Vice President Joe Biden has recently fed into the main stream media’s growing White House side story — his “single handed war” on the past Bush Administration. The latest chapter in the proposed saga came in the form of an interview unrelated to the subject, where Biden, in the process of answering the more or less softball question of “is the US more safe now than before”, made a controversial attack at former President Bush.
“We are more safe. We are more secure. Our interests are more secure — not just at home, but around the world. We are rebuilding America’s ability to lead. I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office — and he was a great guy, enjoyed being with him. He said to me, he said, ‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader,’”
“And I said, ‘Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one’s following.’”
Enter former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who later, in an appearance in Fox News’s On the Record, fired back, assuming the political body and essentially answering for the Bush Administration:
“Joe Biden said, for example, that he spent hours with the president. Joe Biden was never alone with the president for more than a few moments. There was staff in the room at all times. He never said these kind of things.”
“I hate to say it, but he’s a serial exaggerator. If I was being unkind, I’d say he’s a liar. … You’ll notice every one of these incidents has the same structure. Joe Biden courageously raises the impudent question. The president befuddledly answers, and Joe Biden drives home the dramatic response. And I mean, it just — it’s his imagination. It’s a made-up, fictional world. He ought to get out of it and get back to reality.”
Although it isn’t hard or illogical to start with jabs towards both sides in this debate — in my view its important to step back and take a look at what isn’t in this equation, and why.
It surprises me in more ways than not that President Obama or any of his immediate staff has not stepped in with Biden, as his argument may not necessarily be gaining as much healthy traction as it was designed to receive. This, if I may go as far, may be yet another sign of the new administration’s naive nature, but it may very well be a seasoned strategy. I’ll explain:
Looking back into the illustrious and brilliant Obama/Biden campaign, one might recall the many Bush attacks that took place, which most of the time ended in long, back to back ad campaigns that I believe played a role in Obama’s overall win in the polls. These attacks were fully backed, and ruthlessly pushed forward by the Obama campaign, whether they started via mistake (i.e. Biden’s Indian Gaffe) or for a political gain. But now, as we see another attack initiated, President Obama has held back, unlike the past candidate Obama. So why?
My view is that Obama doesn’t believe Biden picked the best fight in the best time.
In a time where the Oval Office is already juggling domestic and international congressional problems, as well as the new policies trying to are trying to implemented, most of the official word coming out of the White House has been positive. And because of this, the right wing is more or less starved of talking points to get out into the press — as they would be taken second stage to the President’s news, which is essentially flowing out in a more of less politically healthy way.
So now that something has indeed come out as an attack, I wasn’t exactly surprised to see a response from the unofficial GOP within the day. Karl Rove, whether himself or a PR coordinator, sensed that this was the loophole that was exactly what they needed and politically pounced on it.
And it was in fact a good idea. Vice President Biden does in fact have a reputation of both sides of the aisle of stretching the truth, and I am more than assured that this alleged “conversation” did not exist. And because of this exaggeration and Rove’s seasoned ability to pounce, he has created a handle for the White House in the GOP — Joe Biden’s mouth.
But again, there are many ways to play something like this, so I’ll open this up to the commenters: Where was Obama in this exchange, and why did he stay out of it?
As a bit of an off-topic post: Today I heard something that I had heard in different contexts all my life, but never really brought out in a political light. In a Yom Kippur sermon, a rabbi pointed out to me something the all of us have (or are going to learn) the hard way — it is the human instinct to always be right.
I know that we have all heard this before, but bare with me. The speech was mostly about the science of insisting on being correct to reduce sadness and stress, but as a political junkie rather than a health enthusiast, one point of the sermon clung on to me.
The Rabbi pointed out this (not a direct quote):
This human knack is also translated in many ways than one….into politics. If you remember the famous Nixon/Kennedy debate, and visited a predominately Nixon-favoring apartment, the people living there would say: “look at this whooping we are giving Kennedy!” But if you went to a Kennedy supporting apartment, they would most likely say the opposite: “Look at this pounding we are handing Nixon!”
And although this would certainly not be rare in the present as well, the rabbi’s point was brought out completely in his last quote:
But the interesting thing here was is if you were in the far-right apartment building and Nixon [in the debate] stared straight at the camera and said, “I am a crook. I am not nearly qualified enough to become president compared to my opponent — and frankly, this was a stupid idea to run in the first place.” then the Nixon supporters in the apartment would most definitely roar in approval, saying: “Now there is an honest man fit for the job as commander and chief.”
