Friday, August 29, 2008

Nailed it!

Obama's acceptance speech, in my opinion, was as perfect as it could have been -- hell, even the introductory video was extraordinary. If any significant portion of the American public was watching, it should re-open some space between Obama and McCain.

Obama succinctly countered the Republican line about how he would raise taxes on the middle class, and he delivered a solidly populist economic message. McCain, in Obama's construction, is a well-intentioned patriot, admirable in many ways, who just happens to be wrong about virtually everything.

Obama went on to deftly skirt the social issues so important to the religious right, pussyfooting around same-sex marriage and abortion. Gays, for example, should never be restrained from visiting their loved ones in the hospital. Hooray. Women should have access to family planning services, so they don't need so many abortions. (Yes, polling shows that American Catholics are okay with birth control these days.) For me, this was the weakest section of the speech, but it was over in under a minute.

I'm sure the Republican convention will be brilliantly choreographed, but clearly, McCain will never rise to Obama's standard of oratory. Prepare yourself for what may be hours of videos.

(Tangential reference #1: So, today was the anniversary of MLK's "I have a dream" speech. I was there, at the march on Washington, but not close enough to the podium to actually hear the speech -- it was very hot, I'd had a few beers, and I was probably wading in the reflecting pool at the time. The people around me were splashing, conversing, and playing their ubiquitous guitars, and the scheduled speakers were just a crackling electronic noise in the background with an occasional chorus of "We Shall Overcome." There were a lot of us on the periphery of history that day -- I wonder how many now believe they actually heard King's speech.)

(Tangential reference #2: Why did they decide not to mention Lyndon Johnson's 100th birthday yesterday? He contributed at least as much to Obama's current ascendence as MLK. Oh, yeah -- Hillary got in trouble for mentioning that a little while back.)

(Very tangential reference: Vladimir Putin, who we understand is not to be trusted, says the Georgians who killed his "peacekeepers" included somebody in possession of an American passport. He suggests that the Georgian incursion into South Ossetia was an attempt to bait Russia in order to gain advantage for "one of the parties" in the current American election. If Putin's claim, by some odd chance, is true, it's not hard to guess which of the parties that would have been -- and they can't be trusted any more than Putin. I guess we'll never actually know the truth.)

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