Sunday, August 31, 2008

Passing Thoughts on the Campaign

The only speech I saw during the Democratic Convention was Obama's speech. It was surprisingly dull. At this point it appears that Obama/ Biden received no bounce from this convention. Following Obama's lackluster speech and McCain's choice of Palin as V.P., if the Republicans run a better convention and handle Hurricane Gustav correctly, then McCain should he leading Obama in all polls soon. McCain has surged in the polls thanks largely to aligning himself to the Conservative base of the GOP. If he keeps it up, he should be the winner in November. It may be said after the election that the defining moment of the campaign was the candidates' separate appearances at the Saddleback Forum. Here Obama stumbled, especially with his "that's above my pay grade remark" concerning when a baby becomes human and thus has rights , and McCain energized the Conservative wing with his answers, followed up by choosing a reliably pro-life running mate.

All the pundits may proclaim Mrs. Clinton the Democratic front runner in 2012 if Obama loses, yet I am not so sure. For every disaffected Clinton supporter, there will be one Obama supporter blaming her for the loss. It is highly unlikely that she or Bill will campaign hard for Obama, and so the resentment against both Clintons will increase if the GOP wins. Also, now that she has lost this year, she will never look like the inevitable winner she appeared to be for so long. Other Democrats will be emboldened to challenge her.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama v. McCain at Saddleback

I thought I would post an article just to let readers know I am still actively blogging.

Even though it has been 7 days since the Saddleback Forum and all the pundits and both campaigns have put out their spin, I still decided to add my voice to the mix. I have no cable where I live so I could not view the event. Had I not seen a T.V. set in a sub shop, I would have had no advance knowledge the forum was going to take place. Because of technical difficulties, it took three days to view all that Google Video had to show. I viewed all of Obama's appearance and most of McCain's.

Despite some commentary that Obama might have felt out-of-place at the event, I thought he spoke well and seemed comfortable. His best answer was to the question of what policy he advocated ten years ago that he has changed his position on today. Obama's reply was welfare reform. For him to give such an answer when many in his own party still vehemently oppose welfare reform I thought was a gutsy answer. His answer to Warren's first question, who would he consult on important issues if he were President, made me laugh. He mentioned his mother (deceased) and his grandmother. That's just what we need, a President who when we experience hard times his first instinct is to call "Mom!" Its a surprise to me that no one on the other side or in the press picked up on that. His answer on when a person first becomes human and has rights, ...that's above my pay grade," was one of the lowest moments in political discourse and may be one of the comments he made that will be most analyzed if he loses to McCain. And along with the news that three times he opposed a bill in Illinois that would ban the killing of babies who survived an abortion, this could galvanize the pro-life wing of the Republicans to work for and vote for McCain. (His comment in the state legislature that such a bill which would require another doctor to determine if a baby survived the abortion would burden the original decision of the mother and the doctor must be made known to the general public.) Notice his arrogance displayed when he stated that those who disagree with him on abortion have not thought the issue through. Then there was his answer on same-sex-marriage and a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He stated that the Constitution has never sought to define marriage but left the matter to the States. That is true. Yet up until recent times the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman has been has been the cultural norm in all states. Then he made the ridiculous assertion that opponents of safe-sex-marriage would place restrictions on same-sex couples such as forbidding them to visit each other in the hospital.

McCain exceeded many observers expectations (including mine). I thought he would perform horribly in such a venue. He was as well spoken as Obama and he did not hesitate to state his positions; there was no dancing around certain topics with McCain as there was with Obama. His position on abortion was unequivocal and what I wanted to hear from him. I especially liked the way he worked in his view of the importance of the President who appoints judges. In his discussion of faith, he spoke of how it sustained him in a Vietnamese prison, while Obama was more analytical. When he was asked what his most gut-wrenching decision was, he told the true story how he refused to be released before those who had been in the prison camp longer than he; Obama's answer was his opposition to the Iraq war. (Even though he was not in the Senate when the war was started. When he claims he formed his opinion from consulting with experts, he should be expected to say who he consulted and when.)

This forum could be seen as the turning point in the election, when the conservative base became more enthusiastic about supporting McCain. That is if McCain picks a pro-life running mate. If he does so, he may lessen SOME of the distrust among conservatives so that they feel better voting for him. I am leery of McCain. I have never intended to vote for Obama. After his "higher than my pay grade" response to the question of when a human becomes human and thus has rights, I don't see how any Christian would have to pray about the issue of who to vote for.