Blogs > Cliopatria > Barack Obama and the Democratic Party

Jul 28, 2004 2:25 am


Barack Obama and the Democratic Party



Ladies and gentlemen, we might have just seen America’s next political superstar. I had read all about Barack Obama and his Illinois Senatorial campaign. I had heard about how he transcended the politics of race and division. I had seen the commentary about how he was running for the United States Senate on a platform of equality and opportunity and hope and optimism and justice and rights and compassion, with intelligence and thoughtfulness hallmarks of his approach, whether in a large room or while pressing the flesh. I had discovered his remarkable biography, read of his gifts, had heard tales of his potential. But politics is about spin and salesmanship and self-promotion and making silk purses out of sow’s ears, or chicken salad out of chicken poop. And yet I would have a hard time believing anyone who saw Obama’s keynote address before the convention tonight in the Fleet Center who did not come to the same conclusion I just did: This guy is going to be a player in American politics for a long, long time. It looks as if he will be running uncontested or virtually so in Illinois, as every rival or potential rival in the GOP proves inadequate, compromised, or uninterested. He will use this keynote as a springboard to a greater national profile, to be sure.

I am very proud to be a Democrat tonight. This was the evening when the cavalcade of speakers appeared before the convention, herded out every twenty minutes or so, a promenade of the party’s greats and near greats, the Democrats who fought for this nomination but lost (Gephart, Dean and Braun), those who have a high profile and exalted positions (Daschle and Kennedy) and those with lower profiles but strong status (Vilsack and Ron Reagan, for example). This is the night that had the potential for disaster written all over it. Would Ted Kennedy come out crapping lightning and spewing thunder from his not insubstantial head, or would he play the role of steadfast but reasonable liberal standardbearer? Would Dean go insane before the world or would he validate his perception as one who helped push the party to ask questions it otherwise might not have asked? Was Ron Reagan, Jr. just a show pony or did he have a place in the Democratic firmament as more than just his father’s son and thus a not-so-subtle tweak at the GOP? At almost every turn, where potential disaster loomed, instead the speakers were reasonable. Of course they were partisan, and of course they provided grist for a Republican machine that would create what they could not find, just as Democrats will do the same during the GOP’s convention in New York next month. We are different parties because we believe in different things. But at the same time, there is a party unity and sense of purpose among the Democrats that is allowing for enough of an edge to seep out and keep the true believers on the party’s left flank engaged, happy, rising for standing ovations. There has not been a lot of demagogic shouting, ad hominem attacks, or disjointed rambles. Sometimes you don’t have to hit a home run in order to succeed. Sometimes it’s good just not to strike out.

And for me, it comes back to those magical twenty minutes or so of Barack Obama where if you looked back over the ghosts of Democratic conventions past you could almost see Bobby Kennedy or a young Franklin Roosevelt, not so much in what he said but in the promise that he represented for so many in saying it. The American public has a difficult job ahead of it, and much will transpire before we have to make final decisions. There may be epochal events that make that decision more difficult, or others that make it easier. I fully expect the Republican National Convention to give the Grand Old Party a chance to shine, to show their party and their ideals in the light they believe makes them look best. But for now, for all of the rigid control the Kerry people and the DNC has managed to maintain, through it all shine many of the reasons why I am a Democrat, and why many millions of Americans feel the same way.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Ralph E. Luker - 8/4/2004

I'm telling you that this is a site which he hosts. If you dislike him, do not come into his house.


Arnold Shcherban - 8/4/2004

Mr. Luker,

You don't know the history of my exchange with Mr. Catsam, you don't know whether he resorted to "personal attacks" on me first, instead of keeping a focus on the issue at hand, or not, you don't know whether he deliberately distorted the contents of my comments, or not.
Consequently, it should not be your "personal" concern,
should it?

I did not his personality, albeit his intellectual style, did I?
But you, having essentially nothing to do with me-him
exchange, did insult me personally.
Why? Looking to pick up a fight?


Ralph E. Luker - 8/4/2004

Mr. Shcherban,
You are a troll. You make no significant contribution to discussions. Instead, you specialize in personal attacks on your host in this space. That is rude. Either clean up your own act or go away.


