I've been interested to watch the reaction of the Obama campaign to Sarah Palin. If anyone wondered if McCain was feisty enough, at his 'advanced age', to be President, this teakettle-turning choice should quell any doubts.
After the brilliant success of attacking her level of experience - and drawing uncomfortable attention to that of the Democratic nominee - the Axelrod Allies have decided to train their sights on McCain instead.
Showing him with Clark Rockefeller glasses, and some images of disco balls and 80's kitsch, the Omniscient Voice intones that McCain has been in the Senate since...1982! The Pleistocene!!
But at least McCain had somebody older and wiser to guide him in the dark, long-ago days. After all, Joe Biden was elected in 1972....
Although the Republican National Convention is well underway, I am still reflecting on the significance of last week’s Democratic National Convention.
Never before have I attended such an historic event in the United States presidential election. Since the preliminary Convention activities began on Monday, August 25, I continue to be impressed by the historic significance of the 2008 Democratic National Convention (and I’ve had the honor of attending the Conventions since 1992!)
This Convention marks an unprecedented unity within the Democratic Party. At a time when skeptics questioned the Democratic Party’s ability to unite, the Party’s leaders joined forces. The extraordinary speeches delivered by Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and Senator Ted Kennedy have successfully crystallized the party’s vision and support for Senator Barack Obama.
On Monday night, United States Senator John Kerry, along with wife Theresa Heinz, hosted a thank you event for his supporters and activists in the Democratic Party. Amongst the attendees were Senator Michael Morrisey, AFSME President Gerald McEntee, Attorney General Martha Coakley, and even actor Chevy Chase!
The tribute to Ted Kennedy brought down the house with a powerful speech that reminded us that the lion of the Senate is still roaring. The Democratic Party has never looked stronger. Whatever the outcome in November, one thing is for sure: The democrats are in this together.
In New Hampshire the McCain theme song was Johnny Be Good. But the injection of Sarah “oooh Barracuda” Palin has brought some “fire and nice” to the musical backdrops of the McCain Palin ticket. While Johnny Be Good was a great crowd pleaser it did not exactly fit the maverick spirit of the campaign. So tonight country music star John Rich, (Big & Rich), released his the new campaign theme song “Raisin McCain.”
The real music in the ears of the delegates at the convention and hopefully the people at home came from Sen. John McCain’s speech. There was not a lot that was new in the speech. After two decades of straight talk it is hard to repackage the truth and McCain did not try. He did say, “I do not believe that I have come to save my country, I believe my country saved me.” McCain laid out that ambition was not his goal in running for president, but “serving a cause greater than [him]self.” He talked about helping people, by lowering taxes, giving parents in education, making the conditions right for job growth, and protecting American security. John McCain is no great orator. He is a man of judgment and action. Some may say that Sarah Palin outshined John McCain. I say every ray that shines from Sarah reflects on the intuitive judgment and courage and decisive action of John McCain.
Mavericks McCain and Palin were not the only ones “raisin’ McCain last night.” The Massachusetts delegation had Grand Old Parties fro the last night in the twin cities and one of the best was at the Warehouse where Rich played both “Raisin’ McCain”, but also “Save a horse ride a cowboy”. Today I head home, but I hope I come back soon to a place where everyone is “Minnesota nice.”
In 1976 outsiders started a Revolution that took over the Republican Party. It was called the Reagan Revolution. In 2008, Ron Paul supporters see themselves in a similar position. Instead of fighting the machine, supporters of Dr. No are trying hard to turn the machine in a direction that favors constitutional rights and traditional conservative values. In Massachusetts, the Paul supporters are having a big impact.
It is no secret at the convention that Tuesday's hottest tickets were for the Ron Paul rally. It was not just Ron Paul supporters who went from MA. Notably there was State Sen. Bob Hedlund from the Plymouth and Norfolk district who is the highest elected member of the MA delegation. By Wednesday night, the unity between the delegations was so strong that Paul some supporters were sporting Sarah Palin buttons and MA Republican Party Executive Director Rob Willington was wearing a sporty Ron Paul button.
