Palin Debates Like A Real Maverick

It is still early in the debate but Sarah Palin is showing how she is a maverick. When Biden pointed out that Palin isn’t answering the questions that are being asked she responded, “I’m not going to answer the questions the way you and the moderator may want.”

Like a true debate maverick she has responded to question after question by talking about whatever she wants. Besides ignoring the questions being asked, she is ignoring the facts, making numerous incorrect statements.

I wish we had Katie Couric to ask follow up questions and further expose how little she knows. I can’t wait to see Tina Fey do her impression of this debate. In the meantime I think I’ll mix a Black Russian. Drinking a Black Russian will both make me as qualified on foreign policy as Sarah (I can see Russia from my house) Palin and make it easier to listen to all the nonsense from Palin.

Sarah Palin v. Joe Biden on Dick Cheney

Prior to tonight’s debate, Katie Couric asked both Sarah Palin and Joe Biden a series of questions. Here is yet another example of the differences between them:

COURIC (to Biden): What do you think is the best and worst thing that Dick Cheney has done as vice president?

BIDEN: I’m not being a wise guy here about I don’t know what he’s done. I mean, there’s not many things I’d pick that I thought he’s done that have been good. But I admire his strength. I admire his willingness to take positions that are completely contrary to popular opinion. But I think that what he’s done has been just — I don’t think Dick Cheney trusts that the American people can make judgments that are in the interest of the country. But I think the thing I think he’s really really think he’s done. I think he’s done more harm than any other single elected official in memory in terms of shredding the constitution. You know — condoning torture. Pushing torture as a policy. This idea of a unitary executive. Meaning the Congress and the people have no power in a time of war. And the president controls everything. I don’t have any animus toward Dick Cheney, but I really do think his attitude about the Constitution and the prosecution of this war has been absolutely wrong.

PALIN: Worst thing, I guess that would have been the duck hunting accident — where, you know, that was an accident. And I think that was made into a caricature of him. And that was kind of unfortunate. So the best thing, though, he’s shown support, along with George W. Bush, of our troops. And I’ve been there when George Bush has spoken to families of those who have suffered greatly, those who are serving in the military. I’ve been there when President Bush has embraced those families and expressed the concern and the sympathy speaking for all of America in those times. And for Dick Cheney to have supported that effort of George Bush’s, I respect that.

Update: VIdeo and transcript from CBS.

McCain: “I’m Not A Rich Man”

Reason 12,445 to vote for Barack Obama (in other words not really something that matters but something I’ll note): I’m rich by Barack Obama’s definition of rich, while not rich by John McCain’s definition, so I’ll vote to be rich. McCain’s definition had already been ridiculous in placing the dividing line in income between middle class and rich at $5 million per year. People previously thought he was joking. Now we learn (video above) that John McCain does not consider himself to be a rich man. Think Progress has more on the context of this statement on Morning Joe:

I think the Dodgers are not to be underestimated given the fact that they’ve got some pretty strong pitching. So I think it’s very possible that both of those teams, both the Dodgers and Red Sox, could surprise everybody. But that shows why I’m not a rich man.

While this is really a serious comment here, added to the previous comment on the definition of rich from McCain it does show he is out of touch with middle class voters. While perhaps these can’t be taken too literally, at very least these must be more significant than attacking John Kerry for wind surfing.

Update: A transcript of a longer portion of the interview is available here.

Comparison of Obama and McCain’s Health Care Plans

The Commmonwealth Fund has compared the health care plans of Barack Obama and John McCain and found that Obama’s plan would do far more to provide health care coverage to the uninsured. They made comparisons of the costs of the two plans. I find it interesting that, although it accomplishes far less, the cost of McCain’s proposals are far closer to the cost of Obama’s than I would have guessed. Surprisingly, McCain’s plan would initially cost far more than Obama’s plan while covering 17 million fewer people as most of the tax credits in McCain’s plan would be used by people who currently have private health insurance:

