The Informed Voter: 2008
Have you ever listened to the ultra-Conservatives on talk radio? It's a
source of information from the other side of the spectrum and also, quite often,
a source of great amusement to some. Many of the callers who dare argue with the
likes of Sean Hannity in particular remind me of a saying I have hanging in my
office: "I will not have a battle of wits with an unarmed man." And
I'm talking about the callers. Hannity's a very, very bright man with a quick
wit. He's also the fairest and most logical of the Conservatives on the radio
today. I will refrain from even mentioning names of the rest of the howling,
hysterical and often offensive Reagan-Conservative Dinosaurs.
It is possible to garner some information that's at the very least of
interest, if not useful, from these programs. For example, it's fun to hear the
far right whine, cry, wring their hands and whimper, "Oh, Lord, whatever
will we do?" regarding Senator McCain's success. 'Twas a mere three and a half
years ago that the far left was being taunted by the far right for doing the
very same thing; hand-wringing, crying, claiming depression had sent them to
their beds to rest and predicting the end of the world.
Would that John McCain Were A Horse, His Odds Would've Been Staggering
The moderate practitioner of bipartisanship who was broke and
way behind the pack just a few months ago hit stride, emerged from the pack and
turned out to be the prima facie nominee for the Republican candidate for
President of the United States.
Senator McCain is a hawk. It's sad
that a man who's so progressive on other issues says matter-of-factly that it
will be necessary to keep our
nation's military in Iraq and so many other dangerous
places for a long, long time. (It is, indeed, not.) I mean, he's so willing to work for the good of
the people in such an amazingly un-Republican bipartisan fashion. However, his
rhetoric has changed since his work on the McCain-Kennedy and McCain-Feingold
bills. I recently wrote in one of these daylogs that he's starting to look
appealing to me, but as the race heats up, his appeal is dwindling. I wish him
the best, however. A Great Republican who would've made a great President,
Senator Bob Dole, recently reacted to
criticism of McCain by, I believe, Newt Gingrich by saying "McCain can say
anything he wants. He was locked up in a box for six years [in service to his country.]"
There's a little problem with Senator McCain's temper. He's
often used profanity when dealing with his peers in the Senate. Senator Bob
Smith, a Republican, said he's "never seen a person act like that" when
describing the frequency and intensity of McCain's outbursts. A former Mayor of
Phoenix, Arizona, Paul Johnson, a Democrat, has also more than once been the
target of the POW's ire, stating "His volatility borders in the area of being
unstable." Do we really want to make this man Chief of the Armed Forces?
Speaking of Armed Forces, his military records were volunteered by him for
inspection by the press, I believe in 1999. They show, sadly, that Senator
McCain's inability to control his temper dates back to before his captivity. The
icing on the cake is while I was looking up the quote from Paul Johnson, I came
across an AP quote that the Senator was giving a talk to a GOP fund-raising
dinner in Washington. The Senator, in a poor attempt perhaps to emulate the
humor Ronald Reagan so often used, told a joke: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so
ugly? Pause. The Senator's answer: "because Janet Reno is her father."
Endorsements, and Athletic Supporters
All sorts of individuals are chiming in their "support" of Barack Obama. Not
necessarily a bad thing. I remember a time, however, when only politicians
endorsed other politicians by and large, but I also remember the time
when Frank Sinatra made an ass out of himself fussing over Jack Kennedy. How
could someone who regularly dined with Sam Giancana expect the Kennedys to
visit his California estate? Suffice it to say Sinatra was quite disappointed to
say the very least. Comedian Jackie Gleason might have done more harm than good by appearing in a
television commercial for Richard M. Nixon in '68, but Nixon won handily
Now, Charles Barkley has gotten on the "I support Barack Obama" bandwagon. I
don't know if this is a good thing or bad. The articulate and well-spoken Mr.
Barkley said that the nation's kids need a black person who's not either a
performer or a sports figure as a role model. I agree. Right now success on the
stage or the sports field is a one-in-a-million chance for any person.
Black performers, more particularly the dying (literally) breed of the "Gangsta"
set, are not good role models. Black sports heroes (and heroines) come in all
different flavors, divine, mediocre, and downright nasty. Sadly, it's so hard on
kids who're cut from the team that the let-down makes them ever easier to be
lured into a life of drugs and crime.
That leads me to believe that one of the most overwhelmingly positive
by-products of an Obama Presidency would be that he'd be a role model for all
minorities. Would that he were elected President what a magnificent milestone
that would be for those people who've given up and have internalized the belief
that they cannot better themselves. In fact, every person who's attending the school of hard
knocks will benefit at the very least from reading Obama's book. And if he's elected, just imagine the magnificent shot in the arm it'll give all of our country's less fortunate. Obama's upbringing and early career were no party.
Chide me for a lack of objectivity and tolerance of points of view, but I know that the election of Senator Obama's gonna make a whole mess of racists fuming mad. Oh, what a bitter pill for those
narrow-minded enough to (in a twisted redact of Dr. King's own words)
"judge [people] by the color of their skin [and not] the content
of their character."
