I’ve been dying to blog for days, but family matters have prevented it. As it is I’m supposed to be out the door with all my kids in half an hour, and I’m probably not going to make it — at least not with everybody’s hair fixed.
I try to keep a balance on this blog between political and non-political posts, but I hope my readers will forgive me if during these final days of the presidential campaign politics dominates my blog, as it dominates my thoughts.
First, McCain’s imminent VP announcement. Imagine my elation when I sat down to feed the baby at 5:00 a.m., turned on the news, and learned that a plane from Anchorage, Alaska, had recently arrived in Dayton, Ohio, all very hush-hush. When I wrote my Sarah Palin for VP post, I really thought I was setting myself up for disappointment, that McCain would pick Romney or Ridge or some other uninspiring, middle-aged white guy who’d look washed out beside the glare of Obama’s star power. With his inspired choice of the Alaska governor, however, things are looking very bright indeed for the McCain campaign.
Second, all the Democrats’ speeches that I meant to comment on but didn’t because one or more of my four children needed something or wanted something just when I was sitting down to write.
Hillary — yes, I know I commented the other day, but another thought occurred to me after I did so. When I was watching Hillary Clinton’s speech the other night, it struck me that her endless repetition of how proud she was – a proud mother, a proud Senator from New York, a proud Democrat, a proud American – seemed unnecessary and even a little self-destructive. After all, who doubts for a moment that either Bill or Hillary Clinton possesses a sufficient – one might even say excessive – amount of pride? Then the next day I realized why she said it, and said it again and again and again. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it at the time, especially since Michelle Obama looked so angry listening to the speech. The endless litany of pride was Hillary’s way of subtly (and it was subtle, since I didn’t even think of it until long after the speech was over) reminding people of Michelle’s comment that the first time she was ever really proud of her country was when Barack started doing so well in the presidential primary. Am I reading too much into the speech? Maybe. I’m suspicious by nature. Being the mother of sneaky little girls does that to one. But I don’t think so. You know the Clintons and all their top gun advisers went over and over and over every detail of that speech for weeks, parsing every word for the effect it might produce. A proud American is Hillary…unlike somebody else, who shall remain nameless. She’s a cool customer, that one. I wouldn’t have voted for her because I disagree with her policy positions, but I have to say, she’s more than a match in diabolical cleverness for any dastardly dictator who might give the U.S. trouble on the international scene.
Bill Clinton — I have to admit, I thought he was all washed up, yesterday’s news, superceded in his star power by the smooth, suave and much younger Barack Obama. I was wrong. Bill may be on the scary side of 60, but damn, he’s still got it. The day after his wife’s wooden and ineffective speech, old Bill hit one out of the park. As usual, my husband couldn’t see it, says I’m a typical woman, taken in by the Clinton charm, and that his delivery was grating as always. If that’s the case, why does every male pundit on TV, including the conservative ones, concede the former president gave a good speech? The fact is, the man can work a crowd like nobody’s business. He always could. How I wish we had somebody on our side who had that magic rhetorical touch. We had it in Reagan (who was even better than Clinton) but haven’t had it since. But that’s style. In terms of substance, Clinton’s speech could have been titled, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics,” in Mark Twain’s immortal words. The man always could twist facts and figures into flights of rhetorical fancy that leave the ignorant totally bamboozled, and the knowledgeable shaking their heads at the stunning audacity of his misrepresentations.
Biden — rhetorically, a very impressive performance. Substantively, same old same old. Substitute Ted Kennedy or any other old-line party hack, and the message would have been the same. Personally, however, Biden is a sympathetic character. His first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident in the 1970s, leaving Biden a single father of two little boys, a vocation he fulfilled admirably, by all accounts. His son in the National Guard is due to deploy in Iraq next month, adding to the patriotism quotient of the ticket. His attractive wife could have come straight out of central casting, looking every inch the part of a senator’s wife.
Obama’s very long acceptance speech last night — hmm. The crowd seemed to like it, but all I kept thinking was, Sweetie (as Barack liked to call us gals before the feminists slapped his wrist and made him stop), you’re no Bill Clinton.