I watched it on the DVR, so I’m a little late tonight.
“… with hard work and sacrifice…” Obama keeps talking about the virtues of hard work, but then…
“… the failure to respond [to plunging home values, unreachable tuition, credit card debt, and foreclosures] is the direct result of broken policies in Washington and the direct responsibility of George W. Bush…” Ok, so is it about hard work and sacrifice or about government bailing people out of their bad decisions? If you signed the credit card agreement and spent the money and fell behind on your payments and your mortgage… well, why exactly is that the federal government’s problem? And housing and college tuition work on the free market; if people quit paying the prices, they have to come down. If they keep paying the prices, they stay high. You decide what it’s worth to you, you work to earn scholarships and grants.
“… watching while a major American city drowned…” Again, why does Obama talk about “personal responsibility” and then lambast the federal government for not stepping in to save people who abdicated responsibility? If your city is built mostly below sea level, individual citizens and the city government had better have a plan for hurricanes. If your state is low lying and frequently in the path of hurricanes, the state government had better have a plan. The federal government steps in when nature has been exceptionally cruel and done damage beyond what the city or state can absorb… but it isn’t Washington’s job to micromanage how New Orleans or Louisiana deal with hurricane preparation.
“… John McCain has voted with George Bush 90% of the time…” As some of the commentators pointed out before the speech, so has most of Congress: 90% of the votes are unanimously in support of acknowledging the accomplishments of Rosa Parks, the Arkansas state Little League champions, and National Marshmallow Manufacturers’ Day. 90% of statistics can be made to say just about anything 50% of the time, so please tell us what legislation, specifically, McCain supported that you didn’t like.
And, yeah, I agree with McCain that we’ve become a nation of whiners. No, not most of the military familes who deal quietly with the difficulties of deployments. But when the Ford plant closed here, many people complained that it “wasn’t fair.” Fair? We have a relative who hadn’t lived in Detroit for ten years and was still getting full pay because of the union’s deal with the auto manufacturers. How is that kind of deal not fair to the workers? Do you think the companies will put up with this abuse forever? Of course not; that’s why they move factories overseas. We have one of the highest standards of living in the world; unlike many other countries who are truly struggling, we do not have huge shantytowns built of cardboard on top of our trash heaps. And yet, we complain that the economy is not growing fast enough, we can’t buy whatever we want, etc.
Oh, Bush calls it “ownership society,” but it really means, “You’re on your own”? I have still not found the clause in the U.S. Constitution that mandates a federal health care system. Government can (and does) mandate fair coverage practices, ban racial discrimination, and regulate insurance companies’ behavior… but government doesn’t need to run health care. Neither are a lot of other things within the government’s purview; our Founders were tired of government getting into places it didn’t belong and tried to put government in a pretty restricted box.
“We Democrats have a very different definition of what constitutes progress in this country.” Yeah, I can agree with that, especially since they keep pushing abortion as foundational to women’s progress. (Murder is not progress, no matter how sincerely you believe that it is.)
“Government can not solve all our problems, but it should do what we can not do for ourselves.” Exactly! Like defending the most helpless among us, the unborn and their browbeaten mothers, from predatory abortion companies out to make a buck on their pain… oh, wait, that isn’t what he meant.
I think the Democrats’ view of what we can not do for ourselves is entirely too limited. The Navy has a tendency to do this; we don’t want to see people fail, so officers often were told to get involved with marital problems, childcare issues, money issues. As a result, some people figure they don’t have to grow up and keep getting in the same problems. At some point, yes, you need to clearly tell people, “That’s it; you need to step up and take responsibility and I will not keep catching you when you make dumb decisions.” As Americans, we need to recapture some pride in our ability to do things ourselves and to take care of each other without the government interferring.
Some of Obama’s “this is what I mean by change” points:
1. Change tax code to reward small business and punish companies who send jobs overseas. Oh, yeah, more government finger wagging is going to encourage an end to the manufacturing jobs being shipped to China. They’ll probably just take their headquarters, too. Jobs go overseas because people will work cheaper and Americans don’t want to pay the prices necessary to pay factory workers American wages. The tax code does not fix any of that equation.
2. Cut taxes on 95% of working families. Who, exactly? If you make “too much”, are you not a “working” family? Last year the Democrats were saying that all families making under $80,000 had to have government help with health insurance because they were too poor to afford it, and anyone over $100,000 was filthy rich. Does that define the “middle class” as those families making $80k-$100k only?
3. End dependence on Middle Eastern oil in ten years. Um… what about Venezuela? Or other foreign suppliers? And not all of our energy problems are oil based. This is a much smaller goal than energy independence. Besides, that ten year mark is well outside of Obama’s first and second term, so we’ll never get to hold him accountable for that promise.
4. Help auto companies retool to build fuel efficient cars, help Americans afford those new cars, and invest $150 billion in renewable energy sources. The number one way to make cars more fuel efficient is to make them lighter, which often makes them less safe. And why is it government’s job to manage the auto industry? Also, are we going to give people money to buy new cars? I’m all for renewable energy sources, but what is he planning on spending $150 billion on? Are we planning on nationalizing energy production?
5. Invest in early childhood education, recruit an “army of new teachers,” and “make sure you can afford a college education” if you “commit to serving our community or our country.” Part one sounds like code for adding mandatory preschool to public schooling, again taking parents out of their own children’s lives. We’ve tried to recruit new teachers; there’s even a sort of fast track for veterans, the “Troops to Teachers” program. But there are still problems with keeping good teachers and filling the holes left by burnout from teachers expected to act as parents, not just math or english teachers. And we have the GI Bill to help veterans pay for college; it doesn’t pay for everything, especially if you’re aiming for a more selective school. Again, it’s a benefit, not a right to a blank check; it’s a springboard for those willing to work for college, not a free ride.
