Oct 092008
Authors: Alex Stephens

For those that didn’t catch the debate Tuesday night or prefer that someone just summarize it, here you go. I can’t do it as well as Republican candidate John McCain, but pretend I’ve peppered in the phrase “my friends” over 15 times to make you feel warm and cozy while I fill you in.


Sen. Barack Obama stated his plan very clearly multiple times. If you like your current healthcare plan, you can keep it. If you cannot afford healthcare, the government will help you out. No one will be forced to accept anything they do not like, but you might see a minimal tax increase.

McCain says he will uproot the healthcare system by shifting the responsibility from the employer to the individual. Instead of your company providing your family with health insurance, you will be issued $2,500 for yourself or $5,000 for your family to buy insurance of your choice. When informed of the fact that, on average, health insurance plans cost $12,000 a year per family, McCain didn’t respond.

Let’s get this straight — McCain is ready to saddle the average family with a $7,000 additional burden ($12,000 minus $5,000 equals $7,000). Obama will give you healthcare if you cannot afford it. Let’s not forget the economy is plunging right now.

Disturbingly, McCain said: “Let’s put medical records online, (it) will reduce medical errors.”

It may be true that it will reduce errors, but it will also put our medical records online. I don’t think McCain understands what a gross violation of privacy that would be, and yet, he advocates it.

Energy and Environment

Both candidates demonstrate a severe lack of understanding when it comes to the threat of global warming and who is doing most of the damage to the Earth. Obama is much more promising than his opponent, though.

Obama concedes that green energy is one of the biggest challenges of our time and that nuclear power is only a piece of a solution that incorporates other green energies like solar and wind. He says, correctly, that drilling for more oil isn’t the answer to environmental problems but rather that Americans need to start driving less and conserving.

McCain emphasizes nuclear power and more drilling. In the best-case scenario, nuclear power would alleviate 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and would require more than 850 nuclear power plants to be built. Why would we want to drill for more oil? That’s like giving a meth addict more meth in hopes that he stops doing meth.

“Drill baby, drill!” sounds more like a porn flick than a sound energy policy.

Foreign Affairs

This is the part of the debate that really blew my mind. Take, for instance, McCain, who claimed the U.S. has been the greatest source of good the world has ever seen. I suppose he is right if you disregard wiping out the Native Americans, dropping the atom bomb, slavery or eugenics.

McCain then went on to say how much he admires Teddy Roosevelt (and on campaign stops, he professes to be a modern-day Teddy). Nothing could be further from the truth. Roosevelt refused campaign contributions from oil companies. McCain accepted them. Roosevelt established numerous wildlife refuges like Yellowstone and Pelican Island. McCain wants to drill in wildlife refuges. Roosevelt used his “big stick” to subjugate the Philippines, which were actually a democracy and wanted to be America’s ally.

And McCain wants to be associated with oppression — why? Maybe he doesn’t expect the average voter to know anything about Teddy Roosevelt, other than what a “great guy” he was.

Both candidates failed on the “is Russia still an evil empire” question. The correct answer would have been one syllable, “No.” Even slightly insinuating a democratic member of the United Nations and G8 is an evil empire would do nothing but make relations more hostile.

Oh, and McCain accused Obama of wanting to invade Pakistan and got away with it. At that point, the audience was too numb from the barrage of lies to even notice.

Alex Stephens is a junior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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