Topic: Election Notes
Barack Obama, the rising star of the Democratic Party, gave the one speech that turned heads at the Boston convention this week. Most everyone has commented on it. And he hasn't been elected to any office yet, although he is now running unopposed for the open Senate seat from Illinois. His opponent dropped out after it was revealed that his glamorous Hollywood wife divorced him partly because he kept insisting she would really enjoy naked hot monkey sex with him in front of large crowds at sex clubs. She suggested she wouldn't like that at all. Oh well. Obama was far ahead in the polls anyway. The Republicans then tried to the run Mike Ditka, the former Chicago Bears football coach with the notoriously short fuse. But Ditka stepped away. There was some talk of the Republicans trying to get Ted Nugent to run - the former rock star, avid hunter and NRA guns-for-everyone enthusiast. He hates wimps and girly-boys too. But that went nowhere. So Obama will win the seat.
Barack Obama is the son of black African exchange student and a white woman, and a bit of an overachiever - as in Harvard Law School and President of the Law Review. His paternal grandfather herded goats in Africa. Beat that story, Horatio Alger. Now he is said to be presidential material - articulate, charismatic, generous, thoughtful, and positive - maybe our first black president somewhere down the road. That is possible.
The speech itself was amazing - but so many have dissected it that a review seems unnecessary. The meme of the day is that Obama managed to appeal to everyone, and to everyone's better nature, whether lefty liberal Democrat or born-again gays-are-evil Christian Republican.
The full text is here:
Barack Obama's Remarks to the Democratic National Convention
The New York Times - Published: July 27, 2004
If there is one part of this speech that merits some comment it is this:
I suspect that is where he lost the conservative Republican folks.
Cain kills his brother Abel - and asks if he is, really, his brother's keeper. The answer is clear-cut. Yes, you are, you fool. What were you thinking?
I suspect that is one part of the Biblical narrative where a lot of the conservative right says, well, sometimes the Bible is wrong - not often - but sometimes it is.
How can you blast those who propose a "mommy government" with all sort of freebie benefits keeping people feeling like victims and dependent and lazy - when they should get off their fat asses and take care of themselves - if you buy into this idea that you might actually be your brother's keeper? This does not match up with the concept of "personal responsibility" very much at all. And how can you propose "tough love" - cutting welfare and stopping unemployment benefits for the good of these losers, so they actually are forced to do something productive - if you are, in fact, your brother's keeper. My conservative friend has told me all these laws about fairness in hiring and education - all that civil right legislation that started with the 1964 Civil Right Act - is stupid. Good people with ambition will rise to the top anyway. They don't need such laws. And those who aren't good people, who are not assuming personal responsibility for their own lives, then, because of such laws, just feel entitled to stuff everyone else has to earn on his or her own. It's not fair. In addition, such laws just hobble business and schools that want to be, simply, what they want to be, no matter what "big government" thinks they should be or says how they the think these business and schools should act - such laws take away their rights, to hire or admit whomever they want. It's not fair.
Barack Obama didn't win over these folks. He cited the wrong part of the Bible.
In general, the right immediately had problems with this speech, as reviewed here by Jeanne at Body and Soul -
Hey, whatever works.
But Thomas Frank has the last word here in the July 29 opinion pages of The Los Angeles Times.
Thomas Frank is the author of "What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" - discussed in Just Above Sunset - here July 18, 2004 - The Importance of Martyrdom to the Conservative Movement with a follow-up here.
The problem with Obama and the Democrats? The party doesn't get it: Most voters hate what those people stand for.
Oh. That must be it.
Frank is arguing that whatever Obama says, folks just don't like what is happening in Boston.
Why? Too may celebrities in view, of course. Blame Hollywood.
I guess Ben Affleck and Glenn Close should have stayed away. Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Streisand did.
Bush is morally superior to them all? I suppose one could argue that position.
So the upcoming election campaign will be self-righteous optimists claiming moral superiority against realistic cynics who say we should all be really, really frightened and not change horses in mid-stream because we all could die. It will be Dopey and Grumpy - and the assorted other five dwarfs of fear - against the dull but earnest Lurch and the happy Breck Girl from North Carolina.
Barack Obama gave a good speech, but he doesn't count. It is not his time, yet.