I consider myself to be something of a politics junkie, although I'm not a wonk. I don't usually discuss politics on this blog (with at least one exception). But I have a bunch of thoughts about this week's Democratic National Convention and McCain's VP choice:
--Hillary supporters: Vote for Obama. A lot. This isn't about being right about a sexist society. Of course there is sexism in society. I would like to suggest that it is a mistake to try to prove your feminism by facilitating the election of someone who has promised to appoint ultra-Conservative Supreme Court justices. Did you know that John Roberts thinks that unmarried women shouldn't have access to birth control?
--McCain's VP choice (Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska) reeks of desperation. The night after Obama gives a fantastic speech (policy AND inspiration), the day of McCain 72nd birthday, the only rationale I can think of for picking someone who has no experience at anything and is about as qualified to be president as Martin Sheen is that McCain has decided he can't win without Hillary's supporters.
--Hey, McCain campaign: If you release your rebuttal to Obama's speech BEFORE the speech is actually finished--or the second it's finished; I don't have the exact timeline nailed down--people might get the idea that you didn't actually watch the speech.
--Don't believe the smears! This week, McCain's campaign has been beating the drum of "Obama has all of this lofty rhetoric, but he isn't offering specifics." First of all, in last night's speech, he did. Second, on his website, as a number of people pointed out in this comment stream on DovBear, he spells out his policies in excruciating detail. If you want to hear about his health care plan AND HOW HE WILL PAY FOR IT (oh, how I will miss Bush's unfunded mandates), it's all there.
--John Kerry gave a great speech about McCain not being a maverick anymore. He shares the malady of Al Gore and others, who give their best speeches when their presidential hopes have already been dashed.
--The Clintons did better than I expected in not screwing the convention up completely for Obama, but not as well as they could have. I liked Bill Clinton's speech, and I always enjoy his oratory. I thought that the second half, when he attacked McCain, was excellent; the first half, when he was praising Obama, was less enthusiastic than I would have liked, but not terrible.
--Hillary gave a good speech endorsing Obama, but the next morning she undercut herself by not ordering her supporters to vote for Obama and avoid the preposterous roll call that happened. Don't believe her "I can't tell them what to do" garbage. OF COURSE she can tell them what to do. They're HER delegates. And she didn't even try. She said that she would vote for Obama, but that they could vote for whomever they wanted. Way to be a leader promoting unity!
--Biden gave a great speech. He came across as approachable and one of the guys (which, from what I have heard, he is), and he attack-dogged it to infinity! Democrats should have been more enthusiastic about it. Democrats, be happy already. Our ticket is awesome. Their ticket sucks. Enjoy yourselves for once! This brings us to the "Biden corallary": Obama's speech rocked! It kicked! So if you're a Democratic political writer, don't say, "Well, yes, it was good, but I'm uneasy about . . .", or "The problem was . . .". Try to stay on message for once! The Republicans don't do this, and they have won the last two presidential elections. Coincidence? I think not.
--I was moved almost to tears by Ted Kennedy's speech and his presence at the convention. I admire his service to our country so much. (I also consider it a kind of repentance for his shameful act at Chappaquiddick). I can't imagine the Senate without him.
--Snarkiness is NOT the answer to everything. I usually enjoy reading Wonkette, a political blog that is about 90% snark. Generally, I find their take on the mundane politics of the day pretty funny, but they were very ill-equipped to deal with real news, particularly the inspirational speeches at the convention.
THE MEDIA IS OUT OF CONTROL. They spent so much of their time at the convention finding the ten crazy Hillary supporters who are voting for McCain. Conflict, or the appearance of conflict, makes for a better story than unity. There were real problems with the Clintons (see my comment above), but the amount of time the MSM devoted to it was unreal. I watched CNN the most, so I am madder at them than at others. Their answer to every Democratic speech was to have a Republican operative on to "reply," let said operative prattle on, and not challenge him or her at all. Do you call that journalism??? And where's the critique of McCain? (The New Republic had something on this, says my dad, but I think it's only accessible to subscribers). The critique better come next week, media. I'm putting you on notice, Stephen-Colbert style.