An Air Of Unity

28 08 2008
Barack Obama Flickrstream

Credit: Barack Obama Flickrstream

The last two nights in Denver have been exhilarating for a couple of reasons. There was an air of unity. We saw history made, things that future generations will study for years to come. We saw raw excitement over the process of government. Hillary Clinton proved herself a master statesman, Bill Clinton put his seal of approval on it (and despite his recent crankiness, he did very well last night) and Joe Biden who was expected to be an attack dog surprised me by showing a very personal side to himself.

Tonight, we will watch, or some of us at least, Barack Obama at Invesco Field where he will accept the nomination (well, he already has) as the Democratic candidate for president. I have a feeling tonight will increase the excitement of the last couple of weeks where Obama buzz has been at a high although it still hasn’t hit the polls yet.

I’m allowing myself the luxury of enjoying the convention, but as soon as the last balloon drops, I want to know Obama’s outline for change.

To say, “Hey, I want some change” is fine and groovy but we need to know exactly how these changes will be outlined and dissected to be manageable for not only our country’s leadership but for the American people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m riding the wave but I’m also a realist.

This country, or it appears to me, is in much worse shape than let’s say when Bill Clinton took office in 16 years ago. I don’t expect anyone to fix it over night, but I also want to see some specifics.

Every one, I don’t care who you are, has a personal agenda when it comes to voting for their candidate. There are hot button issues that are usually on the surface that will make voters who aren’t going to read the details who will vote for things they care about. George Bush and Karl Rove depended on that and ran all the way to the bank by throwing out controversial buzz words like abortion, illegal immigrants and gay marriage which were weapons of mass distraction against other issues such as a weakening economy, the war in the Middle East and some very sneaky stuff happening in Washington.

The message was to those folks that still may not sit down and read the the actual drafts for political reform on different levels.

I’m going to, but not every one does.

And I do think an awareness is happening in this election year where the Rovian style of dive bomb distraction politics aren’t going to get it this year. That makes me hopeful.

And this is what concerns me for Obama to a degree. He needs to be very detailed in the things he is talking about changing: the economy, healthcare and withdrawal from Iraq.

Let’s enjoy the rest of this week, then let’s see if the change the Obama camp is talking about are reasonable things that can be put into motion to move this country forward.

On The Stump With The Candidates

17 02 2008

I love the way that political writers address campaign races and what they have their candidates say. But the candidates have to deliver these words correctly, which sometimes works.

And sometimes it doesn’t.

They use words like “legacy,” “change,” “Party-divide,” “Unity,” “Grassroots Support,” “Hope,” “Experience” etc.

It’s a bunch of words that have punch. Those words are deliberately written for our candidates because they get attention and make a point without saying very much at all. (Sidenote: don’t get me wrong but I’ve heard some state guys speak and it’s sometimes amazing to hear them which is akin to listening to squirrels breed which isn’t pretty. I like to use the Seinfeld word “low-talker” or someone chewing marbles but I must admit I saw Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey speak recently and he did very well. Sort of a combination of Ned McWherter’s homespun rhetoric and Mitt Romney’s slickness but I’ll be damned if it didn’t work. Also, Steve Cohen has it going on as well as he does keep your attention with a combination of things I cannot describe but mainly it’s because he has some of that Memphis One-Two punch in his vocal patterns that just works.)

Obviously, you know where I’m going with this.

Let’s look at John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the stump.

John McCain

mccain.jpgFirst out is McCain. Sometimes I think he has that aging grandfather thing going on and he’s not as bad as people make him out to be. He could easily fall into low-talker status and, although it’s not been as evident in this campaign, he used to lose his temper a bit so you didn’t know what you were getting when he was in an interview. But there is a softness to his voice, believe it or not, that has a tone of warmth on occasion. And he was pretty
direct in the debates but that’s not on the stump, where he looks a bit tired. On the downside, sometimes I end up saying “Huh” because I have no idea where he was going with a thought. Fred Thompson was a master of good speeches in his former political career. Who knows what happened this go-around. Not I.

Hillary Clinton

Next is Hillary Clinton. Tammy Wynette was known for having a “click” in her voice which I can attest to. When I was in radio spinning vinyl, that click was apparent when she would shift from one octave into a higher tone. Made Wynette famous because it was unique.hillary_clinton-725679.jpg Clinton has a “click” too when she moves into a higher register when she’s hammering a point. Aesthetically, she’s pretty light on stage and she’s good at eye-contact and connecting with the audience more than people give her the benefit of the doubt for. When she does the “click” thing, it unfortunately can go either way at times and there in lies her biggest challenge. She has more swagger when she keeps her voice low and on an even keel. And, to her advantage, she does pepper policy into speeches although I don’t still think she’s aggressively explained her votes that have been off-putting to some voters. Giving credit where I think it’s due though because on the Democratic side of this election, she’s dealing with a masterful orator who blows everyone else out of the water.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee speaks with a southern warmth that engulfs his followers into the warmhuckabee.jpg fuzzies. (But I’m of the school that dinosaurs did exist so, as I’ve written, Huckabee sort of wigs me out at times.) Huckabee also looks like he is amused at times and that he has a sense of humor that appears authentic which helps. Huckabee isn’t going to win it, but he comes off as a nice guy which works for him. Of course, he has Ric Flair and Chuck Norris as his body guards so I guess that helps as they will beat you into a pulp if you don’t embrace him with a gooey hug. Let’s move on.

