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.