The speeches sound lovely and the cocktail parties, I'm sure, are great fun. But what does the Republican Party actually believe? If last night was indicative, we won't be getting a satisfactory answer to that question in the next few days--or maybe even in the weeks after that. John McCain's campaign manager has already said he thinks this election is "not about the issues." Fortunately, the Republicans did take the time to write a party platform--and, over at ThinkProgress, Matthew Yglesias has been reading it.
Early on in the long, contentious Democratic primaries, Barack Obama was guilty of running a campaign based too heavily on biography and vague promises of breaking through partisan gridlock. It worked well enough initially, since Obama's story really was compelling and his credentials as a bipartisan reformer seemed legitimate. But it was only after Obama started peddling a more substantive message, focused on the actual policies he'd deliver, that he was able to secure the nomination.
Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats never fail to say they honor John McCain's wartime service. It's good that they do so, but it's become such a predictable incantation that it's virtually lost its meaning. Since Fred Thompson just finished recounting this episode of McCain's life, I think I'll take this opportunity to say I admire him, too. I know the story of his time as a prisoner of war is well-known by now, but it doesn't get less poignant with all the retellings.
Senator Fred Thompson just mentioned that Sarah Palin is governor of the "largest state in the union"--something I've heard other Republicans say today. I guess it's on the talking points. I can't believe I have to make this argument, but here goes. Yes, Alaska is the largest state of the union if you go by size. It's really, really big. But when it comes to governing experience, surely the number of people over which you've presided matters more than the square acreage. Alaska, whose population numbers less than 700,000, ranks 47th out of the 50 states.
Republicans are still making the argument that Sarah Palin has the necessary experience to serve as vice president she has spent less than two years as governor of Alaska--er, sorry, I mean Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard. After careful consideration, I've decided not to rebut this argument, lest I lend it even a shred of credibilty. Instead, I'd like to dwell on why experience matters in a vice presidential candidate, perhaps even more than it matters in a presidential candidate.
Four years ago in Boston, I watched Barack Obama deliver perhaps the most perfect speech I’ll ever see. It was full of soaring imagery and lyrical prose. If offered up a searing, passionate indictment of modern politics. And it was delivered with an eloquence no politician in my lifetime had shown before.Tonight, on television, I watched Barack Obama give a rather different piece of oratory. Although delivered with equal skill, its content struck me as more unwieldy and, at times, more pedestrian.
Is the emergency room an adequate substitute for health insurance, as an expert who has advised the McCain campaign recently suggested? Not according to the American College of Emergency Physicians. Here's the statement they just issued: Washington, D.C.
The saga of John McCain and his official views on health care just keeps getting more interesting.As you may recall, the Dallas Morning News recently quoted John Goodman suggesting that the problems of the uninsured were wildly exaggerated--since, among other things, everybody can always get into an emergency room.Goodman runs a conservative policy think-tank and has been making these sorts of arguments for a long time. But it was newsworthy since, according to the Morning News story, he was also an adviser to the McCain campaign.
John Goodman* runs the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think-tank based in Dallas, Texas. So when Dallas Morning News reporter Jason Roberson was reporitng his story on the latest figures on America's uninsured, he decided to dial up Goodman and get a quick reaction. Here's what Roberson reported: ...the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen.
Bill Clinton, speaking moments ago: Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the work I’ve done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job. (Emphasis his.) ... Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States. --Jonathan Cohn