Biden – Palin 2008 Vice Presidential Debate


I am just disgusted by the standard of political debate in the ‘most democratic country in the free world’.

Honestly I didn’t expect much given the history of the candidates. One of them was placed in the bottom 5% of his law school cohort from THE worst ranked law college in Upstate New York. The other attending (or trying to attend) over 5 universities or colleges before finally graduating with a Bachelor in Science. Therefore, I knew that I had to be tolerant to the lack of intellectual arguments and just expect mud-swinging – and I wasn’t disappointed

1. Financial Recovery Plan

Both of them agreed on greater transparency, accountability, regulation and safety nets. A first year business student could tell you that and I know hope most Americans (even though they ain’t the smartest nationality alive) would give the same freaking answer given by both of them.

I was expecting them to really be able to spot the problem at hand. Everyone can see that this was merely greedy lenders lending money to borrowers with low credit ratings in the hope of profiting from interest and eventual foreclosure (this happens in Singapore when mortgagor is unable to pay the loan for three months – section 25 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act – a power to sale arises – similarly US has its own legislation on this – the foreclosure allows the bank to get the house and sell it at a higher price due to increasing house prices resulted by the housing boom).

Maybe, a better approach for them would have been to understand the competing interests at hand. Investor confidence in the Wall Street is founded on secrecy and deregulation. Whereas, Main Street is run on public interest – middle class Americans’ interest. Irrespective of what was said, US needs Wall Street… it needs these big risky investors, we know that risk and returns are positively related. It has always been that US has the ’80-20 rule’ visible in its economic activity – 80% of the income generated comes from 20% of the economic agents – where most of the middle income/working class working for these 20% directly or indirectly.

On the other hand, no doubt it is crucial that these Wall Street investors are not allowed to run astray… regulation is important but striking a balance between regulation (protect public interest) and investor confidence (investors here refers to the 20% – rich greedy men on Wall street) is vital. Striking this balance is the hardest bit and neither candidate gave any solution on how they are gonna get around to do this.

2. The War on Terror

Horrible. Seriously, one wants to ‘win’ the war and the other wants to ‘end’ the war ‘within a time frame’. Hope they realize that their stance on the war is quite similar (if not identical) even though the word ‘fundamentally different’ was used frequently. One side wants to win – winning for them is Iraq being able to stand on its own two feet. The other side – also wants Iraq to stand on its fleet but the difference is its plan has a deadline. Problems are countless…..How realistic is this deadline? How was 18 months decided upon? What factors were considered? 18 months would mean another US$ 800 billion (currently US$10 billion per week on the Iraq war) – Can US afford to put into US$700 Bn into the Bailout and cough-up another US$800 Bn?. What happens if Iraq cannot stand on its own two feet after 18 months?

Hope that both of them know they have the same objective only one is more detailed than the other.


Seriously, who are they kidding… I do understand that they had only 2 minutes to respond per question. However, both of them had pre-written answers on certain popular potential questions, which they read off throughout the debate and they are statesmen – being on stage and performing should be their plus point. One made rare eye-contact whereas the other brought her modeling career into the debate – way too much staring at the camera and smiling – its a debate not Miss Universe Contest

If a question had 20% relevance to one of the answers they had prepared for before the debate, they would just jump right in and say that. As a result, both candidates were not addressing the question 85% of the time (only time they answered a question was on same-sex privileges)

3. Role of VP

OMG…. A model, fishermen, sports reporter – yeah, I didn’t expect her to know the constitutional underlyings of the Article 1 of the US Constitution. But, at least she should have done her due diligence, get her advisors to do some research… try to put some intellectual content into that brain….. Respect, to the other candidate, who at least understands the constitutional role of the VP – maybe his JD (law degree) helped him out.

4. Economic Issues

Yes…. Education must be FIRST in US’s list of things to work on…. clearly, their system is producing faulty output lacking even the basic macro-economic principles.

Both the candidates should go back and read about aggregate demand, multplier effect of an increase in demand on GDP, Effects of taxes on GDP verus lump sum reliefs, Marginal Propensity to Save & Consume etc. Go read General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Keynes and try this question again.


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