Thursday, September 4, 2008

Political Conventions

I caught a little of Sarah Palin's speech from last night. She did well, but then, it's not that hard to perform well on your home turf with thousands of your own cheerleaders.

I'm not a big fan of political conventions anyway. They're red meat for the party's base, and I'm not strongly affiliated with either of the major parties.

I want to see some debates. I know they're also somewhat contrived (what isn't, in a political race?). But they allow you to do window shopping with the choices side by side, and if the moderator and questions are halfway decent, you actually get some glimmer of insight into what the candidate is really like, or at least how they'll perform when someone is tearing into them under the spotlight.

I expect Obama and McCain to essentially ignore each other in the debates and stick to their talking points. Obama will probably float up on a little cloud talking about how he wants to make everything wonderful (I'm especially interested in how he handles questions about raising taxes, though...probably by deflecting with an answer about how Bush has put through tax cuts for the rich), while McCain seems more and more like a tortoise...slow and steady with a thick shell. I thought he looked limpid next to the other Republican candidates in the primary debates, but apparently the strategy worked.

I don't expect Biden and Palin to ignore each other. On the contrary, I think (and kind of hope) they'll go for each other's jugulars. If so, those will be fun debates to watch.

I still haven't completely made up my mind on who to vote for, though at this point I'm about 75% toward Obama. The political cheerleading of the conventions isn't going to push me one way or the other, though.


Kenny Wyland said...

I'd love to see an entry with your feelings on Palin. The pick seems pretty insulting to me.

Derek James said...

I don't see how it's insulting. It's calculated...but then so was Obama's pick of Biden. A pick of Elizabeth Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchison or Condoleeza Rice (if he had wanted a woman) would have been stronger, but it's obvious McCain wanted to pick an unknown political outsider. He also wanted someone to shore up his conservative credentials, and since she's a conservative, pro-life, Christian hockey mom, she does just that. She favors "teaching the controversy" re: evolution and creationism, which makes me want to barf. So ultimately it's her views, and not her age or inexperience, that make me less likely to vote for McCain/Palin.

It seems to me like he's doing the splits with Palin, trying to grab disgruntled Hillary supporters, and at the same time solidify the Republican base. Personally I don't think it's going to work.

Rob said...

What McCain was doing with Palin was appeasing the conservative base in the Republican Party and it seems to be working. They were looking for an excuse to vote for McCain and now they have it. She sounds great, looks good and has a track record of actually getting something done. But never forget, this is not Ms. Smith goes to Washington. This woman has an ambition that is so fresh and being fed that she is likely to turn into another Washington insider, just like Bush 43 did.

I have never understood why members of the Senate feel like the next logical step in their career path is the presidency. As a member of the legislative branch of government they garner little if any executive experience in their roll as senator. There is no comparison between being the CEO and being 1 in 100. Team building skills, formulating a budget, hiring and firing personnel, and running day-to-day operations are just not skills you learn as a Senator. I think Obama and McCain would have set themselves up better if they had serve a term or two as governor of their respective states to get some of that executive experience. Got knows I wouldn't hire either of them to run a for profit company!

Kenny Wyland said...

Hm, I posted a comment here yesterday, but it doesn't seem to be here...

Derek, I find the pick of Palin insulting because he's obviously trying to score Hillary Clinton voters (often feminists) who were excited to vote for a woman. I find it insulting that he thinks Clinton supporters would vote for someone who has explicitly said she would help McCain overturn Roe v. Wade.

Rob, the party talking point has been "executive experience" over and over and over and over again.... but it's really not there. Palin has been a Governor less time than this Presidential Election has been going! Also, since her introduction all of the comparisons have been between Palin and Obama and how Obama doesn't have the magical "executive experience..." but McCain doesn't have that either. They just figure if they repeat "executive experience" enough times, people will believe it. I'm curious, can you tell me any executive decisions that she's actually made? Please don't say that she axed the "bridge to nowhere" because I'm kind of tired of that lie.

As for Mayor.. she was mayor of a tiny town of 9,000 people. My high school had 3,000 people in it. My college had 35,000 people in it.

Want some ironic statements? Karl Rove said in reference to Gov. Kaine who was on Obama's VP short list:

"With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished," Rove said. "I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America."

"105th largest city in America" he says.... Richmond's population is 200,000.

Karl Rove now says that Palin is ready to be President because she was Mayor of 9000 and Governor for 1.5 years, but says that Kaine is not ready to be President because he's "only" been Governor for 3 years and Mayor of 200,000.

It's utter hypocrisy. She's not ready to be President, the pick is dangerous pandering and I'm insulted by it. If he wanted a woman, he could have chosen several other more qualified women.

Kenny Wyland said...

I forgot to include the links with my comment. Here is Rove's comment about Kaine and here is Juan Cole giving some insight into McCain and dispelling the executive Palin misinformation.

Philip said...

I'm with Kenny. I think the pick is an insult to moderates. And I just listened to her speech on youtube - even aside from my ideological differences with her, I just didn't think it was very good. It came off as very contrived, especially the endless ramblings about her family. I can see how it would tug at the heartstrings of some, but it did nothing for me.

Rob said...

Kenny, I don't think I even tried to justify their argument about "executive experience". But since you invited me to let me give you my perspective as someone with "executive experience". I would be much more comfortable with someone as president that has actually been responsible for running something. The experience of meeting a payroll, year in and year out. Building an effective team, directing the future of an operation, turning a profit, growing a business, creating jobs, making life better for the people that work for you. Every day is hundreds of decisions, each one potentially significantly impacting your operation.

Look, I can defend his pick of Palin until I my fingers bleed and it will never convert you. It's likely had he picked Mitt Romney, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tim Polente, or any of those "more qualified women" you would find reasons that they weren't ready to serve as President. Sadly the voting public is swayed by flowery oratory, promises of new government programs, tugging at the heart strings, and imagery. This year it's all about "change", even now for the Republicans. The bottom line is both parties have less than two months to engage enough people to get off their butts and go vote for them. It's all about marketing whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm about 95% persuaded to ignore all of it. I used to care. And I realize the policies each puts in effect will affect millions of lives, but in the end, the lack of civility in all of politics and most of public discourse suggests just how sick all of us are. And if somebody has the audacity to think they can fix the world by themselves becoming president, I'm left cold as I can be.

Mr. Cloudy

mark said...

She is clearly kicking butt and taking names. We will see if it is a bubble or she can maintain what she has accomplished