Republican Candidates Are Flops In Two Interviews

The Republican ticket might have started out the week leading in the polls thanks to their post-convention bounce, but the week ended with most polls showing a tie. After both Republican candidates performed miserably in separate interviews at the end of the week there is hope they will fall even further from their post-convention highs. (And before the McCain campaign makes any more ridiculous accusations, use of the word high here is unrelated to Wasilla’s reputation as the methamphetamine capital of Alaska. Besides, with Palin as mayor, they had a good excuse.)

Sarah Palin first showed that she has little understanding of foreign policy and then showed that she has little grasp of domestic policy. Listening to her attempt to respond to Charlie Gibson’s question on entitlements I suspected she did not even understand what he meant by entitlements. Conservatives, however, will love how she did. She showed that she shares George Bush’s stubbornness. No matter how many times Gibson would ask a question, she would resist giving a straight answer–especially when she did not understand the question.

One might think that John McCain would have an easier time on The View but he performed so terribly that Andrew Sullivan wrote the “interview just destroyed McCain’s candidacy.” We might not be that lucky, but it didn’t help McCain to perform terribly in an interview on a show primarily watched by women when they were partially responsible for McCain’s transient lead in the polls.

The interviewers were surprisingly persistent in trying to get McCain to commit to an answer regardless of how evasive he was. When McCain tried to pass off appointing anti-choice judges as picking judges who “strictly interpret the constitution,” Whoopie reminded him that the Constitution originally permitted slavery by asking if this meant she’d be returned to slavery. I wish more people responding to such conservative talking points would also note that when Republicans speak of strict interpretation of the Constitution all they really mean is picking judges who agree with them. The founding fathers were the ultimate cosmopolitan liberals of their day and would have little in common with the current Republicans Party.

Whoopie also asked McCain if he believes in separation of church and state. McCain did differ from many conservatives in answering “sure.” This led to asking if picking Sarah Palin gave him a moment of pause.

McCain was also embarrassed by questions regarding Palin’s support for the “bridge to nowhere” and her record of seeking earmarks. When he repeated his sound bite about Palin selling the plane, Barbara Walters noted that “she sold the airplane at a loss.” McCain was asked specifically what he and Palin would reform but could not come up with a better answer than “all of Washington.” Obama can often be vague in speeches which deal more with inspiring language, but whenever an interviewer has asked afterwards for specifics he has been able to provide such details.

McCain was also confronted with the dishonesty in his ads and for his flip-flopping on the issues.  Joy Behar told John McCain that “you used to be more of the Maverick, then you sort of turned.” “In what way?” McCain asked. Behar responded, “You became much more lockstep, I think, with your party, with George Bush’s policies. I don’t see the old John McCain. … I understand why – you want to get elected.”

McCain responded, “I’ve been through this litany before, when I say, ‘OK, what specific area have I ‘changed’?’ Nobody can name it…. I am the same person and I have the same principles.”

McCain is lucky that they did not respond by turning to any one of several blogs which have been compiling lists of his flip-flops. Steve Benen has the most comprehensive listing with seventy-six examples of McCain flip-flops. Think Progress has a list of forty-two flip-flops. Crooks and Liars has a briefer summary:

John Kerry did a good job on McCain

And we have: John McCain’s Evolution on Abortion

John McCain flip flops on Taxes on Social Security

Flip-Flopping On Oil Drilling Proves Lucrative For McCain

Or how about this one: McCain Sets a New Record: 10 Flip-Flops in Two Weeks

Despite his many years in Washington, John McCain is rapidly showing that this has provided him with little understanding of the problems faced by the country. The conventional wisdom when Palin was chosen was that the Democrats had two candidates qualified to be president on their ticket while the Republicans only had one. The more we see of John McCain, the clearer it becomes that the Republicans do not even have one candidate that we can risk putting in the White House.

