Spending the last week at home recovering from surgery (recovery is going well, BTW) it was very hard not to get overloaded on politics, considering that the Democratic convention was on for the week, and most of the news channels had full coverage.  It’s almost a slogan with some of them, you known, “all politics, all the time.”  How they do it, and keep their sanity, is a mystery to me. 

This has certainly been a long presidential campaign.  It is hard to believe, as we have finally arrived at the nominating conventions, that we are only slightly more than two months away from the general election. 

Without putting my two cents worth in one way or the other regarding how I plan to cast my ballot, I would like to make a few observations. 

First, I am still apalled by the ignorance displayed by some members of the media with regard to both their knowledge of American History and their ability to make interpretations and evaluations based on some of the most remarkably twisted facts.  Of course, things move fast on the convention floor and reporters have to shift from one topic to another rather quickly.  There are times, however, when I wonder about the quality of their Social Studies education.

Whether you are supporting Obama or not, you have to conclude that the Democratic convention accomplished all that it intended to accomplish.  I wonder, in fact, if the “tiff” between the Clintons and Obama wasn’t just a tad bid exaggerated for the effect.  Neither Bill nor Hillary left any doubt about where they stand and their commitments to campaign for Obama, already crystalized into ads and scheduled appearances, will most likely leave very few disgruntled Hillary voters for McCain to capture.  There is just too much political and philosophical difference between Hillary Clinton and John McCain for anyone who supported her to think that voting for him is a viable alternative. 

Obama is a formidable opponent, and regardless of the rhetoric of conservative commentators, it would be a grave mistake for McCain’s campaign to underestimate his oratorical ability.  It would also be a grave mistake for them to underestimate the simplicity of his campaign objectives related to the Presidency.  He has taken a complicated set of issues and simplified them, putting them in understandable terms and clarifying exactly how he plans to bring about those results.  It resonates with voters.  Drawing a crowd of almost 90,000 sold out supporters in the heart of a reliable red state like Colorado is impressive as well.  The high tech aspect of enlisting an army of cell numbers for text messages is a detail that could very well make the difference if the votes run close in some key states. 

Politics aside, Obama’s nomination by a major party is historic.  The significance of his acceptance of the nomination on the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not lost on his audience, and likely not on very many Americans, either. 

On the McCain side, his choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate was, to say the least, both surprising and interesting.  I was fairly certain he had settled on Gov. Pawlenty, whom the polls showed as his best advantage.  Palin is a fresh face, with somewhat of the same “Maverick” reputation as McCain, certainly not a Republican in the corporate sell-out mold.  But with all the criticism that the Republicans have heaped on Obama about his readiness and experience, the choice of Palin certainly nullifies that argument.  That the individual who, if elected, would be “one heartbeat from the Presidency” is a self-styled hockey mom with less than half a term as governor of a politically insignificant, remote state pretty much nullifies the criticism of Obama.  Palin seems to be a politician with somewhat of a future.  I like her, and I hope her being part of the McCain campaign, especially if he loses in November, does not cloud that future. 

The “strategy” of making this announcement the day after the Democratic convention to “steal Obama’s thunder” does not seem to have worked.  Obama already had a fairly large bounce in the polls, and got a big bounce in today’s daily tracking polls.  Depending on which one you follow, he now leads McCain by between 9 and 11 points.  In terms of time alloted to news coverage of both of these events, the major networks and most of the cable news channels have been giving about three times as much coverage today to Obama.  Perhaps that confirms what some think is a liberal media bias. 

It won’t be long now.  What I am wondering is if the campaign for the 2012 election will begin on November 5.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

14 responses

  1. Colby Evans says:

    I hadn’t really made my mind up until hearing both Hillary and Obama’s convention speeches. McCain’s choice of Palin today pretty much sealed the deal. I’m one vote, but I am an under 30, college educated, evangelical Christian. I think the pollsters and pundits will be surprised at how many 18-30 year olds turn out, including evangelicals, and how many of them wind up voting for Obama. As far as social issues are concerned, it is clear that McCain will follow in the Bush tradition of essentially ignoring the conservative Christian voters and take us for granted once again. Since that is the case, and I have no interest at all in the Republican economic or foreign policy platform, I might as well vote for the man who more closely represents my position on those issues. Chalk me up as one voter for Obama.

  2. Chuck says:

    Colby, your thinking puzzles me. How does McCain choosing a strong pro-life running mate jive with your conclusion that he’s ignoring and taking for granted conservative Christian voters? It seems like choosing Lieberman or Ridge would support that conclusion.

