I’ll get started: how can the same people who mocked and smeared John Kerry for daring to refer to his heroism in Vietnam now stomach the nonstop hagiography of McCain for his service? “I think my husband was a HERO in Vietnam,” Cindy McCain said, defiantly — as if anyone were denying that.
Also: The staging of this convention has been dreadful all along, but do they really want McCain to deliver this whole speech in front of what amounts to a green screen? Don’t they know what people can do with a green screen?
They just changed it. Now it’s blue! Not much better.
Uh oh. Dissenters.
I couldn’t understand why there was so much mocking of the backdrop Obama spoke against in Denver — which was fine, by the way, and looked especially good on TV. But now I get it, because their design is terrible. This video screen is awful, and looks especially bad on TV. How did they not figure that out when people were talking about the “lime green background” McCain spoke against months ago? (What was he saying? Where was he? I have no idea. But I remember that the staging was bad.)
I haven’t seen McCain speak live for a long time and I forgot how personable he is. I also forgot that there was a time, say around 2001, that I would have considered voting for him. It’s too bad that he has hitched himself to Bush’s falling star. But I’ve seen this sort of thing in the corporate world before. When a company starts seriously going south under a rotten business model, the scared and scrambling executives try to take the focus off of its performance by talking constantly about the vision statement. The investors are seldom fooled and the turnaround team comes in and clears the decks. Some good people always get swept out too, but in McCain’s case, he can’t disavow Bush and run the turnaround team himself because the first step would have to be his admission that he himself has also been wrong all along, since he was in the forefront of Bush’s enablers. If he doesn’t do that, then he’s just more of the same. If he does do that, he undercuts all his talk about skill and experience. Whether or not he could have been the right man, at best he’s the right man at the wrong time.
It is funny how he talks like Al Gore has been president in Washington all of these years. But I’m not sure how he thinks he can “shake up Washington” and still support all of Bush’s programs.
(My wife wants to get a word in here too. She thinks that McCain and Palin have a good cop-bad cop thing going. The pretty one gets to be the bad cop.)
(And I agree with Mollie. What’s with the Islamic green background? Well, at least they’ve changed it now to a nice blue state blue….)
Wait, union bosses? Not Mr. Palin, I hope.
Do you think that Cindy bought him a real solid gold tie to go with her outfit?
Mollie, I think that first green background was the counterprogram to Obama’s last big primary victory night. And the attacks on Obama’s backdrop was more about the Greek temple motif some early observers saw. Of course, Bush had a similar backdrop for his ’04 acceptance speech.
“We” lost their trust?! McCain rediscovers bipartisanship!!! (It makes accepting responsibility so much easier.)
It’s absolutely amazing to see a high level Washington insider talk about how Washington screwed the country and how he is now going to do something about it.
“Culture of life.” Check.
However strange it is to see Republicans essentially saying, “Vote for change; re-elect Republicans,” I do think the section on government bloat was quite effective.
Unagidon — he has just been waiting for his moment to strike! Finally, Republican values will rule Washington, and things will start going well! The GOP base has been waiting long enough, don’t you think?
This audience is rowdier than the DNC, even without the protesters (at least I assume — I don’t know how disruptive they’ve been before now). I’ve found that off-putting all along, but it’s definitely not helping McCain — every time they interrupt him he looks lost.
The boilerplate GOP talk is sounding older than he looks. Same speech any Republican has made over the last 30 years they’ve run Washington. He needs to channel the inner John McCain. And soon. Maybe there’s a big finish.
Oh no–we have a yodeler!
“Education is the civil rights issue of this century.” Good line. But dangerous. Lots of other civil rights left unprotected out there. But he’s going for the right voter market.
Good yawn shot from the crowd. Guess I’m not the only one.
Didn’t the Times report the speech was going to call for bipartisan efforts?
He just paid off the oil companies.
Offshore drilling is the biggest applause line?! Drill! Drill ! Drill!
Maybe the bipartisan stuff is the clincher. He shoulda got Sarah Palin to read the speech. Who wrote it for him?
