Three great Democrats responded to John McCain's acceptance speech on CNN's Thursday night post convention Larry King Live (transcript). The Nation's editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel, former New York governor Mario Cuomo, and Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, were all very effective at keeping on message. Subtly and skilfully their comments reinforced the reality of the convention, as it was characterized by The Raw Story (9/4/08): "Attacks, praise stretch truth# at GOP convention." The Republican drama, all the huffing and puffing, Rove's name-calling of Biden,* the attacks on the media for so-called bias, are well-crafted tactics to keep the real story of the Republicans' 8-year history buried.
Seriously! But not every journalist is actually taking the bait. Politico.com's Roger Simon appeared to be properly chastened when he offered this: "Why the media should apologize" (9/4/08) To quote:
On behalf of the media, I would like to say we are sorry.
On behalf of the elite media, I would like to say we are very sorry.
We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked.
We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?
We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice?
Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.
Arianna Huffington made a very good point. She reminded Democrats that focusing on the Sara Palin story is a distraction we should avoid. To quote:
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: That is a little bit like the same sarcasm that we had last night from Sarah Palin about Obama.
But it was also a speech -- I feel her contradictions. Although he had these things to say against Obama, the speech was primarily against George Bush. He actually said we need to change almost everything. He said we need to restore the pride and the principals of our party. He talked about bringing back transparency and accountability. He talked about responding to disasters differently and protecting our security differently. These are all attacks on George Bush. So even though his speech started with his gratitude towards the president, there is no question this was his effort to distance himself from Bush, which of course started...
KING: Isn't that smart?
HUFFINGTON: Of course, he has to do that. But can he really convince the American people that this man, who has basically voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time, who has changed his positions on taxes, on torture, on immigration, is actually going to bring change to Washington? It really demands a huge suspension of this belief. And I don't think the American people will go there unless they're seriously distracted by the soap opera of Sarah Palin. That's why Democrats need to be very careful not to focus on Sarah Palin. This is not what this election needs to be about.
If you just cannot abstain, however, Ed Kilgore offers these Palin premises for reference: "A TDS Strategy Memo: Six Highly-Targeted Democratic Messages responding to the V.P. Selection of Sarah Palin," from The Democratic Strategist of 9/2/08. Kilgore begins with four facts:
1. That McCain rejected Mitt Romney in order to pick Palin
2. That Rush Limbaugh energetically promoted Palin’s candidacy and Ralph Reed, James Dobson and Richard Viguerie all consider her one of their own. A number of articles suggest that the desire to satisfy this group played a very significant role in McCain’s decision to choose her.
3. That Palin has extremely limited experience.
4. That Palin has a history of pressuring and firing political opponents. This is not just in relation to a single case regarding a particular State Trooper, but in other cases as well when she was mayor of her small town.
Regarding Obama/Biden -- Getting back to the real candidates about which we all should be talking, bobcesca.com "makes sense to me," says "betmo." The blogger's point (on 9/1/08), focused on the subject of all the Republican "venting*" about the candidates executive qualities. To quote:
Would someone somewhere on television repeat, over and over, that, for the last 18 months, Senator Obama been the chief executive in charge of the insanely successful 'Obama for America' campaign and has raised more money, received more primary votes and registered more voters than any political campaign in American history?
I agree with Arianna Huffington. Republicans have no program to offer. They are offering two personalities - two Heroes For the 21st Century. According to the Republican plan, we voters need to just get over the first 8 years of the 21st century and move on in to the Era of Heroes.
My conclusion -- These morning-after thoughts are from my dear roommate, "Seven-of-Eight:
When choosing a President for the United States each voter has a responsibility that extends far beyond their immediate surroundings and circumstances.
With our system of government, it is highly unlikely that either of the current candidates, or those in the future can bring about all the changes they promise. There are, however, serious consequences from action that a president may take on his or her own, with or without the approval of the American people. The Bush administration is proof that information can be manipulated to justify whatever a president may decide to do.
We simply cannot afford to have someone in the oval office that is unstable, prone to temper-fits, and an agenda that is military in nature. John McCain is a good person, no doubt. Our country owes him for his service. We don't owe him the presidency and can't afford to make that mistake when we vote.
- U.S. Election in Depth from the Financial Times (9/5/08 newsletter)
- Ed Kilgore @ 9/2/08 Democratic Strategist: A collection of "the Best Sound-Bites and Brief Quotes from the Democratic Convention in Denver" -- Obama, Biden, Clinton, Kennedy, Kerry, Gore -- and many others.
- The Democratic Strategist 8/23/08 -- "The Biden Choice, Women and the South"
- Brad Jacobson* @ at-largely: " Scant Coverage of Obama Assassination Plot -- Irresponsible Or Cautious?"
Hat Tip to regular contributors (#Jon) and (*"betmo") for their links.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.