Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Obaminator

If anyone thought Obama didn't have any toughness in him, they learned otherwise last night. He plays 'in your face' basketball, and knows how it goes. There is no chance he will roll over and play dead a la Dukakis and Kerry. He sounded tough. He sounded presidential.

Above all, Obama sounded some of the loftier themes he needed to. He called for new politics and urged that this Big Election not be about small things. That line will resonate very well, and will be trotted by surrogates out anytime there's some tiff over a gaffe. It helps him capture the high ground in such cases.

The speech was also very inclusive. He didn't sound the pro-choice call, for example, rather he called for those with differing opinions to work together for common ground. At one point, he put together a list of issues on which the public is deeply (and somewhat evenly) divided: gun control, abortion, same-sex marriage, and said that we could find common ground on these issues and solve some practical problems. Very midwestern.

A curious thing to my mind was including same-sex marriage in this list. Ostensibly, Obama and McCain agree on this (neither supports gay marriage) and that remains a distinct minority position - it is not a left/right divide, but a wedge issue that divides Democrats and unites Republicans in opposition. Putting gay marriage in this litany was, at the very least, an unusually public signal that many in the Democratic party favor gay marriage. Obama did not make a point of stating (as he and all major Democrats have in the past) that he believed marriage was only between a man and a woman. Elevating the gay marriage debate to a place of reasoned disagreement, not a minority outlier position, is a good thing for American politics. I doubt McCain will use the phrase "gay and lesbian brothers and sisters." This was not a major part of the speech, but it was very interesting about where his own thoughts were.

He appeared genuinely angry and authentically so. He assumed the mantle of nominee and party leader with grace. I think the overall impression was that he was ready to be president. While promising a new politics, he also promised to govern from the center. Above all, I thought the setting, the huge crowd, and the speech were magnificent. Literally: magnum + facere - making great.

9 comments:

Dr. Strangelove said...

Obama gave a good, solid speech last night. He spoke well, and there were many good lines. I certainly appreciated the "gay and lesbian brothers and sisters" line very much! Certainly nothing went wrong and a lot of things went right. He came out fighting and I appreciate that.

But it was not the great speech that I had hoped for. His speech on the subject of race back in March 18 was great and I think it will go down in history; this one will not. This acceptance speech was a little too angry, a little too short on detail, and a little too conventional. Now I admit that I heard it on the radio and I saw only still pictures of the scene, so it may have been more impressive to watch the delivery unfold. (On the other hand, the attempt to portray Obama as though he were on the set of The West Wing seemed arrogant and cheap.)

And one thing was lacking: Obama never discussed race. He did not even once use any of the words "African-American," "black," "race," "racism," or "ethnicity." Obama managed to invoke the historic speech of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. without ever mentioning the man's name. The giant pink elephant in the room was never mentioned.

The only time Obama even alluded to his own race--and the reference was beautifully delivered, by the way!--was when Obama said, "I realize I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington." He played on the word "pedigree" nicely and I give him kudos for that. Still, it was surely deliberate that the historic nature of the event went (almost) totally unremarked. It suggests to me that Obama fears to raise the issue. As well he might. Whatever its effect in the primaries, the race card surely plays against him in the general election.

Raised By Republicans said...

I think the gay marriage thing was a tiny part of the speech and it was part of a section of the speech that ended with something to effect of "when the Republicans have nothing to say, they try to make a big election about small issues."

The speech was great. Unfortunately, McCain hijacked the news cycle for the next day or so with his appointment of Marie Osmond - I mean, Sarah Palin as VP.

Raised By Republicans said...

I disagree with the idea that the place for Obama to bring the details in in a big TV speech like that. If he had done that, list policy after policy in detail, he would have bored people silly. I've only seen Bill Clinton even try to pull off an interesting "laundry list" speech and with mixed success.

Dr S. If you still don't think Obama has the details on policies I urge you to look at his website where policies are spelled out in more detail.

USwest said...