I can’t believe he’s going on at this length about schools and school vouchers. Partly because I thought he’d be more careful tossing around the word “choice.” I guess that’s energizing the base, but I’m not sure this stuff about how “Obama wants the schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats” is convincing anyone else — if you’re dissatisfied with the education system now, you have to think Obama-in-charge will make it better or at least different. How does McCain represent a shift from “entrenched bureaucrats”?
Don’t forget: “I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy and it often seems your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch.”
I think they just cutaway to the Georgia delegation…
Looks like “Marching Through Georgia” might make the Top Ten again soon…
Nice little Jack Nicholson glare there when he said he knows how to stand up to people who don’t want what we want. Shining redux.
“I know how the world works. I know how the military works.” Yes, it’s worked so well for the past eight years…
I think I just saw an African American in the crowd. Anyone confirm that?
I would have found his talk about dealing with international issues, and understanding how the military works, pretty convincing and reassuring… if he hadn’t chosen Palin as his running mate. The fact that she lives sort of near Russia doesn’t make me feel better.
Partisan rancor! This is rich. This is eight sticks of butter rich.
He just laid out the entire litany of Republican failures that he is partially responsible for. The Democrats could just cut that part of the speech into their next ad and when McCain says that we need to change what the government does, they could flash to a photo of Obama.
Lots of blinking and a strange grin with the much-reported scars line. Did he want to say that?
…How come the battle scars from Vietnam weren’t so conclusive in 2004, when the Democrat had them and the Republican did not?
I just don’t get this “we have to change evrything” theme. Is this going to play with the public coming from Mr. DC? Dunno.
Here’s the bipartisan bit. “I have the record, and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not”
Two things: If you have that record, why’s it all so screwed up?
And according to Sarah Palin’s logic, neither of you have done anything…But I guess that was last night.
He dresses rather well for one of the servants, doesn’t he?
“I don’t care who gets the creidt”–as long as I don’t get the blame!
This is good.
That was really good. Best part of the speech.
Some cognitive dissonance with the “never fight alone” line and Palin’s and Rudy’s mockery of community organizing.
Great spirit! If only he had some answers. Even one would do.
This speech was built upside down. Should have front-loaded the biographical bits.
He’s ending where Palin started–the personal memoir bit. Makes the previous kitchen sink stuff sound flatter.
Ouch. Just took a jab at Obama’s as Messiah–after building himself up as John of the Cross! Kenosis at the Konvention.
This whole “I love America for REAL, unlike SOME PEOPLE” angle makes me deeply uncomfortable. Mostly because I’ve talked to people for whom it’s convincing.
Sorry. It’s like getting mugged and then the mugger asks you for some extra bus fare so he can go to church to go to Confession.
Where can I download this song?
Little scary at the end.
It’s too bad that the crowd drowned out the climax of the speech, because it was pretty good. Lots of fighting, but it had genuine emotional force. Did anyone else think that McCain did not look comfortable delivering the cheesy attack lines?
It’s Elvis, singing from Heaven.
Sure he’s uncomfortable. He can’t claim to be going to turn Washington upside down without disavowing everything he’s done these last 8 years.
Barracuda! A balloon for every attendee!
And Mr Barracuda was there tonight too, shaking McCain’s hand.
Yeah, I felt like McCain bargained his speechwriters down on the attack lines — there’s still a part of him that would prefer not to stoop to that. Or at least to let other people stoop for him.
I’m not sure how I feel about Palin’s daughter’s fiance being dragged onstage with the rest of the clan. They’ve made it more complicated for me by making me conflicted about whether I should think about it at all.
Grant, you made me laugh out loud with the song download request. But seriously, the transition to Heart is more than a little jarring. I just don’t think this “Barracuda” nickname is going to catch on… At least not till we have something to attach it to.
There are some who would consider that making an 18 year old high school boy marry his 17 year old pregnant girlfriend is a mockery of Holy Matrimony.
Not me, though.
It is a great song, though–better than the one Obama played at the end of his speech. Maybe not the right tone, but still. I have to say, I was expecting more from this speech. I’ve heard that McCain can be a captivating speaker. If so, he did not bring his A-game tonight. The speech seemed lopsided and conflicted. He admires his opponent yet apparently not enough to skip the silly messiah dig. Vote for reform by re-electing us. Don’t know if that has legs.