Arnold Shcherban - 8/4/2004

Mr. Catsam,

It seems I'm not alone in my evaluation of your polemical
skills.
How could that happen to such self-defined "smart", remarkably "eloquent", and "outstanding" historian, as you allegedly are?


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/30/2004

Agreed.


Grant W Jones - 7/30/2004

Thank you for the apology. For what I have written here that was more out of anger than good sense, you have mine. I don't think you are a fool, I just meant you were acting foolish. But, on the above exchange, I strongly suspect we both made asses of ourselves. I went too far with ridiculing you personally.

I will in the future be more respectful and curb my own "over the top" comments. I was being hyperbolic with my Carter bashing. We all have our best and worst list of U.S. presidents. Carter is on my bottom five along with Wilson, Hoover, Pierce and I'll leave the last open for suggestion. But, Carter the worst, upon reflection I don't think such can be quantified.

So I'll just close by saying I hope there are no hard feelings. We both need to hold in mind that even in heated exchanges, we are civilized men and that the other person is not the enemy.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/30/2004

Grant -- see my other comment. I disagree with you here as elsewhere, but rather than keep this going on, let's see what you think of the post down toward the bottom. i think it is unfortunate that you think I am a complete fool, but I'll also live. I suppose you'll do the same.
dc


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/30/2004

Grant --
This can go on forever. There have been times when, however ardently I disagreed with you, I crossed the line. I was a prick. On many issues, I think you are wrong. But this has gotten absurd. I am sorry for the fact that in addition to being careless, I have also been over the top on the personal end. On my own side, it is a form of hypocrisy to have criticized you for certain things and then to have gone after you in ways that began as criticisms of your ideas but ended as what some might see as personal attacks. I think you have done the same -- I've seen you when you are reasonable just as you have sen me whan I have been. Beyond that, this has to stop. We both have more important things to do. I'd rather us discuss ideas and sdisagreements than have us try to figure out who can most effectively damn the other.
dc


Grant W Jones - 7/30/2004

You indulge in ad hominem at the drop of a hat. Where is all that anger coming from? I can't believe it's little ole me.

"A reasonable discussion of ideas," how? You won't have one with anyone who has a basic disagreement with you, your first and last recourse is personal abuse. The Sudan discussion is a case in point. We clearly have basic disagreement on the use of force there. So, of course, you launch into a personal attack on what a genocidal bastard I am. Because, no one could honestly disagree with you.

I've had many heated arguments with others here at HNN, but they have never descented to the level of rancor that is common from you.

As to your badly typed ad hominem rants, who are you kidding? You get so pissed by words on a screen, written by complete strangers, you just vent and make a complete fool of yourself.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/30/2004

Grant -
Wait a second -- i am ill-mannered and mean spirited? This coming from the personm who wrote about me
This:
You, on the otherhand, are the self-proclaimed professional intelluctual and super-duper-genius.

Or said this:
your typo saturated, vituperative rants here at HNN almost require a cipher key to read.

Or this:
You are not setting a very high bar for the rest of us Herr Professor Extraordinaire Doktor Catsam. Or is it Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler Catsam?

Mean spirited? How's this?:
The NEA's only discernable purpose is to rob the children of America, particularly the children of the poor, the opportunity to a decent education. The Democratic Party is nothing but the NEA's whore. You deserve each other.

And again, about me? This:
Intelligent? Not.

So, Grant, don't come at me with your cute little popguns a'blazin' and then weep when it comes back at you and then some. You wanted it to become an ad hominem game? Let the verbs and adjectives flow. You want a reasonable discussion of ideas, where it sometimes gets heated, don't try to justify your "Dhimmy" comments and your own righteous anger.

I am more than willing to call off the dogs if you are, Grant, but let's not suddenly paint ourselves virtuous just because the biography gambit failed. If typo's are ok, they are ok, if they are going to be the source of mockery, fine. I'll take that little Pepsi Challenge. You'd better learn how to write better. My typo's are pretty easily rectifiable.