    Are you unwilling for a conservative woman with little experience to be # 2 on a ticket, yet willing for a liberal man with equally little experience to be # 1?

    I think you’re probably just a political liberal, but just now realizing it.

  3. Good observations Lee, and I agree with every one of them.

    You are right in that McCain and Hillary are too far apart in their views for her supporters to vote for McCain based on him choosing a woman as a running mate.

    This race was like a small roller coaster ride to begin with, but now that both parties have selected surprise running mates, it’s going to get even more interesting. History will be made no matter who wins, that is exciting to be able to witness.

  4. Colby Evans says:

    First of all, Chuck, Obama’s experience is far greater, measured in terms of where he has served and what he has been exposed to, than that of Palin. Second, choosing a pro-life, gun totin’ social conservative as VP candidate is exactly the same sort of thing that Republicans have done to social conservatives, i.e. evangelical Christians, for decades. It is a bone thrown to a politically immature constituency with the idea that pacifying them will keep their votes in the camp. Sadly, the immaturity of the leadership of the religious right will not put any real pressure to get anything done. They will not use the power they have. Consequently, McCain can gleefully determine, and publicly announce that he might choose a pro-choice running mate, run on a very weak record of almost invisible support for a pro-life position, and almost no real support for other social conservative issues, and feel like he can choose an obscure, unknown, inexperienced governor to pacify the evangelical wing. The self-appointed evangelical “leadership,” minus the real players and influencers, once again displayed their political immaturity by buying into it. It’s about as nothing of a choice as it possibly could be. McCain will continue the Republican policy of robbing working and middle class Americans of their income and influence. The facts bear this out. The wealthiest 1% of Americans are the only ones who have benefitted from the Bush administration’s economic policies. And in spite of the smokescreen of “tax rebates,” the cuts Bush has made in the federal budget have been passed along to school districts, counties, cities and states, and our tax burden is bigger than it was under Clinton. On top of that, we have gone from some of the largest government surpluses in history to the largest debt, which will have to be paid eventually. I don’t want any more of that, so I will not support McCain.

    Maybe I am just now discovering that I am a liberal, at least as far as government economic policy and foreign policy is concerned, but if it works, why not?

  5. Lee says:

    I’m not sure a VP choice ever really makes all that much of a difference, unless there is some serious baggage that comes out during the campaign, such as was the case with Tom Eagleton back in, what was it, 1972? Biden has some baggage, but has been around long enough to have overcome most of it and will be an asset in terms of campaigning. Palin is under investigation by the Alaska legislature, where she has apparently ruffled some feathers. That may enhance her’s and McCain’s image as “mavericks.’ Ultimately, I didn’t like McCain’s attitude in making a public pronouncement that he wasn’t afraid of choosing a pro-choice running mate, and I agree with Colby in that I think this is a bone thrown to pacify grumbling evangelicals. It’s a clear signal that evangelical issues will still be on the back burner if McCain manages to make it to the White House.

    Clearly, something needs to change with regard to both our foreign and our economic policy. Personally, I have felt the pinch of reduced spendable income over the past eight years. My health insurance premiums have tripled, and the coverage has been reduced, with out of pocket obligations four times as high as they once were. The only way I can get reasonable health insurance is through my wife’s work, and since they are a small employer they have lost their bargaining power to bid, and must accept whatever plan their provider decides to offer. My house is now worth less than it was when I bought it 14 years ago, and property, municipal, county and state taxes, raised because of federal cuts, have more than consumed the tiny little “refund” we got this year. In total tax, I paid $2,390 more this year than I did in Clinton’s last year in office. Looking at the future, at some point, the country will have to pay off the record debt that Bush has left. Will that mean my wife and I, who already live conservatively and watch every penny, will have to consider downsizing?

    Now, I am not at all sure that Obama will resolve all of those issues, but McCain isn’t even talking about them, and doesn’t seem to realize what is happening to ordinary Americans. I have that sinking feeling of cynicism about politicians that has become more and more frequent with each passing election. Do I take a risk, set aside the social agenda and vote for “change”? Do I vote for the status quo? Do I cast a protest ballot by not voting for either major party candidate? How do you really know what to do?

  6. Chuck says:

    I can barely believe political “conservatives” or spiritual evangelicals who are ready to elect the #1 and #3 most liberal senators to be #1 and #2 in the White House.