Over three days, the Paul supporters, who are about a third of the delegation, have been talking about not only helping defeat Barrack Obama in November, but continuing to build the party from the inside after the election. They plan to run for local and state office (some already are), they plan to run for vacant seats on the Republican State Committee and rebuild there Republican Town Committees. Over the last three days Paul supporters who came to the convention as outsiders after credentials challenges and snide comments have largely been accepted as good Republicans who care about their country, their party and the Constitution of the United States. They have been embraced as much as any other wing of the party.
The MA Paul supporters proved their political prowess and mettle as well by shining light on National Convention Secretary Jean Inman, by delivering all 43 MA votes to Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin. If the Paul supporters started like the minutemen with rifles behind trees, they come home from the convention with experience lieutenants who have been able to bring new cannons to the fight.
Gov Sarah Palin - poised, proud, and plain-speaking - showed the country last night that she is the voice for real change in the White House. It was the most anticipated speech of the night for sure - everyone made a point to be in their seats when she stepped out onto center stage to formally introduce herself to her party and the people.
If voters weren't sure about her before, they now have a full menu of reasons to vote for her in November. She's smart, experienced, confident, funny, and best of all - we can relate to her.
In speaking with surrounding delegates in Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Maine - all are saying the same thing - she's real, she's like us. Ok, so we all don't live in Alaska or have 5 children. That isn't the unifying quality we're picking up on. Instead we like Sarah Palin because she isn't talking down to us or telling us how we need 'change' or more 'hope' to make the world a better place. She doesn't know better than us, she wants better FOR us.
My enthusiasm is only tempered by the immediate onslaught of criticism and attacks she is now receiving. Democrats don't know what to do with a capable woman that isn't on their own ticket. Pregnant daughter didn't derail the Palin Movement (that backfired as America declared it a family matter) - now we're on to questioning her experience. Appropriate, and that should be a good discussion - perhaps we'll get to return the same pointed questions to Obama? I have no doubt Sarah will pass with flying colors. Obama may have to consult with a special council or something first.
Massachusetts had quite the spotlight as well - Mitt Romney spoke, MA's own Jean Inman did the roll call in her role as Secretary of the Convention, and MassGOP Chairman Peter Torkildsen and Kerry Healey took to the microphone to cast our delegation votes unanamously for John McCain! In true Boston spirit, atop the Massachusetts sign was a Boston Red Sox cap. Having a great time alongside my fellow State Committeemembers and MA legislators, especially Betty Poirier and Jay Barrows from my hometown area.
Tonight - John McCain is in the house. Standing room only.
The official theme of the day for the Republican convention may have been ‘Prosperity’, but for me a different motif emerged quickly, getting stronger during the day.
At our Mass. delegation breakfast this morning, we listened to Frank Donatelli, the Deputy Chair of the Republican National Committee, who reminded me of something that I knew but had forgotten. The Republican Party was the party of women’s suffrage as well as abolition, as Susan B. Anthony was a strong Republican and worked to get state laws passed that allowed women to vote long before suffrage passed in 1920.
All day long, even though we had some powerful speakers on the convention floor in Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, that buzz and the anxiety all centered on Sarah Palin. Was she the real deal? Most of us wanted to see her, to be able to check our own guts instead of being told what we think by sundry pundits.
Sarah Palin delivered. She was smart, sassy, comfortable and bright as a new penny. Personally, I was delighted with her matter-of-fact ideas on energy independence based on her experience in administering the largest fuel reserves in the nation. A collective sigh of relief and delight resonated through the Xcel Center and the cheering and applause were sincere.
I’m an older feminist who has always been annoyed that the movement for women’s rights and responsibilities has always been for one sort of woman – and not any conservative ones. Hillary Clinton, not Elizabeth Dole, was the ‘ground breaking’ candidacy. But one line resonated with all us fighters for women’s equality in her speech at the Democratic Convention – “My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter was able to vote for me for President.”
