Friday, August 29, 2008

Could Have Been Better

I really enjoyed watching various parts of the DNC this week. Michelle Obama was dynamite!

Ok… part of it was my new TV.

I recently bought a 47 inch, 1080p, 120hz, gorgeous LCD.

The crowd sweeps, the lights, and the speeches all looked amazing in High Def. I kept looking over to my wife and saying, “Doesn’t it look fantastic?” She would smile politely. She just was not getting in to the tech of this like I was! :)

I have to confess to a little disappointment in Obama’s Speech. The video they showed prior to his speech which chronicled his life journey was amazing. It highlighted all the reasons I am voting for him.

The speech itself? … not so much. I could have done without the McCain digs. Obama had amazing things to say. Why sully it? I know everybody does it, and it will be mirrored at the RNC next week, but when will someone rise above? Perhaps politically it is not the wisest move, but I would have loved to hear Obama proclaim his message without mentioning McCain once.

I remember 8 years ago when the republican hopefuls met at a Florida round table. I believe it was McCain, Forbes, Dole, and the governor of Tennessee (Bush didn’t attend). They were each given a chance to ask their opponents a question and I thought the governor of Tennessee did something very interesting. He gave each of his opponents a heart felt and sincere compliment about one of their views or policies. Then he asked each of them, “Please tell me one thing you like about me.” None of them could do it. Though they started in a quasi compliment, they descended to a critique in the end. They all lost my vote that night and unfortunately the governor of Tennessee did not last much longer.

Go a little bit further back and Pat Robertson did something similar when he ran. Though I am no fan of Robertson, I give him high praise for this comment. In a similar round table discussion, where all the republican potentials were in attendance, the main interviewer kept trying to lead Robertson into saying something negative about his opponents but he would never bite. The interviewer finally confronted him and asked him directly what he disliked about his opponents. Robertson smiled back and said, “I don’t want to talk about the negative regarding them, I want to talk about the positive regarding me.”

Great answer!

Of course neither Robertson nor the governor, whose name I cannot remember, went very far.

So what comes first? The chicken or the egg? Are there candidates who are capable of running a clean race? Or will we simply not allow it?


didymus said...

I actually have cable out here in Hawaii, Fox News, CNN, C-SPAN, etc. and I haven't bothered to watch a single speech. Oh it's so good! I'll be back in SLC with no cable when the GOP will have their comedy hour, I won't miss a thing :^)

Brook said...

I agree to being a bit disillusioned with Obama when he gives in to the "attack" mindset. One of the things I originally loved about Obama was his seeming ability to rise above that kind of politics. his opponents lost their fight almost every time they tried to attack him in the early race, and similarly, Obama loses ground every time he mentions his opponents in a negative way. I had hopes and visions of him campaigning in the way you hoped the speech would go, and my greatest disappointment in his race, ever single time, is when he takes the attitude that "you can only turn the cheek so many times" (as he once unfortunately put it). this just sends the message (contrary to everything he claims to stand for) that politics as usual (or "silly season" as he puts it) in fact can't be overcome, that the hope for a better dialog in American discourse is an empty pipe dream. I understand the element of human fallability that gets even the most level-headed people caught up in the game, but I hope that very soon someone advises him to "just leave his neighbor alone".

The incredibly interesting thing about these VP choices is that they each embody the weakness of the opposite candidate. Obama picks an old Washington veteran, and McCain picks a relatively inexperienced person who I don't think anyone would say is ready to become president. they've each pulled the rug out from under their own ground which they may have had for attacks, and I am hoping this leads to a more substantive discourse in the next couple months.

Redlefty said...

Part of the problem is that at lease on some level the attack strategy seems to work. McCain's numbers have picked up significantly over the past two months, during his hard-edged attack ads. Obama played nice and lost ground.

So it's our fault.

Brook said...

I'm going to be obtusely naive for a moment here, so no offence intended when I start ranting...

saying that the attack ads work is sort of like saying strong-arm totalitarian governments work best at keeping the peace. That may be numerically true, but it somehow misses a much bigger point. We don't want to live under that kind of government, no matter how "peaceful" the streets, no matter how small the crime rate. In this election, Obama ushers in this idea of changing the way politics is conducted, and whether the "numbers" favor the old way of doing things or not is irrelevant (told you I was going to be naive!), we don't want to play by those old rules anymore! We're sick of attack-politics as usual, and the only way that is going to change is if someone stops playing that game. And Obama seemed to start out in that direction, and it's one of the things that got him where he is now, and now for the sake of the old game's "numbers", he's going to abandon all that? I think if he stuck to his original vision, the numbers would follow (I think attack ads have an immediate effect that over time lose their effectiveness, almost to the point of taking things in the opposite direction of that intended. people get sick of them, and then sick of the one pushing them. You can already feel people getting sick of McCain blaming Obama for high gas prices. and just look at how Clinton was recieved early in the primary race when she attacked Obama. it was an immediate loss in numbers, not a gain. for a while, Obama was untouchable, and I believe it was because he wasn't playing their game, and that resonated with people, and so an attack on him was almost like a direct attack on their ideals). And if the numbers don't follow, so be it. as you say, it is our fault. But don't give up on that ideal so quickly. right now I feel that Obama is our best chance of changing the way the game is played, and if he reverts to politics-as-usual, he takes away a very key element to my support of him, and I might just be ready to go back to independant voting.

I don't think it's gotten nearly that bad just yet, but I don't like the direction I see things going for his campaign strategy. or at least I don't like certain elements that have crept in. That serpent has some pretty tricky seduction tactics...

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