I’m securely on board the change train. Obama spoke very well, talked very straight, and said the things that needed saying. I liked the way he took John McCain head on without being insulting or mean; that he warned against the Republicans’ tendency to “make a big campaign about small things”; that he referred unflinchingly to long-contentious hot-button issues: abortion, gun control and gay rights, among them, and called for sensible compromise in an imaginative approach that is undeniably new in American politics. He cited more than two dozen specifics of his strategy for change and, overall, succeeded in looking forceful and presidential.
I’ve absorbed just a little of the Republican commentary on the Democratic convention and have been absolutely stunned by their nastiness, outright lies, deliberate misinterpretations, and playing all the other cards of obfuscation and fear in the political deck. I imagine that John McCain watched Barack Obama’s acceptance and went into a swoon of fury and surprise; what else could explain his selection of a conservative hockey-mom for vice president? I think Obama will make chopped meat out of him in the debates, and that, much like Humphrey Bogart as the uber-paranoid Capt. Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, McCain will unintentionally show his anger and lack of qualification and be felled by them.
Meanwhile, Obama has to get elected, which I’m now more hopeful will happen, thanks to the army of 85,000 campaign workers who were energized by the convention and its history-making candidate. Peggy Noonan, the brilliant political writer with seriously wrong-headed views, said in today’s Wall Street Journal that “Mr. Obama left a lot of space for Mr. McCain to play the happy warrior next week. He left the Republicans a big opportunity to wield against him, in contrast [to Obama’s seriousness], humor, and wit, and even something approximating joy.” Joy? If the Republicans are joyful, all that feeling reflects is the contentment and sheltered reality of the nation’s upper crust. That any working and middle class persons connect with those people never ceases to amaze me.