I thought of that line as I watched Palin’s small daughter, delighted with the attention but a little overwhelmed and tentative in front of over 5,000 people. As charming as Obama’s small daughters were, it somehow meant more to see Palin’s daughter look up at her mom with wonderment as the center of all this attention. Palin herself stood there with her baby on her hip, evoking a frontier wife who had casually shot a deer for dinner while plowing the field and running the ranch while her husband was away on a cattle drive – that same sort of matter-of-fact competence and femininity.
Meanwhile, in the audience was Margaret Heckler, the last Congresswoman from Mass. before Nikki Tsongas was recently elected. Congresswoman Heckler was a tough and experienced politician, and she was delighted with Sarah Palin and with McCain’s choice. It was a treat to hear her talk about winning this election, when her own election was one of the first cracks of that glass ceiling in Mass.
From the Grande Dame of Mass. GOP politics, to the first GOP woman nominated for Vice President, to the little girl seeing how far a woman can go, it was a great night to be a Republican woman and a feminist.
Sarah Palin is going to stand up for herself in a few minutes, and will answer her detractors.
But it's still important to ask:
Are any Democrats willing to publically speak out against the shameful treatment of Sarah Palin, and address the blatant double standard with which she and her family are being attacked?
Is anyone on the Left ready to say that if Sarah Palin's husband's 22-year old DUI arrest is relevant, than Barack Obama's drug use is at least as relevant?
"I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind..." said Obama. “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it."
What if Sarah Palin had spoken those words? Or John McCain? Or Todd Palin?
Does any member of the Leftosphere who is suddenly so interested in the pregnancy of a 17-year old who is not running for anything, any of those who see scandal in the strength of a woman Republican vice presidential candidate who dares to happily and energetically raise five children have any interest in asking a vice presidential candidate about something that really matters to our quest for political integrity? If so, that person could ask Joe Biden why he plagiarized a speech when he was running for president?
You say Todd Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party? This is news? Does anyone who thinks this is news have any interest in knowing more about why Barack Obama chaired the multi-million Annenberg foundation for a terrorist named William Ayers?
Do any liberal members of the media or blogosphere have any interest in answering any of these questions? I'm just wondering.
Last night, Fred Thompson, a former Presidential candidate himself, came to the RNC to speak about John McCain's service to this country. What John McCain went through as a POW at the Hanoi Hilton is truly unimaginable.
With two broken arms and a broken leg, John McCain was held prisoner and left to die. He didn't, and when he didn't, he was tortured and tempted to betray the United States and his fellow soldiers - fellow POWs. He didn't, and when he didn't, he was placed in solitary confinement - for years. He was offered the opportunity to get out, if only he cooperated with the Vietnamese, and still he did not.
As Sen. Thompson pointed out so eloquently last night, this is a true testament to John McCain's character. Faith in God, his family and his country got him through, but not without an amazing will, loyalty and personal integrity.
This morning at breakfast, we heard from former RNC Chair, Jim Nicholson, who shared with us a story from many years ago. After campaigning all day long for a fellow Republican candidate (not himself) in Colorado and driving from Denver to Pueblo and back, John McCain made a special request and a special trip to the local VA hospital in Denver to visit with some Veterans. This was a late night trip, with no press and no political purpose. John McCain made this trip simply out of true care and concern.
It's true that his time as a POW and his military service alone do not qualify someone to be President, but it's also true that the character that John McCain has shown is certainly a quality desired in a President.
What's also true, and one of the reasons that I feel so strongly about needing Senator McCain now, is his understanding and compassion for fellow Veterans. This is a time when we are creating a whole new generation of Veterans. We NEED someone who can relate to them and the struggles they face when they come home from war. John McCain is that someone.
Last night Joe Lieberman spoke in front of a crowd of thousands of people who eight years ago had Sore/Loserman bumper stickers on their cars. That man was a class act. I first met Joe while he was campaigning for John McCain in the same Keene, NH coffee shop where he had campaigned for Al Gore. Anyone who watched Joe, in the 2000 race or in this one, knows that he is a tireless advocate for putting Country First and doing what he thinks is the right thing even if it is not politically expedient.
