Random Thoughts

My reviews of the DNC and RNC

I sat down in my favorite coffeeshop in Chicago that I work from all the time (The Grind in Lincoln Square, to be specific), and I sat across from an older gentleman who’s often there.  He was reading the paper, specifically an article about Palin’s speech that had happened the night before.  So I asked him “Did you watch her speech?”  He responded “I did.  I’ve watched most of the RNC and I feel very similar as to how I felt after watching the DNC.  That was a waste of my life.”

After watching a lot of both the DNC and the RNC, I felt similarly.  Do we really have to have speeches from every single politician in the WORLD?!  After the third speech, you basically get the idea – The dems are pushing change (surprise!) and the republicans are pushing change too, just a different change.  So at that point you’re just waiting for the big guns to talk, but there’s 67 more speeches before them!  So then by the time Obama speaks, you’re so boozed up you’ve forgotten how to hope.

Highlights from DNC:

Donald Miller’s prayer.  If you haven’t watched this, it is incredible.

– Michele Obama.  She is just a wonderful human being.

– I very much appreciated that there were very few attacks on Palin or McCain during the convention.  I feel like the attitude in general was summed up in Obama’s speech when he said “I don’t think John McCain doesn’t care, he just doesn’t know.”  The only other direct criticism against McCain or Palin was a general warning of the attacks that would come from the right.

Highlights from RNC:


– McCain’s statement basically saying that his party has not done what they said they would do.  I thought that was pretty powerful (though certainly acerbic toward Bush).  I also appreciated the ways in which both candidates honored each other.

Lowlights from DNC:

– Dennis Kucinich yelling “wake up America” and then doing that weird theatrical bow/musical theatre gesture.  He is just a Leprachaun of a man.

– Joe Biden being as vanilla as ever.

– Cheering between almost every sentence Obama said.

– The lack of definitive plans that will answer the ideals raised by the speakers.

Lowlights from the RNC:

-  The amazing double standard that allows all the Republicans to play the gender card with Palin, when they constantly complained about it with Hillary (including Palin herself).

-  The chanting of USA after EVERYTHING!  There was one moment in McCain’s speech where he was basically reading off a list of everything that’s gone wrong with our economy in the last year or so, and people started chanting USA.  Are they even listening?  Or were they just waiting for the balloons?

-  The booing of Obama when McCain brought him up in his speech.  Honestly, no one at the DNC booed McCain in any of the speeches I saw.  That was very disappointing.  I also felt like it was a pretty good example of the difference in tenor between the two conventions.

-  The lack of definitive plans that will answer the ideals raised by the speakers.  These lack of plans are even more frustrating considering that every speaker seemed to mention that Obama is all words and no plans.

General Reactions:

-  I am most certainly voting for Obama in November, but God help me, I really don’t mind McCain.  I watched his speech and there were a lot of things I appreciated about what he said.  The main thing that annoyed me when watching him was the crowd reactions, but he had nothing to do with that.  I really don’t mind him to be honest.

The main thing that I dis-like about him is he has that same old republican stubborn-ness that drives me nuts about Bush (I obviously dis-like some of his policies too, but that would be the case with any conservative running in all likelihood).  We can never ever ever admit we’ve done anything wrong until it’s far too late.  I used to work with a guy that a friend of mine described this way – he would rather see everything crash and burn than for him to be wrong.  I just worry a little that we’re going to get into situations again because of our President’s pride, and then spend years upon years pretending like it’s all going well so that we don’t have to admit we’re wrong.

A President is still a human being, so they are going to be wrong sometimes.  When they are wrong, I would prefer it be small things, rather than wars.

-  Sarah Palin scares the shit out of me.   I read a comment on McCain’s blog where someone said “isn’t it funny how the democratic party is always pushing women’s rights, and yet the republicans choose a woman VP?  Hmmm interesting.”  To that commenter I say, you’re an idiot (though feel free to comment on my blog).

But she scares me because she also has that incredible amount of pride, and in her case it isn’t even backed by any real experience, so it’s an ignorant pride.  The fact that she’s a heart attack away from the presidency is terrifying.  And everyone is saying how hard the media has been on her, and yet after her speech, every news outlet I saw basically summed her up by saying “wow, she really went after Obama.  You go girl.”  I thought her blatant inaccurate attacks of Obama were disgusting and disrespectful, and I felt summed her up right away – a lot of fire and passion, and no depth.  Check this out for more details there.

And I know a big part of her draw is that she’s trying to win the female vote (specifically Hillary supporters), but anyone who goes from Hillary to Palin clearly were only voting for Hillary because she was a woman.  Politically, they are ridiculously far apart.  But I’m sure there’s plenty more manipulation to come.

-  Joe Biden is just so boring.  I want to like him so bad, but I fall asleep.

