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September 04, 2008

Thoughts Following the Republican Convention

1.  The chasm between the Democrats and the Republicans is deeper and/or clearer than it's been in my lifetime.  Hillary Clinton says it best:

The two party conventions showcased vastly different directions for our country. Senator Obama and Senator Biden offered the new ideas and positive change America needs and deserves after eight years of failed Republican leadership. Senator McCain and Governor Palin do not.

After listening to all the speeches this week, I heard nothing that suggests the Republicans are ready to fix the economy for middle class families, provide quality affordable health care for all Americans, guarantee equal pay for equal work for women, restore our nation's leadership in a complex world or tackle the myriad of challenges our country faces. So, to slightly amend my comments from Denver: NO WAY, NO HOW, NO McCAIN-PALIN.

2.  Most particularly, in my book, we differ on what to do about climate change.   I feel like I'm running around with a sense of my hair being on fire about the importance of changing our collective, worldwide behavior about what we put into our air and water and soil very, very quickly.  The Republicans think we need energy independence.  "Drill, Baby, drill!"  And nuclear power.  We want energy independence but see no need to create the next problem trying to solve this one.  We want to do it more right (given that it might be too late to do it right.)  We also want to quit putting pollutants in the air before we poison ourselves and the planet.  And we want to grow our food in a manner than doesn't destroy the soil and water and salmon.  And we want to have some measure of economic justice in how we do this.  No point in doing it right but creating a larger income gap in the process.

I heard Ron Suskind on the radio today.  Among other very interesting things, he said that America doesn't pay attention to the consequences of what we do.  That's what he says after writing several books about us.  I think he's nailed it.   

More after the fold.

3.  Seeing and hearing about Sarah Palin has been very unnerving.  No matter what nonsense she is speaking, if you turn off the sound, she is very photogenic and is very engaging.  And, now I get why she is so good!  Palin was trained by Newt Gingrich's GOPAC!  Today, Progressive Majority sent out an email talking about their respect for GOPAC's accomplishments in building the radical right. 

They sought out "movement conservatives" and taught them how to run campaigns and talk about issues in a way that galvanized the far right base while not completely alienating moderate voters.

It worked. During the next 20 years, they took over the majority of state legislatures and governors. They singlehandedly led the "Republican Revolution" that took over Congress in 1994. They elected George W. Bush.

And, yesterday, one of their own accepted the Republican nomination for vice president of the United States.

If you're a conservative, that's how you go from being mayor of a small town to governor to the very top of the ticket.

I know how impressive Progressive Majority is.  But, Gloria Totten, National Director Progressive Majority, talks about GOPAC thusly:

Today, GOPAC is the sixth largest national political organization in the country. It is three times larger and 26 years older than Progressive Majority.

Sarah Palin's life may be a mess from our perspective and what she says at odds with reality but she is doing exactly what the conservatives want her to do, exactly what she was trained to do.

And she's damned good at it.  She will be with us for many years to come, I fear.  If the slew of what's been uncovered so far hasn't brought her down, she's here with us through the election.  And then, no matter what, she is probably the Republican nominee in 2012.  None of those other Republicans can hold a candle to her. 

4.  John McCain is capable of reaching the public.  We've been underestimating this guy.   He gave a very compelling speech this evening.  He is has a very compelling story and is very good at story-telling, something we underestimate at our peril.  Giving a speech in a smaller than stadium crowd was quite wise for him.  He addressed many of the public's questions about him quite adequately.  But he did more.  He reached in and talked very intimately about emotional issues like job safety, like America having the creativity and ability to overcome what's happening.  Never mind that the Democrats undoubtedly do 85% of what he is talking about better.  Consistently.  McCain knew how to talk about it.

5.  We are all Community Organizers.   I finally figured out what the Republicans were doing yesterday with their derision of Obama's experience as a community organizer.  They want to make it seem like a sissy thing to do.  Something like talking about sexism or racism or class issues.  Because they must be getting an inkling that we are all becoming community organizers in our many different ways and, left unchecked, we could get very good at it. 

We that to happen, they'd be finished.  So, they try to make it seem a small, useless thing to do.  Nonsense.  Rebuilding our democracy is all our job.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 4, 2008 at 09:52 PM in About Evergreen Politics, Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink

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