    Imagine the next Supreme Court justices who would be appointed, the “Fairness Doctrine” which would stifle free speech, as well as the expansion of abortion rights, condom distribution in schools, and the redefinition of marriage.

    Not to mention the inflation and real recession the economy will experience when more and more markets are messed with, and corporations taxed. Simple economic axiom: Corporations don’t pay taxes, their customers do!

    Obama was bemoaning and slamming an economy which just grew over 3%, and a “war” in Iraq which will be able to wind down in success, not the defeat so many Dems seem to desire.

    Out of spiritual conviction, and for practical reasons, I will be voting against Obama and Biden. Toward that end, the only way to cast a vote meaningfully is to vote for McCain. Mrs. Palin on the ticket makes that easier.

  7. KGray says:

    Obama does not seem to have an overriding economic philosophy, but he clearly likes government programs.

  8. Jack Matthews says:

    Chuck,
    We are already in a major recession, though the Bushites have tried as hard as they possibly can to avoid using the term. But the fact of the matter is that Bushite economic policy, like that of Reaganomics before him, is a recipe for disaster. Our government’s economic and foreign policy has absolutely nothing to do with conservative social values. The only people who benefit under Republican leadership are the wealthiest of the wealthy, and all you have to do is take a quick look at the most basic of economic facts related to this administration to see that. Reagan did an excellent job of convincing what was at the time a dormant segment of the voting population that his party would listen to their social concerns and in so doing, gained their trust. There have been many, many opportunities for Republican leadership to address these social concerns since then, the argument that “the Democrats were blocking things” doesn’t hold water. In addition to that, we have been dragged into an immoral and unnecessary attack in the name of 9-11 on a country that had nothing to do with that, and instead of eliminating the Taliban and neutralizing Al Qaida in Afghanistan, we have spent trillions of middle class tax dollars and enriched major corporations fighting a war that has neither made us more secure, nor eliminated the extremist muslim threat. McCain, and Palin for that matter, have given more than lip service approval to those actions. It is time for real change.

    I am a two time Reagan voter, voted for Bush I twice, voted for Dole, and voted for Bush II the first time around, though I came to regret it. I will not vote for McCain, and I am glad to note that at least in my circle of evangelical Christian friends, there are many, many more who are planning to vote for Obama.

  9. Lee says:

    Actually, Chuck, inflation will wipe out that minute 3% economic growth by the end of the year, and put us in a genuine 2% recession.

    One of the biggest questions I have about McCain is his support for the war. Invading Iraq did nothing to keep the US safer from terrorism, and the 9-11 perpetrators, Bin Laden, Al Quaida and the Taliban, are still operating in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, untouched because the US commander in chief lost his focus and attacked the wrong country. Obama is absolutely right in that US military might, dispersed now across Iraq, must be focused on rooting out the Taliban and Al Qaida in Eastern Afghanistan. I’m surprised that McCain still lags behind even some of his more respected Republican colleagues on the war. That causes me to question his judgement.

    The idea that taxing corporations and “messing with markets” creates inflation and recession is not supported by facts. The “trickle down” economics of Reagan and Bush didn’t work in that profiteering corporations moved millions of jobs out of the US to cut their labor costs and did not allow benefits to “trickle down.” In fact, unregulated and unmonitored by government, the corporate world slashed anything they once offered to their employees, including health insurance, day care and other benefits. However, Clinton taxed corporate profits, regulated markets, regulated employment practices, monitored business, and presided over the greatest job and economic growth period in the US since the Second World War. There is a balance between regulating business and just letting it run wild.

    I have concerns from a spiritual perspective about social agenda issues. Obama clearly supports a liberal position, no question. But we were told, back in 2000, that Bush was the one who would finally take Christian concerns to heart, and make them a priority in his administration. Major disappointment there. I haven’t seen anything from McCain that convinces me he will make these issues a priority in his administration and the way he is handling it in his campaign makes it look like lip service to get votes. He’s going to have to do a whole lot more to get my vote.

  10. Ken Coffee says:

    Well once again we know it is everyone to his own taste, as the fellow said as he kissed the cow. Voting for the leading liberal in the senate would indeed be kissing the cow, in my opinion. Gov P{alin is the only one of the four who has ever run ANYTHING. She is at least as qualified as Jimmy Carter was, and Bill Clinton was. And they were on top of the tiocket. She is only number 2 on the ticket and is likely tough enough to cast the deciding vote in a tied senate debate, her only real function in our form of government.

