Categories
Election 2008 Obama

That Better Place Around the Bend


[Obama announcing his bid for the presidency in 2007.]

[digg-reddit-me]It’s funny to think of how much the pundits were complaining about how the convention speakers weren’t going after McCain before tonight. All that worrying. Yet, now, the plan is clear – all these other speakers were supposed to build Obama up – and then, Obama was supposed to tee off on McCain himself – at the moment of maximum publicity.

The Corner over at the National Review is sniping – nitpicking. They have pronounced the speech “LAME,” “Same old same old of the last two decades,” “pie-eyed utopianism,” “a September 10th convention,” and “This is not a great speech, and it is not a great delivery.” For the coup de grace, Kathryn Jean Lopez suggests “Maybe McCain shouldn’t speak next week and replay this instead?

With that type of response, it’s a wonder the Republicans haven’t been run out of town. Talk about out-of-touch. Or perhaps, these comments are better understood as the rationalizations of the captain of a sinking ship – trying to convince his crew to keep doing their jobs, and the band to keep playing.

Barack Obama gave, tonight, not his best speech – and not his best delivered speech – although it was delivered well and was a great speech. Because of it’s ambition, it could not be perfect. Instead of small perfection – like Obama’s keynote address in 2004 – it was a broad vision, with specific detail, responding to all of the charges thrown against him, and striking at the perceived strengths of his opponent while praising his past opponents and calling on the best in America. It was exactly the speech he needed – accomplishing so much without overstretching. It was truly remarkable.

MSNBC made some headlines for it’s on and off-air catfights recently, but Chris Matthews summarized the highlights and the genius of the speech well in the immediate aftermath:

Keith Olberman: I’d love to find something to criticize about it. Got anything?

Chris Matthews: No. I’ll be criticized for saying he inspires me, but to hell with my critics…I think what he said was about us; and that’s why we care about what he said. It was not about an ego – it was about a country. And when he said it at the end, he really challenged the country to make a decision. He said our strength is not in our money or our military or even our culture – he said it’s the American spirit, the American promise that pushes us forward even when the  path is uncertain. It binds us together in spite our differences; it makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but in what is unseen – that better place around the bend. That is America. And I think that is the challenge. It is an open challenge to the hearts and minds of the country. They can choose him or the other guy. It’s an open election.

But what he was saying is choosing the unknown is what we did when we picked Roosevelt; it’s what happened the country chose Reagan; it’s what they chose when they chose Clinton; oftentimes you have to take the unknowable and move away from the unacceptable. And in this case he’s saying: ‘Place your bets on the 90% not the 10%’ where McCain disagrees with Bush.

I thought it was an amazing..but…I’ve written speeches all my life, of course nothing like this. Let me tell you what was great about it. What he did was – and it’s a military practice – it’s called attacking from a defensive position. It’s how Henry won in Agincourt; it’s how Alexander won; it’s how Reagan kicked the butt of Jimmy Carter. And what you do is this: you take your opponent’s best shot and throw it back at him.

Are we a nation of whiners? If this is an ownership society, you own your failure. Was my upbringing a celebrity’s upbringing? If you’re going to follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell, how about going to his cave and getting him? And how dare you say this election is a test of patriotism when we’re all in this together? It was a great way of throwing back the other side’s best shot and saying it’s full of crap.

Politically, it was a remarkable performance. Now we see if the McCain campaign and the Republican noise machine can match him – or at least neutralize him and his message. “Class warfare!” they will say, because he spoke of how the tax code penalizes work; “Tax and spend” they will say because he want to fix our nation’s failing infrastructure. They will paint him as weak on national security – despite his pledge to build up our military and defend our nation’s interests. They will call the same plays as they have for the past three decade.

I pray that enough of us will choose something better – will choose the unknown over the unacceptable – will choose to find that better place around the bend.

Categories
Election 2008 Obama Politics The Clintons

Yet Another Blatant Power Grab By the Obamas

According to the Rocky Mountain News:

“I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the future conduct of the roll-call vote,” Clinton said. “All votes cast by the delegates will be counted. and I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party as the president of the United States.”

The motion was met with a rousing ovation. It was quickly seconded and approved by the thousands of people in attendance.

Pelosi did not wait for any “no” votes before slamming down the gavel.

Why do I suspect that some PUMAs out there are going to make a big deal about that last event?

Categories
Election 2008 McCain Obama Politics

McCain Throws an Elbow

Matt Drudge is reporting that the McCain campaign will leak the identity of their Vice Presidential pick at 6 pm tonight, and confirm the identity at 8 pm. Barack Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech between 10 pm and 11 pm. Obviously, this is a tactic designed to break into Obama’s news cycle.

It’s cheap. It’s pretty low class. And it’s excellent politics.

I think the McCain camp is miscalculating here – and although an announcement tomorrow might cut into Obama’s bounce, leaking the news tonight will cut into any benefit McCain might derive from it.

But the real bet must be that by leaking the news tonight so soon before Obama’s speech they can force him to react to the pick or look foolish not doing so.

I’m not sure exactly how this will play out – but McCain is playing a dangerous game here. And I’m not sure his campaign is up to it.

Of course, McCain does seem a bit cranky in his recent interview with Time magazine:

In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it’s over?
[Does not answer.]

Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]
[Long pause.] I’m very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.

You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?
[Shakes his head.]

You don’t acknowledge that? O.K., when your aides came to you and you decided, having been attacked by Barack Obama, to run some of those ads, was there a debate?
The campaign responded as planned.

I guess McCain has now decided to go out of his way to alienate the group he once called his base – presumably following the same Rovian strategy that Bush did.

McCain obviously does not care about his independent brand anymore.

Categories
Election 2008 Obama Politics The Clintons

Bill


[Image by greekchickie licensed under Creative Commons.]

Watching the Democratic Convention a few minutes behind real time (thanks DVR) and without having read or heard the instant post-speech analysis – I have to say, Bill Clinton gave exactly the speech Obama needed. And his performance tonight reminded me of why this man is the only Democrat to have been elected president twice since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Hillary Clinton’s speech last night was good – though it was clearly not directed at me. She hit her notes, and demonstrated how much she had improved her public speaking skills in the past few years. Bill Clinton today, though, managed to play to multiple audiences simultaneously – those disappointed in him for not supporting Obama; those who supported Hillary; those who had doubts about Obama; and those wavering on the line between McCain and Obama.

Categories
Election 2008 Obama Politics Videos

Dukakis: “I owe the American people an apology.”


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[digg-me] Katie Couric interviewed Michael Dukakis today – the man who lost the 1988 presidential race to George H. W. Bush. The quote that makes the interview worth watching is from the very end:

Look, I owe the American people an apology. If I had beaten the old man you’d of never heard of the kid and you wouldn’t be in this mess. So it’s all my fault and I feel that very, very strongly.

H/t Jason Zengerle.

Categories
Election 2008 Humor Politics Videos

Stephen Colbert Wants You!

[digg-reddit-me]To try to get him on stage at the Democratic National Convention…

And I think that’s a great idea.

Join the Facebook group “The Committee to Have Stephen Colbert Speak at the Democratic Convention.” Email the Democratic Convention at info@demconvention.com.  If the Barack Obama site administrators ever approve my request to start this group on myBarackObama.com, then you can also join that group of the same name as the Facebook group.

Do I think we can get Colbert a speaking role?  I don’t know.

Do I think it would be awesome if we could?  Yes.

Would Colbert give one of the best speeches of the convention?  Hell yea.