16 August 2008

Live Blogging Rick Warren Saddleback Pander Fest 08 . . .

(all times PDT)


Really, Rick Warren gets access to the candidates? I prefer a purposeless life, personally (driven, or not).

5:01pm --- Cone of silence jokes, hah-hah-hah-hah-hah. Rick Warren loves everyone, everyone is his friend, and we must be civil with each other. Ahhhh, civility, I wonder how civil Lincoln and Douglas were with each other?

5:03pm --- Obama gets asked who the 3 wisest people he's met. So far, Obama's not answering the question, instead just talking about how his wife bust his balls and how he loves and admires his racist grandmother. Obama continues to not answer the question, he's pandering to the idea of he'll listen to folks from both sides of the aisle. Obama's answer is a bit facetious if you ask me (and full of feces)

5:06pm --- Greatest moral failure personally, and nationally is the question. The answer, I was a selfish and callow youth, and I bet he ignores the other half of the question, wait and see (like how he slipped in a 'doing God's work' line), ohhhh, he quotes Matthew (doesn't say what chapter:verse, though), all about doing for the least. In other words, we aren't Marxist enough.

5:09pm --- Ouch, when have you not been a party aparatchik he's asked (though not in those words). His answer, McCain-Feingold. Uggghhhh!!! That piece of crap legislation was a disaster, a terrible affront to the 1st amendment, and has proven to be as bad as it seemed to begin with. He also goes on to claim he was being brave by opposing the 2003 Iraq invasion while he was in the Illinois State Senate. Yeah, whatever. Now he's asked about what he believed a decade ago that he now has changed his mind about. Welfare reform, he's stating (though that was more like 14 years ago), he's saying work has to be part of his Marxist reforms. Asked gutwrenching decision, again he goes back to Iraq War opposition. He's convinced he knew better than the people who knew better, he's claiming that being on the opposite side of most of the people who knew better wasn't cause he was an uninformed idiot, but because he was prescient and prematurely wise. I suppose being wrong about the surge, but pleased with the outcome is completely different. (time for commercials)

5:19pm --- Worldview/Minefield section. Christ, what's he mean to you? Obama- pablum, pander, pablum, 'I don't walk alone', Jesus is my co-pilot, I guess. Ummm, ahhh, Obama's a bit of a slow talker, I guess he's being thhhhhhhooooooooouuuuuuggggghhhhhttttttffffuuuuuulllllll.

5:21pm --- Now the tough ones, Abortion, 40,000,000 since Roe v Wade, when is a baby a baby? Ummm, ahhh, I can't say, cause I am The One, and The One can't say what he thinks, but he feels your pain, and it is a moral and ethical choice, but he's not going to make that choice for anyone cause being pro-choice means it's up to women, and no woman is going to just wantonly kill a baby/fetus. Still dodging the question basically, now he's going to the legal-but infrequent dodge. He respects those pro-life nuts, those absolutist nuts can't be argued with, but he still wants to work with them to lower the number of abortions, by giving women more 'resources'.

5:25pm --- Marriage is between a man and a woman, and is also sacred, but it shouldn't be codified in law as such. Civil Unions, not marriage for same sex couples. Another dodge, basically. On to stem cells and federal funding for embryonic stem cells. He wants them, but only existing lines, no embryo factories (but he doesn't specifically rule it out, instead talks about no cloning and the sacredness of human life, wait he finally in the end says no embryo factories). Evil, real or not? Yes, evil exists, in Darfur, in our cities (sadly), in bad parents, (I guess we need to pump more dough into the inner cities, and maybe the state should intervene more agressively with families). But let's confront evil with humility, sounds like he's implying that the Iraq War was an evil result from good intentions.

5:30pm --- Who in the Supreme Court would you NOT have nominated? He answers, Clarence Thomas, suggests he was purely an affirmative action hire, also mentions Scalia for ideological reasons, and dodges when Warren asks about Roberts, still waiting for an answer, oohhh, he says he was right to vote against confirmation. Well, that's ridiculous. As is his answer about Thomas, Thomas was more than qualified, and he's been an excellent jurist, so what if he chooses to hold his tongue?

5:33pm --- Faith based initiatives, should they be forced to hire anyone if they want federal money? Obama begins saying how wonderful they are, maybe he'll get around to answering the question, when it comes to federal programs churches must be non-discriminatory. Sensible answer, really, can't say anything snarky about this answer.

5:36pm --- Education. #1 in incarceration, #19 in graduation (woohoo!! USA, USA, USA!!!) Merit Pay? Yes, but only if the unions agree and manage the system, basically is his answer, and as always, they're underpaid because, that's always the answer, even though we already aren't getting much bang for our buck. Next, define Rich? Obama jokes, Rick Warren is rich bitch (heh, heh). $150,000 is middle class, Rick, claims in OC, that's poor. Obama suggests $250,000 is rich, bitch, and they should pay for everything, and I guess families below that should get a ride on their backs (though not exactly saying that). Brings in Iraq War for no good reason. He's 'balancing' our tax code, and he thinks it should be simpler, but he's never made specific suggestions on how it could be simplified, so basically more pablum and pandering. (commercial time again, time to check what Althouse has live-blogged about).

