Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Primary thoughts

Watching Barack's victory speech in North Carolina--a better than normal version of his usual stellar job of populist preaching, it was interesting to see the level of applause based on talking points--he consistently gets the most response out of his "get out of Iraq" and "tell the truth" rhetoric.

But the noticeable change was more moderate turn by focusing on core American values that sounded quite conservative, even referring to his maternal grandfather's flag-draped coffin. He's now facing McCain, not Hillary. And he was laying out his path for us--Maverick doesn't share his new moderate traditional vision of the American dream because he supports victory in Iraq and tax cuts for the rich--and everyone else.

All in all a fabulous speech, but it's still unclear as to how he'll get us to the promised land. Through the fog here's what I heard. He will,

1) force control of the oil companies to redirect their profits to his whim
2) get out of Iraq,
3) stop the Bush tax cuts
4) toy with protectionism via giving tax breaks to companies hiring American
5) get out of Iraq,
6) start universal health care
7) get out of Iraq
8) raise a lot of taxes

But nuance doesn't always matter--people want a visionary, a leader, and someone who gives them hope for a better future in a president, not just a policy wonk or expert. And especially now, with all the critical things happening. Go back through recent history and that seems in evidence with noted failures like Nixon and Carter. Neither Al Gore nor John Kerry were able to emit that warm feeling to their electorate and both still almost beat Bush.

McCain has a difficult task ahead of him. He must stress that he is not Bush and HIS reflection of the American dream is more deliverable than a man who desires to tax, spend and regulate his way there while promising a huge moral victory for our enemies and a guarantee we'll be in another war in the Middle East in due course.

Can Hillary go nookular after all this? Put nothing past the Clintons. But the pressure will soon be huge to leave.


LASunsett said...

The interesting thing in all of this is, despite the national attention on Hillary and Obama, McCain is virtually tied with Obama in the polls.

McCain has been in a position to shore up his support, raise money to compete with the Soros machine, and refine his message by defining his stances on specific issues. If there is anything that will beat Obama, it will have to be specifics. McCain will have to be sharp and will need to have a way of countering Obama's populist message.

But the one thing we all must accept if Obama does win in November is, the simple old adage of "the pendulum swings back hard". The world of politics is generational.

You and I are old enough to remember the populist message of Jimmy Carter and how he managed to use this to propel him into the Oval office. I was a young naive man then, and fell for the rhetoric.

We also remember the days that followed. I can list the problems that ensued, but to sum it up in a word would have to be the word, "disaster".

These kids that are registering and voting for Obama are falling for the same kind of snow job, I did. After the inauguration, it will become apparent to them, as it did to me and many others like me.

When these kids graduate from college and find themselves working harder to keep their money and find themselves paying more to the government, they'll understand. When they see that all of the campaign promises are being broken and blamed on others, they'll understand. When they realize that gas (and other goods ans services) will continue to rise, violence and threats against the US will not cease, and people will still be poor, they will understand.

Then, it will be time for some serious blowback, just we saw in the election of 1980. Then, we will see the pendulum swing back to the position it once was.

A.C. McCloud said...

You and I are old enough to remember the populist message of Jimmy Carter and how he managed to use this to propel him into the Oval office. I was a young naive man then, and fell for the rhetoric.

Guilty as charged. The country needed a break from Nixon and Vietnam and everyone thought electing a peanut farmer would do it. Funny, I was pointing this same thing out to the better half the other day.

The big difference is that an Obama failure has bigger implications than did Carter's. But all in all, you're right. The media will soon herald Barack as "history-making" and McCain will only be the old fogey standing in the way.