Friday, August 29, 2008

Speech Spectacular

Turned on the tube last night and thought that the Beijing Olympics were still going on--there was quite a spectacle happening in a stadium. Got to hand it to the young whipper-snapper; he can give a great speech. Reminded me of another young whipper-snapper the Democrats nominated for president 16 years ago--he could speechify like there was no tomorrow, as well. Had the morals of an alley cat, but he could connect with and whip up a crowd.

How did the McCain campaign respond? Belittled the grandiose set for the speech--real mature. I have been embarrassed for the McCain campaign as Republican operatives hung around the periphery of the Denver convention and snickered at the Democrats like my little brother used to do when I had a girlfriend over to the house. I've got to believe that McCain has to have some grown-ups somewhere in his circle who would have seen that kind of behavior for what it was. Just plain stupid. Leaves the door open for the Democrats to do the same thing. Had I been running his show, I would not have let any of McCain's campaign lackeys anywhere near Denver.

But, back to The Speech. Barack Obama covered all the bases with undeliverable promises, and delivered in a most believable way. He looked us all in the eye and told us he was the same as the rest of us, but a different kind of political leader. He looked hip and talked that way. He captivated the crowd. He marveled the media. He impressed this ole crotchety colonel. The spectacle was masterful misdirection.

I've heard a lot of motivational speeches in my time, by some very motivational speakers. Marines are masters of the rah, rah. Getting a young man up out of his fighting hole and charging into the mouth of hell takes inspirational exhortation. Oh, and one more thing--it takes moral leadership. Moral leadership stands on its principles. Moral leadership doesn't compromise. Moral leadership stays on the bedrock of one's convictions and doesn't stray onto the quicksand of situational expediency.

We have all heard Obama's life story by now. It is quintessentially American. I mean by that, that his life story is one of the disparate life stories that makes up the uniquely American patchwork quilt of life stories. The one thing that is most impressive to me about Obama's short adult life's work is that it was one of service. He approached his service from a much different political azimuth than I am comfortable with, but he served. Other than that, he is still just a recordless manikin who can give a great speech. He will never get the Democrat congress to do all of the wonderful things he told us HE would do.

Nor would a President McCain. In my estimation, there are precious few members of congress who are there "putting America first" as Obama put it last night. Until congress commits to country over re-election, our nation will continue to wander in the wilderness of wasted opportunity.

George W. Bush, a guy anyone would like for a friend, has squandered the opportunity for personal and national greatness by fumbling the hand off just past the line of scrimmage. John McCain hasn't demonstrated the most rock solid moral courage since he left the Hanoi Hilton. But, that doesn't mean I'm ready to scrap the conservative game plan and blindly follow a socialist hiding shamelessly under a centrist's cloak. I wouldn't do it any more than I would have blindly followed a nationalist socialist masquerading as a populist had I been a member of the Wehrmacht in 1938--no matter how powerful the speech nor how grandiose the backdrop.
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