Oh, the irony postscripts

There are two:
1. Kostyn slept basically through the night three nights in a row!! The night of Palin's speech was the first. Unfortunately, last night we were up with him seven times between us, but I think that has more to do with the cold he seems to be developing than anything else. Poor sniffly soul. Hope he sleeps better tonight. (Hope we all do!)

2. People have asked me, since I mentioned it, what I thought of Palin's speech. I think Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News summed it up best for me (his commentary follows... and if you're sick of my political opinions, and I know some of you dear Red Staters must be, feel free to skip this one).:

Palin's speech to nowhere

Sarah Palin delivered a great speech tonight -- for her party, for John McCain, for herself, for what she set out to accomplish. This was America's first real glimpse at the Alaska governor, and what we saw was a boffo politician who speaks in a plaintive prairie voice that channels America's Heartland like a chilling breeze rippling a field of wheat, who knows how to tell a joke, how to bring down the house and bring a tear to a few eyes. She is proud of her family, as she should be, and there is much to admire in her own "personal journey of discovery" (don't we all have these, by the way?) including her efforts to raise her son Trig. It is indeed nice to think that there would be an advocate for such children inside the corridors of the White House, although I'd surely like to hear what -- if anything -- she's done for special needs kids as governor of Alaska.

But...it was a great speech -- written for someone else, a male in fact, days before the Palin selection was even a gleam in John McCain's eye, but a great speech nonetheless. The pundits are fawning over it as I write this -- Tom Brokaw said she could not have been "more winning and more engaging" -- and in a world that is dominated by horse race journalism I can understand why, because I agree that Palin's one-of-a-kind story has given her long shot running mate a decent chance now of pulling this one out at the finish line.

It's a good metaphor, a horse race, because in the end it finishes right near where it started -- just as it will be for America if John McCain and Sarah Palin are sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009. Yes, it was a great speech politically, and a great night for her family, but an empty speech for America -- and for America's families. It was defined by its lowest moment, Palin's shameless lie about "the Bridge to Nowhere."

This was a Speech to Nowhere.

It was a Speech to Nowhere when Palin said that "I told the Congress 'Thanks but no thanks' on that Bridge to Nowhere," because that was a lie, and the worst kind of lie in American politics, a blatant falsehood that showed utter contempt for the American people that Palin pledged to serve, assuming we are too stupid to look up or know that truth, that she pushed for those funds in Congress and while she got great political mileage out of announcing that she was killing the project, she still has not returned the funds to the American people.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin also boasted seconds before that other lie of fighting against wasteful earmarks in Congress, even though she pushed for and accepted $27 million of such grants when she was mayor of Wasilla.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin said that "we've got lots" of oil and gas in this country, and while one supposes that all depends upon what your definition of the words "lots" is, the production of oil in the United States has been irrevocably on the decline since 1970, and with her words she showed this nation that she and John McCain will perpetrate the dangerous myths that began with Ronald Reagan at his acceptance speech in 1980, that sunny optimism is the solution to all our energy woes, and not a posture that put energy research on a war footing, or requires moral leadership on conservation, mass transit, or any other common sense answers whatsoever.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin boasted that "I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies," and the audience cheered -- after eight brutal years of the same crowd's cheering for two oilmen in the White House who fiddled while $4-a-gallon gas burned and while American men and women died in a needless war fought on top of an oilfield, and while lobbyist friends like Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed got rich at the same time.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin had the nerve to talk at length about John McCain's "torturous interrogations" in the very same speech when she all but condoned the continuation of similar, abhorrent practices that have been directed for eight years by our own U.S. leaders, when she stated that Democrats are "worried that someone won't read them [terrorism suspects] their rights."

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin belittled "community organizers" -- thousands of Americans who work long hours for little pay in some of the toughest neighborhoods, trying to assist the American Dream that even the poorest among us can pull themselves out of the muck with a helping hand. Palin and other GOP speakers have turned a noble job into a dirty word tonight -- shame on you! Listen to what CNN's Roland Martin said after Palin's speech was over.

My two parents are sitting home in Houston, Texas and they are both community organizers and the GOP and Sarah Palin might have well have said "being community organizers doesn't matter" to my parents face. I'm disgusted. Community organizers keep people in their homes, keep their lights on, keep food in the fridge.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because it made no mention of the men that Sarah Palin and John McCain are running to replace -- their names are Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, in case you've forgotten this week -- and no acknowledgment that as many as 80 percent of Americans believe this country is on the wrong track, or that you can't solve a nation's problems when you deny they exist.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because...well, I urge everyone to read the text, without Palin's sharp delivery or her adoring fans in the crowd and in the press box, and tell me where there is any kind of policy at all -- except for the short boilerplate passage on energy -- or any mention of the issues that concern everyday Americans, including the No. 1 issue of the economy. Show me the part where this "grand slam" of a speech touches on how citizens can afford health care or sending their kids to college.