Final thought: He did well. He was himself–except in the bits that will matter in the end–jobs, health care, war and peace and such. He is best when he is himself, which he was, passionately, the back half. If he keeps this up he’ll have more respect at the end of the campaign than at the beginning. But Palin makes him seem so much older. And neither are good on specifics and conveying a sense of more than boilerplate when it comes to policy. It feels a bit like 1992 or 1996. You may respect GWBush or Bob Dole more, but you know the other guy is smarter and more effective. But it’s all hot air. (from me, that is) And light years till Election Day. Buona notte.
Okay, really really final thought(s): It makes me wish McCain had won, or run better, in 2000. Those eight years made a world of difference.
Jody Bottum noted his disappointment with Palin’s failure to mention abortion directly. I don’t think McCain did, either. Or did I miss it?
That is true. Hearing “Barracuda” was the most exciting part of the night for me. That country-pop at the end of Obama’s speech made me cringe — but I also felt like the Dems had finally arrived. We too can use Brooks & Dunn to declare our patriotism!
Any comments on those last few moments where he essentially inverted the talking points on his POW experience?
You caught it, Grant. “Culture of Life”.
The last few minutes were solid emotional kitsch, like watching one of those movies where the dysfunctional urchins win the ball game after all.
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
Adeodatus — it did sound like he was extolling the virtues of doing good in one’s community. I’m sure he didn’t mean to make “community organizing” sound noble… I think all that was operating on the belief that people just like Obama for vague reasons, because he says pretty things, and if McCain said some of those same pretty things than those people would no longer see any reason not to vote for him. It also picked up on a note in Cindy’s introduction, about how American people can accomplish all good things if the government just gets out of their way. But then it muddled that same point by encouraging dissatisfied people to get involved in government.
On community organizing: I haven’t read Obama’s memoirs in full, but maybe some here have. What did he say community organizing entailed in those books? It’s my understanding that a lot of it involves voter registration and maybe at an earlier time in history, union organization. Is this a good definition? Can anyone else elaborate?
Adeodatus, if you want my thoughtful response, read my first post. In a business sense, the GOP is going solidly for the mission statement, because they don’t have a business model that works. It’s really no more complicated than that.
Sure he’s uncomfortable. He can’t claim to be going to turn Washington upside down without disavowing everything he’s done these last 8 years.
Here’s the weird thing, though: if you actually pay attention to McCain’s record on the issues, that statement doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As the New Republic put it:
Conservatives complain constantly of McCain’s disloyalty, but the full extent of that disloyalty is not widely known. Even though it is in the public record, McCain’s voting behavior during Bush’s first term is almost never mentioned in the press anymore. Yet McCain’s secret history is simply astonishing. It is no exaggeration to say that, during this crucial period, McCain was the most effective advocate of the Democratic agenda in Washington.
In health care, McCain co-sponsored, with John Edwards and Ted Kennedy, a patients’ bill of rights. He joined Chuck Schumer to sponsor one bill allowing the re-importation of prescription drugs and another permitting wider sale of generic alternatives. All these measures were fiercely contested by the health care industry and, consequently, by Bush and the GOP leadership. On the environment, he sponsored with John Kerry a bill raising automobile fuel-efficiency standards and another bill with Joe Lieberman imposing a cap-and-trade regime on carbon emissions. He was also one of six Republicans to vote against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
McCain teamed with Carl Levin on bills closing down tax shelters, forbidding accounting firms from selling products to the firms they audited, and requiring businesses that gave out stock options as compensation to reveal the cost to their stockholders. These measures were bitterly opposed by big business and faced opposition not only from virtually the whole of the GOP but even from many Democrats as well.
McCain voted against the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. He co-sponsored bills to close the gun-show loophole, expand AmeriCorps, and federalize airport security. All these things set him against nearly the entire Republican Party.
