Bailout Fails to Pass

Barack Obama says to American people and markets, "don't panic". The much debated $700 Billion bailout bill has failed to pass in the House of Representatives. Both Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for the failure to come up with a palatable bill. House Republicans seem to be indicating that the issue wasn't the bill itself, but rather a speech given by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) which some claimed was overly partisan.

I lean more toward the explanation given by the Washington Post, which laid the failure of the bill at the feel of politicians worried about the public's reaction to their supporting the controversial bill and the possibility of their vote being held against them in November's elections.

What is more bothersome is that not only are these "leaders" afraid to coordinate their actions and take a stand, but the Republicans involved are trying to place further blame on a speech! A speech? If the crisis is so huge as to require $500 Billion, how can they let a speech stand in the way of action? In my view, it's not Pelosi who is being overly partisan here, it's House Republicans.

The First Debate

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain had their first debate at the University of Mississippi on Friday, September 26th. I wasn't able to catch the debate live, or for the next couple of days, due to being involved in other activities. Much has been written about this debate, so I'm not going to go into detail about what was said, but I do want to share what I felt each candidate was trying to convey with the answers they gave to every question, and how they delivered those answers.

John McCain: Refusing to address Obama directly, McCain delivered all of his answers in hopes of conveying that Obama was inexperienced and lacking judgment, naive, dangerous; and that McCain was the unifier and bipartisan candidate, not Obama.

Barack Obama: Spending most of the evening trying to clarify what he felt were misstatements made by McCain about his voting record, Obama tried to show that he did have plans that he would enact as President by reviewing the various points of those mans, often referring to parts of those plans that "would have to happen".

The subject of the debate was national security. In truth, there wasn't a whole lot to differentiate McCain and Obama on the subject. It's not as though one wants the nation to be more or less secure than the other. Iraq was, of course, a major issue with the same stances laid out during the debate as we've been hearing for a while now.

One issue that is on everyone's mind is that of the $700 Billion bailout package that was being negotiated at the time of the debate. Specifically, each candidate was asked how such an expense would change their plans for their presidency. Neither candidate was willing to give specifics about how the bailout would change their proposed plans.

I don't think it would be fair for any campaign or supporters to call a winner for this debate. For one, the candidates didn't really seem to be debating the other on the issues. McCain berated, while Obama clarified. What were offered weren't winning points, just a hodgepodge of comments on the offense or defense. I wasn't impressed by the answers from either candidate for most of the debate.

The most sincere part of the debate from John McCain was his description of his relationship with the veterans and his emphases that they knew that he would take care of them. I know this had to strike a chord in the hearts of many within or connected to the military community. It seems as though it was, for McCain, and issue on which there was no question about his commitment. This is not saying that Obama would not take care of the veterans, in fact it was Obama who brought up the subject of improving benefits for veterans, but it could be said that McCain commitment was deeper. After all, he is one of them.

The final question given to the candidates was on the current security of the nation. While McCain answered that he felt that the nation was more secure, had a long way to go, and expressed his satisfaction on the changes in the government after 9/11; Obama was very specific and poignant on the issue. Obama answered that while we had investment billions into securing our airports to make us more secure, the reality is that our borders, our ports, and other crucial areas are still tragically lacking in security. Obama stated that our current reality is that our nation is in less danger from being the target of an enemy missile than we are a terrorist carrying a suitcase of nuclear material. This answer seems to show a greater understanding of the specific threats to our nation than that given by McCain.

Humor is often attempted at Presidential debates. Often, it's the humor that is remembered by most. McCain made a few attempt at interjecting some humor into his answers. On one occasion he said something to the effect of, "I'm not going to set the presidential visitor's schedule before I'm elected, I don't even have a seal yet", in reference to the campaign seal created by the Obama team which was inspired by the presidential seal. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your view, the audience had taken a vow of silence; meaning there was no reaction when humor was attempted.

A different kind of political blog

The Virginia Beach Progressives blog is an attempt at non-partisan blogging with a slant toward progressive politics. It is here that conservatism and liberalism meet, head to head, in an attempt at considering solutions that will move our society forward intelligently.

While progressives are typically pegged as being liberally biased, it's not fair to call all conservatives immovable defenders of the status quo (or all liberals progressive, for that matter). The reality is that to every challenge we face, there must be some sort of action in response. The kinds of actions undertaken are determined from the battlefield of polarized politics, until (hopefully) sensible compromise is reached.

It's my hope that we will have that kind of discussion here.