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(Copyright © 2008)
Vice Presidential debate: Scheduled for Thurs. Oct. 2nd, 8:00 PM CDT in St. Louis Missouri, this event – while not crucial to the larger scheme of the campaigns - has some components to it that could make it very emotional, and therefore treacherous for both Joe Biden, Democrat and Sarah Palin, Republican. Energetically, the debate has the advantage of the waxing Moon, with a New Moon from Monday, Sept. 29 at 4:13 AM EDT. Jupiter and Venus, both the classic benefic planets, closely aspect an Aries Ascendant - the same as last Friday’s Presidential debate. This insures a degree of civility amidst all the action. But the smoothness is somewhat reduced by Moon and Mars joining Venus in the sign of Libra. In addition, Moon, at 28:51 Libra, is in the nakshatra of Vishakha (20:00 Libra thru 3:20 Scorpio), the only constellation ruled by two deities, Indra and Agni, two of the most glorified deities in the Vedas. They rule over lightning and fire, respectively, and account for why this section of Libra is much more active and fiery than the previous portion of the sign. The quality of Vishakha’s energy is considered “mixed,” perhaps because it is not easy to tame it. Called The Star of Purpose, Vishakha has Jupiter as its planetary ruler. When planets are in Vishakha, the person can be overbearing. Joe Biden has his natal Mercury here.
I said in my Sept. 22nd update that the Bailout plan was not likely to pass through both houses of Congress until at least Oct. 3 or 5, when transiting Mars and Mercury, respectively, exit the nakshatra of Mars-ruled Chitra. While in Chitra, they give a period of potentially more heated communications: thus, on Oct. 2nd, this factor is still present. For the VP debate, the most prominent planets are also the only two female planets: Venus and Moon. And with transiting Moon, Venus, and Mars all in the same sign opposite the Ascendant, there is perhaps even a larger audience for this debate, and enormous interest among women viewers. Not only is the first woman Republican Vice presidential candidate featured, but also a woman moderator, Gwen Ifill. The prominence of the Moon in this chart can symbolize several points: 1) women in the spotlight; 2) major interest in a woman candidate from women, or from the public at large (also Moon); 3) Sarah Palin’s perceived vulnerability as a qualified VP candidate; and 4) Gwen Ifill’s perceived objectivity as a neutral moderator, given her upcoming pro-Obama book. The Moon is the most visible physical planet during the first 36 minutes of the debate. And in the period when it is closest to setting on the Western horizon, the highest emotional content of the evening is most likely. To narrow the time frame, between 8:26PM and 8:35 PM CDT will be most critical to each of the candidates. Here’s why.
The Ascendant switches from late Aries into zero degrees of Taurus at 8:36 PM CDT. This puts transiting Moon exactly on the Western horizon up until nearly the end of Libra setting. And when the Ascendant shifts to Taurus, all three planets in Libra now move to the 6th house from the Ascendant. This is a disadvantageous place for female planets, primarily Venus, but also Moon, which is uncomfortable in the 6th house of conflict. Thus, from 8:36 PM CDT onwards, the debate could become much less favorable to Sarah Palin. Even Gwen Ifill needs to be extra careful, as she is already more in the spotlight than usual.
For his part, Joe Biden has natal Mercury at 28:28 Libra, very close to transiting Moon in Vishakha nakshatra. This creates some distinct challenges for him during the debate. When Moon and Mercury are that closely aligned, either natally or via a combination of natal and transiting planets, the feeling function (Moon) is harder to separate from the rational thinking function (Mercury). Even so, this combination can also give very fine intuition. Biden’s natal Mercury is also widely aspected by natal Moon and Mars. His Mars is in Libra 9 degrees earlier, and Moon in Aries, though 20 degrees earlier. So his speech already has a tendency to be fiery and impulsive, and he has been criticized for some of his less considered remarks. So far they have not ended his lengthy political career, probably due to a prominent natal Saturn, and natal Jupiter exalted in Cancer. In his birth chart, Jupiter aspects Mercury and Mars in Libra, bestowing on them a protective quality. However, there is A LOT OF speech and communication when Jupiter, planet of abundance, aspects Mercury, planet of speech and communication. (Woody Allen is another famous example.) Therefore, Biden needs to watch the quantity and content of his speech. This is not easy when it provides him so much emotional outlet (Mercury opposite Moon), and he has so much innate optimism (Jupiter contacting Mercury or Moon).
Sarah Palin is very familiar with the Moon-Mercury issue, as her Mercury and Moon are probably within a degree or two from each other in the sign of Capricorn. She too strives to separate feeling from thought. Technically, on debate night, tr. Moon is in a better nakshatra for her - from natal Moon - than it is for Joe Biden. But tr. Saturn is in the 8th house from her natal Moon, same as for John McCain, and considered generally a period of loss and change, and not ideal for winning a big contest, thru Sept. 2009. In the larger picture, both Biden and Palin are in the 16-year Jupiter dasa (planetary period), Palin for 9 or 10 years now, Biden for just two years. Jupiter is an excellent planet for his Scorpio Ascendant chart, but its effectiveness for Palin depends on what Ascendant sign rises in her birth chart.
Though she is the moderator, and not answering the questions, Gwen Ifill herself may have a Moon-Mercury objectivity issue, at least in some people’s minds. She has written a book, to be published around Jan. 20, 2009, entitled The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. (This was first announced on July 23, 2008.) She discusses how the African American political structure of the civil rights movement has paved the way for “post-racial politicians” to ascend to new heights. Some say this pro-Obama stance is not fitting for a moderator, though when Hillary Clinton was running for President, many women journalists were pressured as women to support Clinton. And to add just a bit more drama to the situation, two nights prior to the debate Gwen Ifill was going downstairs carrying debate prep materials, fell and broke her ankle. Fortunately, she is recovering, and will still be VP debate moderator, as in 2004.