McCain may have changed his views on certain issues, at least for the time being, but I’m really curious what exactly he and another “maverick” reformer would do if they gained office.
if you’re dissatisfied with the education system now, you have to think Obama-in-charge will make it better or at least different. How does McCain represent a shift from “entrenched bureaucrats”
Just to put McCain’s remark in context, what he means by “entrenched bureaucrats” are the people typically in charge of education systems — superintendents, administrators — i.e., the people who usually oppose school choice, and who often face little incentive to reform their own schools as to curriculum, hiring decisions, etc.
McCain has school choice right. But I don’t think he’ll get it done as president, especially with a congress beholden to the teachers union.
“McCain may have changed his views on certain issues, at least for the time being, but I’m really curious what exactly he and another “maverick” reformer would do if they gained office.”
The people at the rally last night were the same people who were cheering on Bush in 2004. Now we have the spectacle of the Republican Party coming out and telling us that they want to save the country from the Republican Party.
I liked McCain in 2001 and 2002. But the fact is he has been a supporter of Bush’s policies in the last four years at the very time that the bankruptcy of these policies has been revealed. It appears that most people (now that I have seen both the Democrats and the Republicans say it) think there is something terribly wrong with the government. But McCain won’t say what it is. Because he can’t. So he retreats to what the Right calls its “beliefs” which are actually its beautiful aspirations; aspirations that fail because they have neither the ability nor even a plan to execute them other than to elect a “maverick” who fully intends to carry on the current failed policies.
I should point out that in my town, at least, the “entrenched bureaucrats” of the educational system are all rock ribbed Republicans. They are promoting the Republican vision from inside the system and have been imitating what they think is a private enterprise structure to the school system, even going so far as aping corporate titles for themselves. Their Republican vision is cost efficiency, which has led (in my fat town) to larger class sizes, a scaled down curriculum, and visions of mega-schools that hold a thousand students because the heating costs would go down.
While I would love something that would funnel cash to Catholic schools, I cringe at the thought that sub par private schools would be able to belly up to the trough of public taxation. And I cringe even more at the idea that the private sector can run a better educational system and that what the teachers need is “competition” in order to excel.
I was so depressed after watching the Sarah Palin performance last night, I didn’t even listen; catching up with clips on NPR this morning.
McCain has been a good senator, and, frankly, I liked the “America first” theme and I think the GOP is right about the urgent need to get away from foreign oil, though Obama’s campaign has talked about that steadily (sans “drill baby drill” chant).
I could have voted for McCain, but Palin’s abrasive, divisive, pugnacious, and I couldn’t even log onto factcheck.org yesterday to try to separate fact from fiction in her speech, presumably because there were so many fictions that the system crashed trying to deal with them all.
I agree Palin got a raw deal re press coverage, but the constant whining about it got old.
I support her decision to have a special needs child, but I questioned the wisdom of parents who would take a four-month-old baby into a convention full of screaming people way past his bedtime.
I can only assume he was putting America First and doing his part as an essential prop in proving that Mom is pro-life. As was the spectacle of the pregnant teen AND her boyfriend. Fine to support and have compassion for the kids, but do we really need them front and center on a stage as if this is no big deal, even something to be applauded and rewarded with handshakes and hugs from the presidential candidate and wife?
I know all candidates love to trot out the kids, but this was nauseating.
The Palin selection, in my view, shows McCain is not a maverick, but is still pandering to the religious right. I voted for the guy in past elections, but not this time.
I liked the part in the speech where McCain said that teachers need to be held accountable to their students and their parents. This change alone, would improve our Education system and only good can come from that.
The Republican Party also called for a Human Life Amendment, which would help to protect all of our Rights, since there are no Rights without the First Right, the Right to Life.
Not quite like Obama/Palin in terms of emotional appeal. I knew he was a POW but didn’t know some of the details. I like how he weaved that experience into his leadership style. The whole ‘…and they broke me….’ was quite the vulnerability to expose to the whole country. Obviously he learned about strength, forgiveness, needing other people. Still, that is pretty risky territory. It makes him human, very human…maybe too human?????? (remember folks I am just speaking from a strictly political persona perspective here)
I liked the whole pay no attention to the ground noise and static. He had a good quip to the protesters being taken out when he said something like friends we can talk but we have to stop shouting at each other. That really made him appear like the wise and gentle old grandfather in charge.
