The last 24 hours have probably been some of the most historic 24 hours of politics in a long time. Barack Obama officially accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party with a stirring speech last night in Denver, making him the first African American presidential nominee in U.S. history. And today John McCain announced that Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin would be his running mate, making Palin only the second female vice presidential nominee from a major party in history. No matter who wins in November, history will be made.
I find myself caught up in the excitement—and rightly so; it is historic and ground-breaking and that has personal implications for me—but I’ve been reminded by several people that politics is not everything. As one friend said, “I freaking hate politics. It’s all trying to cure cancer with ointment.”
Even as politics enters uncharted, historic territory and is worth being excited about, I think it’s worth remembering that there are more important things.
Continue reading Politics is Like Trying to Cure Cancer with Ointment
Let me start by saying I don’t like Hillary Clinton.
But I got teary eyed watching her tonight during the Democratic National Convention. There were two moments that got me: Her introduction video when she said, “See, you can be whatever you want to be,” and in her speech when she talked about women getting the right to vote and her mother being born before women could vote and her daughter being able to vote for a woman for president.
All my life women and minorities have had the right to vote and have had other equal rights and I’ve never thought much of it. But when you realize that only white men have ever been the face of this country’s highest office, it sends a clear message and you begin to wonder about those equal rights. It’s one thing to say a woman or a black man or a Latino woman or a Jewish man could be president, but it’s another thing to see it happen.
I got teary eyed because this election year a woman and a black man had a chance to be elected President of the United States, and for the first time I realized what that meant for my daughter and my soon-to-be-adopted black child. I can tell them, and reality will back me up, that they can be whatever they want to be.
You could say that fatherhood has made me soft, and you’d be right. Thanks to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for proving you can be whatever you want to be.
I’ve been getting kind of weary of the vice presidential speculation and frenzy. How many times can we talk about how Barack Obama is going to text message his choice and you can be the first to know? I heard three of four times that Obama could make his announcement as early as Wednesday morning. Everyone’s a buzz. It’s as if the political junkies have nothing else to talk about and refuse to move on until both candidates name a VP.
So yesterday I had enough and decided I’d pretend to be the first to know and start spreading fake vice president announcements on Twitter. I did Obama VP picks yesterday and McCain picks today. And let me tell you, I had way too much fun.
Fake Barack Obama VP Picks:
I know people say Obama needs to beef up his foreign experience & military credentials, but picking Cobra Commander as a VP?!
I can’t believe Obama picked Clinton—Bill Clinton—as VP! First black presidential candidate picks first black president as VP.
Continue reading Vice Presidential Frenzy
About a week ago I was talking to a friend about the adoption tax credit that offers a $10,000 credit when you adopt. This friend claimed the credit was George W. Bush’s idea and lamented that if Barack Obama gets elected the credit will vanish. So I decided to sort out some facts. Which is harder than I thought.
To start with the basics, the adoption tax credit started in 1997 as a $5,000 credit and was raised to $10,000 in 2001 as a part of Bush’s tax cuts. Bush didn’t start the tax credit, though he did raise it. It’s also not clear if this is something Bush pushed for or if it was just part of the package. It’s also slated to expire in 2010 if it’s not renewed.
And this is where it gets tricky. Where do the current presidential candidates stand on renewing the adoption tax credit?
Continue reading McCain vs. Obama: Getting Answers on the Adoption Tax Credit
During the Tuesday, June 24, 2008 broadcast of Focus on the Family, James Dobson talks about a speech presidential candidate Barack Obama gave about religion in June 2006 (CNN story). I’ve never been a fan of Dobson (being blacklisted doesn’t help), but the tone of this attack amazed me.
I wrote up seven pages of text analyzing what Barack Obama said and what James Dobson said. It was good stuff. Fiery and mad and pretending to be non-biased but so completely biased.
I was going to break it up into five or six posts and unleash it slowly, savoring the thrill of bashing Dobson. But then I was reminded of all that stuff in the Bible about not being so quick to criticize. I hate those passages. I always want to insist that it’s not being critical, it’s about justice and explaining what’s right and wrong (clearly I’m right, they’re wrong). But those are just excuses. So I’ll hold off on my blow-by-blow (at least for now).
I will say that I think Barack Obama’s speech was impressive. I think James Dobson found a way to criticize everything possible, even if that meant misunderstanding Obama’s intention. It’s that kind of reaction (the kind that finds something wrong with anything) that makes me hate politics. And that’s exactly what I was starting to do, so I’ll stop.
Instead you can read Barack Obama’s Call for Renewal speech and you can listen to James Dobson’s broadcast (the first third is about Tim Russert, then they get to Obama) and decide for yourself.
Yesterday while watching Barack Obama’s speech and seeing the unbelievable crowd in St. Paul it started to dawn on me just how ground-breaking it is that the Democratic nominee for president is a black man. Seeing that diverse crowd (and that’s saying something in a state that’s 90% white) and hearing Obama preach it (tell me he doesn’t sound like a preacher more than a politician) is pretty inspiring.
What’s especially cool is that it would have been just as ground-breaking if Hillary Clinton had won the nomination. That’s cool. Though it will be even better when these firsts become commonplace.
Tomorrow could be the day Barack Obama declares victory and the Democratic Primary is finally over. Maybe. Two observations on the eve of whatever you call that:
1) What’s all this talk about who is winning the popular vote? Hilary has the lead in the popular vote, Obama has the lead in the popular vote, who cares? Last time I checked the election in November (and the Democratic Primary) were not decided by the popular vote. The popular vote may seem important, but as George W. Bush proved in 2000, you don’t need it.
2) All this quibbling over Michigan’s delegates is kind of insane. Barack Obama wasn’t even on the ballot, so how can Hilary say she beat Obama in Michigan? That’s like saying she beat John McCain in Michigan, and since he wasn’t on the Democratic Primary ballot, I guess she did. Maybe I should make a T-shirt: I got beat by Hillary in the Michigan primary.