Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Demo Convention

I was working last night, so I missed large chunks of the speeches. I did hear the tribute to Ted Kennedy. While people were clearly roaring in the convention center, I wasn't inspired by it. Then again, I guess that's part of what separates this liberal from the Democratic Party - the fact that, while I appreciate much of what Kennedy has done and he deserves praise for it, I'm also keenly aware that he is just a man and I am not a sheep willing to swoon for him. Is that too harsh? Perhaps, but I am not one for following the crowds.

In any case, the speech I most wanted to hear was Michelle Obama's, but I missed that too. Instead I was stuck in Pagliacci Pizza working out a mistake on my order (not entirely their fault, by the way). I arrived at the restaurant as Obama's brother was introducing her and got in the car to hear the pundits taking their stab at the speech. Oy! I'll probably catch it today on YouTube.

My expectations for the speech are pretty low, as is my expectations for the convention. I dislike the conventions. They are nothing more than stage shows for the party faithful and junkets for the people attending. They are over produced and over scripted. They tend to be presented with a sheen covering them and we're unlikely to hear much genuine sentiment coming from either one. Perhaps more amazing is that both parties have faithful who actually believe in the importance of these off off Broadway productions. Note to the faithful - most people aren't tuning in and most people won't until after the kids are in school and the leaves are turning color. In other words, the 10 to 15% of folks who are going to swing the election are too busy balancing school supplies and end of summer margaritas.

I liked Nick Gillespie's, of Reason, take on yesterday's activities:
Even the talk on Iraq was muted and fully of hooey: There were more than a few of us who saw Iraq as a non sequitur from the War on Terror before it unfolded. Most Democrats did not, and they don't have a compelling reason to be against the war other than that it didn't go well. Obama is different than Joe Biden in that case (the latter a big hawk at the start) and it will be interesting to see if they lay out a foreign policy that isn't just about not intervening if you're not going to win in a rout.

I realize this is basically just a libertarian's lament: Why can't the Dems give me what I want (or the GOP, for that matter). But just who is going to decide this election anyway? Both candidates are polling under 50 percent and there's that 10 percent to 15 percent who can swing just about everything.

The Democrats want to win this one so badly that they aren't willing to confront Iraq and foreign policy head on. These are the same folks who were given a Congressional mandate to deal with that issue during the last election and who have thus far squandered that mandate. And why? So they can win the Presidency? Hey, that role is important in shaping the government, but haven't they learned that the real power is in Congress? Oh, right, I forgot, they are trying to maintain the power of said Presidency rather than bring it back into historical constraints. I digress, but these are exactly the kind of things that won't ever make me a Democrat. Republicans have their issues as well and are generally more repugnant to my political leanings. Still, the alleged "liberal party" in this country needs to work on what ideals it represents if they are to win my whole hearted support (something neither party has done in decades, for that matter.)

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