By now, it’s no secret that Barack Obama’s best trait is his ability to inspire and motivate people through his powerful speeches. As far as supporters are concerned, his speech at the Democratic National Convention certainly lived up to the hype. As far as conservatives are concerned, Obama’s speech conveyed wonderful ideas and flowery, hope-filled rhetoric, but provided no specifics on how he would go about accomplishing his many lofty goals. McCain, of course, will give a closing speech at the end if this week’s Republican convention that will do exactly the same.
But there is something that took place at the DNC that was much bigger than any memorable quotes or any message of unity. What I found most appealing was the new direction of the Democratic Party. In not making this election about Obama vs. McCain, but about Liberalism vs. Conservatism, the Dems. have begun the process of revealing the dirty shame-filled secret that, economically, conservatism is and always has been an abysmal failure.
The sad fact is that most Americas don’t understand the party system or even the basic fundamentals of our three branch government. They blame George W. Bush for the mess our country is in, because he’s the face of the administration. But truth be told, he’s about as responsible for our problems as Brittany Spears is for writing her own awful music. There’s a whole team of people responsible for creating that disaster. Unfortunately, the average person isn’t savvy enough to understand that no man (no matter how brilliant or for that matter how simple) can triumph in victory or fail in defeat without support, i.e. a Republic majority.
I think that all the speeches really stressed that this election is about the party and not the individual; that politics is a team sport and the President just happens to be the captain. When you get to the level of presidential politics, you’re not just voting for some guy you believe you’d get along with if you and the Mrs. went on a double date…you’re voting for control of 1/3 of the government.
It was refreshing to see how many of the speeches didn’t focus on McCain at all, but the GOP. Former President Bill Clinton’s speech in particular hammered the point home (and please save your dirty “hammered” sexual innuendos for the water cooler at work):
“THEY took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt.”
“THEY actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.”
“Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies THEY had talked about for decades actually were implemented.”
Obama did well to define the direction of his campaign, by not attacking McCain the person, but McCain the member of the Republican Party. In doing so, he summed up how most liberals feel about McCain: he’s a nice guy, but he, like the rest of his party, “just doesn’t get it.” And we as a nation can’t afford to hand over control to a political party that has put our country in a moral and economic crisis EVERY single time they’ve come into power for almost for 30 years. It doesn’t mean that you vote solely on party lines, and it doesn’t mean a person from another party can’t have good ideas. But a man is only as good as the company he keeps. Let’s be honest, McCain keeps pretty shitty company: George Bush, Dick Chaney, Newt Gingrich…Tupac Shakur didn’t run with a group this awful.
At face value, tying McCain to Bush is an easy thing to do as far as political warfare goes. Why wouldn’t you want to associate someone with the least popular president of all time? Mussolini had a higher approval rating (though in all fairness many of those survey cards couldn’t be deciphered, on account of the damage caused by the pitch forks and torches).
But from a second standpoint…it’s fucking TRUE! No matter what the issue, McCain’s votes (if that’s still how we keep records in this country) show that’s he’s been with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time.
“What does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time?” said Obama. And if that wasn’t enough, “I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change,” which was followed by fire works, a standing ovation, flowing tears, and pregnant woman’s water breaking.
The war, the environment, education, the economy…where’s the big change from the gun-slinging Washington outsider? The argument that he’s not going to be as awful as the last guy just isn’t good enough. “Well at least my new boyfriend doesn’t beat AND rape me.”
Obama has made the claim that it’s in fact McCain and the rest of the conservatives who have no new ideas. But you have to remember, in all fairness to the conservatives, it’s not like they’ve been in control for the last eight fucking years!
I’m sick of politicians, especially conservatives, attempting prove that they’re not part of the very system which crippled this once robust economy. The “Washington is broken and John McCain knows it,” TV ads are particularly nauseating. Of course you know it; you’re a member of the party that broke it! You were there when it all went down. You’re what we call “an accomplice.” Seeing John McCain attempt to distance himself from Washington is like watching some outsider crash a wedding and trying to be one of the family members.
“Don’t politicians suck? Man, do I hate those Washington fat-cats. Hey, how’s that local sports team doing? You guys like chicks? I know I do. High five!”
Usually I don’t take much solace in these conventions as far as their ability to influence the minds of voters. I think a lot of Americans tune into the coverage accidentally, unaware that that night’s rerun of “Two and a Half Men” has been pre-empted and they’re just too lazy and/or fat, to pick up the remote control. Most people don’t even watch the coverage, and I can’t image that all of those who do, will get the message. After all, swing voters aren’t the people who majored in Political Science; they’re the ones who skipped Social Studies to smoke a joint behind the gym. But when you hear that more people watched Obama’s speech than finale of “American Idol,” it does give you some hope. And as bad as our economy is, at least hope…is free.