Wednesday, October 06, 2004
VP Debate -- first impressions:
POINT ONE: Edwards is DEFINITELY a lawyer ...
... instead of giving us a reasonable analysis of WHY we had problems in Iraq, he simply repeats and repeats a litany of perceived failures, jumping from one to the other ... just like the plaintiff's lawyer he is, he tries to paint the "defendant" as a cross between Butthead and the Antichrist.
I call this behavior "reading the meters" -- a reflection of my engineering experience.
I have learned, over 21 years of electronics design, that it is not enough to just "read the meters" and summarily declare the success or failure of a design ... for if you do not understand WHY the meters are reading the way they are, you can end up giving your customer a defective product -- or throwing out a good one!
It is not enough to just list "snapshot" statistics about the situation in Iraq like Edwards ... or snapshots about any other problem ... and refuse to fully apply reason and logic to understand WHY the situation is the way it is (and how it can be changed by conscious effort), if you want to resolve the situation successfully.
When you do so ... especially when you consider the capabilities of human nature behind both the common Iraqi and thugs like Saddam & Sons ... you will find that the Kerry approach to Iraq is a defective design -- for it is not reliable for solving any of the past and present problems in Iraq.
However, if all you are interested in is persuading the jury to vote you a disproportionate reward ... or making your unsavory client look good ... snapshot cheap shots can be effective in the short term (like, until 2 Nov 2004).
In particular, the repeated attempts to accuse the Administration of lying about a 911-Saddam link was particuarly annoying. Memo to Senator Handsome: we are fighting a War on Terror that is far, far more than just revenge for the events of 11 September 2001. As Dick Morris (who I don't totally trust) said after the debate -- there was no (direct) connection between Hitler and Pearl Harbor.
POINT TWO: The question I wish VP Cheney had asked ...
Which was better to do first ... capture Osama. or make sure terrorists (AQ or not) did not have access to Iraq's resources and protection?
Cheney should have also given this link out with factcheck.org -- and particularly directed Senator Handsome to read it for himself.
Senator Handsome, OTOH, keeps declaring his reliance upon the inspectors ... he really needs to read my link above, to get things right.
POINT THREE: the VP shows the REAL allied committment to Iraq ...... pointing out the Iraqi debt forgiveness ... and the blood committment of the Iraqi people. Both items that the Undertaker and Senator Handsome ignore.
POINT FOUR: Live by the Global Test, Die by the Global Test ...
It's rather simple for me ... despite the backpedalling by the Undertaker Candidate and Senator Handsome, the history of both indicate that the GOP interpretation of the Global Test is spot-on.
POINT FIVE: Stubborn oversimplification on taxes ...
Edwards keeps talking about repealing the tax cut for "millionaires" -- and glosses over the tax increase that will result for 900,000 (note -- FactCheck.org now cites 471,000 as the more accurate figure) small businesses (those who are Sub-Chapter "S" corporations and therefore pay personal-income tax rates).
He then plays to the wealthism his party has so successfully sold to many Americans, by promising them a greater tax cut at the same time -- even setting the basic lack of fairness aside, the depressing effect on job creation will result in many of these Americans getting an even bigger "tax cut" -- they will be paying no taxes at all, because they will not have jobs. These "millionaires" will not be cutting their caviar budget -- they will be cutting their company payroll, instead.
This increase in the "progressivity" of our tax system also increases the perceptual distortion of the body politic -- it decreases the coupling between the costs and benefits of government for the majority of Americans. When you aren't paying a significant portion of the taxes collected, you have little incentive to control its cost with your vote.
The idiocy of this policy will be the subject of a "Nuts and Bolts" post in the near future ... for now, here's the solution I think is best: The Fair Tax. Check it out ...
POINT SIX: Tort reform from Kerry/Edwards ... yeah, right ...
I am reminded of Bill Clinton's "middle-class tax cut" -- which was, as they say in my world, vaporware.
I have a suggestion -- how about assigning ALL punitive damage awards to a pool of charitable entities, instead of awarding them to plaintiffs (and their lawyers)? Punitive damages, after all, are over and above the actual damages the plaintiff has suffered. This would take away the incentive for contingency-fee lawyers and plaintiffs to play the "lawsuit lottery" and gamble on a jury's emotion (with other peoples' money).
OVERALL IMPRESSION SO FAR -- a good, solid performance by the VP -- he points out in several places the Achillies' heels of the Democratic campaign -- the long antiwar/Leftist record of their candidates (though after the debate, he needs to make his own -- post-Cold-War -- votes to cut weapons systems clear against the background of Kerry's during-the-Cold-War cut votes) ... and the inconsistency of the Kerry campaign.
However, Senator Handsome held ground with his Perry Mason parody -- at least until people read the transcripts.