Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saddleback Roundup

First, I think Rick Warren deserves some credit for having a more informative and well-planned forum than the vast majority of major media organizations are capable of putting on. That's not to say it was perfect - Warren refrained from aggressive follow-up questions and it was clear that Warren was handicapped by having to ask identical questions of both candidates, but it was pretty good.

McCain did very well, and if he performs at this level of competence until November he has an excellent shot at winning.

Some criticisms of Obama's answers:
  • Haven't we been hearing about how the Democrats are committed to reducing the number of abortions for some time now? "Safe, Legal and Rare" goes back at least as far as Bill Clinton. And if there's an undeniable moral and ethical gravity to the abortion question, then what exactly is that moral element? What does it mean, to borrow Teresa Heinz-Kerry's formulation, that abortion is a "something" rather than a "nothing"?
  • How many women with unplanned pregnancies discuss abortion with pastors or spouses? Come on now.
  • If gay marriage is to be a state issue, then why shouldn't opponents be concerned about the full-faith-and-credit clause?
  • Should Catholic charities be able to perform the public function of placing adoptions if they discriminate against gay couples?
  • Elaborate on "sacrifices".

As I alluded to earlier, Obama skated by on these issues because Warren was not interested in following up. In my estimation that was the greatest flaw of the Saddleback civic forum.

Edit 08/18/08 - I don't want to hear anything more about how the "cross in the dirt" story is fabricated. There is at least one first hand witness that McCain has told the story in the 70's.


Anonymous said...

McCain didn't tell his POW cross story during interviews after his release. Solzhynetzin, on the other hand, did.

McCain didn't say that the failure of his marriage was because he was cheating on his crippled wife.

McCain says we can all be rich and pay no taxes - and you believe that?


Sockless Joe said...

I don't know what happened in that POW camp and neither do you. But if you don't think several of Obama's anecdotes have changed dramatically over the last 18 months you would be mistaken.

Can you blame McCain for not going into the gory details of his first marriage? Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that their years apart while he was a POW changed the both of them significantly? His marriage was already swirling the drain when he met Cindy.

McCain didn't say that we can all be rich and pay no taxes. But wouldn't it be easier to get rich if you didn't have to pay any taxes?

Obama thinks he can significantly raise taxes on capital gains and "the rich" without having a serious impact on growth and private investment. Basically, we can tax our way to a better future. Which philosophy is further from the truth, Obama's, or the caricature of McCain's?

(Am I supposed to be impressed that you typed "T-H-I-N-K"? The Left reveals its arrogance by assuming that others don't think, either at all or for themselves.)

Anonymous said...

To be fair, propaganda wouldn't work unless people were prone to herd mentality (and therefore, not thinking). However, the left does often assume that only conservatives fall into that trap while conveniently ignoring their own tendency to blindly spout liberal "truisms".

RE: Taxes
I would feel better about not taxing the rich if I wasn't so cynical about people hoarding wealth as opposed to reinvesting. CEO salaries and the growing disparity to that of the common worker strongly suggest that any additional funds saved due to lower taxes would never work their way downward. But this is my opinion - just because I foresee an increasingly top-heavy economy doesn't mean it will happen.


Sockless Joe said...

From certain corners of the right (and not the fake Huckabee right, but some of the National Review right), there is the recognition that at some point a very uneven distribution of wealth is destabilizing, and that we may be approaching this point.

However, I think the under-performance of the trickle-down model does not mean that we should adopt the "Scrooge McDuck" model that rich people have swimming pools of wealth that sits in a vault somewhere. Wealth merely deposited in the bank or in T-Bills still works its way into the economy. And almost nobody is satisfied with such a meager return, meaning that there will be riskier investments made with at least some of the wealth. Trickle-down is real, just not nearly as robust as we would like.

I don't have a good answer about the wealth distribution. I personally don't care about CEO pay, and I think efforts to regulate it will continue to have unintended consequences. Option back-dating, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, I worked as a peon for Citigroup during the disastrous Chuck Prince and Todd Thompson period. It was sickening to be paid what I was paid and watch our annual raises drop to virtually nothing while reading about $40 million payouts for Chuck to leave, and the 'Todd Mahal' at the main headquarters.


Sockless Joe said...

Yeah, the golden parachutes are much more irritating to me than just base compensation. I have to wonder what all these Boards of Directors are thinking and why this problem perpetuates.

You reminded me of a Jim Cramer epithet - "The Clown Prince". Delivered with the typical Cramer exuberance, Prince's name was never uttered without "The Clown" preceding it. He was put on the "CEO Wall of Shame" where the worst executives are put until they "decide to spend more time with their family". Pies and other foodstuffs are often hurled at the Wall of Shame display.

Anonymous said...

Of all places, ESPN has an article that makes a few good points about executive pay:

Easterbrook savages Democrats on a regular basis, but also doesn't seem too particularly thrilled with Republicans.