Friday, August 29, 2008

Letting His Speech Sink In

First, congratulations to John McCain on the timing of his Veep announcement and its boldness. He deprived Obama of more time to milk the news cycle with the aftermath of his acceptance speech. I hope this means his campaign is waking up and not suffering from an "energy deficit." I am also a little nervous about whether they did their homework on the vetting.

Many Dems are congratulating themselves on their nominee and how he is now the "fighter" they are looking for, how HE won't let himself be "swiftboated." But I wonder. In his speech and on the campaign trail Obama has billed himself as a "new and improved" kind of politician, who can heal our nations wounds and get past the politics of the past. But the tone of his speech, with its repeated and repetitious jabs at Bush and McCain-Bush, blah, blah, etc. sounded very much like an old-school, FDR-worshiping, tough-Dem pol to me. In his effort to be taken seriously, he may have gone too negative and hurt his own branding. I think McCain, by contrast, has burnished his own credentials by picking someone very far from Washington for his running mate.

A little more on yesterday's theme of half-truths and lies. Obama blames Bush for the mess of Katrina, "...sits on its hands while a major city drowns..." I remind the readers that it was the abysmal failure of local government to follow its own evacuation plans and bus people out that was most responsible for the tragedies in the wake of Katrina. Obama promises that "I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work." Fat chance. First, every President since Richard Nixon has made this promise. Second, there is a good reason it doesn't work. It's called the constitution, Professor Obama. Article 1, Section 7 states in part:
"Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it..."
As a consequence, the President lacks the authority to do what Obama proposes, essentially a line item veto. Plus, he never met a government program he didn't like, so I doubt he would really propose cutting them anyway. But I am appalled that no one calls him on his constitutional idiocy. If by some tragedy, he is elected, I hope that the Republicans hold him accountable for his pledge to pay for new programs by cutting old programs. BTW, for a detailed treatment of why it is so hard to cut programs, see Jonathon Rauch's groundbreaking article on demosclerosis. First published in 1992, it was one of those rare articles that changed my thinking about the nature of politics and government.

Now we will see how this Pallin thing turns out and whether McCain can capitalize on the position handed him. Will he emulate Bob Dole or Ronald Reagan?


Dean said...

At the moment (I know, I'm hedging), I like McCain's pick. Its the antithesis of Obama's. Daring and bold but with the possibility of a huge payoff.

Gary said...

I agree, and hopefully the timing of the announcement will steal some of Obama's "thunder", even if all the media coverage for Palin is negative (that can backfire on them!).

I see this, in part, as McCain's throwing the gauntlet down to the church and telling them to "put their money where their mouth is". Governor Palin is a staunch pro-life candidate and in choosing her, McCain is giving credibility to his claim that he will be a pro-life president.

I know everyone will not agree, but this issue has become more important to me lately because of the spiritual implications of Psalm 106: 37-38. I truly believe our nation has become "polluted with blood" and judgment is not far around the corner if repentance and revival don't come...and it needs to start with the church of Jesus Christ. McCain has made a step in the right direction!

Thanks for sharing the address of your blog, Brian. I will enjoy being at least an occasional visitor.


kriehm@dslextreme,com said...

It totally stole Obama's thunder, even CNN and NBC played mostly, "who is this?" with very little negatives in the reporting "the day after" Her legislative accomplishments outweigh her inexperience and her rise against the political machine is admirable and rivals that of Joe Lieberman or “The Maverick” himself.

Let’s face it, the Republicans have not served honorably, and this seems to be a chance to change that. This was a serious step in the right direction.

B-Daddy said...

I agree with the "not served honorably" quote. Interestingly, McCain battled Ted Stevens in the Senate over pork and its spawn, corruption, even while Palin battled him back home in Alaska. Re-branding the Republicans as the reform party may be a little late for this election cycle, but it will certainly help a long term turn around.