Thursday, August 28, 2008

We cannot turn back

8:20 -- Prior to Barack's speech, I sit with eagerness and glee.  I know that the McCain campaign will try to steal the post-speech news by leaking the VP choice, but that won't matter.  Of course now the campaign has officially said it will not leak the name, which is funny, because leaks are not really supposed to be official.

Al Gore's speech delivered some strong points, and he was animated and eloquent.

Let me mention for a moment the hubbub about the set and backdrop of the stage at Invesco.  The Republicans are mocking the set as the "Temple of Obama" and other such nonsense.  One could say it looks like a Greek temple.  Or one could say it looks like any state capitol.  Or like the set that George Bush used in 2004.  However, the point will be to distract people from the substance of the speech, and such distraction is easier than addressing substance.  And when John McCain uses the convention as an example of Obama's "celebrity" status, his tone will be snarky.  And then we can watch reruns of the dozens of times McCain has appeared on The Tonight Show.

But this night is about Obama.

More to come . . .  This will probably not be a full-fledged live blog, since I want to take in the speech.  

8:55 -- I just got revved up, just because at Invesco they are playing one of the great under-appreciated disco/soul songs of all time.

9:12 -- Wow, this really is quite a scene, seeing all these people, and then seeing all the different rallies and watching parties across the country . . . very impressive.

10:02 -- OK.  I've decided.  I'm voting for Obama.

That speech was amazing.  First of all, he was firm and tough against McCain.  He was specific and guided in his goals for change.  And most importantly, he was inspirational and powerful.  
I thought some specific high points included when he discussed the judgment he possesses to lead our nation, especially in foreign policy and when he addressed the criticisms against him.

But the most powerful part to me was when Obama talked about bridging the divides that separate us, from abortion to gun control to gay marriage, etc.

I generally understand--though I disagree of course--when people have the opposite point of view from me.  But as I was watching Obama speak, I kept thinking, "Who can disagree with what he is saying about this country?"  People will, obviously, but I cannot fathom how.

This speech was bold, forceful, presidential.  Obama was at once larger than life and down-to-earth.  This speech was brilliant and should do much for Obama's campaign.

Obama says things about the United States that represent exactly the way I feel, and he makes me realize that I love this nation more than I even knew.

Addendum: As another example of Obama's power, he somehow managed to cause Aramis Ramirez to hit a game-winning grand slam, timed perfectly with the conclusion of his speech.


At 11:58 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

I wish Aramis Ramierz played 3rd for the Twins.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

And regarding your actual subject matter...I think the three issues you specifically mentioned are excellent examples of exactly how people disagree with Obama and his vision for this country. Abortion, Gun Control, and Gay Marriage (especially the first and last) are issues that two people on opposite sides could debate from now until forever and no one would change their mind. Fundamentally, these issues and others like them are such that anyone with a conviction believes one thing or another. Compromises can be made and this happens on a lot of things, but for Obama to say that some divisions can be crossed is both sanctimonious and wrong.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

I like hope as much as the next person. Often before a midterm hope is about all I can dredge up. But I like reality a little better, and to me Obama isn't even hovering above reality on a great many things, much less grounded in it. To me, people should vote on a politician's platform, what he or she believes on the issues that impact the voter. Not on some flowery message of change and sunshine and teddy bears. I had enough good English teachers, yourself included, that I'm confident I could pen some sort of uplifting and inspirational speech, but to me as a first time voter and longer time observer, I could care less about that. Obviously that's just me. But given a choice, I'd rather have a candidate fax me a bulleted list of legislation he hopes to pass and I'd cast my vote on that.

At 12:11 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

I agree with you about those issues and how people will not change their minds (more so on the abortion issue, since I know people who have changed their minds about gay marriage--this is an issue that often has more to do with exposure than ideology).
Anyway, but what he specifically said was about finding common ground, not about finding a way to change each other's opinions. He did not say "we will agree." Instead, he said for example that we may disagree about abortion, be we agree about the need to reduce unwanted pregnancies, so let's work for that.
And I agree with that approach.

At 12:13 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

And as you can see from this and previous posts, I only like Obama because of his flowery message.

At 12:19 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

And recognizing that there are major problems in the country that need to be fixed is not about teddy bears.

