Friday, August 29, 2008

GOP panic? More on Obama acceptance

I planned to make more comments about Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night, but I just read the news about McCain's selection of Gov. Palin as his running mate, and was stunned.

Palin's name had been bandied about a month or so back, but had slacked off when word came out that she had used her position as governor to push for the firing of her ex-brother-in-law who was a state trooper, and then firing the head of the State Police when he wouldn't do it.

While she has conservative credentials, her almost total lack of experience makes it hard for the GOP to keep pushing the "too inexperienced, too lightweight" meme about Obama. Her selection, along with her speech mentioning Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton, seems like a desperate attempt to get the votes of disgruntled Clinton supporters. From a practical aspect, with a 72 year old presidential candidate, we have to take a hard look at whether Palin would have any business being the president, if worse comes to worse.

Back to Obama's speech. While it was a fantastic speech overall, here are the points that I especially liked.

  • Obama's review of his antecedents. Many Americans know little about Barack Obama than the crap that GOP emailers have been spewing out. The "elitist" claim is particularly absurd, when we look at the two candidates. Obama was a mixed-race child raised by a single mother, who qualified for food stamps for part of his childhood. McCain is the son and grandson of admirals, who was able to get a command despite coming almost dead last in his class, and is now married to a nine figure heiress. And we are supposed to believe that McCain is "just one of us?"

  • "Eight is enough". No, not the TV show. Obama made the point very well that electing McCain is just four more years of George Bush. McCain believes (well, currently believes. He has changed positions on almost every position in the last eight years, from being an actual "maverick" in 2000, to falling in line with every one of Bush's positions now) that we need to keep cutting taxes on the wealthy (and help those poor downtrodden heirs and heiresses keep more of daddy and mommy's money.) He believes that bin Laden is apparently hiding in Iraq (which brings me to another great line "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.")

  • "It's because John McCain doesn't get it." That is it in a nutshell.

  • Obama's listing of specific changes to be made to help our economy. While Obama has had much more detailed plans than McCain, those have not always been made clear. Soundbites and stump speeches are not the place to detail specifics, but people need to be made aware that the specifics are there.

  • "And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons." Clearly a point made to help pull in the female vote, it is also an important truth. As the father of an beautiful, intelligent daughter, I want her available choices to be determined by her intelligence and work ethic, not her chromosomes.

  • "And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us" - It was important for Obama to push the point that he is not simply talking about so-called "entitlements", but for ways to help us help ourselves.

  • I loved the strength and confidence that Obama showed while making his challenges to McCain, including his line about "temperament" for the position of commander in chief. McCain is often likable, but from all reports he also has a hair trigger temper and makes spur of the moment decisions that he changes the next day. These are not the characteristics that I want a C-in-C to have.

  • "So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first." - I am sick of conservatives pretending, and often claiming outright, that they are the only ones who love their country. I am a patriot, but that doesn't make me a a narrow-minded jingoist. I have, for years, used the example that we should love our country like it is our child (correct its mistakes and direct it where we feel it should go) instead of like we are the children(my mommy's always daddy can beat up your daddy)

  • "Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things." - This attacks the classic GOP "wedge issue" strategy. The GOP has, ever since Reagan, focused on narrow divisive issues to scare social and religious conservatives into electing them. These same people haven't figured out that the GOP doesn't really care about abortion, gay marriage or prayer in school. It cares about helping the wealthy get more and more. They pay lip service to the scare issues, but use their actual political clout to help cut taxes on the wealthy and protect the Haliburton's of the world.

These are a few of the thoughts I had last night. I look forward to this election with hope and trepidation. I realize that electing Obama will not create Xanadu, but the only way we can make actual changes is by trying, and it seems that for too long we have stopped trying. We owe our children and grandchildren the effort.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"From a practical aspect, with a 72 year old presidential candidate, we have to take a hard look at whether Palin would have any business being the president, if worse comes to worse."

This is the scariest thing imaginable.