I heard only parts of this speech. i was in anf out of stores running errands. By general take is that Obama was trying to hit as many touch points as possible to a broad overview of where he stands. I think he will now begin to pick apart at each issue individually as the election goes on.

I will had it to McCain, he waited until the convention was over to steal the news cycle, of course that benefits him. And I heard on NPR this morning that McCain is running an add that genuinelly congratulates his opponent on his victory. Interesting touch.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Well, Hurricane Gustav knocked Palin off the front pages superfast. So much for a weekend of rolling her out.

I am waiting to hear her answer to the question of whether other women who find out that they are carrying a fetus with Down's syndrome may terminate that pregnancy (about 90% do, I understand). Will she say "no, it's a life?" Will she say "it's a personal decision for a woman"? I don't think the GOP has yet figured out that having a pretty woman former-beauty-queen with money tell other women that they have to be pregnant if they don't want to, just because SHE did, is even worse than some white-haired old man doing it.

What about rape and incest? Yes, no? How exactly does aborting fetuses whose fathers you disapprove of square with the idea that abortion is murder?
(note: it doesn't - the pro-life crowd just wants to punish women for engaging in sexual behavior. The key is that if a woman gets pregnant and it's 'not her fault' (i.e., rape/incest) most pro-life Republians will say she can get a an abortion).

I bet Sarah Palin may be one of those many dumb, dumb people who think that "pro-life" means just being morally opposed to abortion. Culture of life and all that crap. "Pro-life" means is wanting to make abortion illegal. No choice for the woman. If you are morally opposed to abortion but believe it should be a woman's choice, you are pro-choice.

The Law Talking Guy said...

While I'm plugged in at 4am watching the hurricane (I'm a weather nerd) and fuming about abortion, let me add this: As many of you know, I'm a new dad with a 5-month old baby. I love her and think she's the most amazing thing ever. And I'm more pro-choice now than ever. The responsibility is way too big to demand that people undertake against their will.

Raised By Republicans said...

Actually, the Sarah Palin wikipedia article says that she is against any exemptions for rape or incest.

She also thinks that schools should be required to teach "intelligent design" and creationism in biology class along with biology (you know, the stuff we actually have evidence of!).

Uswest said...

LTG: "note: it doesn't - the pro-life crowd just wants to punish women for engaging in sexual behavior"

Just a quick clarification: Actually, they want to punish women for ENJOYING and engaging in sexual behavior.

The real question I want to ask all of these types of Republicans is "So if we outlaw abortion as you wish, what social support networks is your party preapred to pay for to help these women who are stuck with unwanted children? Will you then accept universal health care? What kinds of laws will be enforced on the fathers of these unwanted children? Would you adopt a child who is a product of rape? How about adopting a crack baby who is the result of a drug induced haze?" And my number one question: "So exaclty what punishmnet would you levy against a woman who has an illegal abortion?" Watch them studder then. Then I'd ask, "And what penalty would you levy against the one who made her pregnant to begin with?"

The angle of all this abortion talk is that at it's heart, it is unequal treatment under the law. In an aboriton prohibition world, women would be held to a much higher standard than men and be open to much greater risk of prosecution. What would happen in a case where a woman falls down or something and looses her pregnancy? Would she have to prove she didn't do it on purpose? Remember the 1950s when women thre themselves down staircases? Are we really going to prosecute a pregnant woman for drinking a glass of wine with dinner? How about a pre-menopausal (thus pre-pregnant) woman? Where does it stop? Let's ask Sarah. Furthermore, LTG correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that in any case involving sex (Other then pedophillia), the burden of proof, is usually on the victim.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Well, in any court case of any kind the burden of proof falls on the person making the charges. A defendant is innocent until proven guilty by someone else. Now, that 'someone' is usually the prosecution, but in sex cases the prosecution is dependent on the testimony of the witness because there is often no other evidence.

I see Sarah Palin is against all abortion, including rape and incest. A Hobson's choice for her. That position is very unpopular.