But more than anything else, it was a Speech to Nowhere because for all the acclaim, the great bulk of it was devoted to one thing, and that is the one thing that millions of Americans are talking about in 2008 when we talk about "change" -- to the ugliest kind of "pit bull" politics, to use Palin's words, that tear down the other side with cheap ad hominem attacks, surrounded by a cloud of half-truths (uh, those "Greek columns"...did you actually even watch Obama's speech? Because there weren't any) and ridiculous innuendo about "parting the waters," which means nothing but fires up a big hockey rink full of Dittoheads. These kind of vicious attacks -- without having the grace to acknowledge that, despite some real differences on issues with Obama, that he has already accomplished something impressive that says something positive about America and the progress we've made -- were utterly lacking in class. And this is what Tom Brokaw considers "winning" -- have we really sunk that low as a nation? The people of America want and deserve a real debate, not trash talk from the basketball point guard who was once called "Sarah Barracuda."

I hope America wakes up tomorrow and realizes that Sarah Palin's words were rousing -- and completely empty, that they offered no road map (let alone bridge) for America other than more of the bogus partisan name-calling that has gotten us into the mess that we're in now.

Actually, let me rephrase that.

I hope America wakes up tomorrow.


Heather said...

Thanks, Robyn. Excellent column. I hope the average Joe is able to discern propaganda from reality. For the sake of being somewhat egalitarian, I visited John McCain's Web site recently.* I wanted to see how the official verbiage on the issues was crafted. For me, I am very concerned about the war in Iraq. This is McCain's official response:
"I do not want to keep our troops in Iraq a minute longer than necessary to secure our interests there. Our goal is an Iraq that can stand on its own as a democratic ally and a responsible force for peace in its neighborhood."
I took a propaganda class and this is classic manipulative material, albeit lazily scripted. He starts out telling people what they want to hear and then blatantly contradicts himself. Making Iraq a democratic ally? Really? In my lifetime?
I don't think so.

*I may be partial to Obama, but as a professional graphic designer, Obama's Web site is far superior to McCain's in content, design, flow, etc.

Grammy said...

Keep plugging, daughter of mine. You may convince me yet. Love Ya!!

Robyn said...

OK, Mom, I will. :)

Here's what Obama had to say today about his opponents implying that he's soft on terrorists. This is important to me because I worry that some people think Obama supporters don't support our troops, which is ABSOLUTELY not true. I have family and close friends who are active duty military, and I worry about and pray for and support them and their brothers- and sisters-in-arms.

Said during a stop in Farmington Hills, Mich.:
“I have said repeatedly that there should be no contradiction between keeping America safe and secure and respecting our constitution,” Sen. Barack Obama said. “During the Republican convention... one of them, I don’t know if it was Rudy or Palin ... they said ‘Well, ya know, Senator Obama is less interested in protecting you from terrorists than ... reading them their rights.”

(It was Palin, who said “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America -- he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?”)

“Now, let me say this,” Obama continued. “First of all you don’t even get to read them their rights until you catch them. So I don’t know what, they should spend more time trying to catch Osama bin Laden and we can worry about the next steps later...”

Obama said his position on this “has always been clear. It has always been clear. If you’ve got a terrorist, take ‘em out. Take ‘em out. Anybody who was involved in 9/11 -- take ‘em out.”

But, the former constitutional law professor argued, “what I have also said is this, that when you suspend habeas corpus -- which has been a principle dating before even our country, it’s the foundation of Anglo-American law -- which says very simply if the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, ‘Why was I grabbed?’, and say, ‘Maybe you’ve got the wrong person.’

“The reason you have that safeguard,” he said, “is because we don’t always have the right person. We don’t always catch the right person. We may think this is Mohammed the terrorist, it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You may think it’s Barack the bomb thrower, but it might be Barack the guy runnning for president.”

“The reason that you have this principle is not to be soft on terrorism, it’s because that’s who we are,” Obama said as the crowd rose to its feet, applauding. “That’s what we’re protecting. Don’t mock the constitution! Don’t make fun of it! Don’t suggest that it’s un-American to abide by what the founding fathers set up! It’s worked pretty well for over 200 years!”

Heather said...