Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Speeches

I was at a gathering of people where tears were shed when the election was called for Obama, but the only time I really misted up all night was during McCain’s speech. It was a real What Could Have Been moment. His reference to Booker T. Washington near the start was both smart and classy, and this also stood out, later on:
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.
Between the almost explicit retraction in that last line, and his visibly halfhearted attempt to talk about Ayers in the final debate, I think time will show that McCain was even more handcuffed by his party than we already believe. I’ve already heard leaks that he stood against several commercials emphasizing things like Rev. Wright. This doesn’t excuse some of what did get through in his campaign, in his name, but it was heartening to see and hear the McCain I’ve long respected on the last night of this long process.

As for Obama, I thought his speech was mostly terrific as well. Eloquence is definitely not the only quality needed in a president, but man, we’ve got a lot of it now. The substance of the speech was the mixture of optimism and realism that I’ve appreciated since the first time I heard him speak. I’m hoping that he appoints at least one Republican to his cabinet. I found this moment in his speech not just refreshing, but almost stunning, given that he had already praised McCain and was basically speaking from atop the carcass of the current GOP:
Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, AMEN! I voted for him precisely because dancing on the GOP carcass is so low among his priorities. I mean, enough already. Thank god (or whatever) that we finally have someone who's able to appeal to something deeper than partisanship.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I’ve already heard leaks that he stood against several commercials emphasizing things like Rev. Wright."

Those aren't leaks. They're legitimate stories, but they weren't played up because they went against the "McCain's running a negative campaign" meme. The McCain camp begged McCain to run ads on Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Dohrn, etc. McCain refused because he thought it would be seen as racist. He only brought up Ayers in the waning days of the election out of desperation.

McCain's campaign was also begging him to talk about Obama's association with Freddie/Fannie and the credit crisis (which Bush tried to fix in 2003, but was shot down by Democrats, and McCain tried to fix in 2005, but was shot down by Democrats including Obama). McCain refused to do so because a) it could be seen as racist, and b) it could harm the chance for bipartisan relief (see, e.g., Nancy Pelosi blaming Republicans for the credit crisis, which caused some Republicans to vote against the bill the first time around).

This idea that McCain ran a more negative campaign than Obama is just false. Obama ran significantly more negative ads. It's possible they didn't seem negative to you because you agreed with their premises (see, e.g., the ad saying that McCain can't use a computer, which is true because he was savaged as a POW and now suffers from handicaps that prevent him from using a keyboard or mouse). But that doesn't mean they don't exist. Heck, the Obama campaign called McCain racist for criticizing Obama's policies. That's about as negative as it gets.

-- MattM

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing racist about criticizing policies; it's just a cheap ploy to call in a bogeyman, no matter who uses it. Anyway, if I'm interpreting correctly, ASWOBA seems to be arguing that McCain's instincts are beyond the kind of cheap bipartisan rhetoric that is so #@& common and tiresome in campaigns (and among supporters -- on both sides). (By the way, attacks made in desperation are still negative.)If McCain had stuck to those guns I would've considered voting for him.

1:27 PM  

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