Palin is in Jupiter-Venus dasa, and this can bring excesses in her behavior and her speech, as these two planets are together in the same sign and house, even if in a more auspicious house. (But without a solid birth time, and a correct Ascendant, we don’t yet know which house.)
Biden is in Jupiter-Jupiter dasa, and is due to enter Jupiter-Saturn dasa on Nov. 12, 2008. This should be favorable for him, as his Jupiter is well situated in the natal 9th house and is close to its maximum degree of exaltation. Natal Saturn is in its friend’s sign and in the best possible angle of the chart, the 7th house, giving him a lot of his self-discipline and tireless work ethic. His Jupiter dasa should elevate his status in life, no matter how the Oct. 2nd debate turns out. But he will have to exercise much caution not to get trapped in waters where emotion overtakes careful thought. The expectation is that Sarah Palin may not do well in that context. But Biden must do well.
Birth data of the VP candidates: Sarah Palin: Feb. 11, 1964, time unknown (12 noon MST used), Sandpoint, Idaho.
Joe Biden: Nov. 20, 1942, 8:30 AM EWT listed (Edith Hathaway has rectified to 8:28 AM EWT), Scranton, PA. (Vedic Ascendant 9:45 Scorpio.)
Moderator Gwen Ifill’s birth data: Sept. 29, 1955, time unknown (12 noon EDT used), New York City, NY (Manhattan, NY used). Note: Gwen Ifill has no Mercury-Moon contacts in her birth chart. Moon is in Aquarius and Mercury in Libra (with Saturn). Having both Moon and Mercury in air signs can be a big advantage for someone in the communications field. She herself has made history: In 1999 she became the first African American woman ever to host a prominent political talk show on national television.
[Note from Barbara Nowak: You might find this debate timeline from political commentator Andrew Sullivan interesting in respect to Edith's timeline.
Oct. 4: Another seasoned journalist, Christiane Amanpour, offered her opinion on the VP debate, giving a time frame. (Amanpour is CNN's Chief International Correspondent. She was speaking on Bill Maher's Real Time, Friday night Oct. 3rd): "I thought she [Palin] won the first half hour hands down.... She connects with the people she's trying to reach."
Gwen Ifill was on Meet the Press, 5 Oct 08, and said "Palin blew me off". See a video clip of Ifill's interview.]
Re the VP debate last night Oct 2, 2008, in my Sept. 30 update I predicted that Palin would do less well after the first 36 minutes. And though she didn't do as badly as expected, the consensus is that Biden really scored in the last hour, especially the last half hour, as he continued to link McCain with the current Bush administration on policy after policy, and Palin had no real comeback. She had only a list of talking points like "maverick" and being "the real advocates for change," since Republicans were "not looking backwards."
I had warned that Biden needed to be exceedingly careful, as the transiting Moon was passing directly over his Mercury, and this could make him overly emotional. But most commentators, even GOP commentators, considered his performance to be masterful, as well as his command of the facts. CNN's David Gergen* called it "the best debate performance of his life...." However, the most emotional moment of the debate did belong to Biden, when he talked about his having had plenty of experience as a parent, even a single parent, and about his sons possibly not "making it." Some pundits have even been looking at this as a seminal paternal moment expressed by a male politician. It was obviously very real and visceral. After having nursed his sons through serious injuries in a car accident decades ago (in which his wife and daughter were killed), he faces the departure of his elder son today, as he ships off to Iraq in the National Guard.** Palin's son is in the Army, and was also just recently deployed to Iraq. But she chose to go straight on to another unrelated topic. And in general, she chose not to answer many questions as they were asked, and stated from the beginning that she would answer what she wanted when she wanted, as this was her opportunity "to speak directly to the American people."
Today at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls/ the Obama-Biden ticket continues to rise in the polls. They are averaging +5.8 points over McCain-Palin. Even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer made the extraordinary announcement today that Obama “has won the presidential race.” Krauthammer is among the many conservative columnists who have been calling for Palin to withdraw from the ticket due to her lack of experience and readiness to be president. Krauthammer, at least, was not convinced by Palin's performance last night.
I also predicted it would be a bigger audience than usual. In fact, there were 69.9 million viewers, the largest audience for a televised debate in 16 years, and the largest ever for a VP debate. Today, the Nielson media review reports an increase of 33% from the previous presidential debate Sept. 26th. Of course, Thursday night is a clear advantage over Friday night in that regard, but this is a big percentage gain. Many spoke of this debate as "the cultural event" of the day. No wonder they couldn't schedule a vote in Congress for the same time period. And regarding the Bailout measure, I said in my Sept. 22nd update, it could not be passed by both Houses of Congress until at least Oct. 3 or 5. It was passed today at 1:26 PM EDT, according to CSPAN live coverage.
Gwen Ifill did her job perfectly. There was no soap opera there. The only hint of soap opera is the announcement today that Queen Latifah will play Gwen Ifill on a Saturday Night Live version of the VP debate, scheduled for tomorrow evening. Since it is a live show, there is always the possibility this sketch will not happen.
*FROM HIS OWN WEBSITE: "David Gergen is currently a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of its Center for Public Leadership. He is also editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report and a Senior Political Analyst for CNN. In earlier years, he served as a White House advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton."
** Beau Biden’s Deployment ceremony was today in Delaware, though his unit goes first to Fort Bliss, TX for further training before shipping out to Iraq in six to eight weeks.
Copyright © 2008 Edith Hathaway. All rights reserved.
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