Ted's Endorsement: Help or Hindrance
It's amusing to watch a tape of Senator Kennedy giving a rousing
speech of support for Senator Obama in Hartford, Connecticut. Poor Ted must've had a couple
of Rum and Cokes before he went on; now, I know they'd
been traveling a lot, but he was disheveled and slurred a lot of his words. He
ended up with a manic minute of screaming which definitely eclipsed his recent outburst on the
floor of the Senate. Poor Senator Obama kept getting up when he thought Senator
Kennedy was done, but then sat down again. I was embarrassed for Senator Obama.
Now, lest you think of me as a Ted Kennedy basher, for there is
indeed evidence which may lead some to believe that, I admit that
I actually like the guy, and like what he stands for, even though he pales
intellectually and morally in
many ways in comparison to his brothers, both of whom I think were among our
nation's greatest citizens.
Speaking of Ted Kennedy, when his brother Robert Kennedy was killed, Ted
gave an extremely touching, moving eulogy at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The first I heard it, it was played for me by a person who
considered it among the top ten public speeches of the 20th Century. Upon more
careful inspection, I discovered that over two-thirds of the eulogy were quotes
from the deceased; a paragraph about Joseph Kennedy, his father, and a speech
delivered to young people in South Africa on "Young People's Affirmation Day" in
1966. It turned out it was Bobby's words, not Teddy's but delivered by him,
Teddy so profoundly moved yet revealing little of it but a quiver in his voice,
that I, and my acquaintance, were moved to tears by. It was a fine use of great,
great words to give high praise to his beloved brother, when Teddy could not
summon his own words.
Who Said That?
"Don't tell me words don't matter! 'I have a dream.' Just words.
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
Just words! 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' Just words - just
Barak Obama said that in Milwaukee, Wisconsin two days before this writing.
Today, the Clinton Machine accused Senator
Obama of "plagiarism." Apparently, words quite similar to these were used in
2006 by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick during his campaign for office. A
few more, maybe, but basically the same stuff.
The tossing of mud at one's opponent is in the great tradition of politicians
whose goal it is to win at all costs. A true crusader for the people may
underscore repeatedly his or her differences in their plan for this nation, but
anything further is just politics as usual. In all fairness, President Eisenhower's opposition made serious accusations against Richard Nixon which resulted in
Nixon's nearly losing the Vice Presidency and his famous "Checkers" Speech which thoroughly
rebutted the accusations. Well, I say to the Clinton people, to borrow the words
of President Reagan, debating President Carter in 1980, "There
you go again."
What the hell were they thinking? The portion of Governor Deval's speech
Senator Obama used is actually comprised mostly of the inspiring words of some
of the most influential Americans who ever lived. Hillary Clinton, referring in
part to the accusation of plagiarism and in part to one of Senator Obama's more
clever bits of prose, commented, “Speeches don’t put food on the table. Speeches
don’t fill up your tank, or fill your prescription, or do anything about that
stack of bills that keeps you up at night," She continued, "some may think words
are change, you and I know better. Words are cheap. You can't just talk about
the special interests, you have to take them on." Her delivery was expertly coached. She portrayed a woman who's been hired to be the semi-tired housewife who's sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, peddling a new ant and roach spray.
Senator Clinton has accepted money from special interest groups of all types,
including a hefty bunch of cash from the pharmaceutical industry. Senator
Obama's disclosures reveal that his campaign has actually refused soft money
from a number of the same groups.
Senator Clinton so flippantly uses the term "Words are cheap." Words are what
we use to make promises. If Senator Clinton has all these bad things to say
about speeches and words, I'll invoke yet another Reagan quote. It was near the
end of his race against incumbent Jimmy Carter and he was giving a speech in a
state I forget where. The 69-year-old then Governor was tired, there was trouble
with the lighting, and to top it all off, there was a woman screaming at him
from the crowd. Nothing could be done to quell her heckling, as it would take
security a few moments to get to her. Rather than wait, Ronald Reagan paused
delivering his prepared speech, looked the heckler in the eye and said "Aw, shut
Hillary, Senator Obama's words these days give us inspiration and hope. Your
words merely criticize Senator Obama. Hillary, aw, shut up!
- "John McCain's Temper Preceded Vietnam," by Ronald Kessler,
Newsmax.com, August 6, 2008
(Accessed February 18, 2008)
- "Ted Kennedy in Hartford, CT" Youtube.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnEW5PPgR4E (Accessed February 18, 2008)
- "McCain's Sharp Tongue: an Achilles Heel?" by Libby Quaid, The
Associated Press, February 16, 2008
(Accessed February 18, 2008)
- Barack Obama's "Plagiarism," by Ana Marie Cox, Swampland, the
election 2008 blog of Time Magazine, February 18, 2008
(Accessed February 18, 2008)
- "Clinton Camp Accuses Obama of Plagiarism" by Anne Davies, The Sydney
Morning Herald, February 19, 2008
(Accessed February 18, 2008 at 10:36 EST)
- Edward Kennedy Tribute To Robert Kennedy, June 8, 1968
(Accessed February 18, 2008)