I think Massachusetts Democrats who put Country First will give a lot of thought to supporting Sen. McCain just like they did Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984. Some already are. On the floor with us last night was former Democrat Massachusetts State Rep. Brian Golden who is fully behind Senator John McCain. It was an honor to sit with a veteran of Iraq like Brian. I remember thinking to myself during the Denver convention, what are all those Democrats crying about. I have to admit with the tributes last night to vets of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as President Gerald Ford there were a few moist eyes at the Excel Center.
Country First was the message last night and today we will live it as members of the MA delegation put care boxes together for hurricane victims and our soldiers overseas.
Last night, the country was reminded what is so terrific about Fred Thompson. He gave a fantastic speech that had the people on their feet, delegates yelling out in support - the electricity was fierce in the convention hall. It was about time and exactly what we needed.
Thompson words articulated and surmised the conversations that have been taking place here and likely around kitchen tables across the country -- Obama simply isn't ready to lead, we can't afford his policies.
Thompson also brought the national political conversation (hopefully) back to the issues and the candidates (not the candidates' families).
If Thompson 'laid down the law" with a delightful fire and brimstone delivery, Joe Lieberman could be viewed as restoring order. Quietly and with great resolve, Lieberman outlined the very simple and obvious reasons that he - a respected Democrat- even agrees that at this moment in history, given our economy, national security - we just can't take the chance on Obama.
Today, Massachusetts delegates will return early to the Xcel Center to assemble hurricane relief kits for gulf coast residents before heading into the hall to hear what is the most anticipated speech this week - Gov. Sarah Palin.
I arrived in Minneapolis yesterday for the convention. Smooth flight, easy shuttles, and very friendly people both here in our host cities and from around the country. Those watching the convention coverage at home already You've likely heard about Gov Palin's daughter and her circumstances. The feeling here is that this is a family matter and not deserving of the media grilling it is getting. You also know that First Lady Laura Bush and soon-to-be-first-lady Cindy McCain made great speeches. You also know that the RNC decided to cancel the evenings actitivies in light of the gulf coast crisis. So instead, how about a sneak peak at to what happens behind the scenes what things are like in and around the convention?
Protestors - not as many as they might make it seem like on TV. There were a few small groups scattered on a few street corners, but there was only one Ron Paul group that became particularly violent and force had to be used. Local police were prepared and in good force. In fact, some young demonstrators were actually asking delegates where the parties were.
Organization - very well done by the RNC and by our own State Party led by Peter Torkildsen and Rob Willington. We're meeting as a delegation each morning, arriving together and on time for the sessions.
Venue - Xcel Energy Center - perhaps a bit smaller than some previous venues, but simple, impressive stage and good seating for all. Easy to get around and we're all having fun meeting people from other states. A fellow delegate and I went around to our native states of NJ and PA and met the party chairmans and even former Gov. Tom Kean who has MA roots!
Host City - Minneapolis and St Paul are indeed the twin cities located across the river from one another but learning they distinct in their own right. Both however are clean, very metropolitan in terms of restaurants and tourist attractions. Haven't explored them all just yet, but impressed with our welcome so far.
In lieu of the convention activities for the evening, we attended a reception for the American Red Cross that benefited those along the gulf coast. We thought that was a fitting way to spend our time. No matter how caught up in the political activities of the day,we still remember as the convention theme reminds us "Country First."
I ran into Rep. Jay Barrows at a reception tonight benefiting the American Red Cross. Jay is a great legislator who truly took up Senator McCain's request that we as a convention serve a cause greater than ourselves. Many Republicans from Massachusetts attended this and other charitable events tonight in light of hurricane Gustav in the gulf coast region. I encourage you to all join our efforts. Here is a list of reputable relief agencies that will accept your help for the targeted region:
Governor's Emergency Relief Fund
(877) 273 - 5018
Florida Disaster Fund
Hurricane Gustav Relief and Recovery Fund
Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund
To donate by phone:
The Aidmatrix Foundation at (866) 881-8882
In a few minutes, we will head out to the Xcel Energy Center to officially open the 2008 Republican National Convention. So far today it's confirmed that we will continue on with the required official business of the convention, although the political activities - speeches, entertainment, etc. - will be scaled down and more likely cancelled altogether.
