The Republican convention dismayed me, because it seemed, despite some rhetoric to the contrary, negative and backward-looking rather than proposing a way forward. Speaker after speaker railed against "Washington elites," "pork barrel spending" and "the media," not to mention "Barack Obama" and "liberals," but to what end? A politics of resentment will carry the country only so far. In his acceptance speech, McCain presented a list of proposals that moved beyond the Washington-bashing chorus, but they were so general that they did little to wipe away the almost rabid negativity that prevailed.But what of Sarah Palin, you ask. Isn't her choice positive and forward-looking? The answer is not. Her choice is a reversion to tokenism and the culture wars at a time when the country, and especially elderly McCain, needs someone versed in foreign and domestic policy.
In fact, Sen. McCain's choice of Sarah Palin scares me, because of the way his decision was apparently made. After eight years of President Bush listening to his gut rather than his head, I don't want another John Wayne type impulsively shooting from the hip. I want somebody who listens to a range of opinions, considers all the angles and has a wider and better sense of national priorities than John McCain's selection reveals.
John McCain is undoubtedly sincere in his love of America, but I can't help comparing his fulminations against the evils of Washington with Barack Obama's acceptance speech. I was impressed by Obama's emphasis on individuals and his endorsement of the traditional way to achieve the American dream. He spoke repeatedly of the value of hard work and personal responsibility and about specific ways the government could help individuals get ahead. He looked forward while McCain emphasized the status quo. McCain was fighting against the government; Obama was urging individuals to better themselves and thereby the nation. For me, Obama's optimism, echoing a great American tradition, outweighs McCain's short-sighted pugnacity any day.
East Marlborough Township