  11. Mike Marshall says:

    Lee,

    Sometime back I read something written by Albert Reyes that said (paraphrasing here) the church has abdicated her role as the prophetic voice in America and we have turned to government to fill that role. As a baptist I believe in the separation of church and state and thus I am VERY uncomfortable with the support of any political party by religious organizations. The objectives of political parties and religious organizations are incompatible. Thus I do not agree with the cozyness of evangelicals with the Republican party as we will only be used as long as we can be of benefit to them.

    That being said, I cannot vote for BHO because I simply cannot afford him. His stances on a 28% Capital Gains Tax on the profit on ALL home sales, 164% INCREASE in the Dividend Tax (this includes all money made on investments such as stocks, IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance or anything else that pays or reinvests dividends), across the board increases in income taxes (a married couple making $60K would increase from $9,000 to $16,800, 87% increase), new proposed taxes on homes that are more than 2,400 sf, higher gasoline taxes, taxes on natural resources consumption AND restoration of the Inheritance Tax are the type of CHANGE that he is advocating.

    His social agenda will be even worse. I cannot imagine what judges he would consider for appointment.

    While JMc is certainly not an exciting choice, for anyone considering facts he is the obvioius choice.

    mm

  12. Lee says:

    Mike,
    I don’t know where you got your information about Obama’s tax proposals, but it is incorrect. I think it is fair to evaluate each candidate and their proposals based on their own sources. What you say is does not square up with what Obama’s sources say about his proposals. Not even close.

    I can’t say I have been impressed with Bush’s Supreme Court choices. On social issues, the Republicans have dropped the ball and taken Christian perspectives for granted. Why shouldn’t they? We put no pressure on them whatsoever to do anything, and demand nothing in exchange for our support. There will be no overturning of Roe under McCain. On the other hand, I’m tired of being robbed by corporations, particularly oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and insurance, and seeing good jobs get exported to India and Indonesia. I’m tired of hearing their economic experts spout that the economy is growing (although it is a mere 3%, and that will be wiped out by the end of this year by inflation and deficit spending) while average family wages decline and benefits are removed. All that means is that the richest of the rich are getting richer.

    I think it is long past time for evangelical Christians, and anyone else who wants to emphasize values in government, to pull away from almost unqualified support for one political party, which has had the effect of neutralizing our influence, and begin to talk about forming our own party and running our own candidates. Do not take MY vote for granted, because you might not get it.

    I do not believe that electing the right candidates will bring reform, or revival. I think the church has given up too much of its own responsibility to the thinking that there are certain politicians and political positions that advance its own cause. The only way that can happen is for the church to stand up and be the church, seek the power of the Spirit and the instruction of the Word and go out and do what we have been called to do in being salt and light. We’ve lost that, and part of the reason for it is that we have aligned ourselves with political movements, and have thus neutralized our real strength and power.

  13. Sam Swart says:

    No administration is going to be able to overturn Roe v. Wade any time soon. The best we can hope for at this point is the appointment of judges that allow restrictions and uphold the rights of parents in the reproduction issues of their underage children. I truly believe Obama’s appointments will make this situation worse and that McCain will give those of us that think this is a critical issue a fighting chance.

    McCain’s current stand on Iraq is the most level-headed and coherent policy I see. Whether not getting in was the right thing to do – getting out prematurely will make a bad situation worse. It would leave the people of Iraq in situation that would surely tip them over into the lap of Iran, leave the U.S. with a reputation as a paper tiger, embolden our enemies and make this a much more dangerous world.

    I think McCain made it clear last night, he’s got nothing to prove in terms of being tough. He has no intention of using the military except as a last resort. I’m afraid a President Obama will have the need to prove his resolve and toughness and will place the military in places it has no business being and on missions it is not meant to do.

  14. Lee says:

    Does McCain have a plan? Bush has now proposed a timetable for withdrawal. Is that what McCain is going along with, or is he still stuck on staying a hundred years? Seems like the Bush Plan pretty much follows Obama’s proposal, just a bit slower.

    I’ve not ever seen a politician run for President who has actually ever been able to carry out his campaign plan. If McCain manages to get elected, he will face a congress that will still be majority Democrat, and likely a larger majority than Bush has faced. If Obama wins, will there be some powerful Democrats who rise up to push a different agenda?

    I’ll close my comments on this thread with advice for reading a good book, called “What’s the Matter With Kansas,” by Thomas Frank. It’s a good read, and I think, if you are interested in politics, you will find it good reading.