5:44pm --- And we're back. Only 15 minutes to go with Barack, the last section on America's responsibility in the world. Let's talk about War, what's worth dying for? American Freedom, American interests, Obama visited the Arizona while in Pearl, cause he's solemn, and caring, and not really answering the question. NATO is in our interest, but I guess not Georgia. What about genocide, Warren asks, and Obama answers, genocide, schmenocide, it all depends if the rest of the world gets on board or not, so basically it's up to the French and the Chinese and the Russians. Bosnia was OK, so his rule, when Dem prez intervene it's OK, when GOP prez do, it's wrong, (and I guess when Dem prez don't intervene like in Rwanda, that was the right idea, too).

5:47pm --- Orphans, does a bit of pandering to Warren, and commends Bush in that narrow policy area. Doesn't really say anything. Next question, religious persecution. Answer, bare witness, but be careful about it in cases like China. Basically he claims he'll follow what the Bush administration currently espouses (but he doesn't put it that way). Brings up habeas corpus and torture for no good reason other than that he realized he was agreeing with Bush on something, so he had to highlight a difference.

5:51pm --- Human trafficking, it's very, very bad. What else is there to say? (pander, pander, pablum, pablum, evidently, no specifics, or real policy suggestions).

5:53pm --- Wrapping up the Obama section of this panderfest, question, 'why do you want to be Prez', Obama's answer, cause we are slipping as a nation and politics is broken and The One will build bridges and solve problems with His superior common sense.

5:54pm --- Final question, 'Enough about you Obama, what about ME, Rick Warren?' Answer, of course it's good that you invited both of us to sit down and speak with you, cause the people are good, and the people are wonderful, and the people will decide wisely. With the real last question Warren asks, what should people know but don't want to hear, his answer, some Green pandering since he didn't get a chance to do it earlier, about how we must all pull together and sacrifice like we did in WWII (sounds great in theory, but in practice is he suggesting, price fixing, ration cards, nationalizing major industries like in WWII?)

5:59pm --- Obama thoughts (my own). He hemmed and hawed like he normally does when he doesn't have a prepared speech, and he wasn't exactly forthright with many of his answers, but he did get through it OK. Don't think he helped himself with his core supporters, and I don't know that he helped himself with this crowd.


6:01pm --- 3 Wisest? McCain answers Gen. David Petraeus, John Lewis a civil rights pioneer who stood up to bigotry and suffered physically in that struggle, and Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay. He actually answered the question directly, and with thought, and picked a soldier, a civil rights trailblazer, and an entrepreneur. Advantage McCain!!!

6:04pm --- The moral failure question, but this time Warren pre-faced it with a hint to the Edwards debacle. McCain's answer, my first marriage, for his personal failure, and for our national failure, not asking more of our own people, especially after 9/11, and avoiding stopping Rwanda, and McCain even uses the words 'a little pandering here', he quotes Warren back to Warren. Ohhh, that was good. Really good, both recognizing that this is pandering, but then to do it well. Advantage McCain.

6:06pm --- Positions you've taken where you've gone against party question. For McCain, that's pretty easy, isn't it (and they joke about that some)? McCain goes back to Lebanon, he opposed sending peacekeepers there (not because it was the wrong thing to do, but because we didn't go in full force). Advantage McCain.

6:08pm --- The Ten years question. Offshore drilling. Man, McCain has this pander thing down pat, plus he is succinct, yet informative (makes a Kallyfornia, Schwarzenegger joke on the issue), suggests that it's a matter of national security, which it damn well is. Dammit, I'm liking this McCain, I don't like liking him, he still sucks, but he sucks less than Obama so far. Brings up France, but that's my line, you bastard, he's been reading my blog I guess, Nuclear has to be part of the mix, and he's not afraid to say it. Advantage McCain.

6:11pm -- Gut wrenching decision question. Deciding to refuse to accept an early release from the POW camp, and he's happy he made that decision. Another answer/question that just makes Obama look like a lightweight dolt in comparison. Advantage McCain. (commercial time)

6:16pm --- minefield questions. Christianity? Saved, and forgiven, going back to Hanoi Hilton, describing his torture, tells a touching anecdote, his faith preserved him and he connected with one of his captors who was a fellow Christian. Advantage McCain.

6:19pm --- Abortion question. Conception is it, purely and only pro-life, no equivocation. Push (McCain is clearer, but I don't know that too many people are as absolute as he is). On to marriage, man and woman only, but it should be a state's choice, he's a federalist (though he could have fooled me all these years), suggests that agreements that aren't marriage are fine. Push again. Stem Cell question, he sees it as a dilemma, optimistic that this question will go away through science. Push again.

