Saturday, June 07, 2008

When even friends see reality

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker couldn’t keep herself from smiling the night Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic Nominee for president. “Watching Obama give his celebratory speech Tuesday night,” she wrote, “I became aware that I was smiling. I slapped myself, of course, but the fool thing wouldn't go away.”

She went on to note, “It was simply satisfying to witness the birth of this new political offspring after centuries of labor. Bravo.” And then the zinger:

It's too bad John McCain didn't say something along those lines instead of starting off the general election with a badly delivered attack on Obama. McCain's performance Tuesday provided a glimpse of the downer aspect of competing with this particular foe.

Suddenly, the Old Warrior was grumpy ol' granddad breaking up the keg party.

McCain’s performance that night was shocking, so much so that one suspects his handlers won’t make a similar mistake again. McCain’s speech was grumpy, ill-focused, badly-timed, ungracious—and given before at most a couple hundred people. In Minnesota, Obama’s speech before some 20,000 people was all things McCain wasn’t: Gracious, uplifting, inspiring, even visionary. In this compare and contrast situation, Obama was light years ahead of McCain.

The Republican Party knows all this. They know their candidate represents the desperately unpopular failed policies of the Bush-Cheney regime, and they’re pushing party policies that have delivered well for the rich and the corporate, but nothing at all for the ordinary American. They know they have a big job ahead of them, so they’ll pull out the usual tricks: Lies, smears, distortions, wedge politics—as well as more attempts at vote suppression. Voter fraud will likely also be thrown into the mix, as will coordinated campaigns through 527 and other special interest groups. They don’t know how to win a campaign based on ideas.

But maybe this year things will be different, and the old ways and old ideas just won’t work. Maybe this year Americans who desperately want change will vote for it and elect Obama and a Democratic Congress. If Obama can make conservatives like Kathleen Parker smile, anything’s possible.

1 comment:

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