I also liked when he said of his enemies that he doesn’t fear them he is prepared. I was really impressed when he said that he hates war. It rings true.
Strong presentation absent the jingoism that often characterizes party conventions Dems and Republicans.
Thanks for the clarification, Stuart — that makes it a little less crazy, I guess, if he’s not referring strictly to political entities (although I suspect Unaguidon is right; a lot of those bureaucrats are pushing a Republican agenda). I just can’t see how anything McCain says about wanting change can be sincere in that venue. I don’t blame him for wanting to seem pro-change — he can see which way the wind is blowing. But I thought that was a feeble attempt to make the case. Party conventions are essentially pep rallies — “Hooray for us because we’re Republicans/Democrats!” So if you want to talk about change and reform and fixing Washington’s problems in front of the party that has held the executive office for the past 8 years, you have to set it up carefully and honestly. “We as a party have failed to live up to our own standards. We’ve strayed from our mission, and we have to acknowledge that. We have to do the hard work that needs to be done. This is what we’ve done wrong… This is how we need to fix it.” But you can’t keep up the “We’re so right and great, as always” theme and then launch directly into “We’ll make America better.” McCain (and this convention in general) tried to play it both ways, catching Obama’s “things need to change” wave but also pounding that tired old politics-of-fear meme. It all looked extremely unconvincing to me.
Also, in re: community organizing, I can’t say exactly what it involved for Obama, but I was impressed by his remarks (from yesterday) when asked about it at a campaign appearance in PA. Someone asked how it prepared him for the presidency, and he basically said, what prepared me for the presidency was my time in the state and national senate, and my time studying civil-rights law. The organizing shows my values and motivation. Anyway, you can watch that here.
Sorry I missed the on-going commentary last night. Reading the comments this morning, you made me laugh in several spots :-)
FWIW, the part that really struck me as sincere was when he said, “I hate war”. To my mind, that captures the tension inherent in just-war teaching.
I thought the convention came to a schizzy ending – attack dog all along and then McCain wants to reach across lines. If he does, why pick “barracuda?”
One quick footnote, read Dr. Whelan’s coments on community organizing criticizing VP candidate for mocking a crucial piece of supporting loads of needy folk; it’s at the NCr site.
“One quick footnote, read Dr. Whelan’s coments on community organizing criticizing VP candidate for mocking a crucial piece of supporting loads of needy folk; it’s at the NCr site.”
As with most political partisan badminton, the truth is to be found somewhere in the middle, no doubt.
Didn’t Fr Imbelli ask in a post the other day whether CW contributers considered this a “liberal” blog? Hmmmm . . . I wonder why?
“Didn’t Fr Imbelli ask in a post the other day whether CW contributers considered this a “liberal” blog? Hmmmm . . . I wonder why?”
“Liberal” and “Conservative” in the United States are attitudes, not political philosophies. So of course anything that looks like it has the wrong attitude would look liberal to you.
FYI, factcheck.org is up again, but they haven’t posted their analysis of McCain’s speech yet. Fact checks on Palin’s and Obama’s speeches are up and worth a look-see.
This site has been touted before by me and others. I like the fact that it goes to primary sources for info and lists its sources at the bottom of the analysis. I refer students to it in class a lot to evaluate the political ads, which the site also tracks.
Our class also uses a great site from the Museum of the Moving Image, which has every presidential telesion ad archived, from 1952 through 2004.
FWIW, the part that really struck me as sincere was when he said, “I hate war”. To my mind, that captures the tension inherent in just-war teaching.
This is basically what I said over on Vox Nova about the “I hate war” statement. (I don’t have time to add much until this evening.)
I think there is a profound love of war. I haven’t read the book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, but it seems to me that’s self-evidently true. Many great struggles are described as wars — the war on poverty, the war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on terror. A war hero is not celebrated as someone who did a terrible job because someone had to do it. Our military is not viewed as a necessary evil.
I used to work with someone who had been a child in occupied France during World War II. He was once telling me about being in shelters with the bombs falling, and he was describing how everyone reacted. He said the men cried, and I don’t remember what he said the women did, but the point was that they were braver than the men. But he said, “Do you know what the kids did?” I couldn’t guess. “They played war!” he said. He said French kids at the time carried rules, and they pretended they were guns and had mock gun battles in the bomb shelters.