6:22pm --- Evil question. Yes, and it must be defeated, period. Gates of Hell again, he loves those Gates of Hell, and indeed Rodin's Gates of Hell are magnificent. Our troops can kicks evil's ass, and take names. Advantage McCain.

6:25pm --- The Supreme Court question. He names Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens, Breyer, suggests they've all have legislated from the bench, and he loves Alito and Roberts. Straightforward, looks pretty political though. Push (both McCain and Obama answered this question too politically for my taste).

6:28pm --- The faith-based and federal funds question. His answer, to paraphrase, money is fungible, and to create obstacles against these organizations from helping is bad for the country. Better answer than Obama, but it doesn't respect the separation of church and state, and so even if Obama was less coherent, his carefully parsed answer is probably more correct. Advantage Obama

6:29pm --- The schools question. Choice and Competition, dammit. HUGE advantage McCain (screw those teachers' unions)

6:31pm --- The define rich question. Rich isn't a matter of money, we should all be rich, we should all be prosperous, and penalizing entrepreneurs is wrong (damn straight!). $5,000,000, not $250,000 like Obama. And he's right. Low taxes will raise revenues, spending is the problem, not that the taxes are too low. Damn, McCain sounds like he's been reading my blog again, that's scary. Advantage McCain (let's hope he means it).

6:35pm --- BONUS QUESTION, when privacy and security collide, how do you measure which wins? Brings up the union secret ballot thing, mentions keeping up with the ability to communicate, so the laws must shift, too, and both sides should be able to work together without bickering on basic security.

6:40pm --- What's worth dying for question. Freedom. American security. Not much different answer from Obama, really, but the tone is very different, and seems more sincere, plus he ties it into the future, and defeating Islamic extremism. Goes on to obligation to stop genocide, period, suggesting he'd have intervened in Darfur, and Rwanda, but not necessarily militarily directly, but helping neighbors in the region to separate the warring parties. Warren adds in a Georgia angle that he left off for Obama, and McCain is saddened by Russian aggression (as he should be), mentions Georgia goes back to 330AD as a christian nation, and Saakashvili was educated here, and has built a 'great little nation'. Russia must be opposed, and Russia must respect the territorial integrity of Georgia, and the other former Soviet States support Georgia, and so should we, and we all know it's about the pipeline. Advantage McCain (this is getting monotonous)

6:47pm --- Religious persecution question. Again with the freedom answer, and a bit of Reagan worship. The president must use the bully pulpit and be an example and an advocate. Simple, clear, concise, and challenging. Advantage McCain.

6:49pm --- Orphan question. Another one in McCain's wheelhouse, given that he's an adoptive parent, he and Cindy got one directly from Mother Teresa no less. Advantage McCain.

6:50pm --- Why you for Prez question. Service, and facing the challenges of the times, and coming together as one nation, his record, and his experience, and he wants to join together to put our country first. He'll be the President for all Americans. Push (McCain's answer is much better, but Obama is more charasmatic, and glamor counts).

6:51pm --- What about objections to a forum at a church question. He's proud to have spoken there. Push.

That's it, I would imagine that the CNN folks are going to be flabberghasted and unable to respond once they get to the spinning shortly. McCain owned Obama, and owned this crowd, and was better in every way in how he presented his positions and his ideas and what his administration would be like. I bet this whole event will disapper down the memory hole.

UPDATE: Fixed spelling error on Gen. David Petraeus (should remember that 'rock' is the first part of his last name), and after perusing other bloggers who watched and live-blogged, seems like Althouse saw what I saw, mostly, Sullivan (Obama post, McCain post) is on his own little planet, but for the most part, I'm not seeing a big response to this on the left (other than to decry the entire enterprise as being some sort of violation of church/state separation), and kudos for McCain on the right. I suppose we could all be right, reality being subjective and all, or, partisans saw it through their partisan viewpoints, and aren't capable of being objective. I'm fairly partisan myself, but I think if you put each response to each question side by side, and let people decide for themselves who had a better answer, then McCain won overwhelmingly.

On top of that, I think his answers are the kind of answers that are more likely to persuade people who weren't already persuaded by him, while Obama didn't hurt himself with his acolytes one bit, but I don't think he converted anybody new to his cause with his performance, so long as people compare his answers to McCain's. If you took Obama's answers alone, without McCain's answers, he comes off much better, so the job of McCain supporters will be to make sure that whenever talking about this forum, that juxtaposition is always made. Just as Obama supporters will be wise to focus only on their man, and pretend that McCain wasn't even there, thus showing that Obama can successfully reach out to an evangelical constituency that's perceived as being his weakness.

1 comment:

The Raving Atheist said...

Best live blogging of the Saddleback forum I've read, and I've read three or four of them.