Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Random Thoughts

I've obviously missed a lot of news, so here's some quick thoughts...

I was overall very satisfied with the Democratic convention. Obama's speech (video) was better than expected, because he made sure to bring up all the attacks against them, and slammed back. The Democrats are definitely getting better at playing defense, but it's the mastery of offense that keeps Republicans winning, and Democrats need to keep that in mind always. Throw the first punch every once in a while. George Bush didn't defeat John Kerry by besting him in policy debates. That doesn't mean playing dirty like the GOP does (*cough*), but it does mean not apologizing every time you state the obvious about the GOP/McCain's record.

My only real complaint about the DNC was the lack of specifics in their case against the GOP. Just reminding everyone how shitty the last 8 years of Republican rule have been isn't going to be enough, I fear. Read off the bullet points! The war(s), the housing crisis, an outsourced and depressed economy, health care, the energy crisis, our ravaged national infrastructure, a corrupt government more interested in ideology than governing, etc... these should be mentioned as often as possible.

Some good speeches along those lines? John Kerry (who, in the proud Democratic tradition like Al Gore, didn't actually become a decent candidate until after he lost the election) and Montana's governor Brian Schweitzer (who made all the right points on energy). You may have missed these two speeches because the cable networks thought you'd be interested in watching Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann yell at each other than seeing the actual convention they were supposedly covering.

Onto the Republicans!

A lot of people were speculating a week ago that Hurricane Gustav would be bad news for the Republicans and their convention because it would be a reminder of Katrina and how the government was asleep at the wheel while one of its biggest cities drowned (pull yourselves up by the bootstraps, dying poor people!). Instead, it is turning out to be a bit of a blessing-- well, not to those who live in its path, obviously-- because it is giving them an excuse to scale back a convention they clearly barely wanted to have anyway. Do you really think the Republicans wanted to follow the spectacular Democratic convention with a week of speeches by such brilliant political minds like Cindy McCain, Joe Lieberman, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Guiliani's 9/11 keynote? And you better believe that, hurricane or no hurricane, that would've found a reason to keep President Bush and VP Cheney from speaking/reminding Americans that John McCain belongs to the same party as these two monsters. And so now, they get to keep it very low-key while John McCain gets to play President by giving speeches about national crises. Well played.

And the elephant in the room-- pardon the pun-- is Sarah Palin, the woman who would be Vice President. What can I say about this decision that hasn't been said already? It is transparently political along several lines... 1) a 100% non-subtle grab for woman voters/disgruntled Hillary supporters, 2) a way of marketing a 'change' candidacy of their own, and 3) a means of appeasing the Christian right, who tend to throw temper tantrums if the Republicans attempt to run candidates who don't meet the proper standards of insanity. This is a decision based on electoral politics, not the actual governing of the country, which is of course the Republican party in a nutshell. It just may be stupid enough to work too.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, has more value after the election to Obama than he does before it.


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