Almost every evening on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, certainly the least partisan news show on television, there is the “Honor Roll” of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not a list of the dead . . . it’s an “honor roll.” It remains an honor roll even when the majority of Americans feel that getting into the war was a mistake. We honor those who fight and die in a war we believe was ill-considered. It’s because we love war. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
McCain used the word “fight” 43 times in the speech, and it got tremendous applause. Fighting is good. War is romanticized. Pacifists are kooks at best.
By the way, has anyone seriously argued that the Iraq war is a just war? John Paul II and Benedict XVI and the American Bishops were or are all harsh critics of the Iraq war.
It would be disingenuous of me to claim that I hate war. It has been thoroughly glorified, and it’s hard not to buy into that. I have to admit that the constant anti-war statements of the popes often sound silly to me. “No more war!” Yeah, sure. So I can’t claim to hate war, and quite frankly, being from such a military family, and having used his own war record the way he has, I don’t believe for a minute that John McCain hates war. If you hate war, you do everything possible to avoid it. That is not at all what happened with the Iraq war. And it counts as a major point in your favor if you are, like Sarah Palin, sending a son off to war. And imagine how embarrassing it would be during wartime for a politician to have a son who was a pacifist or a conscientious objector. That wouldn’t be announced proudly at a political convention.
So I think almost all of us love war, and John McCain loves war even more than most of the rest of us.
David N. — I think all that is worth pointing out. I had a similar reaction when I heard Sarah Palin sneer at Obama for talking about the war but never using the word “victory.” And I think it’s the subtext of a lot of the who-loves-America-more talk, too. We should never glory in the need to go to war, and we should never dig in our heels and chant “U.S.A.!” instead of looking honestly at what good we’re doing and whom we’re hurting by choosing war.
Hi, David N., very interesting and passionate. A couple of quick comments:
“By the way, has anyone seriously argued that the Iraq war is a just war? John Paul II and Benedict XVI and the American Bishops were or are all harsh critics of the Iraq war. ”
FWIW – my recollection is that, to its credit, Commonweal published at least one piece during the run-up to the war that seriously tried to make the just-war case. Believe it was by Jean Bethke Elshtain – and the correspondence a couple of issues later was also well worth reading.
“So I think almost all of us love war, and John McCain loves war even more than most of the rest of us.”
I don’t love war. Unlike John McCain, I’ve never experienced it first hand, so whatever thoughts and emotions I have about it are at a more-or-less theoretical or hypothetical level. That phrase last night – I think he repeated it – struck me as coming from the heart.
I think he does hate war, but I also think that he believes that there are circumstances where it may necessary.
FWIW, I heard a snippet of a radio newscast this afternoon in which Obama is reported to have said that, should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, war would be an option. After a few seconds of Googling, I believe that news report was reporting on his appearance yesterday on the O’Reilly Factor. Here is the pertinent snippet of the interview (transcript at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,417563,00.html)
O’REILLY: But I still don’t understand — and I’m asking this as an American as well as a journalist — how threatening you feel Iran is? Look, if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, OK, to me, they’re going to give it to Hezbollah if they can develop the technology. Why not? And they’ll say, “Well, we didn’t have anything to do with it.”
So therefore, the next president of the United States is going to have to make a decision about Iran, whether to stop them militarily, because I don’t believe — if diplomacy works, fine, but you’ve got to have a Plan B, and a lot of people say, “Look, Barack Obama is not going to attack Iran.”
OBAMA: Here’s where you and I agree. It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. It would be a game changer, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I’ve also said I would never take a military option off the table.
O’REILLY: But would you prepare for one?
OBAMA: Well, listen…
O’REILLY: That’s the question though, senator. Anybody can say option. Would you prepare for it?
OBAMA: Look, it is not appropriate for somebody who is one of two people who can be the president of the United States to start tipping their hand in terms of what their plans might be with respect to Iran. It’s sufficient to say I would not take the military option off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and United States’ interests.