By the way -- what are my views on education? I mean, if you are going to damn me by party affiliation, then you must know my viws on this topic (you assumed as much in the last post). And if party affiliation is destiny, then i guess you don't have any freedom of movement on a whole array of issues either. Too bad. And so much for individuality.

dc


Grant W Jones - 7/30/2004

Wow, ill-mannered and mean spirited. You are a piece of work, Derek. Too bad your mommy didn't teach you any manners.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/30/2004

Ahhh, now the biography comes out. So that is why you misspelled "readable" when you were criticizing my sloppiness? (again, in comments. No I do not edit them as well as I ought to. Consider yourself having made a good point. Go ask mommy how to spell "graciousness.") Because you grew up poor in LA? Thus when you criticize sloppiness in the posts of others, you get apass and get to decide how many errors is enough, how many are acceptable?
Yes, it is my blog. Yes, it is hosted by HNN, but I put it together, I asked Tom and Tootle to join me, and in any real sense it is ours. Look up on the masthead. Note the names. Just as the folks at Cliopatria run their own blog, and it is theirs. The difference between the host and the blogger is not a complicated one.
I have self-proclaimed nothing (though I admire your attempts. I like the first one better) until you started the name calling, which you continue here. I like how you feign the high road now that you have given us your little poor victim of the system presentation.
And if you can cite anything I have done akin to calling someone "Dhimmi" with all of its implications in this context, and if you can explain how that is any better than calling Bush "Hitler" or Ashcroft "Goebbels" then I will relent on this point. I oppose those examples equally as ardently because it is well out of line. The fact that you continued to do it after it was pointed out reveals that it was simply a reflection on who you are. Fine. I know that now if I did not before.
Your last sentence is incoherent. Momma probably should have told you a thing or two about prepositions and pronouns.
The idea that all teachers in the NEA are somehow corrupt is exactly the sort of morally loathsome generalization for which you are becoming well known. I grew up poor too, Grant. The thing is, I don't blame all of my teachers for the consequences. I had some good teachers who tried hard. That you had none is too bad for you. Funny, I thought conservatives believed in personal responsibility. I guess that went out the door with fiscal responsibility and an actual belief in individual rights and local control.
I'm glad you were willing to relent with an air campaign in Sudan when no serious players in this are talking about air campaigns. What people are talking about is opening lines for food supplies, encouraging African troops to play a role, and if necessary, for troops to be on the ground. You were no ally in that fight. Pretend now that you were not defending what you were defending. Folks can scroll down the page and read the comments and judge for themselves. Coming it at the end of a long argument in which you were the main, anmd at most times the sole force arguing against intervention in the Sudan and then claiming some form of virtue is the sort of Johnny-Come-Lately-ism I'd expect.
(Didn't you mean "My teachers put ME in the back of the class"? Oh. But you're excused. That grammatical misstep was your teachers' fault -- see -- by acknowledging that I am sloppy on the comment boards, I am immune to the sorts of accusations of hypocrisy to which you have opened yourself up. This will be fun.)
dc


Grant W Jones - 7/30/2004

One of the most extreme acts of provocation a country can commit is to attack another nation's Embassy and kidnap the diplomatic staff. Even in a war "without mercy" the American and Japanese governments treated each others diplomats well and repatriated them ASAP.

To allow this insult to the nation to go unanswered, Carter was placing every American overseas at grave risk. Not only that but, how could the Soviets take the U.S. seriously if we didn't respond to such acts of war? I'm not saying a punitive campaign against Iran would have been easy. It was/is just as necessary as the suppression of the Barbary Pirates. I don't think the Soviets would have intervened in an American punitive campaign. Even they would have to admit the U.S. has just cause. The Soviets also have their own Islamists to deal with. Curbing the fanatics on their doorstep would be in their interests.

As to a campaign against Iran creating more trouble with Islamists, my understanding is that Islamic fundamentalism has been around for centuries. Frankly, there seems to be only one laugange the Mahdis understand.

Derek is right on that, the only way to stop this second genocide in the Sudan in as many decades is with military force. Unlike Derek, I'm hardly sanguine about ground campaigns in the interior of the Sudan. Maybe I'm mixing apples and oranges, but the crazies in the Sudan seem to be cut from the same cloth as the crazies in Iran.


