So sometime in the last couple weeks I became convinced that Obama would lose, because the same thing was happening that always happens. The Republicans manage to convince everyone that the Democrat is an effete, traitorous foreign-born agent sent to destroy our freedoms and impose mandatory homosexuality. Outlaw meat and Jesus, legalize pot and pay welfare queens to smoke crack. At the beginning of the week, I thought the only chance Obama had was to pick Hillary for VP so she could fight dirty for him and appease the PUMA’s, but when he picked Biden I thought, “oh it won’t be enough, he didn’t take the bold way of picking his chief rival — he’s going to play it safe now, and lose like Gore and Kerry.”
But I watched the convention anyway, which was incredibly well organized and on message. Great 20 minute speeches, not self-serving two-hour ones. Loved Michelle Obama’s speech. Love her anyway, she’d make a great First Lady (I hate that term, but that’s the term I guess). She’s a real woman, not like that creepy Stepford heiress that McSame is currently married to. I love the whole Obama family, the kids seems so grounded, adorable little sunbeams. My impression is that the Obamas have a marriage that is a true partnership, two people without a lot of the personal character flaws that hold too many of us back in life. I saw the so-called (in Fox-News-speak) “terrorist fist jab” and I thought “wow, these two are so connected, so in sync, such an admirable, beautiful marriage.”
So when Obama passed over Clinton I thought he messed up, because picking her would have caused a sensation, and shown his confidence and fearlessness. People say, “oh he doesn’t want to have to deal with Billary once he’s in power”. But I felt he should man-up. If he’s ready to run the country he should be able to handle the Clintons. So like with his earlier moves to the center, I started getting less enchanted. Then Hillary spoke and then Bill spoke. And they really did NOT phone it in. Ted Kennedy wouldn’t even stand next to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Carter was done for. Hillary was tough on the sore losers and she needed to be. I think she gave a great wake-up call to people who were resentful of Obama beating her. She said “It’s not about me, it’s about what I wanted to accomplish”. (And that is exactly opposite to the kind of thinking that makes McCain pick Palin, or George H. W. Bush pick Clarence Thomas, or W. pick Harriet Miers — the Republicans claim to hate preferences and affirmative action, yet they go right for the identity politics if they think that’s what will get them over. This is exactly what is meant by “not getting it.”)
Then Biden spoke, and though I still think Obama blew it, passing over Clinton, I sort of started to get his thinking on this. Biden’s speech sounded so unpompous and natural. He can communicate in an ordinary style, not a career-in-Washington style. I thought: “He’s going to bitch-slap Romney or Lieberman — whoever McCain picks.” And Obama greatly admires him from their time working together in the Senate. Unfortunately, Palin totally takes Biden out of play. A man of Biden’s generation can’t go too hard on Palin, he will look like a bully. If he goes too soft he will look condescending. It’s a no-win. Hillary would have buried her. Of course, if Hillary were the VP, McCain never would have picked Palin anyway. He’s not fooling anybody here — well, maybe himself, is all.
Then Barack spoke and I cried, (real tears — not metaphorical ones) because he acted like a grown man, and that’s not something you see a Democrat doing every day. A grown man who’s not going to stand around looking at his note cards, and pretend he doesn’t hear it when they attack his patriotism, when they says he’s not up to the job or out and out lie about his tax plans, and his life story. It’s what we’ve all waited so long for a Democrat to stand up there and do. So win or lose, at least he is going to take the fight to them, and that’s why I’m proud to support him, even if, in the end, he doesn’t attain all I hope he will.
I think he will be a centrist, and do things in office that I would rather he didn’t, but so did Clinton, and Reagan and Nixon (in some areas anyway) were centrist too. Only a moron (W.) tries to govern as if only half the country existed. And with predictable results. The reason Nader is so discredited now is that his central message turned out to be completely mistaken. There really was a difference between Bush and Gore. True, Gore would not have been as liberal a president as he is a private citizen speaking out now, but he would not have invaded Iraq and he would not have appointed his poker buddies to run FEMA and the other agencies, and he might have even acted on the Aug 2001 CIA memo to the President entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack within United States” because he would have been in his office, not out at the Crawford ranch for the summer. The entire world would be a much better place today. The legacy of Bush is that: why yes, one person actually does make a difference.
And then Obama got to the part of the speech where he nailed Republicans for misunderstanding Obama’s whole rise, “because it was never about me, it’s about all of you,” at that moment I realized that Obama had been about five steps ahead the whole time. It was classic rope-a-dope, Hillary started the week out saying “it’s not about me, it’s about what I want to accomplish what I want to change,” and Obama closed with the same message, and I realized it had all been managed to communicate this point. THE point. The reason he can win, and the reason he should win, namely: things in this country have got to change. This is organization, this is vision, this is how you GET STUFF DONE. He took all these factions, all these different egos, ambitions, agendas in the party and he unified them. If that doesn’t say leadership, then nothing does. That was never a foregone conclusion. In fact, many pundits predicted a clusterfuck. And he did it all outside, with 100,000 people on the waiting list to get in, and he did it all on HIS timetable, flawlessly. All week the pundits were saying, “there’s no red meat here,” it’s all too touchy feely. Occasionally Obama would pop in and make a toothy cameo, but he never showed his real teeth until just before the final bell. Obama showed the whole country (well 38 million viewers anyhow) that the opposition had — even at this late date — severely underestimated him — STILL. And the Republicans were stunned. The conservative pundits, Peggy Noonan and the rest, looked positively shame-faced as they forced themselves to spew their pre-scripted pre-approved “analysis” on the cable networks calling Obama’s speech fluff, boring, and short on specifics.
And McCain was an hour late to his own VP announcement Friday and local radio stations had trouble giving the tickets away.
So, Obama can win, and that will be a good thing, and we will regain some self-respect in this country. And if he doesn’t win, well things will get even worse before they get better. That’s possible too.
So that’s what I thought that night, but the next day with the Palin pick I felt worse again. The Palin pick was such a bizarre turn that I think it really took a lot of the heat away from Obama’s stellar performance. BUT. there are two polls out today ALREADY however, showing that Palin has FURTHER DAMAGED McCain’s standing with women. Total backfire on that front, dude. True, it helps him with the Christian right, but they weren’t going anywhere anyway. Palin does scare me though, because she is no Dan Quayle — she isn’t a moron, and she isn’t a mannequin. Listening to her speak on youtube she sounds really confident, engaged, and capable. And she believes all the family values stuff that Bush, Cheney, McCain et al. don’t give a rat’s ass about but exploit to gain the family-values vote. So she’s pretty dangerous I think because she really is different, and I think she really could handle being President. Certainly, not the kind of President I want. I could be wrong, lots of stuff is already coming out about her wrecking her hometown economy while she was mayor etc, but she strikes me as someone with the mind and temperament to hold her own with the big guns, I don’t think Dick Cheney would be able to keep her in his back pocket like he does W. for instance. I hope people realize this. I don’t think we can just merely joke about her the way we could about Dan Quayle or Katherine Harris or Alan Keyes or any number of other Republican nutburgers. And even if we could, Quayle and Bush Sr. DID get elected after all. So I think McCain may have made his best possible pick, albeit, for all the wrong reasons.
And that’s where I’m at right know.