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13 Comments

  1. 1
    D.C. says:

    Interviews, interviews and interview…, Speeches, speeches and speeches…etc. Are these kind of activities/process
    helping general public to know the candidates’ credibilities
    better?
    I rather have much more scrutinizing on each candidate’s
    qualifications including experiences, performances, achievement, accomplishment, leadership. etc. These are
    the fundenmental MUST for any one who runs for the highest position/toughest job in  

  2. 2
    SM3 says:

    I am glad someone finally pressed John McCain on the facts. People have gotten so caught up in Sarah Palin, that they can not see that she and John are lying to the American people. If she supported the bridge to no-where I am ok with that, just do not keep lying to us!

  3. 3
    Jerry says:

    You’ve gotta love it when the Ladies of the View take on a lying politician like John McCain.  It was a beautiful sight.  Now if we can get them to “talk” to Palin, maybe we’ll get somewhere!

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    DC,

    There has also been scrutiny of the records of the candidates and their accomplishments. Obama and Biden also come out well ahead of McCain and Palin there, but that is a different topic than this post on this interview.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Jerry,

    I doubt her handlers will allow Palin to risk any unfriendly interviews such as that anytime soon.

  6. 6
    Dave says:

    I find these blogs comical,  this election is very important to the future of this nation.  Its more then just the presidential election but also congress,  this where the laws come from that directly effect everyones lives.  This election is about whether we take this nation in the direction of conservitive ideals or liberal ideals.   As for me conservitive ideals are for freedom, individual reliance, and limited goverment and liberal ideals are for more goverment involvement in everybodies lives.  Two years ago I and most people I know where doing ok but here we are two years later under a liberal controlled congress and we have high fuel cost, mortgage forclosures, slowing economy, and high unemployment.  And what do liberals want more control for more of the same.  Obama and and his far left want to turn this great nation into a socialist society.  Conservative ideals is what built this great nation and is where we need to return.  Socialism doesn’t work (except for those in power) look thru out the world, the people in socialism are always equalized by the lowest common denominator, while those in power enjoy the fruits.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Dave,

    You have really been drinking too much of the Republican Kool-Aide. The reality is that conservatives are the ones who bring about bigger government with more involvement in individual’s lives and restrict individual liberty.

    Liberal such as Obama support a restoration of the free market economy–not socialism. The corporate welfare system of the Republicans is not capitalism.

    Republican, not Democrats, have controlled the government for years. Between having the White House and about half the Senate, the Republicans have been able to block any attempts of the Democrats to repair the damage done by the Republicans. It will also take far more than two years to undo all the harm caused by years of Republicans controlling first Congress and then the White House.

    It is liberal principles, not conservative ideals, which have built this country since the days of the founding fathers while the conservatives have been the ones fighting liberal American values.

  8. 8
    Dave says:

    Ron
    You think I’ve been drinking too much kool-aide, well I’m I am not talking democrats and republicans. Your right republicans have made a mess, because they lost their conservative ideals and been increasing goverment and spending our money like crazy. Conservatives like myself believe goverment should just stay out of the way. The federal goverment by the constitution has very limited power, yet because liberals have ignored this and expanded federal control, this has caused most of the problems. As far as Obama wanting to restore free markets and freedom, I realy wonder who’s been drinking kool-aide. His proposals would drastically increase federal spending and control of society, this is socialism. If liberal principles built this country then why up until 1900 there was not enough federal regulation to bother keeping track, but today the federal registry contains over 80,000 pages, again this is leading to socalism. Then you hear liberals in congress saying we need national health care because people are not responsible to make the choices on there own, this is not only insulting but socialism. National health care hasn’t worked in the world and the small areas the federal goverment already controls (medicare, medicaid, vetern admin.) are in a state of disaster. Conservatives took control of congress in 94 but lost there way which is why liberals regained control, but remember liberals had control for 40 years prior. But like most liberals I talk to you think you have all the answers and know better then everybody else. This election is going to be a referendum on liberal ideals or conservative ideals and we will just have to see what the american people really want.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Dave,

    It has been the Republicans who have been in power for years and who brought about our problems. They are also the ones bringing about the tremendous increases in government power and control over our lives. As you now acknowledge, there is little connection betwen the values expressed by conservatives and the policies they institute in office.

