5 September 2008

2008 Republican National Convention Roundup

As God as my witness, I think any more party convention fare consumption would drive me absolutely insane and I’m so glad it’s over.

Some of my thoughts on the 2008 Republican National Convention and other various takes on the selection of Sarah Palin for vice president — an act that has overshadowed almost all else this week (including Obama’s big acceptance speech last Thursday). Though Mrs. Palin’s presence seems to have incited Obama supporters as much as the hardcore conservative Republican base — reportedly, Obama raised $10 million in contributions in the 24 hour period following her speech Wednesday night.

  • Not a very diverse crowd at the RNC. It’s really a whitebread crowd, with minorities few and far between. That doesn’t look like America.

  • Aside from McCain’s speech, a great deal of hate was flung, including the veiled racist “community organizer” crack by Palin. First, it was anything but dignified, and a smear at all those who sacrificed personal gain to serve their community. Second, definitely a racist jab because the intent is to have the audience conjure up an image of black (shades of Willie Horton in 1988), urban community organizers (like Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson) who are frequently in opposition to destructive Republican policy stances.

  • My conservative church friends are beaming about Sarah Palin’s performance, but all I heard was a George W. Bush (and it was indeed penned by a George W. Bush speechwriter) speech slightly tailored for a shallow photogenic beauty queen contestant. It was short on content and filled with invective. I don’t want my elected leaders to be “pit bulls with lipstick” — I want them to be strong leaders that make their decisions based on the information collected, not framing the data to suit erroneous preordained proclamations (just like the present George W. Bush administration). And of what little bits of content there were, it was constructed of misrepresentations or outright lies.

  • I concede, that for many, image trumps substance, and that was a predominant theme throughout the Republican convention. As a more gifted writer noted, aside from Laura Bush, nobody mentioned a single statistic. They strived hard to separate their party from their present party leader — the unpopular George W. Bush and his dismal approval rating.

  • Republicans continue to float nonsense about Obama being an “elitist”, even as Cindy McCain trots on stage in a $300K ensemble. And especially after the on camera incident where McCain couldn’t even tally how many homes he owns.

  • McCain sprinkled bits of “we’re going to clean things up in Washington” in his speech, but the very truth that his campaign has not made Palin publicly available for question and answer press (or town hall like gatherings) sessions, but wasted no time shuffling her in front of AIPAC and other lobbyist organizations — tells another tale. And as I’ve stated, just peruse the roster of his campaign advisors, filled with the same faces that served George W. Bush, including the vile Karl Rove, and his politics of division.

  • I witnessed no evidence that a McCain/Palin ticket would deviate from the failed policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Or depart from the corrupt practices we’ve seen exposed over the past 8 years. Nor would they take prosecutorial action against the criminal deeds committed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. How can they pledge to make Washington accountable when they are already cowering through the campaign?

  • By all indications, Palin is all aboard on the torture express, has no qualm with an illegal immoral invasion of a nation that posed no threat to the U.S. and was based on fraudulent deception about WMD. Nothing was spoken over the lack of professionalism in the management of civil service workers and the pure partisanship injected into justice department.

  • It’s astonishing how the McCain/Palin ticket is attempting to run against their own party. Railing against entrenched Washington interests, pledging to take back the capital. Wait a second. Their party has been in power for the last 8 years. Of all branches of government (7 of the SCOTUS justices are Republican appointees), except for the last 18 months of Congress (even there, the Senate is a virtual tie, as I would not term Joe Lieberman as Democrat). If McCain pulls it off, it has to be a miracle that rivals any past political upset.

A few followup notes on Palin and my amazement how blindly her supporters eschew the troubling facets of her candidacy:

  • Ethical questions about her using her Alaska governor office to settle a personal score. Don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent or the Alaska Independence party — it’s wrong. Naysayers argue that the charges have no merit, but there’s more than there than a simple accusation and Palin has been caught backtracking and her responses in this matter indicate the charges are well warranted.

  • On one hand, ascending to governorship of a U.S. state would be indicative of a valid, pre-vetted candidate, but I’m not so certain in a one-party state like Alaska. The real race is the cutthroat internal party slugfest and I don’t doubt that on that stage, Palin was a shrewd player. However, their suitability to a U.S. electorate is an entirely different matter. Balancing the budget in Alaska, for example, is a relatively simple matter of adjusting revenue check amounts cut for citizens. That’s far from the challenges met by governors in other states.

  • A wire service fact check of her speech claims shows a lot of whoppers.

  • She displayed childish and inexcusable behavior in this public radio appearance.

  • She appears quite ignorant of foundational American history — like her quoted answer about the pledge of allegiance being good enough for the founding fathers? Maybe some of my coworkers are not familiar with that tidbit of history, but I would expect an elected official of a prominent executive post would certainly not sound like a contestant on “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”.

