The most anticipated vice presidential debate in history is over. Many of us watched it like we would watch a car race, just waiting for someone to crash and burn. Well neither Biden or Palin crashed, but she did swerve onto the infield grass a few times and managed to get back on track without crashing. She did, however, end up losing the race. Some say by only a few car lengths, but I say she got lapped. I say that because Biden blew her away in three key areas: foreign policy, health care, and the role of the vice president.
If you weren’t able to watch the debate live, you can watch it at your leisure on several news sites. I recommend the New York Times site because they run a transcript right along side the video.
Palin supporters probably thought this was one of her best moments:
PALIN: Oh, yeah, it’s so obvious I’m a Washington outsider. And someone just not used to the way you guys operate. Because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war. You’re one who says, as so many politicians do, I was for it before I was against it or vice- versa. Americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for it, tell us why you voted for it and it was a war resolution.
That statement standing alone is what they like about her – that she really is an outsider and she presents herself as an agent of reform. But her charge against Biden was ridiculous. Did she even hear what Biden said about his Iraq war vote just minutes earlier?
BIDEN: With regard to Iraq, I indicated it would be a mistake to — I gave the president the power. I voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted.
I, along with Dick Lugar, before we went to war, said if we were to go to war without our allies, without the kind of support we need, we’d be there for a decade and it’d cost us tens of billions of dollars. John McCain said, no, it was going to be OK.
Is that not an explanation?
Both candidates stretched and shaded the truth, and you can read all about that here.
There’s one falsehood that both Palin and McCain continue to bring up that I think is extremely important for the Democrats to rebut:
Palin: Castigated Obama’s health-care plan as one that would mandate a “universal government-run” system in which health care is “taken over” by the federal government.
The facts: This is inaccurate on several levels. Obama’s proposal includes an option for people to choose a new public plan with benefits similar to those that members of Congress and other federal employees have. It also includes an expansion of Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but it is not at all exclusively government-run. His plan also mandates only that children, not adults, have coverage.
Note to Obama and Biden: You have been good at pointing out the many bad aspects of McCain’s health-care plan, but you have not been good at all about explaining your own.
What Palin said in the debate was a gross distortion of Obama’s plan. She and McCain describe it as a government takeover because they want to scare people who fear socialized medicine into voting for them and McCain’s ill-conceived plan to fix health-care through a combination of tax breaks and free market competition. (Read the transcript for Biden’s excellent critique of this plan.)
Obama’s plan is not anything close to socialized medicine. It’s not even socialized insurance. It’s a hybrid of private and federal insurance with incentives for everyone to buy in. People need to know this. They need to know how it works and what makes it superior to McCain’s plan, so please PLEASE offer up a clear an concise summary of your plan in the next debate.