Saddleback Civil Forum: My impressions
Now I’ve discussed my thoughts on how Senator Obama and Senator McCain answered questions about taxes and Darfur, but there were other observations from the Saddleback Civil Forum.
On of the most obvious things I noticed in comparing the 2 Presidential candidates was the amount of expirence they had. While Senator Obama had some ideas and tried to answer all the questions as best he could, Senator McCain had tons of experience. In almost every question asked McCain had a reference of something either he or his wife did. Not idea or proposals but actual facts and actions that related to the question at hand. That spoke volumes.
Another point that was divergent had to be the questions on abortion and gay marriage. The position of Senator McCain was pretty obvious on these questions. He is pro-life (now) and against gay marriage.
Senator Obama made me a bit surprised. He stated he was against gay marriage in a rather emphatic manner. I had not expected him to be so cut and dry on this issue.
“I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions. I do believe that we should not -- that for gay partners to want to visit each other in a hospital, for the state to say, you know what, that's all right, I don't think in any way inhibits my core beliefs about what marriage are.”
As the most liberal Senator sitting currently, and with the huge financial support of far-left groups like Moveon.org, I expected him to have a more soft position. That is sure to cost him votes.
[Let me answer a question I inevitably will be asked. I do not support gay marriage. I do support civil unions. My reasons are different than what you may think.
The fight for gay marriage is a fight for a word. The purpose of marriage is the monogamous union of a man and woman for the purpose of procreation. Everything else associated with that is a societal/cultural addition. Since a gay couple is incapable of procreation, they cannot be married.
In fighting for the word marriage, an attempt to force others that disagree with gays in general to be forced to acknowledge them, the real fight is obscured. That fight as I understand it is for the right to be treated with dignity and equal rights under the law. That right can and must be covered by civil unions.
To fight for a word is to thus fight religious beliefs of some, which is a never ending fight as we can see in Iraq and with Muslim fanatics, and distracts from the real issue. It in fact prevents some from reaching a middle ground and supporting civil unions.
That simply put is my position. Let the hate mail begin.]
Senator Obama was incredibly ambivalent on his answer about abortion. He never answered where he believes life begins. I realize that he was opposed to angering some voters with his answer, but I think his response angers everyone since he did not give an answer.
“So for me, the goal right now should be -- and this is where I think we can find common ground; and by the way, I've now inserted this into the Democratic Party platform -- is, how do we reduce the number of abortions?”
Thus he fails groups on both sides of the argument. I dislike answers like this as I find it polispeak of the worst form. It’s an attempt to hold or gather votes without providing the public with a basis to form an opinion and make an educated vote. I dislike when any candidate pulls this kind of stunt.
A similar thing happened with the first question that Senator Obama was given. When asked to name 3 people that were the wisest he has known in his life, he gives 2 names. His wife Michelle and his grandmother. I have no problem with the women he chose, I just wonder who was the 3rd person?
He bypasses the 3rd person on the list to then discuss the people he would rely on in his potential administration. Why did he skip the 3rd person? Who was it? Was it Rev. Wright and he was afraid of the controversy? Was it another figure that politically was derisive?
Mind you I don’t like the way McCain answered the first question either.
“First one, I think, would be General David Petraeus, one of the great military leaders in American history, who took us from defeat to victory in Iraq -- one of the great leaders… John Lewis was at the Edmund Pettis Bridge… Meg Whitman; Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay.”
His answers were equally filled with polispeak. That does not mean they aren’t true, just that the obvious political benefit is too much to not notice.
The Iraq war, thus backing his views on how to have handled the conflict from the start and the Surge which was called a failure by Democrats before it ever started. John Lewis who was hurt during the Civil Rights Movement, and a nice pick for the Black vote. Meg Whiman, very positive for business, women, and those concerned about the economy.
Again they might all be true, but the groups the answer plays to is far too obvious.
Especially in the first answer.
Now while I think McCain showed far more experience, and was ready to answer tough questions with direct answers he was a bit to blunt. Some of his answers were too much dead on Republican talking points. They may be his views, but it just seemed that his campaign banged in his best response too well. It was like he was springloaded to respond to certain questions with exact answers. That does not mean they knew the question in advance, just that he was prepared overly-well.
What do I come away from this all? Basically that Senator McCain is far more experienced and ready to lead ther nation. That some of his views are far more defined and closer to the centrist nature of the general American public than Senator Obama.
And sadly for Senator Obama he gave a strong reason not to vote for him. His reason to not accept Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is exactly the reason that you can oppose him as President.
“I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation, setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the Constitution.”
If inexperience is a disqualifier for Supreme Court, how can it not be a disqualifier for the highest elected office?
What did you think of the Forum?