The WALTHER REPORT
By Tony Walther
Barack Obama hit it out of Mile High Stadium in Denver with his acceptance speech as Democratic candidate for president of the United States.
(Okay, it’s Invesco Stadium now; the old name’s better, the new one’s ugly.)
I think John McCain has got a fight on his hands for sure, and it seems to me that Obama said what needed to be said and said it in a convincing enough way to persuade so-called working class or blue-collar workers that he would best represent their interests.
There may have been some doubt among some of them that he’s just not the type to carry a lunch bucket so he can’t understand them – well when is the last time you saw a lunch bucket guy run and/or get elected president? But he laid out the plans for the kind of government he envisions, one that represents the majority, rather than the privileged few.
I was not quite sure whether Obama would be able to carry it off at first. I actually saw him quiver a little before he really got under way.
But he did carry it off in fine, strong fashion, promising to implement a new way of doing things rather than follow failed policies of the past.
And someone I know and trust mentioned to me last night that he thought Obama was a guy who was kind of “liberal” but was willing to look at things and see how he could work things out even with those who don’t agree with him – and I hope I paraphrased all that correctly. I’m kind of in a hurry here and want to get this posted.
Sure enough, Obama called for “people of opposing views to unite in a common effort.”
He chided his detractors who say his proposals for reforms are nothing but a “Trojan Horse” for more taxes. “If you don’t have new ideas (yourself) you stick to stale tactics,” he said.
He said that while McCain proposes to keep in place tax cuts for the wealthy, he, Obama, would cut taxes for “95 percent of the working people.”
And in almost a Republican way (the idea of a line item veto), he said he would go over existing programs “line by line” and cut out the ones that are not effective (to help balance the budget while cutting taxes, I suppose).
Now I could sum up most of his proposals by saying he basically in good old Democratic Party fashion promised good jobs, higher wages, education, health care and all things good for all working Americans (I know. I’m never comfortable using terms like “working class,” implying that anyone who does not report to a shop steward or punch a time clock or live pay check to pay check does not work).
He also called for a program to make the United States energy independent in a decade (Obama could only serve eight years at the most). Hey I guess that was like John Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the Moon – we did, and in less than a decade from his promise.
Obama delivered quite a few good lines, but my purpose here is not to recount the content of his speech, but to comment on what it might portend.
I think the Democrats have managed to put themselves in the best position to win a presidential election in a long time. I blogged earlier that inherent or lingering racism in our society might be the only thing holding Obama back. If the participation is high come election day, seems like that would not be as much of a factor, and maybe I’m just wrong and it’s not much of a factor at all.
The debates between Obama and McCain probably will allow those who care a chance to really see the difference in philosophies of government that are being presented.
On the other hand, I have heard McCain at times manage to stray from that Bush type thing that always seems to put the interests of big business and Bush’s cronies ahead of everything (you know like that time George W. was appearing before a country club crowd and said something to the effect of some say you are the richest people in the United States, “I call you my base,” and everyone snickered.
So the race looks to be extremely close. But Obama by his performance tonight seems up to it and then some.
P.S. As far as foreign policy, I could sum up Obama’s positions by saying that he proposes not to be so trigger happy and emphasize diplomacy and working in common with our allies, but not fail to use force when and where it’s called for.