6. Affordable health care. Affordable? I thought the Democrats spent the primaries talking about universal health care. How are we going to pay for reducing everyone’s premiums and offering cheap health insurance to all those who are uninsured? And will this make people happy who complained that WalMart didn’t give part timers health care, but “only” offered a $20 a month health plan? How much more “affordable” do you want?
7. Change bankruptcy laws so that pensions are protected before CEO bonuses. That’s a no-brainer. I’ll agree with him on that one.
8. Equal pay for women. That’s thorny. Yes, women should get equal pay for equal work (actually, everyone should). But how do you calculate “equal work”? If she takes maternity leave, is she still at the same level as the guy who was hired the same day, or is she now below him in seniority? What if it’s the same job description, but one person has more experience and/or is a better worker? Could you prove that enough to keep from being sued? If two people are in the same type of job, but he works longer hours and she frequently leaves early to take care of kids, is that equal? Are we going to legislate that it’s unfair to “discriminate” against her for being a mother? Or do we acknowledge that she worked fewer hours, regardless of the reason, and her job is not equal? Will companies shy away from hiring moms, especially single moms, because they worry she won’t put in the hours and the company will be forced to pay her the same as others who put in more, for fear of being sued for discrimination? There should certainly be anti-discrimination laws and provisions for anyone (man or woman) who has to take sick leave, maternity leave, or time away for Reserve duty. But any “equal pay” legislation would have to be very carefully worded and should cover everyone, not just women.
“We must provide more ladders for young men trapped in crime… but we must realize that government can’t do everything.” Then why do we keep talking about government programs? Some of promoting personal responsibility has to be the government saying, “We are NOT the parent for the whole country. We will fix the public schools, but you have to choose to study. We make sure the police have what they need to make neighborhoods safter, but you have to choose to stay away from gangs, drugs, and trouble. You are responsible for your life and your behavior.”
And Obama has the “temperament and judgement” to be the next Commander in Chief? His various foreign policy gaffes on the campaign trail really don’t sound like he has the judgement necessary. His choice in friends and pastors doesn’t bode well for who he will choose as advisors.
Apparently, he doesn’t even understand how hard it is to find someone in a lawless, rugged region. Obama accused McCain of not “following bin Laden to the cave that he lives in.” It doesn’t exactly appear on Google Earth, last I checked. Just because lots of people want to find bin Laden doesn’t mean that makes it easier, especially since there are also lots of people working to make sure he isn’t found.
“We are here to restore that legacy” of international respect and alliances. Obama will renew our standing as the “last best hope for peace”? Europe never believed that, except maybe in the depths of WWII. There was a great ad campaign that I saw in Boston a few years back. “America acts unilaterally! Europe horrified! … Come learn about the Barbary Wars at the USS Constitution museum!” (The young U.S. decided it would rather pay for warships to defeat the Barbary pirates than keep paying the protection money… Europe complained that we were upsetting the region. They didn’t even thank us when we won, the pirates were eliminated, and they didn’t have to pay the extortion to keep their shipping safe anymore.) Sorry, but Europe has normally thought of us as the young, over-idealistic, over-zealous mavericks. And those alliances would’ve had nothing to do with the situation in Georgia (which Obama specifically mentioned), since Russia has never been an ally.
“We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.” How? Every time we make contraception more available, more people decide sex is worth risking the consequences, and the result is more, not fewer, unwanted pregnancies (and a whole lot of ruined lives from the consequences of sexual promiscuity). The Democrats have consistently fought against abstinence education and for more condoms (more of the, “Do what you want, we’ll help clean up the consequences.”). The Republicans generally take the opposite stance (personal responsibility: government is not here to hold your hand, you need to make responsible choices). There really isn’t a middle ground.
“We may not agree on gay marriage, but surely we can agree that gay people should be able to visit their loved ones in the hospital.” Nobody has ever said they shouldn’t. If you want your partner to have visitation rights, inheritance rights, etc. then draw up your will and other applicable legal documents to say that. But marriage is a whole lot more than a collection of legal and financial arrangements.
“If you don’t have a reputation to run on, you paint your opponent as someone to run from.” Is Obama trying to accuse McCain of something, or is he explaining his campaign? “Eight is enough!” and “Say no to four more years!” sounds like the Democrats are trying to vilify McCain as just a carbon copy of Bush that everyone should be scared of.
Ultimate narcissism: “This election has never been about me; it’s about you. (wild applause) It’s about you.” And, if all else fails, appeal to peoples’ pride. As another blogger noted, the politicians don’t care about you, so please vote for whoever will be a better leader, not just the one who insists he really cares about you, or the poor, or whoever.
“The preacher [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] said that we must walk ahead. We can not turn back… not with so many farms to save… with so many families to protect…” Yes, but Dr. King had a clear vision of where he was going: racial integration and equal opportunities for everyone. Not just “change” and “that better place just around the bend.” (Farms? Where did that come from? Are we going to ban big agriculture conglomerates, too?)
Obama closed with, “And in the words of Scripture, ‘Hold firmly, without wavering, to that hope that we confess.’ ” THAT HOPE is Christ, not Barack Obama. That piece of Scripture-twisting alone ought to send every Christian running away from Obama. If this is accepting the nomination “with humility,” what does hubris look like?