And although this is certainly not bad, (I wrote a while back on this) some of these people are (this is just my opinion) fixated on destroying the other candidate via the internet and media. And this, in my opinion, can really derail them as voters, and more importantly Americans.
To support a candidate in this day and age is to support someone that you truly believe can make an America that you want, not a congressman, senator, or frankly — another candidate’s America. But when a person rises above a certain passion for a candidate, many will instead turn to attacking the opposing party’s candidate.
And in doing this the really lose touch of their pick for president and become engrossed in a negative mindset of convincing other people that a candidate is not fit as president.
No, I am not having some sort of crisis or am trying out to be a guru, but my main point here is that these people, instead of using this incredible amount of energy on their candidate, choose to use it to attempt to persuade others into something that is truly their own choice.
If you want to get very deep into the subject, this can be traced to many other things involving religion, racism, and cults, but my meaning here is that equally, on both sides of the political spectrum, there is a very radical but still functional mental factor that continues to persuade large numbers of voters.
October 4, 2008
As an American, I have recently been surrounded at all angles by the financial crisis, both presidential and vice-presidential debates, and already interestingly enough, the ongoing saga of Sarah Palin.
So as I tuned in to CNN, passing through images of Wall Street, abandoned houses and OJ Simpson’s Trial, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before I saw Sarah Palin. And when that did in fact become reality, I was completely dumbfounded — not only did I see her, but rather I heard her.
What do I mean? CNN’s routine coverage of a McCain campaign stop in Carson, California showed Palin addressing the public, but not like I was used to. I’ll get to the point — she wasn’t delivering a stump speech.
Yes, a non-stump speech wouldn’t have been such a spectacle at any other campaign event in recent history, but the truth is recent history has never seen Sarah Palin. Although today I will lay off the long saga of Palin herself, I must point out something like this has not only been a rarity in the past few months, but to me shows a turning point in the McCain campaign.
Although I believe that Joe Biden won the Vice Presidential debate, I also will point out that Palin didn’t lose it. She fought, but was taken captive by Biden’s foreign policy credentials and successful soundbite gambles.
But what I think Palin accomplished in the debate gave her more long term firepower than any single thing she has done as running mate for John McCain (and sorry for the bluntness) — she is now no longer a joke.
If you asked strategists from both the right an the left on the morning of the VP debate, there would be no disputing from them across the board that Sarah Palin has been in the public’s eye a PR ploy. Whether that is what the McCain campaign intended to accomplish is another analysis in itself, but my blunt point here is that the Vice Presidential debate simply changed the way people thought of Palin.
She didn’t have any coupe-de-grace moments, she didn’t gaffe, and she certainly didn’t win, but Palin kept up. And in doing that she passed a certain point of public status — from more of a joke and PR stunt to a vice presidential candidate. This will admittedly not change opinions on her policies, especially mine, but as pointed out in a rather comic tone by one of my friends, “Palin achieved the expectations of stringing together multiple coherent and complete sentences.”
Although that comment wasn’t exactly correct, it was essentially in the right direction. Palin’s expectations were in fact incredibly low, and because she exceeded them in such a national stage, my guess is that Palin became a valid political figure to many people.
So what does that have to do with Palin not delivering a stump speech? In truth, a lot.
In more of a bold statement, because of Palin’s renewed status, she has essentially set herself into the position to carefully open herself up to the MSM and public alike. My point here is that because of her partial success in the debate, Palin was either herself motivated or given the green light by the McCain campaign to open herself up to the press.
And this of course temps the question: what would have happened if Palin had gaffed and knocked herself out of the debate?
In my opinion the McCain campaign would be very hard pressed to do virtually anything in that situation. They would face a press fire if they didn’t bring Palin to an event, but would also face a brutal media wall if they let her speak.
So I’ll let the commentators have a say at this.
October 2, 2008
In what was anticipated to be a debate of gaffes rather than politics, the first and only vice presidential debate was of more depth and quality than then its preceder – the presidential debate. I say this not in my political view, but of the nation’s vibe preceding the event. And this is essentially because of hype.
