The Democrats reached back 150 years for the meme for tonight’s Convention festivities. It was the old Railsplitter’s night at the Democratic Party Convention. First, Al Gore, then Ike’s granddaughter (huh?)drew comparisons with that other noted "inexperienced" former presidential candidate from Illinois. No one dared make any comparisons to Illinois’ two-time presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson; though Stevenson, not the Great Emancipator and certainly not Carol Moseley Braun, would be the far more valid one to make.
The incomparable Stevie Wonder preceded a rushed, stiff (hey it’s Al) performance by Carbon Off-Sets magnate Al Gore; where, with no sense of conflict of interest, he repeatedly spoke of "climate crisis" and talked major government investment in such things as carbon off-sets. Odd in that Climate Change rarely has come up at conventions of either party, including this one. Gore did get off one zinger about McCain seeking to "recycle" – the Bush/Cheney failed policies. Then, after a ridiculous "Night of the Generals" Kerry reprise where one-by-one, some two dozen rather inarticulate retired Generals sang hosannas to Obama, the Democrats finally got around to their nominee laying out the case for his election come November.
Once he got done seemingly thanking all 80,000 people in the stadium individually, Abe (er Barack) Obama hit it out of the park.
Noun. Verb. P.O.W.
Aside from some Foreign Policy foolishness about "keeping Israel safe" and curbing "Russian aggression," the speech was excellent. His commending McCain’s rather less-than-honorable military service could be forgiven — for now. It’s bad enough that McCain’s campaign boils down to "Noun. Verb. P.O.W." (Hey, Joe Biden’s not about to complain about someone cribbing his lines!) Are we now in for a couple months of this "honorable hero" tripe from both War Parties?
(As if any Viet Cong aviator shot down over Los Angeles after a bombing run over civilian neighborhoods would be alive, much running for president of Vietnam today! McCain even wrote of how he wished he was not restricted to just "military targets." What would Honest Abe think of that?)
Hero-pandering aside, Obama really took it to McCain, noting the "maverick’" has voted with Bush over 90% of the time. One could tell that McCain’s slam that "Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign" has really pissed Obama off. As did the health insurance companies who fought with his mother while she was on her deathbed with cancer and corporations that continue to export jobs all the while cashing in repeated tax breaks. Such righteous anger is what we need after eight years of Democrat cowering before the neo-Con gang that’s driven the Empire into the ditch. Enhancing the fall of the Empire is not such a bad thing, actually (in fact, it may well be Bush’s one positive legacy.) But, the Democrats fiddling while the Constitution was burned repeatedly has been abominable.
Obama also lowered the boom on Bush/Cheney in ways Kerry and Gore can only wish they had the fortitude to have done.
And, he filled in the blanks on just what social programs he supports. All very good. Health Care, Education, Public Service, Pension Protection, Defense of Social Security…all themes the Dems trot out every couple years, only to be abandoned as they wink and nod with their corporate benefactors. Obama forcefully came out for "energy independence," as do both parties candidates every election. But again,one could sense Obama’s anger at the GOP for ridiculing his sensibly noting that there was no "drilling our way out of it" and that simple things like proper tire inflation could provide as much energy (in the form of savings) as drilling in environmentally-sensitive areas – and that assumes that oil is there in the questionable quantities Big Oil cites, in the first place.
It was a great speech and I’m now willing to vote for Obama just to see if the populist rhetoric translates…or, more likely because I have a morbid interest in seeing just how quickly Obama back-pedals as the DLC corporate marionettes sabotage "Change We Need" right out the gate.
And, make no mistake, the DLC puppets are still calling the shots in the Party. "Change" to them is but a marketing slogan. All you have to note is; Where’s Jimmy Carter? Yes. The sole noted Democrat willing to call out McCain on his "milking" the POW issue was never heard from at the Convention. For all the whining Bill Clinton (and sycophants) does about Obama’s (and sycophants) supposed lack of respect for Bubba’s "legacy," the fact that the Clinton-led DLC gave/gives Honest Jimmy the shaft is all you need to know. They’d rather sing praise for and compare themselves to the thrice-kicknamed exceptional president from a century-and-a-half ago; than listen to, much less take seriously, the ideas of the honorable ex-president from their own party.
If Barack Obama is elected – and with race paramount and the corporate media giving McCain a pass on just about everything, I think that very much in doubt – I give him 100 days until the first collapse. That is; less than 100 days until the "bond-traders," as Bill Clinton famously complained; Big Oil; Big Pharma; AIPAC; Halliburton; Blackwater; et al. let it be known and enforce just who really is at the helm of the death-spiraling Empire. Obama is a Senator in a time of unacknowledged empire, who has risen far too fast to not owe somebodies a lot. All that’s uncertain is which populist ideal he trotted out tonight goes down first.
MICHAEL DONNELLY can be reached at email@example.com