The Democratic/Socialist Convention ended with a whimper, not a bang. In spite of the estimated 84,000 screaming, flag waving, hopefuls filling the bleachers, Obama’s speech offered nothing new. In fact, if you missed the speech, just get out your history book and reread the speech given by any “progressive” candidate since Teddy Roosevelt and you will have the gist of the speech given by Barack Thursday night.
The bullet points are all the same: The environment, health care, education, the economy, jobs, etc., etc. The complaints are all the same: Big corporations exploiting the workers, the rich holding down the poor, the worst economy in history; on and on, it goes. Remember the clichés of the last two election cycles, “The worst economy since the great depression”, or the bumper sticker slogan that defeated George H.W. Bush in ‘92: “it’s the economy stupid”.
The pitch is always the same. The problems are always the same. The promises are always the same. The results are always the same—zero. The suckers never catch on. For those not given to watching political speeches as a matter of course, the speeches given by Hillary, Bill, Barack, and even Biden were generally uplifting and somewhat promising.
Almost forty million people watched the speech by Obama. Those who tuned in for the first time and had not yet grown tired of the same old rhetoric were, no doubt, impressed. We can expect to see the “convention bounce” show up in the polls over the next few days. At the time I am writing this, the tracking polls have Obama at 49% and McCain at 41%. That poll was taken before Obama’s speech and does not reflect the bounce directly affected by his speech. When those polls come in, the spread could increase to ten or eleven points.
The euphoria left in the hearts of the socialists/democrats from the week long celebration was short lived however, when John McCain engineered one of the biggest “flip-flops” in political history on Friday morning. In less than five minutes he flip-flopped the momentum from the Democrats to the Republicans. I am talking of course, about his selection of a Vice Presidential running mate. In one inspired decision, he won back many of the conservative voters who had been less than enthusiastic about his candidacy, and picked up the votes of many disenchanted democratic women voters at the same time.
Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska appears to have all the characteristics conservatives have been demanding for years. She is a solid conservative with few ties to Washington. Best of all she is a Jeffersonian Republican not a Rockefeller Republican. To put it another way, Palin is a Republican republican not a republican Republican. She places the republican philosophy before the Republican Party. She is the first Presidential candidate in my lifetime I have been able to make that observation about.
For those who have a tendency to confuse republican philosophy with Republican policy, I should perhaps point out the difference. Republican philosophy is based on a few principles that make up the historical bedrock of the form of government adopted by the early patriots and enshrined in the Constitution. Paramount among those principles are, a small national government with limited powers, state sovereignty, rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption. She not only talks about those principles but has demonstrated them in her public life as well.
Republican policy is whatever is deemed best for the Party. If, at the same time, it also benefits the country that’s good but if not, oh well, it’s winning that counts. Fortunately for the nation, the Republican policies and the needs of the country are in sync often enough that they are always preferable to Democrat policies. As Mayor, Sarah Palin chose what was best for her city. As Governor, she always chose what was best for her state, often at the expense of the party. As Vice President, we can expect her to encourage President McCain in the same direction.
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