What a Day for Politics!
Wow. Yesterday sure was a day for politics. First, Obama's incredible acceptance speech. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire convention. I figured out that the best way was to watch the live feed on the Democratic National Convention website so I did not have to listen to the annoying talking heads. Made the whole process much more enjoyable.
I wish that I had enough time to go back and pull out my favorite quotes (who knew Kerry had it in him!) or point out how much the "so-called divisions" in the party seemed way over played in the media, but we are heading out to breakfast this morning, so that will have to wait.
I will say that I am enjoying watching Obama and Biden together...I get a sense that they really like each other and that they both realize that there is something bigger at play here. And I get the feel that they are in it for more than politics. Here are some good articles about the speech. And here is an interesting article with more background on Biden. I feel that we have two honorable, though not perfect, men running and am staying optimistic that this campaign will move beyond making "a big election about small things":
But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America they have served the United States of America.
And then of course there was McCain's announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate. It certainly caused a stir. I am still trying to figure this one out. I understand on the short term why he chose her...the religious right loves her, she's a woman and it definitely was unexpected, which helps win the media cycle and plays up his "maverick" image. However, I have to wonder how this will play on the long term. It is almost like he had some kind of checklist of surface issues that he thought that he needed to win and found someone that on paper looked good. I don't get it because politics should be about more than surface issues, shouldn't it? Is this what McCain thinks running our country is about? Really?
Personally I think that it shows his recklessness, not his maverickness and it would scare me to put him in a position where he could try to pull something like this in the foreign policy arena. I am having a hard time seeing this as anything but playing the political game and not a good one at that.
If he thinks that Sarah Palin's accomplishments are comparable to Hillary Clinton's service, then he has a lot to learn. Just a few weeks ago she did not really have a grasp on what the Vice President even did. And did anyone else find it really hypocritical that mentioning Hilary got applause during the rally? Does anyone else think that if Hilary had gotten the nomination Republicans would be applauding her accomplishments? Shoot just a little while ago Palin was saying that she could not support Hilary because she found Hilary "whiney."
The spin that the campaign and its surrogates are putting on this is ridiculous. I heard one pundit say that Palin's 20 months as governor actually meant that she had more executive experience than Biden since he only has Senate experience. Umm...well, shoot then, she has more executive experience than McCain, so maybe we should put her at the top of the ticket? One Fox newscaster said that she did have international experience since Alaska is so close to Russia (no, I am not making this up).
And of course there is the rationale that "Obama does not have any experience either." But that does not hold any water either as explained by Peter Scoblic here.
True, Obama has little foreign policy experience either, as McCain and others have pointed out again and again. But during his time in national office he has demonstrated a clear commitment to the most pressing issues in American foreign policy.In other words, Obama has at least put some thought into the issues:
Perhaps more important than the experience they embodied, these efforts demonstrate that Obama has a worldview. Obama recognizes the greatness and uniqueness of the United States, but he does not translate that exceptionalism into dominance or isolationism as conservatives often have. Instead, he sees it as the basis for U.S. leadership. He has laid out that worldview in myriad speeches and articles, and he has surrounded himself with pragmatists who have a record of translating that understanding of America's role into concrete gains for our national security. By contrast, there is no indication that Palin has even shades of a foreign policy worldview; a Nexis search doesn't turn up a single article that she has written on international affairs.Hey, but don't take my viewpoint. Here is what Karl Rove said a little while ago, speaking about Obama choosing a VP (h/t Political Animal):
Republican strategist Karl Rove said on Face The Nation Sunday that he expects presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama to choose a running mate based on political calculations, not the person's readiness for the job.Hmmm...IOKIYAR at work? As Scoblic said:
"I think he's going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice," Rove said. "He's going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he's going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He's not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president."
Rove singled out Virginia governor Tim Kaine, also a Face The Nation guest, as an example of such a pick.
"With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished," Rove said. "I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America."
Rove continued: "So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I'm really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States? What I'm concerned about is, can he bring me the electoral votes of the state of Virginia, the 13 electoral votes in Virginia?'"
McCain undoubtedly thinks he has his national security bases covered; picking Palin shows that, unlike Obama, he doesn't need an eminence grise like Biden to add heft to his ticket. But surely McCain recognizes that Palin may have to fill his shoes someday. By choosing her anyway, he has demonstrated hubris well beyond anything Obama has displayed on his most arrogant day: a belief that he can master unforeseen circumstances, physical and otherwise, that are well beyond his control. This is insulting and dangerous and suggests that McCain may want to think twice before accusing Obama of putting his personal ambition ahead of the national interest.You be the judge. Putting Country First? Really?
Oh, and I learned something new too. McCain is 23 years older than Alaska. Who knew?