The Irony of Hope

Discussion in 'Congress' started by The BKP, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. The BKP
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    The BKP Grand Inquistor

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    In 1992, Bill Clinton was “The Man from Hope”.

    Barack Obama has portrayed his life as “The Audacity of Hope”.

    When you look at Senators Obama and McCain’s vice presidential picks, though, you have what might best be characterized as the “Irony of Hope”.

    Prior to the announcement of their respective running mates, the public impression of the two presidential nominees and the thematic emphasis of their campaigns were polar opposites. Obama’s youthful exuberance; finely manicured image and refined cool style; emphasis on judgment rooted in intellectual rigor; the generational shift he led within Democratic Party leadership; and opposition to general Republican principals and Bush Administration policies specifically was summed up in his campaign motto, “Change We Can Believe In”.

    In sharp contrast, McCain presented himself as the seasoned and experienced hand; a national security and foreign policy sage that brought years of military and legislative experience to the table; having abandoned his image as a maverick he appeared to be just another staid Republican that had adopted Conservative principals for political expediency; ultimately he was a curmudgeonly graying warrior doggedly pursuing one last mission. His campaign motto, “Putting America First” was lifted from the decades old Republican playbook and was as unimaginative as it was uninspiring.

    These distinct and polar opposite public impressions of the two created as many negatives as they did positives for the two campaigns.

    While Obama was the candidate of change, questions concerning his experience and preparedness to lead still haunted him from the contentious Democratic primaries. Having served in the Senate for only two years prior to announcing his run for the presidency, his limited exposure to national security and foreign policy issue increasingly appeared as a liability in the general election.

    McCain, on the other hand, suffered from a lack of enthusiasm, both among the general public and a Republican base that was demoralized from the abysmal public opinion ratings of President Bush; uncertain of McCain’s Conservative credentials and sincerity; and beleaguered by the seemingly daily insistence of the media that the race was over for all intents and purposes with Obama’s victory being a foregone conclusion. Conventional wisdom held that a stereotypical “Rich White Guys Only” Republican ticket stood no chance against a Democratic ticket led by the modern political equivalent of an intellectually superior and electoral astute “Rat Pack” member.

    Confounded by their respective conundrums, both Obama and McCain saw their choice of running mate as an opportunity to address the negative aspects of their campaign personas head on.

    Like Bush before him, Obama turned to one of his party’s elder statesmen to provide him the gravitas and depth his resume lacks; Delaware Senator Joe Biden.

    Biden - with 35 years in the Senate - is an individual of substance and experience on the key issues of national security, military affairs and foreign policy. Though the country has turned its gaze back to the heartland, to leave his flank exposed on such critical issues would have invited Republican attacks that may have ultimately gained traction and inflicted serious electoral damage on the Democratic nominee. By turning to the proverbial party warhorse and elder statesman Biden, Obama seeks to reassure the electorate that “change” doesn’t equate “danger”.

    Having been pilloried over recent months for abandoning his maverick roots and settling into the staid hound’s-tooth of stereotypical Republicans, even while being assailed by the Republican base for not being conservative enough, McCain’s choice of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin has unexpectedly shaken the political landscape. In the process, he has boldly moved to establish his bona fides on both fronts.

    Passing over a list of white men – many with far longer and more substantive resumes – McCain’s choice of Palin is both tactically and strategically inspired. Tactically, it creates buzz and excitement around a campaign that appeared to be an uninteresting rehash of Republican Party electoral greatest hits. Gasps of disbelief and surprise have replaced yawns of indifference and boredom. Though the announcement of the pregnancy of Palin’s 17 year-old daughter, Bristol, has added an unexpected and sensational element to the buzz, it is buzz nonetheless.

    Furthermore, Palin’s selection dispels the impression of the Republican Party as a “Rich White Men Only Electoral Club”. In picking the photogenic female Governor, McCain revives his maverick image; willing to buck the conventional wisdom and the seasoned advice of status quo Republican Pooh-Bahs. Ultimately, McCain has chosen to sacrifice experience in exchange for shoring up the base and the excitement and electricity the first female Republican vice presidential nominee brings to the ticket.

    When choosing a running mate, presidential nominees hope to at the very least do themselves no harm, while trying to gain whatever limited benefit there is to be had.

    In truth, McCain and Obama’s selections have more in common with their opponents than with themselves. Governor Palin’s resume is equally light to that of Senator Obama’s. Meanwhile, Senators McCain and Biden have more years of combined Congressional service than the age of either of their running mates. Accordingly, one would not be out of line to surmise that the two second seaters would have more to discuss with the head of the opposing ticket than with their own running mates.

    In the end, in an attempt to address their own shortcomings by embracing the strengths of their opponents, McCain and Obama have unwittingly highlighted a heretofore little discussed aspect of hope; it’s irony.