Grant W Jones - 7/30/2004

I thought this was HNN's blog. (or is that bog?) If it is your blog then learn how to: 1, reply in the appropriate place; 2, reply to your guests with a minimum of civility; 3, spend a few seconds editing your posts and comments.

I mispelled a word, dear me, and not for the last time. (more on that later.) You, on the otherhand, are the self-proclaimed professional intelluctual and super-duper-genius. Nevertheless, many of your typo saturated, vituperative rants here at HNN almost require a cipher key to read. You are not setting a very high bar for the rest of us Herr Professor Extraordinaire Doktor Catsam. Or is it Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler Catsam? Your anger, almost rage, at my "Dhimmi Carter" quip is strange coming from someone who will launch into personal abuse at the first whiff of disagreement with his August Self. Pot, Kettle, Black.

Regarding "readible," thank you for that opening. I had the good fortune to grow up in a broken home in the slums of L.A. For that crime I was sentenced to twelve years in the L.A. Unified Scrool System. As a young child I had a slight learning disability. So my "teachers" put in the back of the class and forgot about me. My mother taught me to read and write, Derek. Not those paid to do so by the state of California. I should be grateful that my "teachers" simply ignored me, and I am, today the educrats would turn me into a ritalin/speed addict.

The NEA is well represented at your DNC. The NEA's only discernable purpose is to rob the children of America, particularly the children of the poor, the opportunity to a decent education. The Democratic Party is nothing but the NEA's whore. You deserve each other. But, the rest of us don't.

If you would stop doing what you do best, indulging in moral puffery, and actually read what I wrote on the Sudan thread, you would see that I was moving in your direction. I wrote that if the killing could be stopped with an air campaign, I would not be against it. Instead of trying to win an ally you vent, rage and try your best to make an enemy. Intelligent? Not.

If I'm so out-of-it why do you keep responding to me, especially with such anger? Such anger is not the response one would expect to someone who is just clueless.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/29/2004

Grant --
Who here has said Carter was a good president? Oh, no one. As always, you argue against things no one has said. The criticisms of your arguments are that you have asserted that he is the worst president in American history. This is just simply dumb. The second serious complaint I have is with your continued use of "Dhimmi." At least I can find solace in the fact that you come here and criticize me on my weblog and all the while you are old enough to have been seeking jobs in the 1970s. Must be tough constantly to be beaten down in arguments by those so much younger than you are.
As for why Jonathan pointed out that he served a full term, one might have assumed that he said that simply because Ford was a caretaker. In other wiords, while you seem to have little fidelity to facts and reason, it remains true that carter was the first president to serve a full term after Nixon resigned.
So was Carter really worse than Buchanan or Pierce? Worse than Hoover? By what measure/ the economy was wretched under carter -- most of those trends began well before he entered office. On foreign policy? Reagan picked up on many of the things Carter had done. Carter will go down in history as someone who will hardly go down in history. But you probably ought to temper your judgments. it is hard to take seriously someone who comes up with a million reasons not to act against genocide in Syria and then call someone an appeaser who didn't actually appease anyone any more than did his predecessors or those who followed.
dc


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/29/2004

Grant -- I can't help but notice that you're reading my bog and making comments. I am not reading yours. The continuance of "Dhimmi" and the addition of Slick Willie, the argument that Carter gave into the Mullahs without arguing that Reagan did not do much better and the inane last comment (in what format, Grant? My blog to which you are responding?) And by the way, it's spelled readable, with an "a" not an "i" -- perhaps people who live in glass houses shouldn't resort to pathetic lines of argumentation? I did not realize that your pathetic little posts on my articles warranted perfect responses. In any case "r-e-a-d-a-b-l-e," as in "to my knowledge Grant Jones has never published a readable article, scholarly or otherwise but he is very good at raising non-sequiters about the writings of others and then hypocritically making insubstantial comments about formatting and style while misspelling words in that same accusation."

The "Dhimmi" stuff is still pathetic.

dc


Jonathan Dresner - 7/29/2004

What I meant was that anyone who is making a list of 'worst presidents' needs to look closely at Carter's penultimate predecessor, Richard Nixon.