This is as a result of the potential damage that Hurricane Gustav may produce on the Gulf Coast. Here in Minnesota, the sky is clear and the sun is out. It's a beautiful day. We watch the effects that the Gustav is having on Louisiana, and it's hard to grasp how devastating this storm might be. Our hearts are with those affected by this storm.
Back here in Minnesota, we wait in anticipation of what will come next both in the Gulf and in the coming hours in Saint Paul as we begin the convention.
There is excitement in the air. We just came from the Mass GOP's welcoming brunch which was teeming with media - print, tv and radio. This was also the first time we were all together as a delegation. What a group - state representatives, sheriffs, city councilors, state committee members and hardworking grassroots activists. It's fantastic to come together as we begin the official part of this journey!
One of the few events that was not canceled for the Republican convention welcoming agenda was a screening of David Zuker’s new movie An American Carol. This Leslie Nielsen style comedy hits theaters October 3rd. It was the story of Michael Moorelan (Kevin Farley) a documentary filmmaker who hates the 4th of July and how the Ghost of George Patten (Kelsey Grammer) takes him back through history and shows him what the world would be like without the efforts of American Service members like George Washington (John Voight). Now I must admit I am not a fan of the spoof genre, but I thought it was a little over the top. While I dislike America hating documentary filmmakers as much as the next guy, I prefer the way Fred Thompson deals with them. Just search Fred Thompson and Sicko on Youtube and you will see what I mean.
If you looking for a good movie that will reinforce conservative values, I would skip An American Carol and go see Traitor with Don Cheadle. You will never question the Patriot Act again.
I've been reading a lot of criticism about the GOP holding its convention with Gustav bearing down on New Orleans. I've also read about how McCain fiendishly stole Obama's limelight by announcing his VP pick, and turning attention from ObamAdulation to the Other Party.
Let's keep in mind WHY we all have this unusual schedule of back to back conventions late in the summer. Howard Dean was trying to be clever again.
The party which does NOT hold the White House gets to declare is convention date first, and the incumbent paryy musy hold theirs afterward. Last year, Dean saw a plethora of GOP candidates, and hoped they'd savage one another while Hillary ascended to a peaceful nomination and could campaign all summer while Republicans bickered. We all know how that turned out. I don't know if Dean was unable to follow this idea through to its logical conclusion, but as soon as he announced that late August date, it was inevitable that the GOP pick would be made right after the end of their convention, thus 'stealing' their limelight.
The GOP convention is being held Labor Day week for the same reason it cannot be postponed. In many states, there are legal requirements for ballots and candidates to be posted a certain time before the election. Dean forced us into almost the last possible dates to hold the convention and nominate our candidate and still be able to appear on the ballot in November.
Set aside the hotel, airplane, vacation time arrangements, etc., for 45,000 people. We are already getting bulletins about changes in speaking schedules, events, etc. Our convention will be curtailed out of respect for the situation in LA. The President and Vice President will not be able to attend, and WE are really disappointed!
But really, we aren't ready to postpone or eliminate our convention just so Obama can appear alone on the ballot in November. Better luck with the timing next time, Mr. Dean.
My daughter told me that when a major newspaper invites you to blog, protocol is to do it. Invisible blogging is so five minutes ago,she said.
I've just returned from Denver which I thought was a very successful convention for the Democratic ticket. Senator Obama and his campaign did all the things they needed to do. They introduced Michelle and Barack to all those voters who are just tuning in, they united the Party behind Obama-Biden, they outlined what an Obama administration would mean to the average American and they began to define John McCain as a continuation of where George W. Bush has led this country.
They delivered some more subtle messages, like framing patriotism in terms of working to improve America, not just saluting the past.
I was especially impressed by Hillary and Bill Clinton, the patriots that they are for the way they rallied Senator Clinton's supporters to support the Obama-Biden ticket. They know what is at stake in this election.
