Aug 28, 2008

Electoral Ambivalence

Am I ballyhoo-weary?

As an exercise in civic responsibility, I will watch the much-hyped Barack Obama speech this evening. I will hear of Obama's modest childhood, his dreams, his calls for change, and his policy proposals.

But I have to admit that I have not caught election fever.

This is not a swipe against Barack Obama, as I find him to be a thoughtful politician and a charismatic speaker. Yet his campaign has failed to really connect with me, and at this rate I may find myself yawning in November at my presidential options.

Perhaps this is a function of the fact that John McCain, a moderate Republican, does not appear to provide a significant ideological contrast with Obama (Iraq War excepted). Maybe we have a race to the middle this election, with both candidates avoiding declaring concrete policy proposals and doctrinaire political philosophies in an effort to woo independents like me.

Or maybe the problem is me, and I have become too jaded by the politics-of-negativity by both parties to even venture a hope that these candidates will ever spend time talking about what needs to be fixed in America. It is possible that my ambivalence is more like resigned cynicism, and that any words from the mouths of these candidates would strike me as calculated and insincere.

So if I nod off during Barack Obama's speech tonight, kindly nudge me and tell me to pay attention. The pundits say that this is the most important election in a generation, and I'd better do my part to stay informed, no matter how skeptical I am feeling.


Molly said...

I'm curious as to whether you did nod off, or did he win you over at all? I think he did exactly what he had to do, catch the attention of the people on the sidelines who haven't been *quite sold on him, and make them want to take a closer look at what he is really about. Good luck to McCain trying break even on this particular round.

microdot said...

My wife stayed up til 6 am watching it on CNN International and has been raving. I've seen some excerpts on the Net...

Good Luck to McCain.....?
I can only say Good Riddance!

Molly said...

Good Luck to McCain.....?
I can only say Good Riddance!

Ha! that too!

historymike said...

Hi Molly:

I made it about 50 minutes into the speech before heading to bed. This is no disrespect to Obama, who gave his usual fine speech filled with great lines, but just because I am back to work teaching the next generation of American leaders.

Or is it the "next generation of Americans with diminishing opportunities"?

Time will tell.

historymike said...


On an optimistic day, I think to myself: "Both Obama and McCain would be better than the last eight years."

On my pessimistic days, I think that the U.S. economy is in permanent decline, and that neither candidate can reverse the forces of globalization that are outsourcing American jobs overseas.

Either way, I'll probably be working until I'm 85, unless my heart gives out before then.

microdot said...

Mike, I have to most emphatically disagree. If you have been paying attention to the people surrounding McCain and pulling his puppet strings, and make no mistake, McCain is in no position to write his own ticket, he is owned!...A McCain preisdency will be like the last 8 years, but on steroids!

McDackblog said...

Gotta take issue with your characterization of McCain as a "moderate Republican". He's voted 90-something percent of the time with Bush's agenda (bipartisan much?), and according to VoteView's analysis of Senators' votes from the last three Congresses, he's one of the five most conservative. He's certainly a lot more conservative than the average Arizona voter. A picture is worth a thousand words; check out this post from Nate at 538 and scroll down to the graph.

Anyway, I hadn't read this blog in awhile, and you've done a masterful job! We know each other in real life, so I'll shoot you an email. Cheers!
crappy political art, because it matters

McDackblog said...

P.S. On the general thrust of your post.... yeah, Bush (in particular) has gotten us into a deep hole, but that is no reason to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. McCain is no change agent; he is one more aggressive neo-con trickle-down wolf in "straight talk" sheep's clothing. Actually, he's shedding even that facade; please read this shocking interview with him and try to argue that he's still got his (putative) integrity or his marbles.

Those who benefit from the status quo (richest 5%) want to trivialize this election and sow apathy. Ain't gonna stand for that, Packy!
crappy political art, because it matters

historymike said...

Microdot and McDackblog:

The issue is really with me, and not necessarily with Obama. This might be as simple as I am feeling tired and jaded. I trust that the serious fall campaign will serve to invigorate me.

Historychic said...

Mike, I am not thrilled with Obama or McCain. So, you are not alone in not having caught the fever.

microdot said...

Oh but I bet you all are as thrilled as I am by McCains choice of Sarah Palin as VP!
I'm sure Hillary is thrilled equally as well.
Ms. Palin seems to be a little confused as to exactly what a vice president does.
I have a handy guide for her. Pay attention, there will be a test:

1. Leaves undisclosed location for the White House.

2. Tells the President what to do.

3. Orders Chief of Staff to obstruct a series of investigations.

4. Snarls a few times.

5. Returns to undisclosed location.

dr-exmedic said...

I've wanted this damn election to be over for a month or more, so you're not alone in your apathy.

Mad Jack said...

I don't like either one. Obama is arrogant to the point of hubris. It isn't that Obama doesn't care about the Great Unwashed; its that Himself has to be reminded that they exist. Obama will provide the US with four years of "Let them eat cake".

McCain will keep us in Iraq for an extended stay, and might invade Iran - IF Congress funds the war. Which, let me remind the moonbats, Congress did do for King George II. We wouldn't be in Iraq without help from Congress.

The argument that if McCain is elected we'll have another four years of Bush is pure stable dressing. King George II will likely be remembered as one of the five worst presidents in US history. Think about it. Even Tricky Dick Nixon didn't screw things up as bad as George.