But where I disagree with you is the notion that we’ve exhausted every other resource, because the fact of the matter is that, for six, seven years, during this administration, we weren’t working as closely as we needed to do with the Europeans to create…
O’REILLY: Diplomacy might work. You might be able to sanction economically.
O’REILLY: But that’s all hypothetical.
OBAMA: Everything is hypothetical, but the question is, are we trying to do what we need to do to ratchet up the pressure on them, to change their…
For those of you discussing just wars and glorifying war, what say you about our little adventure in Kosovo? Just, unjust?
Completely unjust and I have a Croatian ethnic background!!!!!
I was very opposed and wrote a letter to my representative at the time.
I contacted justice and peace organizations who were ambivalent. I have since opted out of that movement as the only wars they are against are Republican wars.
The deliberate and stated strategy of terrorizing civilian populations, targeting civil bridges was obscene in the extreme.
There were clearly diplomatic options available that could have been employed.
The long lines of refugees occurred after and not before the bombing.
Plus the objective in terms of the broader issue of Kosovo independance and relationship to Serbia was/is unclear.
I am not entirely opposed to war as a means of self defence but smart diplomacy and engagement can often diffuse conflicts.
Plus, I do agree, with the neo-con proposition that democracy and the development of democratic institutions tends to reduce physical agression allowing for conflict to be resolved through a mutually agreed upon process and that the outcome is basically accepted without violence. (relatively speaking there are street riots and so on but not revolutions and the like).
That’s two of us Sean. Does that make this a conservative blog now?
David Nickol said: “Many great struggles are described as wars — the war on poverty, the war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on terror.”
Good point. You cannot have a war against an inanimate object – it must by definition be an independent and animate force with its own objectives and plans. If there is no opposing will, you cannot have a “Zweikampf”, as Clausewitz called it. By the same token, however, the organized application of violence (or threat of), which is the *means* of war, does not necessarily have to be a physical force with the intent of injury; it could be, as I think is intended in these examples, a form of intense action.
David Nickol said: “It remains an honor roll even when the majority of Americans feel that getting into the war was a mistake. We honor those who fight and die in a war we believe was ill-considered. It’s because we love war. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”
But is it the concept of “war”, per se, being honored? I think perhaps, for some, it is “military force”, the organized application, or threat, of which is the means of war, which they may admire as some sort of reflection of national strength, for example, as the “dulce…” quote refers to. I think what some (many?) honor, however, is not military force, but the warriors who have died embodying what they feel is the concept of John 15:13 (“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”) as well as the classical western virtue of “andreia” (didn’t Dante put these in the 5th Sphere of Paradiso, I think?), which then leads you down the road of Plato, who I believe (?) said you cannot embody just one of the virtues, since if you have one you must have all of them. The implication being here that people who feel like this do not necessarily love war, in my opinion, but the fallen warrior, who embodies what they perceive to be their ideal of virtue, along the lines of the 4 classical western virtues as well as their personal opinion of an expression of agape. I am not expressing any opinion on whether that is to be endorsed or rejected, nor any other opinion, either directly or indirectly, other than to note that I think that may be true for some people.
On the topic of “Barracuda,” I learn from the Catholic Sensibility blog that the Wilson sisters (of Heart) have asked that the McCain campaign refrain from using their song. Which is probably for the best, since, as the post points out, it’s questionable whether the lyrics send the right message for the Straight Talk Express: “If the real thing don’t do the trick / You better make up something quick…” Of course, the campaign only needs to worry about the corporation that licenses the song, not the artists, as Slate points out (under the cheeky headline “Will McCain’s Heart Stop?”).
Also, Entertainment Weekly‘s PopWatch blog has a piece on the complicated history of “Only in America” — that Brooks & Dunn song that played after Obama’s speech — in politics.
Ooh, and one more scoop (on another of this election’s Most Important Issues): the story behind the unfortunate green-screen effect for the first part of McCain’s speech. Eventually they pulled back enough to show that the expanse of green was grass in front of a building — I glanced up and assumed it was the White House, but in fact it wasn’t. The full story is worth reading, at Talking Points Memo or Wonkette. The planning was worse than you realize.
Mollie, thx for that bit about Heart – I had remarked to my wife that I didn’t realize the Wilson sisters were Republicans!