The Republican Convention was at a definite disadvantage. They went first. Never ideal. They lost a day, thanks to Isaac. And they built their entire convention on a lie. They are running against a figment of their collective imaginations. The Obama who hates success, hates America and hates taking responsibility for the economy. It is an Obama as nonexistent as the straw man floating above Clint Eastwood’s empty chair.
The Democrats, by contrast, are building their convention on Obama’s record and agenda: expanding opportunity. Equal pay for equal work, equal access to healthcare, Pell grants for greater college opportunity, the rescue of jobs tied to the US auto industry and the overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so homosexuals can openly fight for the country they love. These are accomplishments that move the country forward. And accomplishments tend to make for better speeches than trumped up fear mongering. But what was striking about the first night of the Democratic convention was the unbridled patriotism of it all. The Democrats’ love of country is positively passionate! Just as the Republicans tried to build an entire convention around a gaffe in an Obama speech, this convention is taking Romney’s premise that the best we have felt about Obama was the day we cast our vote for him and deftly turned it on its head. The Democrats feel just fine about Obama. And some seem as smitten with him as the First Lady, who, as it turns out, may be the best orator in the Obama household.
Obama’s handpicked general, Stan McChrystal, has been lionized by the right wing media as a military genius who can win the Afghanistan war. As troop fatalities rose over the past weekend conservative radio was all henny penny that we need more troops and we need them now (even when at least two of the deaths result from “friendly backfire”––one American helicopter collided into another U.S. helicopter, suggesting there are, perhaps, too many American soldiers in Afghanistan, at least at that particular moment.) So while Obama “dithers,” to quote our former Vice President, let’s consider what General McChrystal is smoking. Scott Ritter sums it up:
McChrystal operates under the illusion that American military power can provide a shield from behind which Afghanistan can remake itself into a viable modern society. He has deluded himself and others into believing that the people of Afghanistan want to be part of such a grand social experiment, and furthermore that they will tolerate the United States being in charge. The reality of Afghan history, culture and society argue otherwise. The Taliban, once a defeated entity in the months following the initial American military incursion into Afghanistan, are resurgent and growing stronger every day. The principle source of the Taliban’s popularity is the resentment of the Afghan people toward the American occupation and the corrupt proxy government of Hamid Karzai. There is nothing an additional 40,000 American troops will be able to do to change that basic equation. The Soviets tried and failed. They deployed 110,000 troops, operating on less restrictive lines of communication and logistical supply than the United States. They built an Afghan army of some 45,000 troops. They operated without the constraints of American rules of engagement. They slaughtered around a million Afghans. And they lost, for the simple reason that the people of Afghanistan did not want them, or their Afghan proxies.
Perhaps we need to listen to our historians, as much as we listen to our generals.
That’s right, Biden forced Obama to eat a hamburger as the world looked on. It wasn’t pretty.
Roy Rogers had Gabby. Cisco had Pancho. And Barack has Biden. Every hero needs a colorful sidekick. Only Biden has to apologize for all his attempts at comic relief. Oh, well. Ya gotta love Joe.
Joe Conason thinks not. He explains:
When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone. Derived from the Doris Kearns Goodwin book on Lincoln’s cabinet, that morsel had scant relevance to the cabinet being assembled by Barack Obama, as the president-elect bravely tried to explain when he introduced his national security team…Rather than a discordant group that will spend the next four years arguing over the Iraq war resolution, Mr. Obama has chosen people who largely agree with him and each other about how to restore American influence and prestige in the world. That is particularly true of Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Gates and General Jones, who will guide U.S. foreign and military policy in a direction set by the president.
Who says this stuff? Really? A guaranteed attack on American soil to test Obama mettle? Who was he talking to? Future Fear Mongers of America? So maybe Joe Biden really is John McCain’s good friend. He certainly gave a flagging campaign some excellent source material. In the meantime, can we get a gag order on this guy?
I was reading some Jack Chick end times tracts recently, and they got me thinking. You know how all the major airlines make sure that there are never two born-again Christians in the cockpit? You know, in case of rapture? So tell me, how come the GOP ticket have two Bible-believing, born agains on the same ticket? That’s just reckless! And maybe feckless. Who will be left behind to be President when the rapture happens? Seriously! That is why every patriotic evangelical Christian (and there are quite a few) should vote for Obama-Biden. It is the only rapture-ready ticket. Obama has a personal relationship with Jesus and Joe Biden is a devout Catholic. So as Jack Chick will gladly tell you, Joe Biden won’t be making the trip.
