I listened to most of the VP debate last night. A few comments:
On the subprime lending meltdown:
PALIN: One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. It's not the American peoples fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of.
There are two problems with this. First, McCain and Palin have both run on this "less government" mantra, claiming that the answer to everything is less government. We know, of course, that in practice this means less government for the poor (less infrastructure, less education) and more government handouts for the rich, but one thing it doesn't mean is proper oversight of lenders or corporate elites.
The second point that bothered me is Palin's notion that the people who are hurting are all irresponsible people who didn't balance their checkbook. I personally lost my entire life savings in this mess, and I did everything by the book--using my life savings to pay 20% down on a house and dutifully making every payment. Like Republicans have always recommended, my retirement fund was largely in stocks. I'm now in debt (since I lost every cent I owned and have to keep paying the mortgage) and my retirement has also largely evaporated. I know for a fact that I will never retire. Sarah's little lecture about how to balance a checkbook should be saved for her friends who hunt from planes. Many of us are all too familiar with how to balance checkbooks and live on tight budgets.
On the energy crisis . . .
Palin: Barack Obama and Sen. Biden, you've said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we're in.
This notion that there's some "domestic solution," that if we just go out and drill a bit more, we'll suddenly have plenty of oil, is simply false. It's a lie. There isn't a single geologists anywhere (who isn't in an insane asylum) who believes that the U.S. has giant reserves that'll meet our future needs. Alaska, with its miniscule population and with much of the remaining U.S. reserves, could meet its needs, but we're talking about a country here, not a giant state with a population smaller than many cities.
Overall, the debates weren't terribly interesting. I suppose we must conclude that Palin did well in the sense that she was intelligible and didn't show up in a swimsuit or accidently mention pteradactyls flying over Israelites at the dawn of history 5000 years ago.