At 12:20 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

Oh now, don't take this personally (and I don't think you do). However, you must realize that a signficant chunk of Obama's supporters are by and large youthful, politically unaware, or both. These are the Obama voters that grasp onto "change" like a life preserver. They couldn't formulate an opinion if given a cheat sheet and a tape recorder to dictate into, but that doesn't stop them from embracing the exciting dynamic candidate over the old fogey. I understand. But it's at least 50% of enough to make my eyes roll.

At 12:22 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

This is not to say that the GOP doesn't have its share of the politically unaware. However, even if that share just knows it wants to hunt and kill big deer, and that it needs its guns to do it, I would venture to guess that they have an opinion on gun control. Which is more than I can say for some people I'll see around school in a week wearing an Obama button.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Kath posited...

John, I'm surprised you weren't watching your convention coverage on MSNBC...
If you were, you would have heard the punditry from Keith Olberman (love him) and Chris Matthews (not so much) about how similar Obama's speech was in tone to the climactic speech in The American President...I think I might be able to finally retire that old VHS (seriously...) if Obama's elected!

At 10:31 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

Parker, I have been struggling with how to respond. I had thought through a whole slew of possibilities:

1) address the danger and naivete of assuming that a majority of Obama supporters are just like students at the U. College students are not like a majority of anything.

2) address the elitism of assuming that people who want the country to change are politically unaware (in light of #1 above, of course)

3) address one of my fundamental criticisms of much of conservative politics, which is that too often I see conservatives who have an inability to see that other people may have different stories.

What some people are looking for is an indication that someone in government actually cares about the issues important to them, and that the "change" they are seeking is toward a government that puts people first. You say that "These are the Obama voters that grasp onto change"like a life preserver." Well put--but that is because there are people who are drowning.

But to assume that all the people who want the country to change are just a bunch of la-la-land, head-in-the-clouds,teddy bear loving naifs is to deny that there are huge chunks of people who feel that the government does not care about them.

But in the end, I decided that it does not matter what tactic I use. You have decided that Obama only talks in grand generalizations, and even though he has spelled out as many specifics as McCain has, your opinion of him as nothing but an orator will never change. And your opinion of his supporters as people who do not care about issues but instead simply want an orator will not change either.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

Kathy, I thought of that as I was watching it! There were several lines that reminded me of the film, and I got all excited of course.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

"...even though he has spelled out as many specifics as McCain has"

That is actually where my disillusionment comes from. Neither candidate does nearly enough in regards to the specifics of their "plans." Obama's speech last night was better than many of his before, but he still just gave what was essentially a laundry list to solve the problems of our country. He treated terribly complex problems like our health care system, poverty, and unemployment very simplistically; as if the amount of solvency that is achieved is only gauged by the amount of tax dollars and work ethic that are put towards the effort.

I like optimism, but I'd like a reality check every so often too. Any candidate that never acknowledges all the disadvantages of his proposed solution is a candidate that is still stuck in "la-la-land."

At 2:33 PM, Blogger bluelinebloggers posited...

Commenters: Anyone who gives specifics in campaign speeches is instantly labelled a wonk and out of touch with America. Compare campaign speeches for the last 20 years. You say that you want numbers, and you want to see the machinery behind the statements, but you do not. Obama came as close as he could without being labelled a policy wonk. McCain will do the same.

However, like most youthful Obama supporters, I have my uninformed head up my ass looking for rainbows.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

"He treated terribly complex problems like our health care system, poverty, and unemployment very simplistically"

But when he goes into detail about the nuances and complexities of any issue, he is called an intellectual elitist. (Because we know "intellectual" is an insult.)

For example, at that goofy faith forum, when Rick Warren asked the candidates about things like evil, Obama gave a nuanced and complex answer. McCain basically said "USA!" and was cheered.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

I think I may have misconstrued myself somewhat, at least in the sense that I don't assume the majority of Obama supporters are like those that I will interact with daily in just a little bit. Believe me, it's an unmistakable fact that the Democratic Party pulls in its constituency from a myriad (take that Mrs. Niemi) of sources. The list is very long indeed, and college kids aren't the majority. By significant percentage, I'm just saying that there are enough airhead bandwagon hoppers to make a dent in the polls. Whether that's 5%, 10%, or 20%, it still counts.

You, Dub, are a perfect example of an intelligent and aware voter that supports Obama. There are of course many others like you, particularly in academia as a generality, although seeing as I take engineering classes and not poly-sci I am somewhat isolated from such partisanship.