I wasn't dancing around Hanson: the obvious answer to the question he poses about Carter's relative restraint has to do with the continued, and still threatening, existence of the Soviet Union, the fact that we were already suffering 'oil shock' (a lot of the economic distress of the time is due to that, and the rising competition from countries like Japan, things that Carter had no control over, though he responded to them pretty well) and the fact that we had just gotten out of one quagmire and did not have the resolve or resources for a major war. I find it hard to believe that a serious military historian could argue that a war in Iran would have been easy, or that it would not have involved the Soviets in short order (they were already in Afghanistan, for crying out loud). Then there's the cultural arguments, starting with the idea that a massive intervention in the Middle East would not have been met with a rapid rise in radical Islamicism (it already existed, as we were tapping into it in Afghanistan, as the Iranian Ayatollahs were) instead of the gradual rise (which, if our diplomatic and intelligence services were paying attention, we could have addressed) which we did see.


Grant W Jones - 7/29/2004

Since you are so smart, try learning how to use this format. And try writing in a neat, readible manner. Thanks.


Grant W Jones - 7/29/2004

Who did Dhimmi Carter appease? The Mullahs who are today working on nuclear weapons. Carter's pathetic "resue mission" of May 1980 does not merit comment. Certainly there are other presidents with much to anwser for in this regard, including Slick Willie.

Sudan kicked out al-Qaeda and offered to turn over bin-Laden to Slick. Slick Willie declined the offer, twice. We already had this discussion, I'm not going to repeat myself.

As for Kerry, he can run, but he can't hide from his voting record in the Senate.


Grant W Jones - 7/29/2004

I lived through the Carter Purgatorium. You should have tried job hunting, immediately after graduating from high school, during President Malaise's Misery Index. That was a "real world" experience most academics missed out on. What does Carter's serving one full term have to do with his job performance?

If you disagree with Hanson's facts or interpretations, can you stop dancing and provide specifics?


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/29/2004

Grant --
I do not drink coffee.
Carter was certainly not the worst president in Ameriocan history, as anyone who has read anything about the 1850s might well know and as anyone aware of just how much of Reagan's foreign policy was a continuance of what Jimmy Carter had done (expanded military spending, Afghanistan policy, and if appeasement is your complaint explain to me pulling out of Beirut?) would attest. And in any case, anyone who read my first post on the DNC knows that I hardly venerate Carter. But to call him "Dhimmi" is utterly unacceptable, and again is in keeping with those who toss out the tired old "Communist," Nazi" and other vacuous insults at the expense of making an argument. I do not equate comparing our president to Nazis, and i very much do not like our president. So your slimy insult needs to be called out for what it is. period.
Yes, Sudan is "with us" in the war on terror, or so they say (ditto Syria -- so what does that mean? If they say it, it must be true? Sudan is engaging in terrorism against its own people). And you sappease them by pretending they are our ally and by denying that there ought to be intervention. Or at least that is a take. The democratic party is appeasing no one. Raising questions about Iraq at this point is hardly appeasement.
Enough with you kerry needs lectures on foreign policy and economicsw arguments. I do not think this president has a leg to stand on compared to Kerry in either instance, and I'm quite certain you are not the man to be giving the correctives.
Whom did Jimmy Carter appease, Grant? His being ineffective does not mean that he appeased anyone. he began the policy against the Soviets in Afghanistan, he tried to act in iran (though not forcefully enough) and he largely continued detente that Nixon had started wiothout being especially soft on the Soviets. He may have done the wrong things, but he appeased no one.
One of these days I am convinced you'll actually know what you are talking about. Today, alas, is not yet that day.
dc


Jonathan Dresner - 7/29/2004

Hanson's article fails on so many levels as to be almost amusing. He dismisses the most persuasive explanations with a wave of his hand, and goes on to a cultural/intellectual tirade without ever making a single actual causal connection. It's a fantastic performance, really, dancing on air.

You're going to call Carter, the first post-Nixon president to serve a full term, the worst in American history? You need to review, Mr. Jones.


