Allow me these three lingering thoughts on the RNC

4 Sep

1. My kneejerk reaction to McCain’s acceptance speech, mere minutes after its conclusion: damn solid. McCain obviously isn’t the most charismatic public speaker, not even close, but his speech accomplished two wonderful things: it was chock-full of detailed policy plans, and respectful to the Democrats. It’s kinda nice when our politicians actually act like adults, eh?

I feel like the film of this Palin fiasco has been washed away and I can get back to mostly just being so goddamn grateful that these two Presidential candidates are respectful politicians with bright ideas and rational goals. Looking to a better day, kids, and I for one think the country will be in good hands either way. Hot damn, that’s a nice feeling.

Oh, and how great was this part, said at the beginning of his speech:

“A word to Senator Obama and his supporters: we’ll go at it the next two months, you know that’s the nature of this business. And there are big differences between us. But, you have my respect and my admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.”

Some fine writing, right there. Please, sir, pass along the message of respect to your running mate (or at least her speechwriter), who seems to think that cutting remarks and childish put-downs are the key to uniting this country.

——–

2. I’ve been trying to elucidate just why the Palin appointment has been bothering me so much. I’ll paste an email I wrote to friends earlier today:

The really sad thing is we were THIS close to having a congenial battle. Obama and McCain have been respectful of each other at every turn, refusing to play dirty politics, and for that we are lucky. But, now, this McCain/Palin ticket is extremely right-wing, and we’ve gone right back to the cultural warfare game that so polarized the country in 2000 (probably before, but that is the first instance I remember), where it matters not the policy stances or concrete plans for this country, but rather who you claim to represent (“Obama’s an elitist! I’m just a mom! Come on, moms of the world – don’t look at my track record, just vote for me because we’re both mommies!”). This strategy only works if the voters are complete morons who get suckered into it, and I’m hoping we can ignore the style in favor of the substance. We’ll see.

I read somewhere – it’s pretty obvious, I suppose – that by choosing Palin, McCain has turned his back on all the swing voters and is now just looking to mobilize the religious right (I’m also completely convinced Palin was not his choice. A guy with his experience choosing a newcomer that he has never met? No way. This was all politics). Which is as smart as it is incredibly disappointing, especially for those of us who could care less about partisan politics and just want our country to be smart and prosperous. I hope I’m wrong, but at this point, sensing two months of knockdown dragout negative campaigning, it seems we lose once again.

——–

3. Two hilarious – no, fucking hilarious – cards, the first sent by loyal reader A.B., the second created by the incomparable Mark Lisanti:

OK, that’s it for policy talk for a while, I promise*.

*No I don’t.

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11 Responses to “Allow me these three lingering thoughts on the RNC”

  1. B. September 4, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    Figured I’d add this P.S. in the comments. My roommate Norm was watching Romney’s speech last night in his bedroom, and I heard him shriek like a schoolgirl before running out blabbering something about “Romney just said…votes…Palin…Biden” before falling in a defeated heap and crying himself to sleep right there on the living room floor. Well, I found what he was talking about, courtesy of an AP article detailing the fabrications in RNC speeches:

    “FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin “got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.”

    THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor’s election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.”

    Ouch. Nice fact-checking there, morons.

  2. RandBall's Stu September 5, 2008 at 5:37 am #

    These “facts” you speak of have a history of leftism and support for America’s enemies.

  3. Jon September 5, 2008 at 7:37 am #

    I don’t know – Palin’s already ten times more fun than Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, and Joe Biden combined. (I leave John Edwards off this list, because clearly that dude’s the life of the party wherever he goes.)

  4. Keith September 5, 2008 at 8:29 am #

    Good fair post B. My honest take on your response to Palin is that she is the VP nominee, and what she did is what VP nominees do. THey are the uncivil ones. I don’t see much difference between the tone she used and the tone Biden used. THe difference is that she was much higher pitched, and that is much more difficult to listen to as a male. There is this natural response in us as males to fight back when confronted with a strong woman and assume she is a B**ch because she is strong. I personally don’t think people would say what they are saying about her if it was a male who had given that speech.
    I think we have to take the hyperbole of convention speeches with a grain of salt and not let it get in the way of facts.
    Of course Biden got more votes in the presidential election.
    Of course community activists actually do something.
    Of course Obama is way more qualified than his experience lends itself to.
    Convention is all about hyperbole. (or as a friend of mine in HS said Hyperbowl…he was quickly encouraged by our English teacher to bypass the SAT and look into trade school- the irony of it all is that he is now a journalist for NY Newsday) It wouldn’t get anybody excited if they just stuck to the facts.

