The last two days have been big days in American politics, and so I thought that I would respond with my thoughts on the biggest events - Obama's acceptance speech, and McCain's Vice Presidential choice.
I am not smitten by Obama as so many people seem to be, but I do think that he is a great public speaker. As I mentioned in a previous post McCain appeared far more congenial, comfortable, well spoken, and knowledgeable in the interview session with Rick Warren than Obama did, and this completely surprised me. Even the BBC noted this.
Yet when it came to Obama's acceptance speech I expected Obama to hit it out of the park, and wow everyone. I personally was disappointed. I felt as though I was watching politics as usual. Let me explain what I mean by this.
Once the typical thank yous and acknowledgments were passed on, Obama's speech began with about 5 minutes of Bush bashing, followed by about 10 minutes of making the point that McCain is out of touch with the needs of the nation. Later in the speech he had a great rousing preacher's parlay where he talked about taking the higher ground of political discourse and not getting into bashing, but by that time I was already put off by the previous bashing which had occurred.
Bush bashing is an easy way to get a cheer in a speech these days. It is the equivalent a comedian reaching for a laugh by pulling out the four letter words simply to get the audience response. It was disappointing to hear Obama go that direction, and not take the higher ground. I have mentioned in another post that I personally feel the need to understand the positions,and beliefs of others, and that by doing so it is our only hope of rising to that higher ground Obama was speaking of.
When Obama began to talk about McCain being out of touch with political reality I felt that I was hearing the same old liberal last resort argument I have heard for the last 25 years. Liberals have their go to last resort argument, and Conservatives have their last resort arguments. These arguments typically go like this: Liberals find a way to say that Conservatives are either dumb, or out of touch with changes in society, and the second point is simply a way to restate the first. Conservatives typically call Liberals immoral or corrupt. When all else fails call someone stupid or immoral to win the argument. This is how Obama's points about McCain came across to me.
Obama did have a great ending to his speech, and his points about taking the higher ground would have been fantastic if I felt he was practicing what he preached. His section on the things he would do as President were more of the same old politics as well I thought. Some of the ideas were actually from McCain's book - the points on becoming free from dependency to foreign oil, and other points were expensive ideas followed with promises of tax cuts.
I was so disappointed that I decided I wanted to move out of the US, get some farm land in Wales, and spend my life working for Welsh independence. My response to his speech was basically "Cymru am byth!" instead of hope for America. I was not feeling good about things here at home.
This is not to say that I am writing Obama off. I rather feel that there is no real hope of serious change at the moment, and this is not to say that I am correct. The pressure to fall into politics as usual has got to be severe in the position of making an acceptance speech. One's supporters want to hear a little political fisticuffs, and they got it. I was not quite sure Obama looked all that comfortable speaking in that manner, and this at least gives me a wink of hope.
McCain's VP Choice:
Sarah Palin was a complete surprise to everyone, but I have to say, she can rip it up as a speaker.
Watching her speak (follow the above link to watch her in action) I kept my eyes on McCain. I am not sure that she is his choice. Of course, he often looks uncomfortable, but I felt as though I was watching him wonder if this was a good choice. Yet, without a doubt, McCain stole much of Obama's thunder following the acceptance speech. Hockey Mom/Youngest Person on the Ticket/Gun Toting/Beauty Queen Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin will probably steal some hearts, and drag the moral conservatives, and some women McCain's way. Sarah Palin could be a breathe of fresh air, but the verdict is still out.
"Cymru am byth" still is running through my mind right now. I need to get rich and be able to afford that farm in Wales to feel like I have a political issue to get excited about right now.