Wednesday, September 10, 2008

O'Reilly Interviews Obama II

So while part I focused on national security and foreign policy this piece looks at Obama's economic and taxation policies. During his little pre-interview commentary Bill talks about how some on the right were upset at him for interviewing Obama on the heels of the Republican National Convention (a valid concern but McCain announced his VP pick on the heels of the Democratic Convention as an obvious attempt to overshadow Obama's nomination) while some on the left complained that he was constantly interrupting Obama (also a valid concern, to which he visibly scoffs; has this guy never watched a video of himself interviewing anyone before?). Either way this is classic O'Reilly: he airs complaints from partisan groups about himself being too liberal/conservative by the right/left as a way to make himself seem "fair and balanced" because he's taking on the establishment and "looking out for you, the folks", after which he'll proceed with his obvious and transparent agenda of trashing the political left and anyone affiliated with them.

And as to his "lively intrusions" while Obama was trying to answer his questions this is everything that is wrong with the media in modern politics: if you can't speak in sound bites then your message doesn't get heard. O'Reilly is interviewing Obama about how he will perform in the capacity of the most powerful man on the planet, asking questions that require cogent, well thought out answers but anytime he takes more then fifteen seconds to answer BillO jumps down his throat. This is also one of the reasons Kerry lost in 2004: while he proved how exceptional a thinker he was by elucidating intelligently about presidential policy and governing procedure Bush spit out witticisms and catch-phrases that worked well as clips on the news and showed that he was just a regular guy from Midland that everyone would like to have a beer with (on a similar tangent, my extensive thoughts on the necessity of elites in our society can be found here).

O'Reilly gets his "income redistribution" quote in there and even gets to say "Socialist tenet" when discussing Obama's tax plan; this chart lays out McCain's and Obama's plans for changes to the tax code side by side, listed by economic demographics (click image to enlarge):
As you can see, McCain's plan heavily favors tax cuts for the richest Americans while Obama's cuts concentrate on relief for the lower and middle classes and produce a much smaller net revenue loss than McCain's; this contrast is stark and unambiguous and I think that every Obama campaign surrogate should carry one of these charts around in their back pockets to hold up anytime they're discussing the candidates' tax plans.

And another thing: as I've stated numerous times here I'm no economist and frankly, it's probably one of my weaker areas of knowledge so maybe someone can explain to me why passing tax cuts that overwhelmingly favor the rich and corporations over everyday Americans stimulates the economy but giving tax cuts to the poor and middle class while raising taxes on the rich to their pre-Bush levels while abolishing corporate tax breaks is tantamount to Robin Hoodism and class warfare. We tried the trickle-down theory of economics during the Reagan years and it didn't work; as the trickle became a nonexistent drip the rich got richer while the poor got poorer. Adding more food to the lord's table hardly ever works out to a comparable increase in the amount of scraps that fall to his dogs.

And why is it that I hear the same people who extol "traditional small town values" like neighborliness and community spirit turn around and in the same breath describe our economic system as some kind of capitalistic tooth and nail brawl that makes it impossible to require any kind of sacrifices from those who are extremely well off in order to lend some help to those in our society who are incapable of helping themselves? The fact that Obama stays cool even while O'Reilly starts to yell his questions at him I think is a testament to his professionalism and temperament under pressure. Let's see how ugly the guilt by association stuff gets tomorrow; here's part II:


Intrepid Californio said...

I did not read your schtick on this and I only watched about 2/3 of the interview. At this point, all I can do is reaffirm that O'Reilly is indeed a horse's ass.

JBW said...

Trust me, reading my schtick is not a prerequisite for coming to that conclusion.

Jeremy said...

Pat, Bill O. is a horse's ass, but that's why I love him. I see him as much of joke as the right see's Stephen Colbert. I mean fuck, he must be joking right? There is no way the "NO SPIN ZONE" isn't a sarcastic title.

JBW said...

I really try to enjoy guys like him on a pure entertainment level but the fact that hundreds of thousands of brain donors take him seriously really harshes my buzz as that goes.