Friday, September 26, 2008

Things to remember when voting

UPDATE: I like Glen Warhol's suggestion to Let Sarah be Tina. I also found this Morning Edition profile on Sen. Biden, Biden Logs Many Miles for Democratic Ticket, interesting.

After tonight's debate, it is important to refocus. I do have to state that it bothers me that in 90 minutes of debate, during which Sen. Obama found at least three things to commend Sen. McCain for, that Sen. McCain could not find one thing for which to commend Sen. Obama. He did not look at Sen. Obama, at least not much. He did have a Bush-like nervous tick, beginning far too many sentences with "What Sen. Obama does not seem to understand . . ." Only to have this refuted by Sen. Obama's grasp of the issues. Why can't you just have an honest disagreement? The first words I heard at the end of the debate were by Sen. Obama who said: "Good job, John".

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is working hard to claim the mantle of the least coherent and least articulate politician from the sitting president, who vied with Donald Rumsfeld for years for this coveted honor. If you can't string together two coherent sentences, how can you lead? This is not to excuse Sen. Biden whose (in)famous verbosity is not helping his cause much. All of this makes next week's vice presidential debate must watch tv! I look forward to guffawing and cringing in equal measure. I appreciate Matthew Boudway's post on dotCommonweal in which he comments on conservative columnist Kathleen Parker's recent call for Gov. Palin to bow out as VP candidate. Boudway observes: "While President Bush makes Biden sound like Churchill, Palin makes Bush sound like Patrick Moynihan".

Anyway, let's turn to Mary Ann Walsh, writing in America magazine, specifically her article Conscience and the Catholic Voter: Ten things to remember this fall. It is one more reason (as if you needed more reasons) to subscribe to America. So, with very little commentary, here are the ten things. I specifically like number 5.

1. Not all issues are equal- Life issues are paramount. The paramount life issue in this campaign, the life issue that the next president will have a lot of sway and say about, is fetal stem cells. Sadly, on this issue it is a tie: both candidates have a flawed perspective on this issue.
2. You have to work to become informed.
3. God speaks through our hearts and minds.
4. Fidelity to conscience is more important than party loyalty.
5. Simplistic reasoning is simpleminded.
6. Gut feelings may be your conscience speaking. - maybe Mary Ann has been talking to Suzanne.
7. Politics is the art of the possible.
8. Your neighbor can be an ocean away.
9. The political process begins long before you pull the lever in the voting booth.
10. We hear God in prayer.


  1. Scott, I thought it was a draw, maybe bending toward Obama on presentation. I don't think it will change minds out there, but they're looking for the undecideds anyway.

    Did you think it was weird that Obama constantly referred to McCain as John? That seemed forward in a forward debate. I tried to imagine McCain starting a sentence "you see, Barack..." Couldn't do it. He would have been excoriated as treating Obama without the deference of his office.

    I think we may hear about this, myself. My husband thinks we're going to hear about McCain's smirky smile while Obama spoke. And actually, we did pay attention to the issues....

  2. I'll answer very candidly. First, I liked the fact that the debate (for a presidential debate- a huge caveat) was fairly substantial. Beyond that, Sen. McCain simply did not ever address Sen. Obama directly, despite the encouragement of the moderator to do so. It was part of the pre-agreed format of the debate. He always spoke to Jim Lehrer and referred Sen. Obama in the third person. I did find this odd. I see that, along with his smirk, added to his disparaging remarks about Sen. Obama (i.e., he is naive, he doesn't understand, etc.), as indicative of his overall lack of respect for Sen. Obama. I am referencing his pre-convention remarks that Sen. Obama is a celebrity, along the lines of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and not a serious person or candidate for president.

  3. Within a few minutes after the debate, Sen. McCain's camp had an advert out that quoted the three times that Sen. Obama agreed with him, as though this were proof that "John" had somehow shown himself as the better candidate. This seems to be one of the most ungentlemanly things I have ever seen out of Sen. McCain.

    May the Lord bless you in your ministry Deacon!

  4. Scott, the question isn't whether McCain was disparaging to Obama--I agree with you in large part, although I guess it can be argued how you hear those words "naive," "he doesn't get it" is somewhat subjective. I was wondering is Obama was disparaging to McCain. When I lived in the South (that is, most of my life), African Americans were extraordinarily sensitive to being called by their first names in professional positions, much more so that white people. This makes lots of sense--if you are part of the group that has had little respect and power, you don't want false familiarity, you want acknowledgment of your position.

    That made the "you know, John" familiarity--even if typical in the Senate chambers--really stick out to me. There's no way McCain could have used that familiarity with Obama in a public venue like this. And I suspect Obama knew that--or I wonder why he didn't.

    I wouldn't wonder so much on these things if I didn't think Bush beat Gore on Gore's unfortunate sighs...which became a huge deal two days AFTER the debate.

  5. I didn't pick up that vibe at all from Sen. Obama. I don't know why Sen. McCain would never address Sen Obama by calling him Barack. McCain managed to be condescending while never speaking to him, but to Lehrer and only alluding to him in the third person. McCain's condescensding tone was part of today's bizz.

    Besides, neither one of them is Southern. McCain, despite being brought up in a Navy family and being a career sailor himself, is a well-adjusted Arizonian. Out here, we're very informal.

    I think Sen Obama was trying to be conversational, which is what Jim Lehrer was trying to get them to do at the beginning. Sen McCain steadfastly refused. Direct exchanges between the candidates were part the format, unlike a standard debate, during which direct exchanges are discouraged or even forbidden and cut-off by the moderator.


God's love for us is tireless

Readings: Jer 23:1-6; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34 No doubt you've heard the saying, "There's no rest for the wicked...