Grant W Jones - 7/29/2004

Derek, how many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?

It is not possible to slander the worst president in the history of the Republic. He has followed his disaster of an administration by pandering to this nation's enemies and undermining the policy of sitting presidents.

Sudan has, believe it or not, cooperated with America in the War on Terror. We can attack them for humanitarian reasons, but not for that.

John Kerry's voting record shows that he needs lectures on not only foreign policy but also basic economics.

What appeasement? You ask that in the same sentence as the name "Jimmy Carter." You are not serious, are you?

www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110004952


Stephen Tootle - 7/29/2004

For the record, I don't want a repeat of Florida 2000.


Karen L. Milmine - 7/28/2004

The republicans blinked first, at least here in Midland the first commercial with the background music of "Flipper" has arrived. Today on CBS news with Dan Rather, sorry parents insist, I did not catch the entire commercial. What happened to allowing the DNC and RNC to have their days without interference? I guess political correctness never really did exist in the Bush White House. Another four years of blunders, squandering of money (mine) and lame attempts to rebuff and slander the other candidates, I'm not sure there are enough jokes to last another four years.


Karen L. Milmine - 7/28/2004

Actually I'm hoping this is not a repeat of 200, I really don't think it will be. As for the above article, well......my dad, five years at the university of Miami with three majors, Biology, Microbiology and Chemistry, masters degress, he was a little slow but that's only because his GI bill ran out. I'm not in school to repay his debt.
I ran for a government office in Midland, I am no stranger to politics as some of it you already know, my lovely daughter. She comes by it honestly. When people nit pick that much, I just do what I do when the Dems and Repubs start mudslinging, consider the source. Since I'm fairly new at this I regard some of the things written by you and to you from friends and are in a regular (ivory tower, academia) type conversation. Also you guys take criticism a little better than I do now a days due to my situation!
Since the court really did a losey job last time, unfair, let's hope they stay out of it this time. Also many people really did not understand the legalistic binds that the Supreme Court are bound by as to what they can and can not do, it is complicated as is the old way of punch card voting, revamp many of the aging baby boomers have failing eyesite and the cards do not line up. Although I do understand that the electronic machines are not much better, too many glitches, and some older folks, my parents, don't even know how to turn on a computer let what it really is used for anymore. They also don't want to learn, teach a dog old tricks.
As far as the republicans keeping their convention civil, I say no way, they can't keep from going after Edwards and they keep bringing up Flip Flop Kerry. Numbers will go up for both and fall for both, yes but I predict that the republicans will fall more than the dems. Too many people even here in "Bush Country" I hate that he really did not grow up here, he spent very little time in Midland, are upset by the war and how our troops are being treated when they come home, thank you media we are now knowing faster than Vietnam. I know we have always re-elected an incumbent during war time, but hey didn't Bush say the war was over??? Could have fooled me. I know I get too long winded even in class, sorry.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/28/2004

Thanks, Karen.
My guess is the spin machine is already in motion to discredit Obama.
Notice how Steve Tootle above picks at nits on the "all votes counting" comment, as if there are not legitimate claims about how the voting was counted in 2000, even if you accept the final result. No serious person, irrespective of ideology, can say that they would want things to be carried out exactly as they were in 2000. The Supreme Court's decision, remember, was procedural -- it did not address whether the votes should be re-counted, but simply asserteed that they all had to be recounted by a deadline they set.
dc


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/28/2004

You know what? This is just idiotic. Denial about what, Grant? Appeasement about what? Where have Democrats appeased or denied anything? I suppose we are now appeasing the Sudan (where you don't want to enter with troops -- appeaser! Osama bin Jones!) or North Korea, or China, or anywhere else where there are human rights atrocities. there was a case to be made for war. We know now that there was also a case to be made against it. I do not think John Kerry needs lectures from Grant jones on issues of security or war. Disagree with him if you want, but writing "Dhimmi" to slander Jimmy Carter is every bit as loathsome as those who evoke Nazism to describe Israelis or call the president "fascist". I'd say there are as many people "neutral" to war against terror as there are KKK members in the GOP. On both sides those people are wrong. This sort of slimy nonsense from someone who has extensively shown their inclinations toward appeasing genocidistas in the Sudan is sickening.
dc


Grant W Jones - 7/28/2004

Nitpicking? I think not. It was pandering, to those who are at best, neutral in the war against Islamic Jihad. Like the picture of Dhimmi Carter with Fat Bastard, it demonstrates what the country has to look forward to under Kerry. At least four years of appeasement and denial.




