Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama and McCain Square Off

So... did you catch the "faith forum" at Saddleback Church? Pastor Rick Warren hosted both major candidates separately, asking them the same questions. It was an interesting way to juxtapose the two men. After seeing this affair, I think I may be able to go vote McCain after all -- and without holding my nose shut too tightly to do it. This is not to say that I'm a new McCain fan. Far from it. But the idea of Barack Obama in the White House is just so terrifying to me that a vote for McCain doesn't really seem all that bad.

A few questions and answers really stood out. Warren asked them what three people they would rely on the most for wisdom and expertise in their administration. Frighteningly enough, Barack's first two people were his wife, Michelle, and his grandmother. He then went on to say some more people, naming politicians and their political affiliations... but his focus was heavily on Michelle. I cannot think of a person I would want LESS influencing a presidential administration, to be honest. 

McCain, on the other hand, immediately named David Petraeus. Considering the fact that our country is at war, it's a good thing that an intelligent military official came to his mind first. He then went on to say John Lewis and Meg Whitman. 

When asked which Supreme Court Justices each man would NOT have nominated, Obama said Clarence Thomas (and received a round of applause upon saying so - ??!?). He went on to say he didn't think Clarence Thomas was a great legal thinker at the time he was nominated. He then named Alito and said that while he was an intelligent man, Obama disagrees with his interpretation of the constitution. Warren asked specifically about Roberts, and Obama said that was more difficult because he finds Roberts to be a "compelling person in conversation individually." It really should have been an easy answer -- Obama would never have nominated Roberts... he cast his vote against confirming him.

Obama then expounded on what he considers to be the courts "most important job." And get this: it is to "guard against the encroachment of the executive branch on the other branches." Huh. Isn't that interesting?? Somehow, in Obama's mind, the judicial branch's most important job is to make sure the executive branch of the government is controlled by the judiciary. Doesn't this make the judicial branch the most powerful branch of government? 

McCain's answer to the same question was "with all due respect" Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, and Stevens. If this is indeed true, I will vote for McCain on the basis of the Supreme Court alone! 

You know what I find to be interesting? The primaries are over - the general election has begun. And, predictably, Obama has moved to the right. Of course, he started out so far left as to be almost off the page... so there wasn't too much room to wiggle except to the right. But what's really fascinating is that McCain has been moving to the right as well. 

He was unequivocal in his response to the question on abortion. At what point is a life deserving of human rights? AT CONCEPTION - no hesitation, no waffling. And this, I think, I would expect from McCain. He's always been pretty staunchly pro-life. Obama? The question was "above my pay grade." And he gave the old song and dance about how nobody is pro-abortion, but he knows that women don't make these decisions lightly. (That's an entirely different blog, so I'm not even going to go there.)

McCain was outspoken in his willingness to drill for oil here. Now... I'm thinkin' this is new for him. He's usually quite the environmentalist. But he spoke about how we're paying money to the people and governments who "don't like us very much." Well stated.

Could it be that McCain was speaking to his audience - and he figured that he was talking to Evangelicals so he needed to be more conservative? Perhaps... but his statements were made in such a decisive manner that it would be pretty difficult for him to speak differently to a different crowd. 

I'm newly interested in the general election. Wouldn't it be great if the networks could host their debates as effectively as this forum?

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