    It’s Swinger’s Night at the Electoral Club, faithful readers. Let’s swap running mates and let the fun begin! Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the irony of hope gives way to the agony of defeat.
     
  2. SwingVoter
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    SwingVoter VIP Member

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    And I thought I was spending too much time here. Where did you find time to post that book here?
     
  3. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Well written, too.
     
  4. AVG-JOE
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    AVG-JOE American Mutt Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hear, hear.

    -J
     
  5. DiveCon
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    DiveCon gone

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    looks like a Copy & Paste
     
  6. Richard-H
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    Richard-H Gold Member

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    Well there are some substaintial differences between the two selections:

    Obama's choice of Joe Biden, was made almost regardless of political concerns and in the best interests of the country.

    McCain's selection of Palin was based purely on political strategy without regard for the welfare of the country. A political strategy that is failing.

    Due to McCain's age, people are considering a Palin Presidency to be very likely if McCain wins. Several conservative leaning people that I spoke with, who strongly supported McCain earlier, are now considering not voting at all. They feel, as I do, that Palin is absolutely unacceptable as President.

    McCain's catering the right has resulted in his loss of the middle. Winning the middle is crucial for McCain to win. The right would have voted for him anyway.

    Obama's election is a sure thing now. Given the poll numbers plus the fact that the turn out for Obama will undoubtedly be unpresidented.
     
  7. Missourian
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    Missourian Gold Member

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    Ok, so let me get this straight, people should not vote for Senator McCain, the presidential candidate with the most experience because if he were to, by some amazing coincidence die in January 2009, they would be left with Governor Palin, the only one on either ticket with executive government experience.

    Instead they should vote for Senator Obama, the presidential candidate with 2 and a half years experience as a U.S Senator so they can be guaranteed a president with no experience.

    Good thinking.
     
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  8. The BKP
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    The BKP Grand Inquistor

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    Biden's selection was "made almost regardless of political concerns"? Hardly.

    1) Obama is trying to reassure the electorate that Old Joe will be there at 3am in the morning when the call comes into the White House and he has to stumble bleary-eyed down into the Situation Room

    2) In order to preserve his image as being above the political fray, he needed an attack dog; Joe is a pit bull with a taste for political blood

    3) He's trying to gain access to Hillary's working class, blue collar, Catholic voters without having to put her on the ticket

    In every respect Biden's selection is firmly rooted in politics. To say it is not is either naive or disingenuous.
     
  9. thrimironaxe
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    thrimironaxe Member

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    Right starting point (Palin is a monster) but wrong conclusion (not voting). The right thing to do is to urge McCain to drop Palin from the ticket ASAP.

    I will vote for McCain if he drops Palin and chooses a VP with integrity.

    If he chooses the path of obstinate stupidity and keeps this snake on the ticket, I will have to hold my nose and vote for Obama. It is imperative to keep Palin out of the White house. She is willing to crucify an innocent third person to accomplish her goal of helping her sister's divorce. This is a new low in American politics. To my knowledge, no top ticket candidate has ever intentionally gone after a bystander who becomes politically inconvenient. If we as voters let this happen, in 10 years it will be an every day thing for politicians to fire/jail/harass or otherwise crucify third parties who get in the way of their illegal ambitions.

    I firmly believe Sarah Palin is the most evil, vile, monstrous person who has ever been on a top ticket in America. If we as voters don't draw a line in the sand at this, then who will ever be safe?
     
  10. Caligirl
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    Caligirl Oh yes it is too!

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    The reason the issue of Obama's experience doesn't concern me personally is because:

    1. He surrounds himself with capable, intelligent, people who have a lot of experience in various policy arenas, and he takes advice from them. Unlike Bush, for whom people like Colin POwell and other independently minded intelligent people, quit, Bush wanted yes men to tell him what he wanted to hear. Bush had gubernatorial experience, and you saw how he ran his white house. It is less about experience, and more about execution.

    2. He has lived overseas, he has travelled regularly overseas, he has met and discussed with leaders of nations, issues of national security to the US, he served on the Senate Foreign relations committee, and other relevant committees, whereas Sarah Palin got her passport in 2007.

    3. Part of Sarah Palin's experience is in declaring the Iraq war "God's war." I can source that if it's important to you. Her experience is steeped in religious fervor. But I digress.

    4. Obama has spent the past 18 nmonths or so meeting and talking with people in every state in the union. He has reached the ticket because 18 million americans deem him the best choice to lead the country. He was not put on the ticket as a political ploy to get a few more votes.

    5. On leadership, it is clear that everyone follows him - From the iraq pullout plans (clinton and bush) to running on change (mccain).

    etcetera.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008

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