Barack Obama

There isn’t any doubt that Barack Obama will go down as one of the greatest speakers of this time. Obama is a great orator, the best of my generation. He can read the phone bookbarack__obama.jpg and make it interesting. With that said, his campaign has been hit for being more style over substance but I don’t believe that is exactly fair to him, as the shrill argument isn’t fair to Clinton. Obama’s charisma is amazing, but as much as it inspires it also moves into a problem for him. Many times his speeches evoke listeners into feelings (which is brilliant) but creates fodder for his political opponents which is fair. Apparently he’s going to start detailing more policy details as he’s speaking to a crowd which I think is good. The one thing that Obama has to worry about is that he wants people to remember what he said and not how brilliantly he said it.

With all of that said as I’m apparently PunditComa this morning, all of the candidates know how to properly say “Nuclear” which pleases me to no end.

Prosperity And Peace?

8 02 2008

Just two questions.

Where is the prosperity and where is the peace, Pres. Bush?

President Bush, rallying conservatives for a battle against Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, says “prosperity and peace” are at stake in the upcoming election for his successor.

“We have had good debates and soon we will have a nominee who will carry the conservative banner into this election and beyond,” Bush said in prepared remarks of a speech he was to give Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Prosperity and peace are in the balance,” the president said in speech excerpts the White House released on Thursday night. “So with confidence in our vision and faith in our values, let us go forward … fight for victory … and keep the White House in 2008.”

Karl Rove back in town?

Vibinc Says …

31 01 2008

Vibinc offers a very thoughtful analysis of what it’s like to be a yellow-dog democrat. For me to even pull one snippet out wouldn’t do the whole piece justice.

Head his to his home on the web to read his thoughts on the democratic race for president.

Edwards Out But Why?

30 01 2008

I’m sort of surprised that John Edwards decided to bow out. The cynic in me thinks there is more here than meets the eye as that’s usually going on with politicians. We see one thing, but other stuff is going on as well.

You never know.

In all honesty, I don’t know why he didn’t do any better. I was leaning heavily toward voting for him even though I knew he wasn’t going to get the stage in Denver.I thought he’d stick around and gather up a smattering of delegates and start brokering deals.

That’s how it’s usually done. Politicians wheel and deal.

I’m sort of surprised that Edwards didn’t do that. Or did we? Once again, you never know.

And that cynic is me is asking “What happened?” Because I think something did. Either personal or a deal down the line perhaps?

Not sure.

A member of my staff is a HUGE Edwards supporter and she is somewhat heartbroken although she is a realist as well. She liked him and every day I would get an update on him from her, something I rather enjoyed over coffee each morning. It’s the enthusiasm that she shared that brightened my morning. I wish I could have 1/4th of her energy and passion about this race, but I don’t.

And now we are down to four choices. Two republicans, two democrats…

It is what it is.

Thompson Weighing The Options

20 01 2008

I think there are a lot of Tennesseans today watching Fred Thompson to see what he’s going to do next. Looking at some of the posts around the blogosphere from last night as well as Ken Whitehouse’s excellent first person perspective from South Carolina, it seems that Thompson will be sputtering toward the presidential light at the end of the proverbial tunnel within the next few days.

I’m not so sure, honestly, but I think they are right. He lost South Carolina, the state he was predicted to sweep in the early days of his campaign.

When Thompson (finally) announced last summer, I’ll be honest, I was a bit worried. I thought he would do much better than he has, of course, we didn’t anticipate the Huckabee/Norris ticket or the Internet buzz of Ron Paul. When MSM was trying to bury John McCain, who I’ve always thought was a force to be reckoned with personally, they tended to make Thompson all sexy.

But here’s the thing, he wasn’t. Not once in this race has he lived up to the hype and spin that was the focus during the pre-announcement days of his plans to run for president. His campaign was something that the Republicans and the Democrats anticipated quite anxiously.

And then when he actually announced it went downhill fast.

Although he has the cool voice and the popular acting career, he has been unfocused and appears to be tired. He has literally napped through the debates as well as the campaign and, this is just me talking, he has appeared to not really care about winning.

Americans are a funny breed when it comes to voting. They want spark and fire or they want someone they feel they can relate to. Or they vote for the person they wouldn’t mind trading places with. They like the underdog as well, and Thompson has not capitalized on that at all which if he really wanted the White House, he would have done. Voters love the comeback kids of the world. They do not want a candidate who has a sense of entitlement or who looks absolutely bored to death.

On top of everything else, he just doesn’t seem to want it.

Now, with that said I interviewed Thompson when he was running for the Senate back in the day. (Yeah, I’m long in the tooth, shut up.) He was a fantastic interview but that was a decade and a half ago. He was driving the red-pick up, talking with that home-spun charm he was famous for and he was pretty fiery. And he sold the moderate Republican package very well (I’ve been around the block a time or too, I knew spin when I saw it but he did it well.) Of course, after eight years of Bush, Republicans don’t do the moderate thing like they used to. And the thing is, I know a ton of moderate Republicans but for whatever reason it’s not translating to national races these days. I guess what I’m saying is he didn’t seem like a bad guy at all.  I didn’t vote for him, mind you, but as a rural reporter on the beat back in the day, he was a fun interview.

But that fire is no longer there. Could it be the cancer battle he recently endured? Could it be that he was “expected” to run?  Is he sticking around to help out McCain, as some pundits believe?  Is he going to stick it out until Super Tuesday?

Either way, a third-place finish in South Carolina is bad news for Fred Dalton.

Good One, Badger

9 01 2008


Go to Craven’s World and read what she has to say about the forgotten candidate.