Monday, October 6, 2008

My VP debate BS meter

In this blog I will attempt to rate the depth of the BS delivered by each of the VP candidates during last Thursday's debate. I will use a scale where 1 represents just a mild distortion of the truth and 3 is a full load of crap. A running total will provide a gauge of who stunk the most by the end.

PALIN: Iraq troop levels are back to pre-surge numbers.

TRUTH – Although the numbers are going down, there are currently 10,000 more troops in Iraq then there were when the surge began. If the current withdrawal rate continues, troop numbers will not be back to pre-surge levels until some time next year.

RATING: 1 – this is not true, but it is close, and she did say "That's where we can be" immediately after, but I think this still stands as an exaggeration of the truth.

BIDEN – McCain voted the same way as Obama on a troop funding bill.

TRUTH – McCain voted the opposite way from Obama on the bill in question. McCain supported a funding bill that did not include a timeline, while Obama supported a funding bill that included a timeline.

RATING: 2 – While this would otherwise get a 3 for being the complete opposite of the truth, the point Biden was trying (rather poorly) to make was that the disagreement was over the timeline, not the funding. Obama accurately pointed this out during his first debate with McCain, and unlike Biden, he managed to do it without telling a lie of his own.



Obama voted to increase taxes on families making $42,000 per year

TRUTH – Obama voted to increase taxes on individuals making $42,000 per year, not families.

RATING – 2 – While it's a somewhat minor distortion of the truth, the misleading impression it gives makes it a 2

BIDEN: McCain voted the same way as Obama on the bill to raise taxes on individuals making $42,000 per year.

TRUTH – McCain did not vote on this bill.

RATING – 2 – Biden may want us to think that a non vote is the same as a no vote, but if that's the case he'd better be careful due to the number of "present" votes given by his running mate.



PALIN – Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes.

TRUTH – That number includes some bills that raised taxes on some groups while lowing it for others.

RATING – 1 – it is a minor distortion of the truth.

BIDEN – McCain refused to meet with the government of Spain

TRUTH – McCain made no commitment one way or the other.

RATING – 2 – just as in the previous Biden lie, no position is not the same as a "no" position.



BIDEN: McCain wanted to deregulate the healthcare industry just as had been done for the banking industry.

TRUTH – McCain does not propose deregulation, only increased competition across state lines. He also supported reforming of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

RATING – 2 – Increased competition does not equal total deregulation

PALIN – McCain's healthcare plan would be budget-neutral

TRUTH – While it would cost less than Obama's plan, McCain's healthcare plan would still cost the government billions of dollars.

RATING – 3 – Any government-funded healthcare program is going to be very expensive, so Palin's claim here is simply complete BS.



PALIN – Millions of small businesses would see increased taxes under Obama's plan

TRUTH – Hundreds of thousands of small businesses would see increased taxes under Obama's plan, but certainly not millions.

RATING – 1 – Her number is an exaggeration, but her point that a great many small businesses would see increased taxes is valid.

BIDEN – McCain's tax plan would give oil companies a $4 billion tax cut.

TRUTH – McCain's tax plan would change the corporate tax rate from %35 to %25. There is no special treatment for oil companies, and the $4 billion figure is the total of one particular (liberal-biased) organization's estimated value of this change to the five largest oil companies combined.

RATING – 2 – It could possibly become true, but probably not, and the way Biden presented it as special treatment for just oil companies was grossly misleading.



BIDEN: – Iraq has an $80 billion surplus

TRUTH – Iraq has $29 billion- total - in the bank

RATING – 1 – It is an exaggeration of the truth.

PALIN - We're circulating about $700 billion a year into foreign countries for oil

TRUTH – The actual number is about $493 billion.

RATING – 1 – Another exaggeration



PALIN – Obama voted for the 2005 energy bill, which is what gave oil companies big tax breaks.

TRUTH – There were some big tax breaks and other big tax increases, but the net result was actually a slight tax increase.

RATING – 3 – Complete opposite of the truth

BIDEN – McCain voted 20 times against alternative energy

TRUTH – McCain voted 11 times against alternative energy. Many of McCain's votes were not against alternative energy, but rather the MANDATORY use of alternative energy.

RATING – 2 – An exaggeration... and a very misleading one



BIDEN: Obama never said he would have an unconditional meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

TRUTH – During the primary debates, Obama replied to a YouTube submitted question by saying that he would have unconditional meetings with leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela and North Korea.

RATING – 3 – The Obama Campaign is trying to make it seem that Obama was talking about Iran leadership other than Ahmadinejad, but the video that accompanied the question showed a picture of Ahmadinejad when Iran was mentioned, and everyone at the debate knew that the question to referred to him.

PALIN – called US commander in Afghanistan, David McKiernan "McClellan."

RATING – 0 – Although she said it more than once, this is probably nothing more than an unintentional slip.



PALIN - General McKiernan supports "surge principles" in Afghanistan

BIDEN - General McKiernan does not support "surge principles" in Afghanistan

RESULT – INCONCLUSIVE - Who was lying depends on what they were talking about when referring to "surge principles." While General McKiernan said he would not use the word "surge," he did suggest that Afghanistan would need an infusion of US troops quickly.



BIDEN - "...all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years."

TRUTH – Katie's Restaurant closed in the 1980s, so its closing had nothing to do with the Bush administration.

RATING – 2 - This was an obvious, phony attempt to make himself appear as "Average Joe" Biden, when the truth is that it shows he is out of touch.

PALIN - "Barack Obama had said that all we're doing in Afghanistan is air-raiding villages and killing civilians"

TRUTH – The full quote from Obama: "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." At the time Obama said this (August 2007), US troops were killing more civilians than insurgents. Although if you take Obama's words literally he did say that this is all we were doing, it is pretty safe to say that Obama was exaggerating to get his point across at the time.

RATING – 2 – A gross misrepresentation of the original statement



PALIN - " was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures..."

TRUTH – While it could be said that Republicans including McCain were in favor of reform while Democrats were against it (see this video), saying that McCain stands out as pushing hard is an exaggeration.

RATING – 1 – A mild distortion

BIDEN - "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." (video clip including this statement)

RATING – 9 – A complete, utter, pulled-it-out-of-an-unseen-orifice fabrication. This event never occurred on planet Earth. Biden was making up a total fairytale... and he is supposed to be the foreign policy expert? Such a bald-face lie is inexcusable, and if Sarah Palin had said something so outrageous the McCain campaign would probably be finished. This massive lie is worth three complete loads of BS at least.




Summary: Both candidates mangled the facts, but Biden did a better job at burying us in piles of BS. As for who won the debate, I'd say Biden was more convincing, and Palin was more personable. However, this debate was all about Palin. Biden has been in the Senate since before I was born, so his record speaks for itself. However, in the week leading up to the debate Liberal talkers had started really picking apart the Katie Couric interview, so Thursday all eyes were on Palin. I think she proved her worth, but it probably won't make any difference in poll numbers.