The Eclectic Quill

August 31, 2008

Palin in Comparison

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 5:30 pm

The idiocy of the Republican punditry never ceases to amaze me. It seems that whatever happens they seem to just take a partisan tact, refuse to acknowledge that anything good could come from the Democratic Party and everything that comes out the Republican Party is all peaches and cream. Never has this been more apparent than this week, and their "coverage" on Plain as the selection for Vice President. We have been fed a load of crap that even the most jaded of pig farmers would find repulsive. If you’ve ever been on a pig farm then you recognize my meaning.

Don’t pee in a cup and tell me it’s lemonade, don’t crap on a plate and tell me that it’s fudge, and don’t tell me that Palin is a "brilliant" pick. It isn’t, plain and simple. Annie Oakley has no business being a 72-year-old-cancer-surviving-heart-beat away from the Presidency and in spite of all the feces that has been fed to us about this it remains a fact that she has no business being that close to the White House. Let’s take a look at some of the things that are being said about her that "qualify" her to be the next VP.

  • She’s taken on her own Republican Party : It’s almost as though the MSM has taken the talking points on her and not so much as consulted Wikepedia about them to see if they were true or not. Yes, she took on her own party, as soon as it became politically expedient to do so. When she was running for Governor though she was all for the "bridge to nowhere." Sorry, that’s being a conventional politician.
  • She’s a maverick : She’s a pro-NRA, pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-national health care, pro-oil, trickle down Republican. Wahoo that takes a lot of coverage. What a maverick! Let’s face it, the only difference between her and "W" is anatomical, not political.
  • She had a baby with Down’s Syndrome : Set aside for a moment the possibility that it seems likely that she either a) risked the baby’s life taking a five hour flight home, or b) it’s actually her grandson, not her son, and just accept this at face value. Does being a mother of a Down’s syndrome baby qualify you to be President?
  • She has a compelling story : It seems everything I read, including different articles and including what I heard, it was impossible to separate this phrase "compelling story" from her. Just for grins I Googled "compelling story" and came up with over 5,000 hits with her name attached to it. So of course I read her bio and found out that she was called "Barracuda" in High School, finished second in Ms. Alaska, and had a baby with Down ‘s syndrome. I’m not compelled and don’t really have the gumption to go out and read a biography of her. Now, being raised in a divorced home, living off of food stamps, working your way through Harvard, becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, turning down six figure income to serve the community, becoming a state legislator, a US Senator, and the first black nominee for President from a major party is compelling. Having kids, playing basketball, and eating moose is not compelling. It’s pretty ordinary.
  • She lives next to Russia : Nope, I’m not even joking about this, sadly. It’s actually been presented at least twice as an argument for why she has foreign policy experience. You see, Russia is right next to Atlanta. I’m not sure how many treaties Alaska signed as an independent state while she was governor though.
  • Her experience matters more than Obama’s because hers is executive experience: The Republicans want to try to convince us that the massive 19 months of governing the great state of Alaska qualifies her to be President more than Obama because it’s executive experience and not legislative experience. Why has no one pointed out that McCain has exactly as much executive experience in elected office as Senator Obama? Sheesh!
  • She’s a woman: So is half the country. Being a woman doesn’t qualify you any more than it disqualifies. Being a woman that most women disagree with on the issues makes this an insult to women and their intelligence. Her shrilling about the 18 million cracks in the ceiling was probably the most nauseating thing I’ve seen in this election and I’ve seen a lot of nauseating thing. I think whatever women hadn’t made up their minds after Clinton’s brilliant, endearing, and whole-hearted endorsement probably threw up in their mouths and ordered Obama-Biden bumper stickers.
  • She’s an expert on energy: Who had endorsed Obama’s energy plan before she got named as VP.

The bottom line is that McCain had been attacking Obama on two things, his judgment and his experience. He pretty much said that he didn’t believe the latter and didn’t have the former when he made Palin his nominee. More is coming out about the reasons she is under investigation for abuse of power (and whatever the reasons for it the last thing we need is another Commander in Chief who thinks the rule of law is for other people). The selection is a sell out to the Christian right and nothing more. She’s a Dan Quayle. She’s a bad choice and it reflects on the severely bad judgment of McCain that he believes that she can take over a nation embroiled in a two front war and lead it. The pick is not brilliant; it is a pick which succinctly reminds us of why we can’t have this crazy old coot running the nation.

