Friday, September 05, 2008

Taking Issues Off the Table

Many have said that John McCain took the experience issue off the table in this year's election by choosing Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Was he on a bit of a spree with taking issues off the table this week? Perhaps! HuffPo documented the fact that on his big night, at his big speech, in front of his big ole lime green screen Mr. McCain was not fulfilling on of his sacred duties as a God-fearing, red meat-loving, apple pie-eating 'Country First' son of freedom, liberty, and democracy. No Idea what I'm talking about? Well, it turns out, John McCain wore no flag pin to his speech last night. Oops! Why does he hate America so much? Sorry, this is really a pretty goofy post, but I couldn't resist. Cheers everyone to the death of non-issues (or my wish for them to fade away)!!!


Venice said...

Ha, excellent! I hope he left it off deliberately, but that is probably wishful thinking. What did you think of the speech? I thought the end was much stronger than the beginning, particularly the "USA" chanting idiot-interrupted part. He'll never be as good a speaker as Obama, but I thought it was pretty good, though of course I am biased. I still find it amazing how much cooler McCain is than other Republicans. I am much less firmly in his camp than I was a few months ago, but I still think I will vote for him. Too bad about Palin though.

John said...

I thought the end was stirring, but so much of it was pretty... uninspiring. I honestly still have so much respect for the guy and what he's managed to do, but I can't help feeling like he's sold his soul somewhere in the course of this year (and likely any politician who's made it to the point of being a major party candidate for prez has... I dunno) and the stuff about bipartisanship, etc. just seems like a game he has played but mostly just likes to roll out for show these days. That may be unbelievably cynical, but it is what it is.

There were strange moments that actually almost had a tone of desperation to me early in the speech. Did you detect any of this? He kept saying things along the lines of ~ I know how to keep the peace and how to work with leaders of nations ~. and when he was saying them it sounded like he was trying to convince people, as though the tone read to me, "Really! I do! Believe me!" which was... strange, and perhaps completely in my head.

Overall, I think I agree with one person I saw on Andrew Sullivan's blog saying that they feel like at this point you can see the evidence for why a long campaign season is worthwhile. This person basically was saying that they feel like you can learn something about the candidates who have made it this far and their character. Their point was that they felt like they had watched McCain capitulate in ways that transformed him from McCain the Maverick into McCain the Party guy, and that they felt Obama had done a much better job of sticking to his guns. I certainly agree, but as you say about your read on his speech, I am biased.

What do you think about this question? What's your feeling about the McCain we've seen develop over the last year vs. the McCain you've respected and admired for years?

John said...

Oh... and actually I guess also part of my question is that now, having seen more about her, knowing things like the fact that she's spent most of her life attending a Pentecostal Church, etc., are you really ready to vote for Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? I think honestly McCain has challenged his moderate supporters like you with this choice because she is so utterly far from being a moderate. Experience questions aside, I could never really imagine you, my friend, voting for Sarah Palin for Dog Catcher say nothing of such an important post. Let me know where your thinking is on this.

John said...

Ok... final comment on this post for now, 'cause I just re-read my first comment and felt the need to add something. While John McCain has my respect in many ways for his independent streak, he has proved party loyal in ways that would make it impossible for me to vote for him. High up on the list include the fact that he is a clear cut enemy of choice, and the fact that he fundamentally thinks government programs (with the possible exception of the military) are bad.

While you call yourself conservative in many ways, I have never had the feeling that you necessarily think government programs are all bad. Am I wrong here? I think government programs need strict oversight, rigorous examination and constant shakeup to be the best possible systems available, but I do not think that they by nature are bad. I think they become bad when parties who are interested in undermining government come into power and appoint their moronic friends like Michael Brown to run FEMA or Gonzo to act as the head of our Justice Department. I think a strong separation between executive branch politicking and bureaucratic execution should be cultivated but Republicans who claim to be for small efficient government have never, in my recollection advocated for such a divide. Instead the rightest wings of their interest groups are constantly raging against the party leaders to place ideologues on the courts, in charge of programs, etc. so that we end up with American aid workers trying to combat AIDs in Africa using abstinence-only curricula... wtf!?!?!? John McCain claims to be interested in fighting corruption and delivering a different kind of government, but he remains the standard bearer for a party that claims to be for small government and has created a chokehold situation where the future strength and stability of our government is hogtied by their inability to reign in their excesses in spending on extravagant wars, pet projects, etc.

John McCain may have a history of independence, but he now is the standard-bearer for a party, one that has allowed the core principals it claims to be pissed on by war or terror rhetoric, right wing propaganda, fear mongering, fundamentalism, and greed. If you want to talk about obstacles to achieving the change a candidate pledges, I guess I just feel that this is a much bigger roadblock than Obama's purported inexperience.

Sorry... couldn't neglect the ideological piece of this whole thing. At its base, John McCain and I see the country and what is good for it in fundamentally different ways. I think government programs can help strengthen communities, in fact, I worked for one for a year. I have seen government funding flow into Habitat for Humanity and help families achieve first-time home-ownership, and I think models like this where nonprofit generosity is paired with municipal support thought Community Development Grants, etc. are examples of American ingenuity and strength. I think we should stop attacking our public schools and declaring them failures and start pumping up teachers as a vaunted position so that more brilliant minds will consider it a noble, valuable, and reasonable course to take with their careers and talents. I wholeheartedly agree with the grass roots bottom-up approach to economic strength and national prosperity, and McCain is way on the other side of the fence. Now, do I think we should simply tax everyone 75% of their income and pour it all into a giant machine? No. But that said, I think government programs can be good, as long as we're willing to invest the energy, independence, creativity, and ongoing regular oversight to make them strong.

Here's one question I would pose about the market: Has having healthcare delivered as a business and a private entity made it increasingly affordable, accessible, and high quality for the average American? How do we compare with the healthcare systems of European nations that have socialized care in terms of access quality and affordability for middle class Americans? How about for poor Americans? Is the business community making this industry more efficient and high-quality all the time, or is it squeezing more and more $ out of consumers while access narrows?

Ok... sorry... overboard. I'll stop. I disagree with McCain on some pretty damn fundamental stuff, and I think if a lot of Americans thought hard, no matter how many times the GOP says it, they actually need big government, no matter how bad it may sound.