  • If implemented in 2009, McCain’s proposal is estimated to reduce the number of people who are uninsured by 1.3 million at a cost of $185 billion, though this does not include the effects of high-risk pools. About 20 million people would lose employer coverage under the McCain proposal, and 21 million would gain coverage in the individual market. Obama’s plan is estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by 18.4 million in 2009 at a cost of $86 billion.
  • In the first year, McCain’s plan is estimated to cost more than twice as much as Obama’s while covering 17 million fewer people because most of McCain’s tax credits would likely be used by people who already have private health insurance.
  • By 2018, McCain’s plan is estimated to reduce the number of uninsured by just 2 million out of projected 66.8 million uninsured at a cost of $64 billion. Obama’s plan is estimated to reduce the number of uninsured by 33.9 million in that year at a cost of $237 billion.
  • Over the 10-year period, the Center estimates that the total federal cost of McCain’s plan could reach $1.3 trillion and the cost of Obama’s plan could reach $1.6 trillion.
  • McCain’s proposal is estimated to cover fewer people in future years and cost less over time because the tax credits would grow at the rate of consumer prices, which have historically grown more slowly than medical expenditures. This means that, over time, the value of the tax credits is expected to decline relative to premium costs. This has two implications: 1) fewer people would be able to afford to buy health insurance with their tax credits and 2) people with employer coverage will pay more taxes on employer-provided premium contributions, thus offsetting the federal government’s cost of the tax credits over time.
  • The Center estimates that McCain’s high-risk pool proposal, if adequately financed, could add another $1 trillion to the cost of his plan over 10 years. This feature is likely to be expensive for two reasons: 1) allowing people to buy coverage across state lines would remove existing consumer protections in some states, leading many people who currently have coverage through those markets to the high-risk pools and 2) many people with health problems who lose employer-based coverage under McCain’s proposal would seek coverage in high-risk pools.

After considering these measures of cost and number insured they look at additional features and expressed a view of the plans with regards to which proposal holds the greatest promise:

Measured against these broad principles, Obama’s proposal for mixed private–public group insurance with a shared responsibility for financing has greater potential to move the health care system toward high performance than does McCain’s proposal to encourage individual market coverage through the use of tax incentives and deregulation (Figure ES-4). Compared with McCain’s approach, Obama’s approach could provide more people with affordable health insurance that covers essential services, achieve greater equity in access to care, realize efficiencies and cost savings in the provision of coverage and delivery of care, and redirect incentives to improve quality. In the absence of a requirement that everyone has affordable coverage, however, the proposal is likely to fall short of achieving universal coverage.

More On Palin’s Views on The Constitution

Yesterday I had a post on Sarah Palin’s confusion on Constitutional issues as demonstated in an interview with Katic Couric. I have two points in follow up o fthat post.

Alex Koppelman points out that, while Sarah Palin believes there is a right to privacy in the Constitution, this conflicts with views previously expressed by John McCain.

Steve Benen looked further at Sarah Palin’s views on separation of church and state and found that they were “foolish” and “completely at odds with the historical record.” To back this up he recommended this article from American United for Separation of Church and State, where he previously worked.

McCain Claims To Tell 100 Percent Absolute Truth

In an interview with The Des Moines Register, John McCain claimed he tells “100 percent absolute truth” even in campaign ads. This is, of course, yet another lie. I doubt any politician could honestly say this. I’ve even criticized Obama for some misleading statements about McCain’s position on immigration and Social Security, although these have been far less inaccurate than the gross lies told in many of McCain’s ads.

I’ve reviewed many of the lies in previous posts, along with linking to various fact checking sites. The Democatic Party, admittedly biased on this topic, has compliled a lengthy list of McCain’s lies here. The Politco also reports on this claim from McCain and responds with a shorter list of lies:

With the help of the truth-squad crew over at the invaluable Politifact and factcheck.org, as well as other fact-checking websites, here is a list of some of McCain’s biggest whoppers:

1. On “The View,” McCain claimed Sarah Palin did not take or request earmarks as governor of Alaska. “Not as governor, she didn’t,” McCain said. But in her first year in office, she requested $256 million in earmarks from the federal government.

2. Shortly after announcing Sarah Palin as his running mate, the McCain campaign ran an ad claiming, “She stopped the bridge to nowhere” — perhaps the most thoroughly debunked claim about the Alaska governor, who supported the bridge project before changing her position late in the game. Asked about the bridge during her 2006 gubernatorial bid, Palin replied: “I’m not going to stand in the way of progress.”