    Democrats are not calling for national health care (other than a handful like Kucinich). Our system of private health care is in serious danger, with an increasing number of uninsured and underinsured. We need changes to financing of health care before the system totally collapses and we do wind up with the government taking over the system. The only way to prevent such a scenario is to go with rational reforms to the system such as Obama is proposing which will preserve priviate health care.

    Obama’s economic advisors are largely from the Universitiy of Chicago–hardly a hotbed of socialism. While he certainly is not backing laizzez-faire capitalism, his ideas are far more based upon free market principles than Republican corporate welfare. Republicans have controlled governement due to deceiving people both about their own policies (which have nothing to do with reducing governnment) and with deceiving people about the views of their opponents. The claims of socialism and other such attacks on Democrats are pure propaganda ploys.

    This election is hardly a referendum on liberal or conservative ideals. It is another test of whether Republicans can win by lying to the voters.

  10. 10
    Dave says:

    Ron

    You are really hung up on the parties. But if thats the way you want to go, in the past hundred years the 2 largest increases in federal goverment have been 1st under FDR (democrat) with a democrat congress, 2nd was under Carter (again democrat) with again a democrat congress. As far as lying both parties are quilty, both are just seeking power. Look at Biden, during the primary he stated Obama didn’t have the experience to be President now he says Obama is ready for the job, one of these has to be a lie. You look at the current congress and tell me the 2 controlling both house (Pelosi & Reed) are not far left liberals who want increase in goverment control, because if you don’t believe that then your in a dream world. The part I don’t understand is you say your are liberal yet what you talk about, such as freedom, free maket, and so on are the conservative ideals. Yet you are hung up on the idea that democrats are perfect and republicans are evil. The fact is both democrats and republicans (as far as politians, not the voters)are corrupt. And in my opinion I feel McCain & Palin have a better chance of going against this corruption then Obama & Biden. And I hope congress gains conservative repr., wether republican, democrat, or independent as long as they stop spending money, reduce all taxes (actually a flat tax would be nice, make so much you pay so much no deductions, no loop hole just simple), and stop trying to regulate the hell out of us.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    Dave,

    You totally misunderstand my view.  Saying, “You are really hung on the parties” shows you have not been reading this blog or have any idea of my views. Saying the Republican are evil and the Democrats are perfect is the opposite of what I’ve been writing about here.

    I am an independent who has been critical of both parties. Going back to FDR is meaningless. The question is not what different people in control of the parties have done at different times in the past but what they advocate now.

    In recent years it has been the Republicans who have been responsible for the biggest growth in government. At present the Republicans are the ones supporting increased control over our lives.

    Not all Republicans are evil, but if you are paying attention you might notice that a huge number of good Republicans are opposing the direction the party is moving in.

    Freedom and the free market are conservative ideals on paper but they are the opposite of what Republicans deliver. Those of us who support these ideals–which are traditional liberal ideals–are finding that some Democrats  are more likely to deliver this than the Republicans. That is why the victory of Obama over populists like Clinton and Edwards was so important as it will help move the Democrats further in a pro-freedom direction.

    You cannot compare the Democrats of today to a previous era as the party is increasingly made up by former independents and Republicans who oppose the path which both parties has been on in recent years. Remember, even Barry Goldwater considered himself a liberal in his later years as he opposed the influence of the religious right on the Republican Party. That was before the party has become even more anti-freedom and more in favor of authoritarian positions on both civil liberties and social issues.

    With regards to corruption, McCain and Palin have been in the midst of it despite their rhetoric. Even Republicans in Illinois have agreed that Obama had been a major force in bringing ethics reform there.