Karen L. Milmine - 7/28/2004

Okay prof. I've got to hand it to you this is the best blog I have read from you.At least I got the gist of the speeches since I missed them last night, won't miss them tonight!! I must say I do agree whole heartedly with your opinion of Obama, this is one to really keep track of. No one is in his league in the Republican party anymore. (X-Republican here)


Tom Bruscino - 7/28/2004

Yes, another Jimmy Carter not acting the statesman moment: bucking the Party to personally invite Moore to the convention. Real nice. For all the reasons Derek laid out, I'm sure the Democrats were real excited about that one.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/28/2004

Yeah, but nitpicking every single person who speaks at the convention (yours is going to have Rick Santorum somewhere in the midst of it, which is worse than anyone the Dems will put on stage) is not the same thing as a reasonable observer recognizing what the Democrats have been doing and doing quite effectively so far. And the democrats should get serious points for keeping Michael Moore at bay -- and doing so intentionally. moore does not realize it, or maybe he is a genius and he does -- but in whining about not being allowed anywhere near the Fleet Center Moore has not so subtly hinted that he has some thirst for power above principle by saying that he has not endorsed kerry yet either. And Kerry thanks you. I hope this escalates so that Kerry can use Moore as his punching bag for a Sister Souljah moment.
dc


Grant W Jones - 7/28/2004

Anybody catch Yahya Hendi's benediction? A real advocate for the seperation of church and state, no doubt.

www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing3/witness_emerson.htm


Tom Bruscino - 7/28/2004

I understand completely. I have gotten in trouble once or twice for my, uh, zeal, too.

You bring up some serious and real, though absolutely debatable, issues with the Bush adminstration. I am working on an article right now that will address some of the same concerns, and I will annouce it on Rebunk if and when that article comes out.


Ben H. Severance - 7/28/2004

Tom,

Let me try to get us back to the happy blogging where we were in agreement about the importance of military history? I was way off on the "docile and stupid" comment, and you were right to rebuke me on that score. But then I blog the same way I talk with friends at the bar or during a ballgame, basically I often make outrageous statements. As a scholar, I usually temper my language and try to understand and respect those who support the Bush administration and Republican party. In all honesty, in 2000 I was ready to vote Republican had that party gone with McCain, instead of a handpicked stooge. And on other sites, I have offered conditional support for the war on terror and the nation-building in Iraq. Having said that, I am convinced that the country needs new leadership and I trust Kerry's character. Thus, I see no hypocrisy in, on the one hand, lambasting what I consider a reckless administration that has essentially shitcanned America's international reputation and capriciously squandered the Clinton surplus through imprudent tax-cuts, and then on the other, finding encouragement in a Kerry ticket that promises to restore moderation and common sense in its efforts to get the U.S. back on track as a reputable world leader and as a generous steward of the public weal. While "anybody but Bush" may have been the Democrats' lackluster cry of several months ago, the new and confident message is increasingly "Send John Kerry!"


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/28/2004

OK, so that clarifies a bit. i still maintain that this has bveen incredibly positive and optimistic. As historians or even as observers, we do not compare party conventions to debating clubs or Rotary meetings or Inaugurals or anything else. the only serious comparison one ought to make is between other conventions. By that standard, this has been incredibly optimistic and positive and not especially slandarous. But it is a Party convention, and thus by definition and implication will be partisan. You can claim to have heard a lot of the Anyone But Bush stuff, and that is certainly out there, but there has not yet been a speech, other than reagan's, in which kerry has not been front and center.
My hope, echoing a recent New Republic piece, is that Kerry does not try to make a great speech, but that rather he makes the right speech and a good speech. the attempt to aspire to greatness sometimes means shoehorning phrases in there in hopes that it will catch fire. He should take a page from the Clinton playbook, but he also ought to sit down for a while and convey who he is as much as who he is not, that latter being, I think, Tom's point about the potential pitfall for the democrats -- that the anybody but Bush stuff will mobilize some folks, but it may well not be enough to win an election or to draw independent voters.
dc