-  Both conventions were filled with a lot of ideals and the ways in which that particular party can fix everything, and why the other party cannot, and let’s face it, most of that won’t happen.  Is there a CNC – Centrists National Convention I can attend?

-  (Shallow thought of the conventions) The RNC has the corner on the hot chicks.  All the DNC has is a bunch of hippies.  (end shallow thought)

-  I heard a few different interviews with attendees of the RNC in which they threw out the phrase “liberal media.”  I’m so tired of this little throw away line that republicans use to prove their point.  Stop it!  Honestly, stop being lazy and using that tired old line.  It’s a concept that Fox News (the most biased media source the world has ever known) and similar conservative loud mouths have created, and so many people have hung on to it as a little trump card they can use to win any argument.

Does the media sometimes favor certain political figures?  Certainly!  Do they miss some things, and obsess way too much over other things?  Absolutely!  Does the media care about a certain political party?  No!  They care about money!  And stories make money.  Obama is a great story, McCain is an average one.  Has the media obsessed over Obama a little bit more than McCain in this election?  Probably.  However, both candidates have done dumb things that the media has obsessed over, both have done dumb things and it’s slipped through the cracks, and both have said great things that the media has covered as well.  It may lean one way or another at times, but stop saying the whole media is liberal.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in reading books and news (apart from the utter immobility our politics cause), it’s that if you’re searching really hard for bias, you will likely find it one way or another.

-  The main question I have after watching all this and having some heated political discussions with friends is when did we lose our sense of being reasonable?  As long as we continue to have a two party system in this country, we have to be able to admit that neither side has it entirely right.  Neither side represents all of us, and we need to be open and accepting of the other side of the argument, otherwise the stalemate of our stubborn idiotic congress will remain (no matter which party controls it). The most frustrating conversation to have is one where the person you’re arguing with is clearly making no attempt to understand your side of the argument.  If people could honestly do that, I think we could openly talk about religion and politics (the two taboo subjects) a lot more.  Imagine that world – where people could bring up religion or politics and actually be open minded and respectful of each other?

In everything I’ve seen from Obama since I started following him about 3 and a half years ago (when he started a podcast) tells me that he is one of the most level headed and open minded politicians we’ve ever seen.  Is he perfect?  No, but he has said multiple times that he will surround himself with people who disagree with him (pull a Lincoln if you will) to ensure that he is held accountable.  I have no reason to believe he won’t do that.

That’s a leader we need in this country right now.  Someone who will restore our sense of reason.  Someone who will turn our national pride from ignorance to strength and understanding.

That’s why Obama’s got my vote, and I really hope if he wins that he asks John McCain to be in his cabinet.  I think they’d actually make a pretty good team.

4 thoughts on “My reviews of the DNC and RNC”

  1. Fascinating analysis – and “right on” as far as I’m concerned, especially the plea for being reasonable in both listening and responding. I’m afraid, however, that it will fall mostly on deaf ears. It’s just as in sports; most people have to hate one team as part of rooting for another, why, I don’t know. Hating and loving are not the flipsides of the coin.
    You’re post clearly does what you request of others: it’s reasonable, accepting of differences, and starts with accepting those tenants in your own actions and beliefs as the “plan” for getting things done. Bravo.

  2. Democrats *did* nominate a woman for vice president … 24 years before the GOP did. So your Palin fan there is truly an idiot.

    I thought Kucinich rocked. I also like Jon Stewart’s take on his “Wake Up America” speech: isn’t there supposed to be a puff of smoke when you do that with your hands? It was very GOB Bluth.

    Hope you saw Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the RNC. I’m pretty sure it’s on YouTube somewhere.

  3. I admire you for enduring the coverage of both conventions. I thoroughly enjoy most things political, but I find the conventions of each party hard to watch.

    A quick note about the chanting of USA at the RNC. They started up that chant to drown out protesters that made their way into the convention. That’s why the timing of the chant didn’t always make sense. Many of the TV stations didn’t flash to the protesters when that happened (which is nice), but one station did (C-SPAN, perhaps?). Some quick searching on the interwebs later confirmed this theory.

  4. Wow, I really feel like you saved me hours of my life. This is some of the best coverage I’ve read!

    One thought about media and bias. I read a really good article (or possibly part of the book Bias) that made a lot of sense to me: people who are attracted to careers in journalism–the ones who are idealists and such, before they go for the money–tend to be folks who have some similar moral stands. They believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They believe that their audience deserves to hear the truth, and that facts should not be kept secret. People with those beliefs often also fall in the liberal parts of the spectrum–not because of any intentional bias, but simply because they see the world a certain way.

    I actually wish the media would go back to the old fashioned way of doing things (which the British still do, I understand) and just proclaim their bias right up front. “We’re a liberal newspaper!” “We’re a conservative magazine!” Then we could stop all this “fair and balanced” silliness and actually admit that we have a slant. It sure would make it easier to sort out the facts if people would just express their bias up front.

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