You highlighted one of the absolutely crucial differences between the way I think and, well, not the way I think. To me, except when it comes to the absolute building blocks of society, like roads/defense/schools what have you, I would just as soon the government leave me alone as a responsible and law-abiding citizen. By "alone" I am of course talking somewhat figuratively, but I'm sure the point gets across.

Obviously this, like many other things politically, will have to be an agree to vehemently disagree, and that's fine.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

Obama has been labeled as an "elitist" when he has made comments about people clinging to guns and religion and people who aren't fluent in the language of the country they are touring for a few days. Those silly judgments had nothing to do with him weighing the pros and cons of a policy.

And yes, I do want the specifics because it's impossible to know if a policy will work or not when all that is said by a candidate is "I'm going to set up a fund to give relief to Americans." Candidates are using the "policy wonk" label as an excuse to not thoroughly analyze the details of certain issues, relying on their advisors and old talking points.

And it doesn't even have to be speeches; at least attach a few detailed pdf files to your website. It's okay to be boring there because the only people that will actually read them are people who are curious enough to look. The fact that those details don't exist anywhere in a campaign leads me to believe that the candidate isn't informed enough to know them.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger bluelinebloggers posited...

If you don't think that there are enough airhead republicans to make a dent at the polls, listen to a republican call in show. Plenty of fag hatin' folks.

Also, issues person, this took me 5 seconds to find:
With PDFs!

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

All of those links just go back to same pages on the site, and the one pdf is just rewords everthing on the site.

If a laundry list of "solutions" for you is a thorough analysis of advantages and disadvantages, then we are on a completely different page.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

No. Under each "Issue" is a link that says "Read the full plan" and they all have PDFs.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

No. The first pdf I looked at, the economy, just added a few more things to the laundry list, and a few more sentences to the exact same points as the website.

"Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000: Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This proposal will eliminate income taxes for 7 million seniors and provide these seniors with an average savings of $1,400 each year. Under the Obama plan, 27 million American seniors will also not need to file an income tax return."

"Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less Than $50,000. Since the New Deal we’ve had a basic understanding in America: If you work hard and pay into the system, you’ve earned the right to a secure retirement. But too many seniors aren’t getting that security, even though they’ve held up their end of the bargain. Lower and middle income seniors are struggling as their expenses on health and energy skyrocket while their incomes do not keep pace. This strain has been greater since 1993, when taxes on social security benefits were raised. Millions of seniors saw their net benefits go down. Seniors also had to take on the added strain – and sometimes cost –of filing a complicated tax return. And after
going through all of these complicated calculations, many seniors find that they owe little or no tax, meaning
that all of the hassle was for naught. Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will provide an immediate tax cut averaging $1,400 to 7 million seniors and relieve millions from the burden of filing tax returns. For millions of seniors, this will eliminate the need to hire a tax preparer, resulting in even
larger savings."

Good job, Barrack. I was very skeptical, but once you referenced the New Deal in that pdf, I am now completely convinced that this is a good idea.

Again, I think we are on a completely different page as to what is adequate policy analysis and what is not.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger bluelinebloggers posited...

As compared to:

Which doesn't provide further information, just a press release. Obama spells out how and why. If you're looking for references to lines in the tax code, you're really just looking for something to gripe about, because outside of people who get a paycheck for it (and probably not even them), no one wants to read tax information. Obama's campaign provides far more concrete explanations than McCain's, yet he's painted as all fluff.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

Exactly. McCain, Obama, and most other politicans don't provide enough insight into their policies. I focused on Obama because he is often viewed as being above the average polticians in the amount of thought that goes into his policies, but a lack of necessary detail on his website makes it clear that this is not the case.

No one said anything about wanting specifics in the tax code. The only way stuff like that would be relevant is if there was a specific line that was eliminated that was problamatic for other areas of taxation.

All I want from my politicians is a presentation of all relevant advantages and disadvantages, and then cost-benefit analysis to explain how the advantages of their policies outweigh the disadvantages. Anything less is just bad argumentation. Analysis should start with the macro, economic philosophy in this instance, with studies to support that philosophy, and then move to the micro.

To me, that's just the basics, but I guess providing the basics just expects too much out of leaders who will be making decisions that will affect millions of people.


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