There is no disputing from either party that the preparation for tonight was unbalanced. The public, mainstream media, and bloggers alike were seemingly convinced two different ways: the first that Palin would gaffe, and the second that she would be surprisingly intelligent. In a sense, both were right and wrong.
John McCain had Palin prepared, but from any perspective he knew Palin would be Palin. The Governor, policies aside, has a distinct personality that he could not change no matter how much she was prepared. In a non-partisan sense, Palin has a not only unique personality, but a certain way of bringing out her points, and that is what has made her successful on the political stage.
However, the McCain campaign could and did save her from a gaffe. Again staying non-partisan, Palin has and is so closely examined that she (as a completely new national politician), could very well send off a misjudged point or flat out gaffe that would explode onto the MSM stage. My case in point would be Palin’s disastrous CBS interview with Katie Couric.
And because of this, one of the few things that the McCain camp had the ability to do before the debate is give Palin a response to Biden’s likely attacks so that she didn’t gaffe. That was definitely apparent tonight.
Biden came into the debate as an underdog to win. What I mean by this is that the press essentially predicted Palin to decide not the winner or loser, but rather if she would lose well or collapse. Biden, however, was never perceived to walk out of the door with a loss.
And this changed dramatically with the start of the debate. A main point that I would like to get out is the fact that I sensed a feeling of renewal. Despite the fact that the media had called for a one-edged debate with a gaffed ending, both candidates were place on the same level.
This is what gave Palin a boost out of the gates — no one expected anything, and because of this, Palin showed a surprising degree of fluentness in her points, something that took everyone off-guard. And in a sense, Palin used this to run away with the first topic — the economy.
Then came foreign policy.
The main turning point in this debate was exactly what Biden needed — a direct soundbite — coming after Palin’s first talking point on foreign policy in which she essentially backed up her ticket but never gave examples.
Biden answered in what I would call the best way possible — reading:
“With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan”
In this quote, Biden both found his grip on the debate and swept Palin off her feet for the first time. The quote itself was simple, but orchestrated what is essentially the biggest difference with both tickets as far as foreign policy — ending the war and winning it. He took advantage of a bad talking point from Palin, and then turned it into a much needed soundbite.
From then on, Biden rode the wave of confidence, further taking chances with the crowd and the public, in example — quoting that Dick Cheney has been the “worst vice president” the US has had, and later in the debate jumping on a softball question about what would happen if he would replace Obama in president if something were to happen.
In short, the debate showed its ups and downs, but in the end Palin lost not because of a gaffe, but rather through a single quote.
September 29, 2008
I thought I’d take a small break tonight from the debates and put up a hilarious video made when Hillary Clinton was thought to win president (back when…) I did not make the video and yes, I do know that the author of the youtube mix is an Obama supporter and partisan.
Enjoy: Mission Bosnia: Click Here
On another note — I wrote a guest movie review on Involuntary Fury’s blog of “Eagle Eye” here.
In a race unlike any other, politics have mixed with mainstream media, PR stunts and campaign tactics cannot be deciphered, and candidates are currently in a full-fledged ad war. First ladies have turned into public enemies, and lines have been drawn inside of political parties.
But the single, most plain asset in this political chaos that we call the 2008 presidential race is most certainly the element of surprise.
Partisan or non-partisan, liberal or conservative, we can all agree on one thing – Sarah Palin was a surprise. The little-known one term Alaskan governor has set political media to a standstill, hitting nerves on everyone, liberal, conservative, or independent. She has changed politics as we know it, stirring so many feelings that can’t all be represented by just one writing.
So how can we take all of this in? The truth is, we can’t. Which ever party you support, which every race and creed you are, you simply can’t take in Palin without emotion.
And this is exactly what John McCain wanted.
He wanted this news frenzy. He wanted the blogging world, liberal and conservative to explode into opinion. He wanted chaos to erupt in the media world, (i.e. the OK! Magazine bias). He wanted people like me and you to think long and hard about this media bonanza — he wanted a diversion.
Understanding the importance of his vice presidential pick, McCain couldn’t simply choose anyone. He needed to go out of the ordinary, not into the realm of his contenders, middle-aged white males who would be perceived just like they have for two-hundred years.