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August 29, 2008

“It’s About Us”

Filed under: Politics — Kelly @ 9:18 am

At 41 years old I’m young enough to have missed the great speeches of our time such as King’s "I have a dream" speech, or Kennedy’s "Ask what you can do for your country." Those were speeches which defined a generation, which embodied thoughts and ideals of a nation and propelled it forward to a greater future. Those speeches changed the world because they captured an audience who was ready to change it. American history holds some great speeches, but my generation has never heard one of those speeches, that is until last night, when I was reminded, it’s not about the President, it’s about the nation.

For too long we’ve been fed the lines about how we need to fear change, how we need to fear communism, socialism, terrorism, taxation, government, assaults on gun ownership etcetera and so on. We’ve been instructed so much in pessimism that we’ve given up on improvement as a nation. As a nation we’ve begun to consider "pessimism" and "realism" as synonymous so when we hear about "change" we pass it off as "wild eyed optimism" as with a self satisfied we grunt affirm our dismissive judgment. That’s why we’ve become a nation that comes out every four years to vote against something. Truth be told in ’04 there were probably far more votes cast against George W. Bush than there were for John Kerry as the Democrats too have often started to sound like a different kind of party of fears. Last night Barrack Obama changed that. He gave us something to vote for.

Not to be confused there were definitely attacks directed John McCain’s way. In fact I believe that the McCain camp is reeling this morning as they try to devise ways to respond to last night’s onslaught as they saw every grenade they’d launched Senator Obama’s way, suddenly in their own camp. Obama was brilliant in rebutting the attacks on his "elitism" by pointing out his own history (in a very sharp contrast to McCain’s very elite upbringing), in his response to energy (drilling is just a stop-gap, and by the way, you’ve been there for 26 years making this mess John McCain!), in his response to the attacks on his judgment (do we really want 90 percent of Bush?) and on his attacks on his patriotism (patriotism knows no party). Definitely there was some well placed and much needed return fire going on. But that was not the theme of the night. There were also some much needed specifics that were delivered, 29 in all, including such things as 150 billion to explore alternative sources of energy or tax cuts to over 100 million Americans. These things might not be new to those who get their news off the internet, but they might be to a good number of Americans who were getting their information off of John McCain’s commercials, or pundits who keep insisting that Obama is short on specifics. While this too was powerful, this was not what made the night historic either.

One thing that I noticed was two nights ago when Hillary was giving her speech (and what a speech it was!) and in the moment when she asked her supporters what they were in this for the camera panned to the stereotypical Hillary supporter, a member of the sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits. The realization that washed over her face was obviously unrehearsed and genuine as she was reminded that this campaign was about the things that Hillary stood for, not about Hillary. During Obama’s speech he said, "I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you." Pundits have been talking a lot about what this election is about, and how McCain has made it about Obama and how this is a referendum on Obama, and how Obama needs to make it about McCain. What Obama did went so far beyond that that I believe a good many of them missed it. He reminded us as Americans what this election is really about. It’s about us. When he said this they again panned to one of those members of the sisterhood and on her face was a recognition, a realization of the true unity that exists between Clinton and Obama. They want to bring the same changes to the nation, they just have different ways of doing it. As the woman came to this realization, in her eyes you could see it, the determination to vote for Obama, then you saw the hope start to alight again. That is what made the night historic; what made this a generation defining speech.

Barrack Obama dared the nation to hope in itself, in its ability to reclaim Washington, to even be once again a nation that is governed by the people ¸ and not just one where the people are ruled by the government. Obama gave a message that Senator McCain simply cannot give because it’s not a message he believes in. Obama believes in a future that is better and McCain is hoping for a future that just isn’t worse. The nation needs to and wants to believe it can get better, it can improve and it can get better. We, as a nation need to and can get better. We can once again be that nation which can, with our national conscience void of offense, tell China when they’ve violated basic civil liberties, or Russian when it illegally invades another nation, that they cannot do that. We can once again be a nation that universally declares that torture is just wrong and that’s why we won’t torture people. That fundamental nature of being American where we don’t just say we are better, but where we stand up and display the better things, the better virtues of government, we can reclaim. You see, this is the hope of being American, of the Red, White and the Blue. This is what we were stirred to believe in again last night, and this is what made that speech the greatest I’ve seen in my lifetime.