    If you want to pay less taxes, which is understandable, then the answer should be clear. Your taxes will be less under Obama unless you happen to be a multi-millionaire. Republicans talk about cutting taxes but their policies really amount to a transfer of wealth to the top one tenth of one percent. The Republicans have no concept anymore of a free market economy. What they really is pushing for is an oligarchy where a small number have all the wealth and power.

  12. 12
    Dave says:

    Ron

    It would appear we have some very different views as to how our country needs to go. The problem I have with Obama is he says he will lower taxes, (for the middle class, which I am) but he also want to increase spending. So where does this money come from. From what I here him say it comes from the wealthy. Well the the top 1% pay 39% of taxes and the top 50% pay 97% of the taxes. Even though I am not party of that top 1% and I may be hitting the top 50% but I am not sure, this is not fair. I have heard Obama say he want to raise the upper tax bracket also raise capital gain tax, and to me this is redistribution of wealth right from Marx “From the ability of the few to needs of the many”. I have nothing against people who are wealthy, I would like to get there myself. But under Obama is a person works hard, takes the risks, to become wealthy he is penalized with higher taxes only to see it pissed away. I have yet to hear Obama say anything about getting rid of federal agencies or departments and cut the size and reach of goverment. What I do hear from him is that goverment is the answer to people’s problem, well it’s not the answer it is the problem. The people themselves and the industry we still have are the answers. I personally feel Obama’s ideas would be a disaster for this country and I could not vote for him in good conscience. I will vote for McCain not because I think he is the best because certainly don’t believe that but do believe he would be the lesser of 2 evils. You are right the republican party has been hijacked by the Rockefeller republicans and lost their conservative base. They seem to be realizing their mistake and if they hold true to this there is hope for this country, but time will tell.

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:

    Dave,

    You are still repeating Republican talking points which have no relation to reality.

    The big difference is not in our views of how the country needs to go but our views of what each candidate will do in office.

    You are correct that Obama’s campaign promises do not add up. Those of none of the candidates do. They never do. Independent analysts have shown that McCain’s are far worse than Obama’s as his promised tax cuts for the wealthy will create a much bigger deficit than Obama’s spending programs would. When he has to reduce his tax cuts, they will probably even more heavily benefit the ultra-wealthy.

    Add to that the military spending we can expect from McCain, and the huge increase in health care expenses that he wants to bring (thinking that increasing costs to the individual would be beneficial by reducing consumption of health care services) and the middle class will be far behind financial under McCain.

    If you are middle class, you are a fool to vote for McCain. While I might benefit more from McCain’s tax cuts than Obama’s I still think I’d wind up making more money with Obama as president due to having an overall stronger economy. The country needs a strong middle calss for the economy to thrive.

    Obama plans to raise the capital gains to 20%. This is lower than under Ronald Reagan and this is hardly redistribution of the wealth. Obama is only increasing taxes on the ultra-wealthy as they have received a disproportionate tax cut under Bush.

    You have it totally backwards about which candidate would be better for the person who wants to work hard and take risks to become wealthy. Republican policies are geared towards using government to give more to the ultra-wealthy–those who are already rich–not for people to become wealthy by their own work. Income disparity has grown greater under Republican policies with fewer people having the opportunity to become wealthy by their own work as opposed to from their political connections.

    You are totally missing Obama’s real views as you repeat typical Republican claims. Obama has a strong backing in market economics from his advisers at The University of Chicago. He seeks a bottom up approach for people to solve their problems as oppose to the bottom down philosophy of a hyper-nationalist like McCain or a nanny-statist like Clinton. This is why so many free market economists and libertarians like David Friedman are backing Obama over McCain.

    The Republican Party was not hijacked by Rockefeller Republicans. They have pushed all of them out of the party. The Republcian Party is controlled by its most conservative elements and they are the ones who support  big government, despite their rhetoric. Their policies are contrary to free market principles as they use government to enrich a few. To get votes they have alligned themselves with the religious right which wants to use governement to further interfere with our lives.

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