3. At the Republican National Convention, McCain claimed Obama’s national health insurance plan would “force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.” But according to factcheck.org, Obama’s plan does not place burdens on small business, and people would have the option of keeping their existing insurance plans.

4. In a campaign ad, “Dome,” McCain claimed Obama’s election would result in “painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil,” the clear implication being that Obama wants to hike these tax rates. But factcheck.org says Obama hasn’t proposed a tax on electricity or home heating oil and wouldn’t raise taxes on investments for individuals earning less than $200,000 a year.

It’s possible Obama’s election would result in these tax rates increasing. But this McCain-Palin claim is a little like the Obama camp’s misleading attack on McCain’s Social Security plan, tagging his opponent with the most undesirable, unintended and far from certain consequences of his policy proposals.

5. McCain has repeatedly accused Obama of supporting higher taxes on people making as little as $42,000 a year. “Two times, on March 14, 2008 and June 4, 2008, in the Democratic budget resolution, he voted to raise taxes on people making just $42,000 per year,” McCain said this week. But this is a misleading claim: Obama’s votes were for nonbinding resolutions, which supported allowing certain Bush administration tax cuts to expire but didn’t actually have the effect of raising taxes.

6. In a July visit to Colorado, McCain told voters: “I want to look you in the eye: I will not raise your taxes nor support a tax increase. I will not do it.” Last Sunday, however, McCain acknowledged to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that his health care plan could lead to some people paying taxes on employer-provided health insurance.

“It depends on what plan they have,” McCain said. “But that’s usually the wealthiest people.”

7. McCain’s campaign claimed adviser Rick Davis had taken a leave of absence from his firm, Davis Manafort, and vigorously attacked a New York Times story suggesting that Davis had profited from Davis Manafort’s relationship with mortgage lender Freddie Mac. “Mr. Davis has seen no income from Davis Manafort since 2006,” wrote McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb, who called the Times story “demonstrably false.”

“Mr. Davis has never — never — been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.”

But Davis Manafort was receiving $15,000 monthly payments from Freddie Mac as recently as August, and while the payments didn’t go to Davis personally he still stands to gain from the success of his firm.

8. McCain has boasted of never requesting a single earmark, saying in January: “I have never asked for nor received a single earmark or pork-barrel project for my state.” But he has requested federal funding for special projects back home, including $10 million for a center at the University of Arizona, $5 million for a home-state water project and spending authority to purchase land around Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base.

Politifact says it’s a matter of debate whether these projects constitute pork-barrel spending — but clearly McCain has searched for federal help in his own backyard.

9. In last Friday’s debate, McCain accused Obama of “voting to cut off funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.” But Obama has consistently voted in favor of war funding bills, including an earlier version of the bill McCain was discussing. The Illinois senator voted against this particular proposal because it did not push the Bush administration toward a timetable for withdrawal. McCain’s comment was technically defensible — but rather too sly to be called “absolute truth.”

10. In July, McCain accused Obama of skipping his visit to a military hospital in Germany because he was told he couldn’t bring reporters and video cameras. McCain ran an ad saying: “Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.” But when pressed to provide evidence that Obama had canceled the visit for this reason, McCain’s campaign could not support their claim — and media reports found no evidence that Obama had ever planned to bring media with him.

Good Bye From Michigan John

Barack Obama visited Grand Rapids and East Lansing Michigan today but it turns out his trip here to Michigan was unnecessary. The Politico says McCain is pulling out of Michigan. McCain has canceled a plan visit to Plymouth and is stopping his ads in the state. From now on I’ll have to check out the on-line videos instead of finding out what lies McCain is spreading whenever I turn on the television. If things remain this bad for McCain, he might have to send his Michigan campaign workers down to Indiana to hold onto the state.

It is appearing increasingly unlikely that McCain can pick up any of the states which Kerry won in 2004, while Obama has a real chance to pick up several red states. Obama already holds leads in several states which voted for Bush in recent polls, including Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, and Iowa. McCain holds on to very narrow leads in many other red states and will have to increasingly concentrate his resources on holding these states, making it difficult for him to attempt to go after blue states where he thought he might have a chance.