Commentary Magazine


Posts For: August 28, 2008

The Problem With a Crowd This Big

They don’t understand you are not supposed to cheer when your candidate is talking about bad things, like the submerging of New Orleans.

They don’t understand you are not supposed to cheer when your candidate is talking about bad things, like the submerging of New Orleans.

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Here we go

The litany of the poor and dying.

The litany of the poor and dying.

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Broken Politics Of Washington

Someone should ask Joe Biden about that. But we are now into the Joads family album.

Someone should ask Joe Biden about that. But we are now into the Joads family album.

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Downer

One of the biggest problems the Dems have is that the world is always seen through a glass darkly.  Obama’s greatest acheivement in his 2004 speech was to make the country feel good about itself.  But this speech is all about the pain.  And it’s very short on specifics on how he’ll cure it. 

One of the biggest problems the Dems have is that the world is always seen through a glass darkly.  Obama’s greatest acheivement in his 2004 speech was to make the country feel good about itself.  But this speech is all about the pain.  And it’s very short on specifics on how he’ll cure it. 

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Going Right at McCain

John, Jen: Barack Obama mentions John McCain more than 20 times in his prepared remarks.  Compare this to George H. W. Bush’s 1988 acceptance speech in Houston; he did not mention his opponent Michael Dukakis by name even once. George W. Bush  mentioned Al Gore only once at the 2000 convention in Philadelphia.

John, Jen: Barack Obama mentions John McCain more than 20 times in his prepared remarks.  Compare this to George H. W. Bush’s 1988 acceptance speech in Houston; he did not mention his opponent Michael Dukakis by name even once. George W. Bush  mentioned Al Gore only once at the 2000 convention in Philadelphia.

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The Attack on McCain

Jen, I think the reason for the speech’s unusually direct attack on his rival is two-fold. One, it suggests the Obama people have become convinced that merely invoking Bush’s name will not do the trick for them, as they once thought it might. Second, they want to draw McCain out, to force him to come out swinging, because they believe a Republican on the attack is a vastly more unattractive figure and will get himself into trouble.

Jen, I think the reason for the speech’s unusually direct attack on his rival is two-fold. One, it suggests the Obama people have become convinced that merely invoking Bush’s name will not do the trick for them, as they once thought it might. Second, they want to draw McCain out, to force him to come out swinging, because they believe a Republican on the attack is a vastly more unattractive figure and will get himself into trouble.

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Kindness

If is mother imbued him with such reverence for kindness and respect for others, he seemed not to carry that over in his relationships later in life. Was Bill Ayers respectful of others? Was Reverend Wright? The film about Obama is lovely; it simply bears no resemblance to the actuality of his life and the choices he made.

If is mother imbued him with such reverence for kindness and respect for others, he seemed not to carry that over in his relationships later in life. Was Bill Ayers respectful of others? Was Reverend Wright? The film about Obama is lovely; it simply bears no resemblance to the actuality of his life and the choices he made.

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Resume Padding

They’ve just tried to make his years in the IL legislature and Congress add up to something by listing the issues he cares about.  But they can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

They’ve just tried to make his years in the IL legislature and Congress add up to something by listing the issues he cares about.  But they can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

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No Ivy League Schools Here

He drove out to Chicago from ???? It is a mystery in this film.

He drove out to Chicago from ???? It is a mystery in this film.

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Advertisements for Himself

The post-modern narcissism of introducing oneself with a video of oneself is a bit striking. It’s as if Obama is incomplete without his media persona. He is the message, the medium, and the person at the center of both. It’s the Obama godhead. 

The post-modern narcissism of introducing oneself with a video of oneself is a bit striking. It’s as if Obama is incomplete without his media persona. He is the message, the medium, and the person at the center of both. It’s the Obama godhead. 

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The Speech

It may come across differently when delivered, but I am struck by how nasty and personally aggressive it is toward John McCain. Didn’t Joe Biden do that? One wonders if the New Politician has now adopted Bill Clinton’s “Chicago Thug” label as his own. Again, maybe he will do it with such grace and good humor that it won’t seem mean, small and bitter.

It may come across differently when delivered, but I am struck by how nasty and personally aggressive it is toward John McCain. Didn’t Joe Biden do that? One wonders if the New Politician has now adopted Bill Clinton’s “Chicago Thug” label as his own. Again, maybe he will do it with such grace and good humor that it won’t seem mean, small and bitter.

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Equal Pay Redux

I guess Obama thinks that a little comparable worth-speak will satisfy die hard feminists who are still angry over his passing over Hillary for VP.  He’s got the requisite line

“And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.”

I guess he is too young to recall the 1963 Equal Pay Act. 

I guess Obama thinks that a little comparable worth-speak will satisfy die hard feminists who are still angry over his passing over Hillary for VP.  He’s got the requisite line

“And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.”

