Sunday, September 7, 2008


We should all be deeply indebted to the Republican party as they continue to give us a primer in how to win friends and influence people. As we go through the next 60 days, we should keep in mind those invaluable pointers that will set the parameters for how this race should be run. In no particular order of importance, these criteria are:

1. Perception is reality- As we watched Senator McCain talk,he reminded us all that he HATED WAR. Will someone please remind us that this is true when he refuses to talk to our 'enemies' and escalates our troop involvement around the globe in the next 4 years.

When we hear the shouts of USA, USA emanating from every corner of the arena, we know that the Republicans are telling us that they are real Americans and we are not. Why then do they abandon so many of us (the poor, the minorities) each and every day?

When Governor Palin talks of having a special needs child and protecting all those with similar problems, will she promise to support stem cell research? When she speaks of replacing Hillary Clinton to break the glass ceiling for all women, will she promote any one of the causes that Senator Clinton so clearly believes in for women's rights?

Policy positions fall in this glazed over Alice in Wonderland universe. There is nothing attached to these people other than their superficiality. I sometimes feel like I am watching a fourth grade election. Whether the Democrats want to believe it or not, this is a popularity contest and the person with the most interesting story, not the most impressive credentials, is the one bound to emerge with hands aloft.

The Democrats must stop talking about their positions and must start talking about about anything but their positions.

2. Negative is positive- John McCain long ago promised that he would not turn this contest into a battle of negatives. Can he please tell his henchmen and Governor Palin of this promise? Can Senator McCain not tell us that the Democrats would increase taxes for everyone when 95% of us would receive a tax cut under Senator Obama's plan.

How is it that Governor Palin can somehow mock Senator Obama who chose not to cash in on his economic opportunities after Harvard Law School but decided to devote his time and energy to community service for the most unfortunate in Chicago? Governor Palin in equating her time as Mayor of Wasilla to Senator Obama's time as a community organizer, except with real responsibilities, minimalized and diminished his accomplishments.

3. There is no past- It was amazing to watch Senator McCain and Governor Palin warn Washington that they should watch out, because change is coming with the Republicans. I could have sworn that McCain has been a member in good standing of this party for 26 years, but I guess that was someone else (his evil twin). This 'maverick' who voted along with the Republican position in over 90% of the votes in the past year, must be different from the person espousing change as the centerpiece of his candidacy. When McCain spoke of understanding that so many of us were hurting and distressed, but that he would come to our rescue, he must have been speaking in tongues. He and Palin have managed to 'third party' the Republican party and separate themselves from the disasters the party has created.

4.We can amend our statement at any time- Can the Republicans do any better a job of 'recreationism' than what they have done with the war, as we followed a journey from attacking the ones who took down our buildings, to destroying those with weapons of mass destruction, to preserving democracy? They take the message of the moment and shape it and twist it and mold it and it becomes anything they want it to be.

Obama was not ready to lead, he was not a person with enough experience. When Palin surfaced, and when the experience issue did not create the momentum building that Republicans hoped for, they now shift the message to tell us that the maverick and the hockey mom are the only ones who will bring us change. Obama's change is an intellectual exercise. The change that McCain and Palin will bring is rooted in the 5 years of captivity of McCain and the hockey mom toughness of Palin. Forget that they are part of the establishment. Forget experience, remember change (and forget that the Democrats brought this concept to us , and believe this is a Republican idea).

5. Stupid is the new smart- While the Democrats are the party of Al Gore, the Clintons and Obama, their intellectual accomplishments only mean that they are elitist. It is much more comfortable for us to believe in people who are more like us, lousy students, with not a great deal of smarts (would we all agree that McCain graduating 5th from the bottom of his class,and Palin running through more colleges than anyone you or I know ever did, does not demonstrate a great deal of intellectual industriousness?) . Smart is bad, dumb is good. Smart is out of touch, dumb is being one of the people. It is a world turned upside down, and the Republicans stand on top of this universe.

6. Where's Waldo?- My family and I spent several nights looking at a sea of white and whiter faces. Could one imagine a party any more segregated? The good ol' boys and girls of the Republican convention barely try to hide their disregard for those who are not one of them. It is an us against you mentality and a call to gather together to protect us against those who are different. The Democrats, and their all inclusiveness, have an identity crisis.

7. Different playing fields- When Obama and Clinton squared off, the party was energized, the candidates were energized and there was a debate in which each person was addressing similar questions. The Republicans do not answer the questions the Democrats raise on policy issues. The Republicans set their own agenda on personality issues. If the Democrats insist on talking to the people about what they will do, instead of who they are, they may be talking right past those people who they must bring into the fold. Obama seems unsure of where his message should take him. The drive and enthusiasm seem strangely lacking. With Clinton, he could do battle . With McCain, he is likely to find someone who will not engage him, but will deflect and redirect. Unless Obama can chase McCain down, he may be in serious trouble.

It is time for the Democrats to take stock of what the Republicans are teaching. If, in all their intellectual capacity, they cannot learn these lessons quickly and well, they may find themselves on the outside looking in to Wonderland for another 4 years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, but too scary! I can't think about it. Keep on keepin' on.

Mauricio from Kenwood