Thursday, August 28, 2008

DNC Day 3: Excoriating the Right

Here we come, Johnny.

Now, we're talking. Never mind my worries, after DNC Day 1 that the Democrats weren't hitting hard enough.

Last night's speeches at the Democratic National Convention were what the pundits refer to as "red meat." The prominent speakers were Senator John Kerry, President Bill Clinton, and Vice-Presidential nominee, Senator Joe Biden. And they spent the evening laying into Junior and Mad Johnny.

Had I seen the text of the speeches beforehand, I would have had the following advice for McCain: "When you hear the words 'John McCain is a friend of mine...' it's time for you to turn down your hearing aid, but quick!"

Those words were the precursor to brutal but truthful rhetoric that points up how utterly and shamelessly McCain has bowed to blind ambition in his quest for the presidency.

Ripping on McCain
Here's the choice passage from Kerry's speech:
I have known and been friends with John McCain for almost 22 years. But every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, I say, let's compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain.

Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain's own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you're against it. --John Kerry

You can see the speech in its entirety here.

Unifying the party
President Clinton went next and laid to rest any desperate Republican hopes about division within the Democratic party. Clinton has few rivals when it comes to political instincts and one senses that, apart from a sincere wish to not see McCain in the Oval Office, the former president has at least one eye on his legacy within the party. As with Hillary, President Clinton, if he hopes to maintain his influence with Democrats, is compelled to fully and completely support Barack Obama.

That being said, examination of anyone's motives often reveals the less savory aspects of the subject's character. Best not to read too much into it. And the zeal with which Clinton delivered his hits on Republicans was sure to raise Democrats' blood-lust.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and a half million falling into poverty - and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. More band-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm. -- Bill Clinton
You can see the speech in its entirety here.

This man is a fighter
The evening ended with Senator Joe Biden's acceptance speech. Biden was introduced by his son, Beau, who will soon be deployed to fight in Junior's filthy lie of a war. That's more sacrifice than we are ever likely to see out of Junior's two daughters or any other of the Bush clan. And Senator Biden showed his pugnacity by whipping up on McCain with this passage:
John McCain is my friend. We've known each other for three decades. We've traveled the world together. It's a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism John demonstrated still amaze me.

But I profoundly disagree with the direction that John wants to take the country. For example:
John thinks that during the Bush years "we've made great progress economically." I think it's been abysmal.

And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that's not change; that's more of the same.

Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history-a half trillion dollars in the last five years-he wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That's not change; that's more of the same.

Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That's not change; that's more of the same.

He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, that's not change; that's more of the same.

And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that's not change; that's more of the same.

The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver change-the change everybody knows we need. --Joe Biden
You can see the speech in its entirety here.

On a personal level, the remarks that struck home the most were these:

President Obama and Vice President Biden will shut down Guantanamo, respect the Constitution, and make clear once and for all, the United States of America does not torture, not now, not ever. --John Kerry

Most important, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are strong at home. People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power. --Bill Clinton

You know, I believe the measure of a man isn't just the road he's traveled; it's the choices he's made along the way. Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his ticket to Wall Street. But that's not what he chose to do. He chose to go to Chicago. The South Side. There he met men and women who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams deferred. Their dignity shattered. Their self-esteem gone.

And he made their lives the work of his life. That's what you do when you've been raised by a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. That's how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, that work is more than a paycheck. It's dignity. It's respect. It's about whether you can look your children in the eye and say: we're going to be ok. --Joe Biden
The Democrats on the floor roared their approval throughout the night. And Barack Obama made a "suprise" appearance at the end of the evening to rally the troops before his Big Event tonight.
Well, the troops are rallied. The party is united and, unlike the dismal campaign of four years ago, it looks like the Democrats are going to be hitting and hitting hard.

Bad news for Mad Johnny.

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