Thursday, August 28, 2008

Odd Couple - Michelle & Sorensen

I have to confess to not watching much (okay…almost none) of the Democrat Convention now playing in Denver to the usual captive audience blathering the usual inanities, though theirs is hardly worse than the banalities of the speakers who are paraded across the podium for their few minutes of supposed fame to yammer about education, poverty, health-care, war – the usual stuff that's resurrected every four years from tombs of no-action by every administration and congress from time immemorial…or at least in memory. One may find the protesters much more entertaining and actually long for the days of 1968 in Chicago, when Mayor Daly the First set the police upon the carousing hippy-dippy, free-love types who were so high brain-wise that they could have floated body-wise out over lake Michigan.

Back then the convention amounted to something since the candidates were actually elected by the delegates on-scene. The choice of Hubert Humphrey was disastrous, but such would have been the case with any democrat. Lyndon Johnson had long since abdicated, the administration had obviously decided not to win the Vietnam War, the civil rights stuff actually belonged more to the republicans than the democrats (those insensitive southerners), and so Humphrey became the sacrificial lamb. By contrast, the current administration, also caught up in wars, has made it plain that these wars will be won, whatever that might mean. The nation is buying time for the whole world, and gobs of government heads know this, so the world-unpopularity thing that democrats harp about constantly is a red herring.

Speaking of the world, I'm reminded of the delegates-awaiting-with-bated-breath speech of Michelle Obama. I listened to that oration, since all the other speeches could be expected to be the usual boilerplate that puts people to sleep, no matter how passionately delivered. Also, she shoots from the lip, so she might have been expected to say something interesting. She disappointed. Her speech was all about what Barack Obama would do for the world. She touched on this theme enough that it became key to the whole bit. All the usual other stuff (blue-collar beginnings, good parents) was there but she harped on Barack as the hope of the world. This perhaps explains his gravitas-enhancing campaign in Germany, France and Afghanistan, where in about a week he learned enough to be the messiah for the whole world. Egad!

Michelle Obama made sure to say unequivocally that she LOVES this country, an absolute must for her since she campaigned on a theme of her own expressing just the opposite and noting how "mean" this country is. I was tempted to head for the antacids when she mentioned Obamessiah's great achievements in the Senate, perhaps never realizing that everyone knows that since he entered that august body in January 2005 he's been AWOL for the most part and would find it difficult to locate a restroom in the capitol, much less his office. In any case, any freshman senator is about as effective as warm spit during her/his entire initial term, even if he IS reputed to be savior of the world.

Perhaps the strangest episode occurred on Tuesday afternoon. I caught it while just surfing. Ted Sorensen, speechwriter for and confidant of President John F. Kennedy (nominated 1960), was walking toward the podium, so I decided to listen to this man, the ultimate insider and one of the "later whiz kids" associated with Kennedy, who, by the way, would not be recognized today as a democrat. I was amazed to hear Sorensen completely equalize Obama with Kennedy – "had finally lived long enough to recognize a candidate (Obama) who stacks up with Kennedy" – or, something like that.

This fawning was sickening. Kennedy served three terms in the House and was on his second term in the Senate when he was nominated. He was a decorated WWII PT-Boat skipper whose craft was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer in 1943. He led the surviving crew members (nearly all) through a six-day-night ordeal of swimming and island-hopping that became the stuff of legends, and then made it out, courtesy of natives hiding him under palm fronds in a boat, to lead rescuers back to them himself. To compare Obama to Kennedy was practically blasphemy…but anything goes in the world of politics, even by old codgers who would sell their souls for the party, with loyalty, at least to a memory, of no consequence.

Sorensen even charged that the Marines went to Iraq for oil, while Kennedy instituted the Peace Corps as well as overcame Kruschev and the Soviets in the "Cuban Missile Crisis" of 1962. He hasn't been in a cave for the last few years, so he certainly knows that if this country were after Iraq's oil it would be shipping it into the states by the tanker-full. He also should know that saving the U.S. from Soviet missile-attacks from Cuba was the same as saving the U.S. from those vowing to destroy this country through terror currently. There's nothing more pathetic than an old bureaucrat who, after being privileged to function in the excitement of government, does a complete sellout vis-à-vis integrity.

The notion in this corner is that voters may well decide to elect a republican president along with a democrat-controlled Congress, maintaining the current situation. Senator Biden has caused no groundswell of enthusiasm, if any, and it's doubtful that Obama will get much of a "bump" when all the posturing is over in Denver. In any case, the whole thing is "dullsville," as will be the republican clambake next week, though McCain, the ultimate surprise-maker, may spice-up the affair.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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