There were several magical moments like the appearance of Senator Kennedy on Monday night. He is simply one of a kind. Nothing could have kept him away from this convention. He has such a sense of history. He knows he is passing the torch to the next generation, and he knows that he has gathered his family on the right side of history. I hope the people of Massachusetts appreciate what a gift it is to have Ted Kennedy as our Senator.
I must say it was moving seeing John Kerry play such an important part in Ted's video, and for those who missed it, John gave one of the best speeches of the convention.
I also want to give a shout out to Governor Patrick for the great speech he gave. Behind the seens, I got a chance to host a lunch for the Governor with some of my colleagues from the Obama campaign around the country. The lunch was way oversubscribed, and the Governor was a huge hit. I was able to report, in the words of a wise observer of Massachusetts politics, that the Governor had just completed the most successful legislative session of any first term Governor in two generations.
The climax of this convention was Thursday night. The campaign took a big risk setting expectations so high but as Barack has done so often when the pressure was on, he hit it out of the park. Remember the Jefferson/Jackson dinner in Iowa or the speech on race in Philadelphia. Barack Obama is as great a clutch player as Tom Brady, David Ortiz or Paul Pierce.
Perhaps the highlight of the convention for me was the presence of so many members of the New England Steering Committee of the Obama Campaign. There were over 100 of us who have been working for Barack Obama since he announced his candidacy in February, 2007. This band of partisans are a diverse and passionately committed group, many of whom were attending their first national convention. It was more than inspiring to share this experience with a group of people so committed to taking our country back and repairing the disastrous consequences eight years of George W. Bush has wrought.
Speaking of which, how shocking the VP selection John McCain has made. Maybe she is a compelling personality and maybe she is a reformer from outside of Washington, but what does it say about the 72 year old nominee that he would select someone to be a heart-beat away from the presidency after two meetings, someone whose preparation consists of two years as Governor of a state with a population one tenth that of Massachusetts and mayor of a city smaller than the number of people who gathered at Invesco Field to hear Barack Obama's acceptance speech. David Gergen on CNN could hardly disguise his shock. The American Presidency is the most powerful and most complicated job in the world. How could any national leader in his right mind make such a selection with as little due diligence as the McCain campaign excercised. I don't know what scares me more, McCain's impulsiveness, Palin's lack of preparation or the fact that she believes in teaching creationism alongside evolution. Are we going through a reverse enlightenment?
I hope my daughter feels I've redeemed myself with this entry.
As the gulf coast is about to be hit by hurricane Gustav, the twin cities of Minnesota are facing a hurricane of liberal media. The Dakota Best Western in Eagan where I have been staying is mostly populated by the staff and crew of NBC and MSNBC. . I was appalled by the conversations I overheard standing in the lobby. Laughing and joking, they were genuinely gleeful about the possibility that the Republican Convention might be impacted by the natural disaster likely to strike the south east on the opening night of the convention. One joked, “Its God’s revenge against George Bush.” Instead of concern for the tens of thousands of people whose lives and property are in serious jeopardy, they were more annoyed at how it might inconvenience them if Senator McCain chose to change the schedule in light of events.
Tonight my thoughts and prayers will be with Republican governor’s Christ (FL), Jindal (LA), Perry (TX), Barbour (MS) and Bob Riley (AL) as well as the people from every party and no party at all who live on the gulf coast. One thing both Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that we should never again let a foreseeable natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina risk the lives of people who because of poverty could not escape the path of the storm. I believe that most Americans do not share the calloused sentiments of the NBC/MSNBC and they will be hoping the best for the people of the gulf and not the worst for Republicans.
All week, we've heard about Barack Obama and his plan for change.
Barack Obama and his plan for hope in America.
We've heard him say, "eight years is enough," as he blames the Republican leadership in Washington for all of our nation's woes.
We've heard Michelle Obama talk about the difference he made on the south side of Chicago.
What Barack Obama, the Democratic Presidential nominee, has not told us is that since he's become the US Senator for Illinois, the unemployment rate in that same south side of Chicago neighborhood has risen.