I am sure National Review editor and founder, William F. Buckley Jr., is spinning in his grave. Not because his son Chris Buckley might be supporting Obama for president, but because the Republicans are serving up such foolishness in the name of conservative values. The younger Buckley laments:
“The satirist in me cries out for a McCain-Palin administration. This would be an embarrassment of riches,” Christopher Buckley, famed wit and son of William F., tells me. Alas, he’s a reluctant Obamacon — “I think he has a first-class temperament” — even though he fears that a Barack Obama presidency will be “boring.” Trying to cheer himself up, he allows that Joe Biden will probably provide some “comic fodder.”
The Bible is full of good advice on how to measure character. For instance, the writer of Proverbs gives us a heads up on how to measure leadership: “He who winks the eye causes trouble, And a babbling fool will be ruined.” (Proverbs 10:10). CNN measured the reactions of the undecided to last Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate. You saw it. Little squiggly lines going up and down. Interestingly, Sarah Palin’s persistent winking was a turn off to undecided women. Undecided men sort of liked it; they thought Sarah was coming on to them. But there was a moment that took the undecided voters off the charts. It was the brief moment when Joe Biden’s eyes welled up with tears and he choked back a sob. The little squiggly lines went wild. Thursday night we saw two things in Senator Biden’s eyes: steely resolve and tender compassion. These are two qualities the book of Proverbs rate pretty high.
This is really like a bad Reese Whitherspoon movie. She is cute, perky–and despite those media elites and all– she’s holding her own debating the seasoned U. S. Senator played by some old guy with capped teeth and a bad weave. Yep, this must be a movie. She is standing at the podium in siletto heels and take-me-serious librarian glasses, saying folksy things like “Doggone it” and “I betcha.” And now, she has broken more than the glass ceiling; she has broken over 200 years of decorum. She has just given the American voters a “shout out.” Please. Wake me when this movie is over.
Sarah Palin has been a gift from above. Her sassy ineptitude, her filibustering facility with the English language and her moose-in-the-headlights refusal to blink has drawn fire away from Joe Biden. Biden, a non-stop gaffe machine, has come off as Winston Churchill by comparison. And I’m sure he will trounce her in the debate. So Democrats, send this pitbull-hockey-mom-baracuda a bouquet ( and a subscription to the Washington Post). Then Republicans, yank her from the ticket. Put Romney in. It is the sort of October surprise that could pull it out for McCain. It’s easy: Romney’s a billionaire captain of industry with a “secret plan for the economy” (it needs work, but I’m sure Rove can finese what you call it). And, best of all, he is the former Governor on a state that shares an ocean with Spain.
She is a governor (in her second term, not her second year). She graduated with honors from UC Berkley and Havard Law, but didn’t attend either school on a beauty pageant scholarship. However, she was born in Vancouver from which you can see Russia, if you close you eyes and think very, very hard. Clearly overqualified to be Sarah Palin’s surrogate and obviously too over-experienced to be John McCain’s running mate. Nevertheless, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan will play Sarah the Moose Slayer in the mock debates with Senator Biden. Apparently, Tina Fey was unavailable.
You don’t want to be the guy who has to debate Sarah Palin. Joe Biden definitely has his job cut out for him. His first obstacle will be…well…himself. The longer he blathers, the less the American public will comprehend. The longer he talks the more opportunity he has for saying something exquisitely dumb. Not that he’s not smart. He is. It’s just that his mouth has the bad habit of saying really stupid things. His second obstacle will be he’s never shot a moose. You see, the American public doesn’t trust people who don’t routinely slaughter wildlife and mount their furry, little heads above their fireplaces. The third obstacle will be his home state, Delaware, is very small and doesn’t afford a beachfront view of Russia. Plus, his many years of foreign policy experience only makes him suspect. The guy is a Washington insider, and in a “change election”, you definitely don’t want a Washington insider at the bottom of the ticket (you want him on the top, with a woman on the botton: Missionary style). The third thing is that he just knows too much. He reads books and stuff. His head is full of lots of trivial things about geopgraphy, the Middle East, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and economic theory. This would come in handy in a real political debate, but we don’t have those in this country. Bad for ratings. The last obstacle is the biggest. He has never been a contestant in a beauty contest and his opponent has. Maybe John McCain was never voted Miss Congeniality, but Sarah Palin was. Literally. And when all is said and done, these debates are just another beauty pageant where the contestants are judged on poise, grace and grit. Sorry, Joe. You lose. So Sarah, bring it on. And remember, in politics, there are no wrong answers. Just bad form.
Long-winded, gaffe-prone Joe Biden has never seemed to have much of a self-edit function. So while Sarah Palin is drawing crowds and making headlines, Joe has been lying low. But on a day when most of the news was going be about 9-11 memorials and hurricanes, Joe spoke up and stated the obvious. “Maybe Barack should have gone with Hillary.” Don’t be surprise if his medical records have a blip or two that might just create a Tom Egleton switcheroo. After all this has turned out to be the Year of the Vagina, after all.