August 1, 2008

Exploiting Exploiting the Race Card

Filed under: Politics — Kelly @ 9:51 am

John McCain has accused Barack Obama of "playing the race card" a phrase so pregnant with meaning and rhetoric that its very injection into the campaign is a play of the same card. While much has been said about Obama’s comment about "looking different from past presidents" little has been said about what has led Obama to make that comment. Let’s be clear though, Obama’s remark was not out of the blue. It’s time for the media to start pointing out some of the background to much of this story. Many of the players in the McCain campaign have a despicable history of running racist ads.

Most immediately  of course is the ad which McCain ran where the faces of two young white women were merged into the face of Barack Obama. Some people might look at that and consider, "what’s wrong with that?" There’s a lot wrong with it and it’s about as subtle as Obama saying he looks different from the other Presidents. Certainly the McCain camp has gone out of their way to justify it by saying that they are other "celebrities." The explanation is entirely disingenuous, and frankly insulting to the intelligence in ignoring the realities of American history. Between 1882 and 1952 there were nearly 3500 black men lynched, primarily because they were caught sleeping with white women. The thought of the mob was that the only way a white woman would sleep with a black man was to rape her. As such the image of the black man with the white woman is illustrative of the black man taking by force what belongs to the white woman. Some might suggest that to infer racial overtones from this image is reaching. It might be were this an isolated case, but it isn’t.

The Republican Party has a long history of these sorts of subtle injections of racism and subliminal messages into campaigns are hardly new. In 1988 the famous "Willie Horton" ad exploited racist undertones and many suggest was the difference in the election. Jesse Helms blatantly exploited race as an issue when he showed a black man taking away a white man’s job in an election. More recently in Tennessee Bob Corker ran an ad exploiting race against Harold Ford , using the same white woman with a black man strategy. In each case the racial suggestions brought widespread media criticism. Still, one might suggest that none of this is relevant to the current ad. This is where a little research from the media would have been helpful. Charlie Black was pals with Lee Atwater , Bush’s campaign manager in the ’88 election who was the brain behind the Horton ad. Now Black is a political adviser to John McCain, and oh yeah, he’s also the man behind the racist ad that Jesse Helms ran. Terry Nelson is a senior adviser to the McCain campaign and also the author of the Corker ad, the one which used the exact same suggestion as the Obama ad. Put in perspective it is hard t o believe that racial suggestions weren’t intended in the McCain ads.

Furthermore there were actually a number of things which were said by Obama, not merely the "looks different" comment which is quoted. The fact is that there are some who are saying all of the things that he said they are saying, such as he is black, his middle name is Hussein, he’s a Muslim etc. The contents of this Snopes debunked email have been occasionally alluded to but not specifically mentioned. Without knowing the contents of this email many may have no idea what Obama is reacting to. Additionally fact that all the charges that Obama alluded to have also been leveled  by Fox News , the network which literally gets their talking points from the Republicans . To assume that on this issue alone Fox News is acting independently insults the intelligence.

Finally we have to look at John McCain himself who sought the endorsement of an anti-Semitic , and also the endorsement of a man who thinks the purpose of America is to destroy Islam , made disparaging marks about the entire Arab world , and hasa history of making racist jokes full of using racist words lik"wetback". One could argue that in the above cases he was playing to crowd. I’d s ay it’s possible but that doesn’t make this irrelevant. He was injecting race into his politics. Furthermore he voted against making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday and has said complimentary things about flying the Confederate Flag . That he later recanted the statement or the endorsements doesn’t change anything. The fact that he was willing to compromise on the race issue in order to win an election is what matters. There’s a demonstrated history of McCain playing the race card.

There’s a demonstrated history of his campaign staff playing the race card. There’s a network which takes direction from McCain’s party playing the race card on a near nightly basis. Now, when Obama says they are trying to make us fear him because he "looks different" the McCain camp wants to stare at us with all the wide-eyed innocence of 5 year old with a hand in the cookie jar question, "what racism?" The mainstream media seems to be going along with it and ignoring very relevant history that is here. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. John McCain needs to stop his racist politics and talk about the issues.

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