He hasn't told us how the crime rate in that same south side of Chicago neighborhood has risen -- 18% it's risen!
So has homelessness. So has poverty.
I think maybe it's time we listen to the people who know him best, the people left behind in that south side of Chicago neighborhood. See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6Z807cRFI
One of the best things about the Convention is taking in the local culture. In Minnesota that is the Mall of America and the State Fair. At the Minnesota State Fair you quickly learn that Garrison Keillor is right about the folks from Lake Woebegone: “The women are strong, the men are good looking and all the children are above average.” This second largest State Fair boasts, bacon on a stick, an all the milk you can drink for a $1 booth and the giant slide. Truly it was amazing large, about four times the size of the Big E.
The state fair also has its share of politics. Sure there were a lot of McCain and Obama buttons out, but the real race highlighted at the state fair was the Minnesota US Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman the former mayor of St. Paul and failed Air America radio personality Al Franken (You probably know him best as Stewart Smalley). I got to see both candidates up close and get a good look at one of the closest races in the country.
Norm Coleman a Twins fan who took exception to my Red Sox hat, made the case for energy independence in the United States and consoled Minnesotans who had hoped Gov. Pawlenty would be in the #2 spot on the Republican ticket. He reminded them that it was Minnesota values that put the first woman on a national ticket when Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and now 24 years later, it was a Minnesota convention that would nominate Sarah Palin who would be the first female candidate to actually win the Vice Presidency.
Later at the Franken booth he gave a stirring speech about the need to improve American education and invest research and development to spur the US economy. In true Stuart Smalley fashion, he joked, “The most recent poll has me with a commanding 1% lead and I see no reason why I can’t double that.” Franken continued, “We need a governing majority in the Senate. Right now we hold the majority by the skin of Joe Lieberman’s teeth.” He also urged people to get involved saying, “I need you to put a bumper sticker on the back of your car and not cut anyone off for the next 67 days. Franken drivers are going to be the most polite drivers on the road.” Franken drew big crowd, but I wonder how much was celebrity and how much was enthusiasm.
Franken calls it the Wellstone seat, and is campaigning on that tragic legacy. In the end though, Minnesotans may just stick with Norm. Why? Because he’s good enough, he’s smart enough and dog gone it people like him. One thing is for sure, this is a race I will be watching on November.
The DNC almost made my head explode. In his landmark speech designed to shake the world, Barack Obama found room on his priority list to include an admonition to keep our toys safe.
And here I am thinking that a terrorist-delivered nuclear device triggering an electro-magnetic pulse that wipes out our entire national electric grid, communications systems, and transportation infrastructure, not to mention our food supply, was more important. How silly to have worried.
Back to Obama. Having reassured the nation of the beneficence of his oversight, with about 150 days in session in the senate on his resume, and no executive experience at all, his campaign rolls down the trail one day later, decrying the VP choice of John McCain as short on experience. (Heads up: she's the Governor of our most energy-strategic state, her trajectory has included almost entirely executive experience, and she has already cleaned up a garbage dump of corruption in her own party...the kind of corruption Sen. Obama simply glanced away from and whistled past in Chicago on his path to political prominence.)
Sarah Palin is inexperienced? No, she's impressive, accomplished, smart, and threatening to every Democrat who didn't expect McCain to play such an ace. And it may be too counterintuitive for them to notice, but when the Obama campaign goes after her for "inexperience," even though their analysis is weak, aren't they actually legitimizing the same criticism of Obama?
Whatever the case, I am sure of this: John McCain, after being tortured for years and locked, bones broken, in dungeons by hideous captors who used every inhuman tactic imaginable to destroy his spirit and crush his dignity, survived with his mind and spirit strong. And then he emerged magnanimous and ready to serve for the next 30 years and more. He would never entertain a grand vision of American greatness that has room on its priority list for that transformative aspiration to "keep our...toys safe.”
What he will entertain, and not over tea with mad dictators, is a successful execution of the security, war, and economic challenges of this perilous moment.
Think about that, as you tuck in your toys.