the US presidential race that baffles the mind. Forty-seven days (47) days before the election, the presidential race is still a tie. A contest which is expected to be handily won by the Democrats who punch on the current administration has become a fierce battle giving the Republicans a good chance to win. Let me offer clues as to why Americans appear to have “short memories” like the Filipinos. I will let you decide.

1. The frustration of the Americans over politics crosses beyond party lines. Both the Republicans and Democrats have made errors in their decisions. They have blame to share The undecided voters can’t easily align in any of them. Many criticize Pres. George Bush, but the public also complains against the “do-nothing” Congress (dominated by Democrats) whose public approval rating is less than half of poor satisfaction rating of Pres. George W. Bush hyped by the media.

2. There are Democrats who believe they committed a strategic mistake in choosing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. With a strong political base, Hillary, much more experienced than Obama is thought to be a better and wiser choice. The inexperienced, but articulate Obama has little to offer other than the promises voters have heard since the start. Rejecting Hillary who has good counsel from Pres. Bill Clinton, Obama raises questions on his capacity to decide at “3 o’clock AM” once he becomes president. If Obama chose Hillary as his running mate, his chance of winning is better. Hillary carries a wide gender vote which can counter-balance the popularity of Sarah Palin.

3. The issues at stake in the presidential election are many. Topping the list are the economy, healthcare, social security, taxation, education, illegal immigration, religion, abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, war against terrorism, homeland security. These issues confuse a lot of voters. There are those who decide on a candidate based on one or two of these (not all.) A large number rely on their gut feeling in choosing their candidate.

4. The public is aware of biased information spread around by the media. Newspapers, TV, cable, radio, internet and other media are dominated by left-leaning, secular, anti-Bush, anti-Republican and anti-American personalities. Fighting against conservatism, these partisan liberals are more interested to advance their beliefs rather than be fair and balanced.

5. The liberals and secular progressive have substantial support from movie stars, comedians and teachers in the academe. It is mainly from them that the world forms its perceptions about America. Harboring anti-American sentiments, the outside world can easily get the mindset of those in the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, and CBS just as the Arab world gets the mindset of Al Jazeera. Manipulation of information to suite an agenda is evident.

6. The conservatives and religious right who generally identify with the Republicans pose a “traditional” way of looking at things that many Americans can’t easily brush aside. Liberal Democrats have a hard time convincing a large portion of America to embrace socialism (vs. capitalism,) abortion, gay marriage, illegal migration, a welfare state, and cynicism against religion.

7. The longer Obama and McCain stay on the campaign trail, the stronger the public doubts Obama. This has been suggested by the polls which show a neck-and-neck competition up to this point. If Americans believe Obama is truly fit to be president, by this time, he could have a huge headway over McCain. With a wide support from the media, he should win hands down. Yet, it hasn’tt happened. Obama can have the financial crisis on his side, but he has to convince the public that he can solve it. The doubt on his leadership remains an obstacle he must overcome.

8. Personal attacks between candidates have been hurled on both sides. But the irrationality, intensity, and number of venomous blows by Democrats against Sarah Palin make her more popular. This worries a lot of Democrats. Earlier in the campaign they are very confident winning over the Republicans, not until Palin enters the race. According to a recent poll, the negative advertisement of the Obama campaign is far more than in the McCain’s.

9. A clearer understanding of platforms is emerging. Obama’s plan looks very good at first glance, but as Americans get closer, a different picture emerges. The public isn’t quite ready to elect a government that is too liberal without a counterbalance from moderates and conservatives. ( See the comparison of Obama-McCain platforms I posted earlier in the blog)

10. Americans compare reality with what both parties tell them. There are exaggerations that do not escape the attention of the electorate. Some issues ascribed against a candidate may not necessarily his own doing. He can only be guilty by association, but not of fact. While USA admits to heavy problems to tackle, it isn’t as bad as Zimbabwe or Somalia as some politicians make them look. The race divide, poverty, conflict between social classes, joblessness, pessimism, and despair in America aren’t that dire. Yes, the problems are bad, but that’s so easy to understand if one comes from a Third World country. =0=

Sen. Barack Obama gets a match in Gov. Sarah Palin

September 2, 2008

Soon after the Sen. John McCain announced his vice presidential running mate in the coming US elections, Americans turned their focus to a dark horse from Alaska, a 44 year old woman of understated fame who was brave enough to bring her fifth pregnancy to term which she knew had Down’s Syndrome (aka Mongolism, Trisomy 21 .) With a laudable reputation of cutting down corruption in her jurisdiction, Palin appeared to be a remarkable counterbalance to McCain’s moderate stance, a complement to his wide experience and advance age.