And no matter how unreliable, local or politically ripe Sarah Palin was, he knew she would create the second big bang. He knew that she would occupy every political blog, think tank, magazine, and newspaper. And finally, he knew that she would provide a wall between both parties, blacking out media solely focused on the Democrats.
Palin’s experience is an issue, but McCain knew he could exploit this to the fullest, initiating a media strategy that could literately absorb any attack from the left.
And in a sense, this has succeeded, with help from Sarah Palin herself.
Her choosing for running mate has acted as a literal smoke bomb, creating only a small explosion, but then spreading over the entire mainstream media, sparking a spreading cloud of mist. Palin, acting as bait, has done all she has needed to do, unleashing attack speeches when needed and sparking controversy with her “troopergate” scandal as well as he pregnant daughter. The media then proceeded to take the bait, igniting a fire within itself and not running a story without the world “Palin” in it.
Meanwhile, Palin actually has stayed away from the media, ignoring any invitations for interviews on sit-down shows and political debate television as well.
Why? She doesn’t need too.
Palin’s one weakness is the one trait that you would assume a running mate would use to his/her advantage – politics. McCain knows that if Palin explodes back into the media, accepting interviews and arguing head-on with the liberal press, she will be beaten to her knees, and a coupe-de-grace will be imminent during her mandatory debate with opposing running mate Joe Biden.
And because of this, the future is more of an enemy to the conservatives than Barack Obama, and if the Democrats plan to exploit this, they must understand that for now, they have lost the battle of the present.
September 5, 2008
And as the second chapter in the saga of the Republican convention comes to a close, all anyone can talk about was what everyone originally thought was a mire introduction to the grand closing — John McCain’s speech.
But it was instead the main figure of the entire convention, and the talking point on both the web and television, creating many side stories as well. Why? Palin’s speech was powerful. So powerful, in fact, that not only did it spark very heated initial reactions, but later provided so much aftershock that it seemed apparent to me to write about it.
Putting my strong political opinions aside, I must give Palin credit — that no matter how completely false and utter lies she used, it was hard (even for me) to shake of her speaking passion, mostly credited to how zoned in she was. And because of this, I know for a fact that many gullible Americans have fallen “victim” to her transcending speech, ignoring her factual mistakes and instead focusing intently on her valiant, confident speaking power.
And right now, no matter how many people (including me) stress the comparison between the top of each party’s ticket, because of her star power, Palin has gained the public centerpiece of not only the Republican party, but the image of politics in general. And, strangely, this is not because of the higher possibility of her being commander and chief in the near future, because — as my sister would say — John McCain is like a “dinosaur”, but rather because of her instant celebrity status and overall image that is so different.
By different, I don’t mean because of her gender, but rather her breed. She is a new breed of politician, far away from your raging and shouting, sweaty middle aged point maker, but rather someone who we have not seen yet — a setting of mind that many teachers know to loathe. She uses her stature and newly-found political ego to her advantage, acting like she knows for a fact that each and every single thing she says is true, in the most convincing way I have ever seen this done among politicians.
Simply put, she’s a giant black whole for your brain, in the form of a person who would most likely be the farthest away from that status — a small town governor of the second-least populated state in the US.
So — as a word of caution, not a political recommendation –please vote on what you believe, not what you have been convinced to know.
September 3, 2008
Sarah Palin came out of the dark in her breakout speech at tonight’s Republican convention, removing any doubt that she was shy and unprepared — delivering (in my opinion) a speech more of attack than proposals, strike rather than progress. But then again, her speech, attack-dog or not, was something the Republican’s desperately needed in an already-short handed convention.
So I give you two views, the first of a center left kid from Los Angeles, aged 13, and the second from a man high in the ranks at the moment, Senator John McCain.
My liberal point of view is somewhat centered around a quote from one of CNN’s analysts, reading: “As a democrat, I am overjoyed with Sarah Palin running for Vice President, and as an American, I am horrified.” The quote refers to the very strong concern across the political board that John McCain is older than most and has hasn’t exactly spent his whole life in a comfortable Washington swivel chair, and if anything happened to him while in office, Sarah Palin cannot and (hopefully) will not be president of the United States, and leader of the free world.
And although I am far from agreement with the senator, I know him. And although he will not succeed in brining up our nation as much as Barack Obama can, I know what and how John McCain will carry out his presidency. And on the other hand, not only do I not know who Sarah Palin is, other than a hockey mom and mayor of an Alaskan town smaller than many Los Angeles public schools, I do not have a clue what she will want to do as the president of the United States.
