Going a different direction here, giving my thoughts on some of the political goings-on lately. If you have easily offended political sensibilities, please skip this post so that we can continue to be friends.
Earlier today, John McCain quoted a Wall Street Journal piece on the Senate floor, regarding the debt ceiling fiasco:
"The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn en masse against Barack Obama....Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea party hobbits could return to Middle-earth...This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP nominees. The reality is the debt limit will be raised one way or another."
"Clearly he's been corrupted by the ring of power." - Mark Meckler, founder of the Tea Party Patriots
"As in the fable, it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. This Lord of the TARP actually ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the Tea Party, not criticize it." - Sharron Angle
Sadly, O'Donnell doesn't join in on the middle earth metaphors, just accuses McCain of flip-flopping. Although oddly enough, when i googled her regarding this, I found that she once wrote an essay about the women of middle earth. You'd think she'd have a good joke, but she instead chose to chastise McCain for name-calling (while letting Angle's 'Lord of the TARP' comment slide).
One article i browsed speculated that the Tea Party may embrace the "tea party hobbit" moniker for themselves... which is pretty funny, IMO.
As far as the debt ceiling goes... I'd like to provide a couple of quotes:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
- Obama, 2006
"Raising the debt limit is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. We cannot as a Congress pass spending bills and tax bills and then refuse to pay our bills. Refusing to raise the debt limit is like refusing to pay your credit card bill—after you’ve used your credit card. The time to control the deficits and debt is when we are voting on the spending bills and the tax bills that create it. Raising the debt limit is about meeting the obligations we have already incurred."
- Senator Chuck Grassley (GOP), chairman of the Senate Finance committee when he made this statement in 2006
The actors have traded scripts, and while I do think that Obama is right when he emphasized that raising the debt ceiling is "routine" and "responsible"... well, let me put it this way. I understand politics is a dirty game, and at the end of the day I'm really just trying to decide if said politicians have good intentions or if they are self-serving. I think Obama has good intentions... but when I see him so blatantly playing the game, I have to point and laugh. How can Obama try to tell us that using the debt ceiling this way is wrong when he himself was willing to do it in 2006, and wouldn't even vote for the "routine" increases in 2007/2008?
Again, though... whether or not I agree with his choices, I feel Obama's intentions are good, and that goes a long way with me. Here, on the other hand, are two politicians whom I would never vote for:
Sarah Palin: He [Paul Revere] who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms. By ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.
Chris Wallace: You realized that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?
Sarah Palin: You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here's what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, that we‘ve got to make sure we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and firearms so that they couldn’t take it. But remember, the British had already been there for seven years in that area, and part of Paul Revere’s ride – and it wasn’t just one ride, he was a courier, he was a messenger – was to warn the British that were already there, that you’re not going to succeed, you’re not going to take American arms, you’re not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual private militia that we have."
and Michelle Bachmann, when confronted on her claim that the Founding Fathers worked to end slavery:
Stephanopoulos: But that’s not what you said. You said that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.
Bachmann: Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father’s secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery….
Stephanopoulos: He wasn’t one of the Founding Fathers – he was a president, he was a Secretary of State, he was a member of Congress, you’re right he did work to end slavery decades later. But so you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?
Bachmann: Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved.
I really don't care that they flubbed on their history. My problem is that, when caught in a mistake about something so inconsequential, rather than just say, "oops" and put a positive spin on it, they tried to twist it up and defend it to the death. While I think I'm pretty pragmatic about my expectations from politicians, these ladies have gone too far into weasel territory and I have no faith in either of them.