    The fact that McCain did, however, shows the effect of a speech if you do that with an audience that wants to cut through it all. It is so much easier to listen to and you don’t need a scorecard to see if that is actually what the other side is doing.

  5. BreAnne September 5, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    If you haven’t seen this Daily Show clip, you should really watch:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=184086&title=sarah-palin-gender-card

  6. B. September 5, 2008 at 9:48 am #

    BreAnne:
    That is the greatest clip ever. Said everything I’ve been trying to say, but 100 times better. Expect it to be embedded soon.

    Keith:
    I agree completely about the hyperbowl; that is the basic point of the conventions, and I have no problem with the rah-rah tone of the speeches.

    But here is the thing: Palin is the most unqualified VP candidate in history, and her speech was filled with outright lies, yet if anyone mentions either of those facts, they are a sexist. And I think those playing the sexism cards are the ones acting sexist here – if you believe women are equals, then you believe they deserve to be equally criticized. These Republican strategists are trying to have it both ways, and I think that’s unfair and backwards.

    Forget that Palin is a woman, and forget she is a Republican. If Barack Obama had selected a running mate that was the mayor of Devils Lake, ND, and just recently became Governor of North Dakota, AND he had been running a campaign of experience, would you question his selection? I bet you would, and you would have every right to do so. So why can’t I?

  7. RandBall's Stu September 5, 2008 at 10:05 am #

    That Daily Show clip should be deep-fried and sold at the State Fair. It’s just that good. I’ll try not to let the fact that this is something the actual media should be doing, not the pretend media, get me down.

    Brandon: have you heard of this site? One of the Baseball Prospectus guys runs it. Stats galore on the polls and state of the race. Should be right up your alley.

  8. Keith September 5, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    You are not going to find me defending her experience. I think the buzz she has created is mostly amongst evangelical woman who never thought they would see a conservative woman with this much potential power. I think there is a whole demographic of non academic feminists who really believe in woman rights, just not in the same way those that make up the more liberal feminist groups that are pumped for her.
    I will say that executive leadership is executive leadership. I fully believe anybody who is a great leader, and is pointed in the right direction and puts the right people around them can do a great job at any leadership centered position. The learning curve will be steeper, but the curve is steep for every new president who has never been a governor of a big state (which tends to be why governors are mentioned as best prospective presidents)
    For me, the biggest strike against her (but not necessarily a death blow as time will tell…and you don’t vote for VP anyway)is that she is one breath away from president. Granted she could not do any worse than current administration, but her being that close to power is as scary as Nancy Pelosi, but for different reasons (and neither having to do with gender)
    I don’t want you to take my post as support for Palin. To me experience is not the major issue in this election. If it was I would be a huge McCain supporter. It boils down to who can be the best leader for this country, and appoint the best team to lead in the various areas they are charged to lead. Obviously philosophy and jurisprudence has a lot to do with it as well, but I think the margins are much bigger on that area with all the variables involved.

    This post was written over a two hour period, if it doesn’t make sense it can be explained away due to the break in time.

  9. Robert Anderson September 5, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    hey B – love reading your site . Very funny . I am not sure if you heard or saw but yesterday , Thurs. I turned to MSNBC at 5pm to check out RNC. It was between speakers and there was music playing and the crowd was going wild. Dancing ,hugging , holding signs and signing along to Kenny Loggins ” Highway to the danger zone……..” Then after McCains speech they played some gay country tune about McCain. But after they played “Barrecuda” by Heart. Love their DJ but he probably is looking for work today. Also please comment on the Sexism charges against the DFL, vs the ” Hoosiers for the Hot Chick”, ” I’m for the hot VP” buttons worn by the GOP delegates. keep up the good posts , I enjoy them ….Bob

  10. B. September 5, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    We agree, Keith. Experience shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all, but her being a heartbeat away from the Presidency while even her own party has acknowledged she will have a steep learning curve, is a bit scary.

    You know, this whole ‘civilized discussion’ thing ain’t half bad.

  11. RandBall's Stu September 5, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    You go to hell and you die.

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