Well, as more time passes from the vice-presidential debate, we find that Joe Biden spent quite a bit of time at Home Depot. In particular, in the garden section, near the fertilizer, because he brought more bullshit than we could possibly have expected.
I am very surprised that I missed were his crocks about the Middle East. Biden said:
Here's what the president said when we said no. He insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, and others said, and Barack Obama said, "Big mistake. Hamas will win. You'll legitimize them." What happened? Hamas won.
Hey, Joe -- Fatah controls the West Bank. Hamas holds the Gaza Strip. And it wasn't just Bush who "insisted" on elections there, it was most of the world. Because elections are, generally, good things. The Palestinians deserved the right to vote for the party they wished to govern, and they did -- they chose the terrorists of Hamas over the terrorists of Fatah. That is their right, just like it is our right to choose to not deal with terrorists -- even when they win elections.
But it just gets dumber. Biden followed up that crock with THIS whopper:
When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, "Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, Hezbollah will control it."
Now what's happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.
WHEN did the United States and France "kick Hezbollah out of Lebanon?" They've NEVER LEFT. And when did the idea of NATO going into Lebanon EVER come up? Who thought THAT was a good idea?
Meanwhile, the folks rooting for Obama tried assembling their own list of "lies" made by Sarah Palin. And since the McCain camp came up with 14 (eight of which I said were clearly valid, and a ninth most likely true), they had to outdo it and came up with 18 Palin "lies." (hat tip to regular inept troll "brian" for the pointer.)
Let's take a look at those:
SARAH PALIN'S 18 LIES TONIGHT
1. FANNIE MAE/FREDDIE MAC: Palin said "it was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures," but fact checkers say that's "Quite A Stretch" And "Barely True," and that McCain was a "latecomer" to the discussion.
2. FUNDAMENTALS ARE STRONG: Palin tried to say "John McCain saying our economy was strong" but McCain has used the phrase "The Fundamentals Of The Economy Are Strong" At Least 16 Times This Year.
3. PARTISAN POLITICS: Palin said McCain is "known for putting partisan politics aside to just get the job done," but he has voted with Bush 90% of the time in the Senate and bragged about his support for Bush on important issues.
4. TAXES ATTACK: Palin repeated the attack that Obama voted for higher taxes 94 times, which the New York Times says is "false," CNN says is "Misleading," and FactCheck.org says is "inflated."
5. TOBACCO REGULATION: Palin said to "look at the tobacco industry" as an example of McCain pushing for even harder and tougher regulations. But McCain opposed expanding the SCHIP children's health insurance program for 5.8 million children because it would increase tobacco taxes.
6. SPENDING INCREASES: Palin said Obama is is proposing "nearly a trillion dollars in new spending," but didn't mention that he has also proposed cuts to balance it out, an attack CNN has already debunked as "misleading" and that ignores the far larger cost of McCain's tax cuts and spending hikes.
7. HEALTH CARE: Palin claimed Obama's health plan is "government run" which has been widely debunked as a "canard."
8. HEALTH CARE. Palin says taxes wouldn't go up under the McCain health care plan, a fact even his own campaign has acknowledged isn't true.
9. TROOPS: Palin repeated what the AP called the "highly misleading" attack that Obama opposed funding for the troops, and Factcheck.org notes that the same methodology would lead to the same conclusion for McCain.
10. GLOBAL WARMING: Palin said "I don't want to argue about the causes" for global warming, when she has clearly taken the position that she doesn't not believe it is man-made.
11. MCCAIN IS CONSISTENT: Palin said McCain" doesn't tell one thing to one group and then turns around and tells something else to another group," when that is exactly what he has done on immigration, telling Hispanic leaders he was for comprehensive reform instead of the enforcement focused approach he has taken with conservatives.
12. MCCLELLAN NOT MCKIERNAN: Palin referred to the US commander in Afghanistan, David McKiernan as "McClellan."
13. MCKIERNAN ON "SURGE:" Palin said that [McKiernan] did not say a surge wouldn't work in Afghanistan, when just yesterday he said "The word I don't use for Afghanistan is 'surge,' " McKiernan stressed, saying that what is required is a "sustained commitment" to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution
14. KILLING CIVILIANS. Palin said "Obama had said that all we're doing in Afghanistan is air raiding villages and killing civilians and such a reckless, reckless comment and untrue comment again hurts our cause. That's not what we are doing there." Unfortunately, the Associated Press says that Obama was right in discussing a critically important point about avoiding civilian casualties.
15. TEACHING: Palin said we need to make sure "that education in either one of our agendas, I think, absolute top of the line," when McCain has repeatedly favored tax cuts for the wealthy over funds for more teachers and class size reduction.
16. PARTISAN APPOINTMENTS: Palin said "You do what I did as governor. And you appoint people regardless of party affiliation. Democrats, independents, Republicans, you walk the walk, don't just talk the talk" when she repeatedly appointed friends and supporters to positions for which they weren't qualified.
17. FOCUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Palin falsely claimed that she was the first governor to form a climate change subcabinet, when at least 28 states had already taken action.
18. DARFUR DIVESTMENT: Palin claimed that "when I and others" found out that the state had money invested in Sudan that "we called for divestment," when the reality is that Palin's appointees worked to kill a Darfur divestment plan.
Wow. So dumb.
1) "Barely true" now qualifies as a lie? And I don't see any contradiction by saying that McCain pushed hard for reform, but was a latecomer -- he got there late, but fought hard.
2) "Our economy is strong" versus "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." Not quite the same, but a minor difference -- hardly an actual contrast.
3) Again, mixing apples and oranges. McCain's history of bipartisan measures are well-known -- to the point where he has repeatedly pissed off the Republican base. And that goes back decades, not just the narrow window covered by the "voted with Bush 90%" claim. Also, no real contradiction there -- notice how those who cite the 90% figure never actually break that down to specific votes.
4) Nit-picking on a precise number. This usually involves all sorts of legislative process chicanery, so I ignore them as a matter of course -- legislators can end up voting about seventeen times on a single issue, on both sides, deliberately making it impossible to pin them down on anything, so I find such claims pointless. Witness "I actually did vote for the $87 billion -- before I voted against it" claim John Kerry made.
5) Ooh... McCain opposed expanding SCHIP (which I did, too -- it was a bad idea. As part of that, the backers thought to fund it by taxing tobacco. McCain didn't go along with that, so he's a buddy of big tobacco? That's news to them.
6) Another of the "their experts don't agree with our experts about just what our plan will do, so they're lying" bits. The truth or falsehood won't be proven unless Obama gets elected and implements his plan, so to call it a lie now is bullshit.
7) Same as #6.
8) Same again.
9) Obama HAS tried to cut the funding for operations in Iraq. Period.
10) Palin's specific answer: "Yes. Well, as the nation's only Arctic state and being the governor of that state, Alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change more so than any other state. And we know that it's real. I'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet. But there are real changes going on in our climate. And I don't want to argue about the causes. What I want to argue about is, how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts?"
She has taken the position that it is not ENTIRELY a man-made problem. And the scientific evidence is leaning in her favor -- that to claim that it is entirely man's fault is nothing short of the sheerest arrogance and hubris. We simply don't have that much power. Natural causes dwarf whatever we can do.
11) McCain's immigration position is one area where he drives a lot of people nuts. He's trying to strike a compromise between the two sides in an area where a lot of folks (myself included) say that there should be very little compromise. I happen to think that McCain's wrong on this issue, but he's been very consistent.
12) If we're going to start saying that misstating someone's name is a lie, can we bring up Joe Biden introducing his running mate, Barack America? Or Ted Kennedy's reference to "Senator Osama Bin... Senator Osama... Senator Obama?" Good god, this one's the weakest I've ever seen.
13) McKiernan said that "elements of the surge" could successfully be applied in Afghanistan.
14) Obama specifically said that "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there." So, we're JUST air-raiding villages and killing civilians? Sounds pretty clear to me that Obama said the only thing we were doing was bombing vilages and killing civilians. One has to rewrite Obama's precise words to come up with any other interpretation.
15) McCain has opposed "solving" education problems by throwing more money at them. To most folks, that's common sense. To those prostituting themslves to the teachers' unions, that is the only cure. Thanks, but I'll pass.
16) No, one does not rebut Palin's claim to have appointed Democrats, independents, and Republicans to state positions by saying she hired friends and supporters. You cite how many of her appointments were Republicans, and how few were independents and Democrats. Hell, she could have some independent and Democratic friends (and I'm sure she does -- most of us do) who she named to positions, and -- voila -- there, all resolved.
17) Weak. Weak. Weak. Palin said: "As governor, I was the first governor to form a climate change sub-cabinet to start dealing with the impacts." If you take "the first governor" to mean in the nation, yes, she was wrong. But if you take it to mean "the first governor of Alaska," then it's entirely accurate. And from the full context, it's clear that that is what she meant -- she prefaces her response by saying that she is the governor of the only Arctic state.
18) This one has some teeth. Palin did support divesting from the Sudan, but only after it was pretty much too late for the legislation to pass. Prior to that point, her administration put more weight on the side of minimizing the costs and maximizing the returns of the Alaska Permanent Fund instead of taking a moral position. The argument her people put forth -- that their responsibility was to the people of Alaska and protecting their investments, and that divesting wouldn't really do anything for the people being slaughtered -- is not entirely invalid, but her omission of that and saying that she called for divesting as soon as she learned about it is probably the best candidate for a "lie" you can find from this whole sorry list.
On an absolute scale, that puts a dent in Palin's credibility.
On a relative scale, it shows that she is woefully inexperienced and unprepared to compete with someone like Joe Biden, who can sneak about thirteen lies, exaggerations, and perversions of reality in ten words -- and sound utterly sincere and convincing while doing so.