A mother of 5 children who enjoys fishing and hunting with her husband and eats mooseburger, Palin is a fighter against interest groups. Her conservative opposition to abortion and gay marriage is diametrically against Sen. Barack Obama’s liberal proclivities. She favors gun rights, capital punishment, sexual abstinence, and oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR.)

Criticized for her inexperience and being young like Obama, Palin has a longer hands-on experience in politics than Obama, having started as a two-term Wasilla mayor commencing in 1992 and then later as the youngest governor of Alaska in 2006 who defeated incumbent Republican Frank Murkowski in the primary and former Democrat governor Tom Knowles in the general election

Being governor, Palin has more latitude in decision-making which affects the day-to-day lives of her constituents compared to Obama, a Harvard-educated senator from Illinois elected on 2004 who often handles more focused duties in legislative committee away from his constituents. Strong in vision and promises, Obama, a staunch critic of Pres. George Bush’s Iraq policy and a proponent of universal healthcare is relatively a blank slate that perturbs the undecided voters.

Obama’s godly persona and redemptive “message of change” for America which attract young voters and many liberal Hollywood stars match the beauty and intelligence of Palin, a former Miss Alaska finalist and basketball guard with a plebeian family background. While the Obama breaks the glass ceiling of being the first Afro-American candidate, she carries the distinction of being the first woman ever nominated as veep in the GOP ticket.

As November 4 winds up, the undecided segment of voting public is on watch for the factor that will make them choose. With multiplicity of issues to consider, they have a lot to learn about the candidates. Campaigners from both sides of the political aisle scramble for the pros and cons of candidates to sway for votes.

It remains to be seen whether Palin, a “non-denominational” Christian of Pentecostal background will continue to chip away the loyal supporters left by Democrat Hillary Clinton away from Obama and his veep running mate John Biden to the side of the Republicans, Vetted by hard-hitting Democrats who snipe on Palin’s 17-year old pregnant daughter, the Republicans put their bets on Palin—hoping that no major surprise would come up to tarnish her name. =0=

Choosing the right US Vice President

August 22, 2008

As the November 4, 2008 US presidential election closes in, the Democratic and Republican parties are at high pitch to choose the best vice president nominees to support the candidacy of Barack Obama and John McCain respectively. The idea of having a vice president can be as simple as the reason why there’s the first runner-up in the Miss Universe contest. When the president becomes incapacitated or dies, it’s the vice president who takes over.

A death of the president occurred during the Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s term and Harry Truman, the vice president of 82 days took over. When Pres. John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 in Texas, vice president Lyndon Johnson ascended as the president. After Pres. Richard Nixon’s resignation in August 9, 1974 on the wake of the Watergate scandal, it paved way to President Gerald Ford to assume the duties of the presidency.

In the last administrations, vice presidents are more active in policy administration than their earlier counterparts. They usually work behind the scene without much glare as the president takes in his position. Al Gore, the vice president of Bill Clinton had a substantial role in defining the environmental policy during their tenure. In the Pres. George W. Bush’s administration, it’s Dick Cheney who silently held sway in foreign policies and the wars of the Iraq and Afghanistan.

As of August 22, 2008, Barack Obama said he has chosen his democratic vice presidential nominee. Delaware’s Sen. Joe Biden, NY’s Sen. Hillary Clinton, Virginia’s Gov. Tim Kaine, Texas’ Rep. Chet Edwards, and Indiana’s Sen. Evan Bayh are likely possibilities. Among them, Hillary with large voting following is thought to be the best to help Obama get elected.

On the opposite side of the political aisle, John McCain on the other hand has a choice in former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon with strong credentials in business and economy vetted by political analysts. Considered with Romney in the Republican camp are Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Homeland Security Head Tom Ridge.

Whoever is the choice in both the Republican and Democratic parties, the veep pick has the capacity to influence the outcome of the presidential race. A choice with strong exposure in foreign policy like Biden could help the young Barack Obama who has a vision of change, but lacks validation of experience. On the other hand, John McCain from Arizona with a solid track record of public service will be helped by a nominee that’s away from his home base— like Romney who’s from the Northeast. Therefore, the choice for vice president considers the maximum votes the party can get for the party to win and help in the governance once the US president is elected. =0=

Breaking News: Democrat Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is announced on August 23, 2008 as Barack Obama’s vice presidential nominee.