And because of this, it is why she chooses to attack the democrats with such sure-mindedness and aggression that I feel threatened as an American to listen to a person who has a chance to be our next leader. And regardless of how taken out of context and misleading her accusations are, I can’t turn on the television and see her talking that my head keeps ringing and flashing me forward to Sarah Palin’s United States of America.
Now switch parties, and climb up the rickety latter of politics to the top of the beanstalk. Here you have John McCain, a patriot and lover of his country. And how sweet it is. Although his running mate is soaking up all the news and media, she has corralled all his fans and expanded his campaign’s horizon to new future voters. His dream is starting to click together, and he knows it is only a matter of time until the election kicks off, and he once again will become the spotlight, and battle it out the good old way — in a debate with his opponent.
He loves that the democratic press is comparing his running mate with the opposing presidential candidate, and knows that the way forward may sometimes be staying steady and soaking up the news attention. Although his convention has been reduced from a party to a business-only event, McCain has made up for loss press with his flashy running mate, Sarah Palin. But again, he knows that when the time comes, he will take charge.
So with this campaign and its news buzz, both my view and McCain’s have been shared, kept, and used for both attack and defense, but only the rest of the nation will decide which will represent and lead the United States.
August 31, 2008
Recently the difference between the silver screen and the numerous thirty-inchers hooked up to gaming platforms, dotting bedroom’s across the globe has been merged. But has it been abused?
Adam Elkus wrote a piece that I recently discovered, titled Game Over, Curtains Close, which gives an interesting analysis toward why video-game adapted movies have always been worse than their predecessor. He lets in the common argument from disappointed gaming fans: that the cast of the movie, its director, and its plot pails to compare to the superiority of the original game.
But this is contradicted entirely with the case of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which was written, directed, produced, and scored by the exact same people who made the original game. Consequently, the movie was a complete flop — going straight to DVD.
So what really is the difference between video games and movies that is so large, yet undiscoverable? Elkus argues that because video games are active and movies are not, watching a video-game based movie would ultimately be a direct contrast to watching your friend play video games over his back for two hours.
Although I do believe this is true, I think there’s more to the argument than that. In truth, a movie may be different morally than a video game, the audience is a big factor. Movie-goers are simply different people with different tastes than gamers, and that carries out to the theaters. And no matter how original the remake may be, it simply will fail because no one watching it will enjoy.
And because a movie is the opposite of a game, a gaming movie will never succeed in the box office. Simple as that.
August 16, 2008
A person possessing the natural or acquired traits, such as strength, agility, and endurance, that are necessary for physical exercise or sports, especially those performed in competitive contexts.
It’s been hovering around him since the opening ceremony, and now after he has shattered six world records and won seven of his seven entered races, there is no question to many sports fans and journalists alike that Michael Phelps is the greatest athlete ever to set foot on Earth. He has the three key components of a true athlete: strength, agility, and endurance, and he happens to compete in a sport that demands each of those traits. But is he really the best? I beg to differ.
There is no disputing that Phelps is the greatest swimmer ever, but some people need to seriously contemplate making a statement like this, which in my opinion is very premature. The world has only seen this guy for less than a week, and whatever he has managed to accomplish is admittedly extremely impressive, but the world has simply seen better out of a human being. It seems like in all this excitement the world has forgotten the flawless performances that have been displayed thus far in the world of sports ranging from Kobe Bryant’s 81 point performance, where relentless scoring met grace and agility, to Michael Jordan’s illustrious career. And who can forget Walter Payton’s mesmerizing speed and toughness in the dirty sport of American football and Usain Bolt’s recent world records with arguably the best sprinting ever showcased. And what about Pele, Gordie Howe, Magic Johnson, and the many others who really were sports during their era.
And we keep forgetting the unknown sports that really showcase the most challenging and athletic ability — Big Mountain Skiing, Biatholan, the marathon, horse racing, gymnastics, and (my favorite) — parkour.
So is Michael Phelps the greatest athlete ever? It’s very hard to tell, and it all comes down to a long and hard thought by a well respected journalist. So who is the greatest athlete ever? David Belle. Look him up.