  • I respect her stance on abortion. I am pro-life too, but I wouldn’t agree to the extremist position she adopts which amount to a Rapists Bill of Rights (no exception for rape or incest). Also, while admirably, her personal life illustrates her convictions, in her executive office, she’s sided against both young mothers and special needs children, cutting aid for such programs.

  • She’s been lauded as a fiscal conservative, but the evidence illustrates otherwise — as mayor, she left the town with a mountain of debt and for grandiose, unneeded projects like hockey arenas, while neglecting basic infrastructure needs.

  • She headed a 527 group for Senator Ted Stevens, who’s embroiled in an corruption investigation and is legendary for all the pork he has brought to the state of Alaska. Your tax money at work.

  • She attempted to ban books from her town library. Now, how American is that? It is behavior suited more to the Communist Party in China.

Sarah Palin seems like a nice lady. Listening to a conservative Christian talk radio host, he made a point about how great it was that Palin was just an ordinary likable principled working mother (after he termed her a “female Ronald Reagan”). And that people who attack her are somehow equivalent to those who would belittle your own Mom!

I love my Mom. She’s kind, warm, caring, nurturant, loving, etc.… But we’re not vetting a den mother for our Cub Scout children — we’re electing a leader of the free world. If I need to see a doctor or have my plumbing repaired, I certainly wouldn’t choose a professional to achieve the task on the basis of how much she was like my Mom, nor how much they are like me. No doubt, I’d be much more interested in their competency to actually perform the job. Why, for some crazy notion, do we think our president should be like a bar buddy? That’s how we got George W. Bush (because the pundits told us that he’s the candidate we’d much prefer to have a beer with), the smirking, spoiled C student fraternity son of privilege — and look what a disaster that has turned out to be.

Earlier, on a campaign trail stop, Obama nailed it perfectly:

It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant

I know his remark was directed at comments about energy and tire inflation, but it can be applied wholesale to Republican politics in the 21st century. George W. Bush loves to gloat about how he was just a ‘C’ student who proudly stands over smarter individuals, who cower before him. Likewise, the McCain camp has belittled Obama as an elitist — not because he married a younger, richer beer baron’s daughter like McCain did, but because he’s smart and can give an inspiring speech.

Do we really want to entrust our country’s leadership to ‘C’ students like George W. Bush? Or to somebody that graduated 894th out of 899, and may not have finished at all, were it not for the office of his prominent admiral father? A vice president that attended 5 colleges in 6 years? Instead, shouldn’t we award the position to the best and the brightest — say, one who lifted himself up by the bootstraps, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, sacrificed lucrative financial prospects to do community service, and strives to lead not as an ideologue, but as one who considers the merits of a position, without regard to partisanship.

4 September 2008

Obama Donation

I donated some money to Obama campaign. It's the first I've ever done this, at least on presidential level — a few years back I believe I gave a small gift to local Democrats.

For the record, though it might be tough to tell these days, from my postings here, I am a registered Independent and former card carrying Republican that voted Republican even through much of the 90s (though at presidential level, I cast "loser" votes for 3rd party candidates like Perot and Nader).

I felt so dismayed after 2004 but the stakes are even bigger now in 2008. The 2006 Congressional elections tempered the Republican "war on government" a bit, but a 2008 victory may really entail tragic consequences for the nation.

I realize many (like including my parents generation that think it's rude to publicly announce who you vote for and do their ballot selection in secret) shun "who I'm voting for" pronouncements.

It's not just about the issues. Yes, I can argue that I support Obama because…

  • …he's an advocate for net neutrality and McCain is opposed to it
  • …he's pro science and McCain more devoted to restricting scientists
  • …he'll implement a "kinder, gentler" (to steal a "Poppy Bushism") variant of imperialism contrasted to McCain's hawkishness
  • …he'll be better on SCOTUS justice selections
  • …he's stronger on honoring the Constitution whereas McCain's nebulous "war on terror" discarding of civil liberties and/or embrace of Unitary Executive doctrine
  • …while he's guided by faith, unlike confidants and groups McCain seeks to satisfy, does not wish to forcefully impose his view of religion upon the country
  • …unlike McCain, he's relatively free of lobbyists and special interests — just examine McCain's roster of advisors
  • …he'll depart from the woeful path and flawed polices of George W. Bush — mainstream media pundits portray McCain as a maverick, but his administration composition won't look much different than the present one

But beyond the issues, there are critical foundational questions about the process of government and complete corruption of the framework in Washington. First, the taint must be exorcised from Washington chambers. Restore government officers as the people's servants, not the province of a plutocratic aristocracy.

It's time to put adults back in charge of the storehouse.