Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grab Some Bits of This

Monday came and went in Denver, loaded with emotion, pathos, schmaltz and simple feel-good speechifying. The touching, nay maudlin, homage to Ted Kennedy brought tears to the most politically hardened eyes. The great warrior of Chappaquiddick, the intrepid speed-racer of Oldsmobile submarines, the stalwart really-wanted-to-be-President-but-screwed-up, leader of the party facing his own mortality but soldiering on for the Messiah. Incredible theater that.

The moment we all waited for, however, was the oration of Mrs. Obama. Here’s a detailed commentary on it:

Michelle Loves Her Country

If only she could make us forget the last year on the stump when the façade, like Hillary’s infamous glass ceiling, showed a lot of cracks. Shall we look at some tell-tale bits out of that script?

Michelle Obama declared "I love this country"

That should not be viewed as flip-flopping from her previous statement regarding never feeling proud of her country until her husband got some votes. Remember the nuance of “love”—I love you but I don’t like you. Recall the negligent mother of a murderer avowing how she loves her son, despite the fact that she otherwise has no use for the reprobate.

she and her husband feel an obligation to "fight for the world as it should be"

Excuse me? I like the world that I fought for as it is. I don’t feel qualified and for that matter nobody is qualified to impose on the rest of us what the world should be.

She intends to tell her children that this election “we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming,"

While fear can be rational response to a threat and doubt can be appropriately skeptical evaluation of a thesis, neither hopes nor dreams are viable anchors for a policy. I don’t want a dreamer governing me. I want a pragmatist.

She also described her husband's upbringing by a single mother and grandparents who "scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves."

While that history is sort of an Horatio Alger fairy tale, the part that is missing conspicuously is a bit of analysis regarding what sort of woman runs off with a foreign revolutionary Socialist, has a child and takes him off to a foreign country when the father abandons her and then hooks up with yet another international lothario until finally dumping the tadpole on the doorstep of the grand-parents in Kansas. Would middle-class America identify with that sort of globalist and unconventional behavior? The story is not so inspiring when viewed in those terms.

She said little about his policies beyond quickly mentioning his goal of ending the Iraq war, improving the economy and providing health care for those who need it.

Of course she said little. He has said little beyond platitudes, sound-bites and slogans. His goal to end the Iraq war by pulling the troops out despite progress, relocating them to Afghanistan which is much less strategically valuable and maybe doing a local invasion of Pakistan while they’re in the neighborhood isn’t worth mentioning. His improvement of the economy by rolling back tax cuts, imposing massive new taxes, adding layers of regulations, and redistributing wealth to the non-productive doesn’t seem very presentable to me. And, wait a minute—I thought his healthcare plan was universal, i.e. for everyone. Not “health care for those who need it.” What about those who don’t need it? Aren’t they part of universal?

The whole exercise reiterates the modern emphasis on feeling and emotion rather than fact and reality. It sucks.

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