I guess he is too young to recall the 1963 Equal Pay Act. 

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I’ll See Your Non Sequitur and Raise You Two More

How is this passage:

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq.  You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington.  You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances.  If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need. We are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy.  So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.  The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As to the first disconnect: Well, one way to defeat a terrorist network would be to beat them in one country not to flee and suffer a humiliating defeat. But number two is a doozy: FDR and JFK were tough so vote for me? That is beyond weak. And it is a sign of the depth of the problem that he has to go back over 40 years to find a resolute Democrat who understood the problem use of military force. Is there a reason why he should be trusted? Not in this speech.

And do you think he will mention the word “surge”? Come on. You know the answer to that one.

How is this passage:

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq.  You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington.  You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances.  If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need. We are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy.  So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.  The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As to the first disconnect: Well, one way to defeat a terrorist network would be to beat them in one country not to flee and suffer a humiliating defeat. But number two is a doozy: FDR and JFK were tough so vote for me? That is beyond weak. And it is a sign of the depth of the problem that he has to go back over 40 years to find a resolute Democrat who understood the problem use of military force. Is there a reason why he should be trusted? Not in this speech.

And do you think he will mention the word “surge”? Come on. You know the answer to that one.

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Great Moments in Self-Aggrandizement

Wolf Blitzer was just thinking about how, decades from now, children would recall watching Wolf Blitzer on the night Barack Obama became the first black nominee.

Wolf Blitzer was just thinking about how, decades from now, children would recall watching Wolf Blitzer on the night Barack Obama became the first black nominee.

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The Obama Speech Text Is Out…

…and this passage jumped out at me:

In the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor…In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own…When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed. And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management…

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine.  These are my heroes.

This is a bizarre non sequitur. What does the fact that Obama is reminded of his hard-working mother and grandparents and out-of-work Chicagoans have to do with the observation that he acts and is treated like a celebrity? Why has he allowed this jibe of McCain’s to get under his skin and feel the need to address it in a somewhat self-pitying tone?

…and this passage jumped out at me:

In the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor…In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own…When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed. And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management…

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine.  These are my heroes.

This is a bizarre non sequitur. What does the fact that Obama is reminded of his hard-working mother and grandparents and out-of-work Chicagoans have to do with the observation that he acts and is treated like a celebrity? Why has he allowed this jibe of McCain’s to get under his skin and feel the need to address it in a somewhat self-pitying tone?

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Donna Brazile

Is on CNN reminding us a lot of Democrats fillibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Republicans with Everett Dirksen voted for passage. Really.

But not to worry, Wolf Blitzer says that for generations people will ask “Where were you when Barack Obama accepted the nomination?” Just in case you wondered whose side they are on.

Is on CNN reminding us a lot of Democrats fillibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Republicans with Everett Dirksen voted for passage. Really.

But not to worry, Wolf Blitzer says that for generations people will ask “Where were you when Barack Obama accepted the nomination?” Just in case you wondered whose side they are on.

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A Job Well Done

Well I wasn’t imagining it. John McCain is running a commercial–at least in Colorado– congratulating his opponent on “a job well done,”noting Obama’s speech coincides with the anniversary of MLK’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

Well I wasn’t imagining it. John McCain is running a commercial–at least in Colorado– congratulating his opponent on “a job well done,”noting Obama’s speech coincides with the anniversary of MLK’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

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Bill Clinton Was Right

Not to attend. It’s all a bit much. Meanwhile, Michael Steele is gamely explaining on Fox that not every home is in foreclosure. He obviously did not get the Great Depression memo.

Not to attend. It’s all a bit much. Meanwhile, Michael Steele is gamely explaining on Fox that not every home is in foreclosure. He obviously did not get the Great Depression memo.

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Blue Collar Joe

He’s baaaack.  Joe Biden is up there whipping up the lunch pail crowd.  We’re in the Great Depression again and the Dems will lead us out of the wilderness.  Don’t they ever get tired of this stuff?  How many times can they say this is the worst economy since Herbert Hoover?  And apparently we’re going to hear more from “ordinary people.” 

He’s baaaack.  Joe Biden is up there whipping up the lunch pail crowd.  We’re in the Great Depression again and the Dems will lead us out of the wilderness.  Don’t they ever get tired of this stuff?  How many times can they say this is the worst economy since Herbert Hoover?  And apparently we’re going to hear more from “ordinary people.” 

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Biden Is Back

Joe Biden is speaking again. Weird. On the other hand, it’s Joe Biden. Ask him to come to your kid’s birthday party and he’d surely accept and deliver a three-hour talk about his meetings with the finance minister of Sri Lanka.

Joe Biden is speaking again. Weird. On the other hand, it’s Joe Biden. Ask him to come to your kid’s birthday party and he’d surely accept and deliver a three-hour talk about his meetings with the finance minister of Sri Lanka.

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