Firstly, I thought Obama’s speech was just dandy. John Dickerson sums it up nicely, while his Slate buddy Mickey Kaus seems to have watched a different speech than I did. Obama would have been criticized for not offering the “laundry list” of plans had he stayed on the “soaring rhetoric” plane; if anything, had he done as Kaus expected, the venue — a stadium packed with Obama-worshippers tearing up and even proposing to each other — would have underscored the criticism that Obama makes great speeches but offers no substance. Within the constraints of political speech-making, Obama countered that charge with a hefty serving of “meat and potatoes.” I still don’t see how a “line-by-line” scrutiny of the federal budget to eliminate waste will pay for all the things Obama said he wants to do, but I imagine it might be a tad more fiscally responsible than, say, waging unnecessary wars. Just sayin’.
Other than oblique references from Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Joe Biden to “upholding the Constitution — and actually doing it!”, I agree with Glenn Greenwald:
First, there is almost no mention of, let alone focus on, the sheer radicalism and extremism of the last eight years. During that time, our Government has systematically tortured people using sadistic techniques ordered by the White House; illegally and secretly spied on its own citizens; broken more laws than can be counted based on the twisted theory that the President has that power; asserted the authority to arrest and detain even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and hold them for years without charges; abolished habeas corpus; created secret prisons in Eastern Europe and a black hole of lawlessness in Guantanamo; and explicitly abandoned and destroyed virtually every political value the U.S. has long claimed to embrace.
Other than a fleeting reference to such matters by John Kerry in a (surprisingly effective) speech which most networks did not broadcast, one would not know, listening to the Democratic Convention, that any of those things have happened. Even our unprovoked and indescribably destructive attack on Iraq, based on purely false pretenses, has received little attention. Those things simply don’t exist, even as part of the itemized laundry list of Democratic grievances about the Bush administration. The overriding impression one has is that the only things really wrong during the last eight years in this country are that gas prices are high and not everyone has health insurance. Those are obviously very significant problems, but they are garden-variety political issues which don’t begin to capture the extremism that has predominated in this country under GOP rule, and don’t remotely approach conveying the crises on numerous fronts the country faces.
Perhaps it is because too many Democrats have been complicit and carrying the water for this administration. Again…just sayin’.
As for Gov. Sarah Palin? I’m with August.