Tom Bruscino - 7/28/2004

I agree about the convention, and I am quite positive that Edwards' speech, at least, will continue the general trend. My point about the convention is that there is still a lot of the 'anyone but Bush' stuff going on in Boston. For example, I saw Bob Graham doing an interview this morning, and when asked if he was disappointed that he didn't get the VP nod, his reply was that all he was focused on was getting George W. Bush out of the White House. Sure, but I think the message the Democrats are trying to send is that all they are focused on is getting John Kerry into the White House. Of course the campaign is going to include adamant appeals of why they think the current administration is wrong, but they have no shortage of that stuff already. The focus on President Bush has to continue to be toned down if the Democrats want to present a generally positive image to the American people.

I should have been clearer in my previous comment. The first paragraph, like in this comment, was meant to discuss Derek's post. The second paragraph was aimed directly at Mr. Severance's comments. My intent in pulling quotations from Mr. Severance's comment was not to be simplistic or reductionist about the general trend in Boston. As far as I know, he is not in Boston or in any way a part of the Kerry campaign. I was trying to be polite in pointing out Mr. Severance's very personal hypocrisy in applauding a return to optimism and then reverting to mudslinging. And I tried to quote fairly, so I included the potentially legitimate criticisms like "Machiavellian" and "narrow-minded" (though I disagree) with the more silly barbs like "sinister" and "militaristic." (By the way, I agree, there is no doubt that the Bush administration has been simplistic in its dialogue, but that is not what Mr. Severance said.) The "docile and stupid" nonsense just kind of sealed the deal.


Derek Charles Catsam - 7/28/2004

Tom --
On a relative scale compared to other conventions in US history, and looking at how the Dems have reigned it in, this has been incredibly optimistic. Please let's not be so reductionist and simplistic as to believe that by pulling our phrases you can disprove the totality of what is happening in Boston. By the way -- I do believe that the administration shows tendencies toward simplistic, narrow-iminded Machiavelian dialogue. Saying someone is wrong and being adamant about that does not at the same time mean that things are notion the whole optimistic.
dc


Tom Bruscino - 7/28/2004

Certainly the Democrats are giving one hell of an effort to be on message and optimistic. I think the Clinton and Obama speeches were a step in that direction. But many of their other speeches and interviews around the convention have focused more on 'anyone but Bush' than 'Kerry would make a great president.' That is something they are going to need to clean up to help them win in November.

Calling the Bush administration "sinister, Machiavellian, militaristic, narrow-minded" does not signify a return to optimism. Nor does the accusation that anything but a decisive Democratic victory in November means the American people "are docile and stupid." Reasonable, smart, and aggresive people can and do disagree about who would make a better president this year. Read, say, oh I don't know, this weblog and its comments for some examples.


Ben H. Severance - 7/28/2004

Derek,

You are right to invoke the young FDR and the original JFK. Obama is infusing the Democratic party with vitality and a strong sense of optimism. Frankly, Kerry's candidacy has been encouraging me of late with its growing optimism. Clinton's comments about strength and wisdom are right on the money. Anyway, the DNC is demonstrating that the Democrats are offering a fresh alternative to the sinister, Machiavellian, militaristic, narrow-minded Bush administration. It's because of rising leaders such as Obama and seasoned leaders such as John Kerry that I have predicted a decisive Democractic victory in November. Anything else will mean that the people of this nation are docile and stupid.


Stephen Tootle - 7/28/2004

He was great.


Ralph E. Luker - 7/28/2004

Obama was awesome.


Jonathan Dresner - 7/28/2004

Obama's been getting even more attention here in Hawai'i, as he grew up here. Didn't see the speech (I'll try and catch it later, on C-Span's time-delayed tape), but the interviews I've read certainly look good, and his personal and professional background are good, so far, and his legislative record sounds fantastic.

Subscribe to our mailing list