Saturday Reads: President Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Good Morning!

Generally speaking the pundits didn’t care for President Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night. It’s not surprising that the guys at Politico thought it “fell flat.”

A surprisingly long parade of Democrats and media commentators described the speech less as a failure than a fizzle—an oddly missed opportunity to frame his presidency or the nation’s choice in a fresh or inspirational light.

Even those who liked the president’s performance generally went no further than saying that he was effective in doing a job that needed to be done, in a tough-minded if prosaic style.

These shoulder-shrug reactions confront Obama with a question no one expected to be asking when the week in Charlotte began: How did a president for whom stirring speeches were the engine of his rise to power manage to give, at best, only the third-most compelling speech at a convention devoted to his own re-election?

But even more liberal commentators found Obama’s speech wanting. Peter Beinart called it “underwhelming and anticlimactic.”

Obama’s acceptance speech had two apparent goals: The first was to lay out an agenda for the next four years so people feel they have something forward-looking to vote for. The second was to recapture the sense of hope that defined Obama’s 2008 campaign.

On paper, he did both things. But what the speech lacked was a coherent explanation of the nightmare this country has gone through for the last four years. Republicans are laying the Great Recession at Obama’s feet. Obama is saying that Republicans created it and, if elected, will make it worse. To win that argument, Obama needed to explain why the financial crisis happened, and he didn’t. Yes, he mocked the GOP for proposing tax cuts as the answer to every problem, but the financial crisis didn’t happen because of tax cuts. It happened, in large measure, because Republican and some Democratic politicians—blinded by free-market fundamentalism and Wall Street largesse—allowed bankers to create unregulated markets in which they gambled the savings of millions of Americans, knowing that if their bets failed, they wouldn’t be the ones to lose their homes and their life’s savings.

Obama should have told that story, and then gone at Romney for doubling down on the ideology that almost brought America to its knees. Then he should have contrasted that with his own interventions to protect people who the market has failed: whether they be auto workers or people with sick kids.

Michael Tomasky called it Pedestrian and Overconfident

Let’s be blunt. Barack Obama gave a dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase. The crowd sure didn’t see it my way. The delegates were near delirium; to what extent they were merely still feeding off the amassed energy of the previous two nights I can’t say.

And swing voters watching at home? They probably weren’t as bored as I was, but it seems inconceivable that they’d have been enraptured. This was the rhetorical equivalent, forgive the football metaphor, of running out the clock: Obama clearly thinks he’s ahead and just doesn’t need to make mistakes. But when football teams do that, it often turns out to be the biggest mistake of all, and they lose.

Nevertheless, the final night of the Democratic Convention drew about 35.7 million viewers. The second night of the convention, when Bill Clinton spoke pulled in more views than the Giants-Cowboys game that played opposite the Convention coverage, about 25.1  million people–but nowhere near the number who watched the speeches by Vice President Biden and President Obama. Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech attracted 30.3 million viewers.

Howard Kurtz reported that Obama’s acceptance speech was deliberately “low-key.”

While the pundits are generally calling the president’s Thursday night address mediocre, Obama and his advisers had taken great pains to avoid soaring rhetoric that might have been derided as empty.

Indeed, they extensively tested the president’s speech in dial groups, a type of focus group where voters twist dials to register approval or disapproval of specific passages, and say it tested off the charts. The reaction, they say, was more positive than to Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech in Denver.

In short, the president deliberately dialed it down, stopping well short of the altitudes he is capable of reaching. Perhaps that will prove to be a mistake, but the decision to go with a less rousing approach was carefully considered.

The campaign’s primary goal at the Democratic convention was to provide a concrete sense of what Obama would do in a second term. That was what independent voters wanted, according to the research, and that was the focus in Charlotte.

Personally, I thought the first half of Obama’s speech was underwhelming, but I’ve never been a big fan of his speeches. About half-way through I thought the speech became more interesting. I was impressed that Obama admitted how difficult the job is and that he has questioned himself at times and that he has been “changed” by being President of the United States. I think the best evaluation of the speech that I read yesterday was by Tom Junod at Charles Pierce’s blog: President Obama Falls Back to Earth, Transformed. Junod’s thesis statement: “We should have known that Barack Obama would emerge from this convention conventionalized — that is, as a more conventional politician than he was when he went in. Or that we ever thought he could be.”

He didn’t rise to the occasion on Thursday night; he not only didn’t reinvent the possibilities of political language, he used language that many people had to feel they’d heard before. His speech was disappointing until, with about ten minutes to go, it acknowledged disappointment, and so began its rise. “The times have changed — and so have I,” he said. “I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.” Of course, he was reminding us of his power; the fact of his presidency has become an argument for his presidency. But he was also reminding us that as a candidate who rose to power on the politics of pure potential, he is, as president, a fallen man. “And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failiings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.'”

This was where the speech turned, and became, in its statement of humility, a statement of rousing power. “I ask you for your vote,” he said, and his commonplace words had a beseeching quality that put them outside the realm of political performance. He had failed to transform his office, and failed to transform our politics, but he sounded fully aware that he had been himself transformed.

He had started out as the Cassius Clay of our politics, brash and blinding, with an abilty to do things in the ring that no one else had ever thought of — with an ability to be untouchable. Now he stood inside the ring of stars on the blue carpeted stage of the Democratic National Convention as the Muhammad Ali whose greatness was proven after he returned to boxing bigger, slower, harder-hitting but also easier to hit. Oh, Ali got touched, all right, and since he lost his skill at avoiding punches he had to find the skill of taking them. He became a prodigy not of otherworldly gifts but rather of sheer will, and so it was with Obama in his speech on Thursday night. At an event that paid endless tributes to our wounded warriors, he rebranded himself as something of a wounded warrior himself; and at the very moment when those who remembered 2008 hoped he might say something that no one had ever heard before and maybe even reinvent, one more time, the possibilities of a word as hackneyed as hope itself, he instead completed his hard-won journey to convention.

Of course I never thought Obama was anything but an ordinary, conventional politician. As everyone here knows, I never bought the “hope and change” schtick. I never saw Obama as a great liberal savior. I was impressed with his acceptance speech, because he showed humility. By the end of the speech I was convinced that this man had matured in office, and because of that, I saw hope for his second term.

Apparently, Charlie Pierce never saw the transcendent Obama either.

I never heard the music.

People told me it was there. People told me it sang to them. People told me that its chords touched them deeply in their hearts. I watched as it make them weep and cheer. I watched as it moved them while I stood there, an unbeliever at the grotto, seeing only rocks and weeds where everyone around me saw and heard and joined in something altogether transformative. I was there in Boston when the president gave the speech that first sent him rocketing up the charts, and I didn’t hear it. Since then, I have seen him give an acceptance speech, an inaugural address, a Nobel oration, and three State of the Unions, and the only thing I remember about any of the latter is that he got heckled by some peckerwood from South Carolina, and that he called out the corporate meat-puppets of the Supreme Court in what I still believe is the finest — and certainly, the most prescient — moment of his presidency.

But I never found the poetry in it all. I thought he was a good, smart orator with some uniquely gifted writers and a talent for creating a warm and comfortable context in which people could take what they believed were all their best instincts out for a walk. I still believe that. He still reaches people at depths that I cannot fathom. He still reaches them in frequencies beyond my poor ability to hear.

That is pretty much how I’ve always reacted to Obama’s speeches. But in his convention speech, I thought I saw something more substantive. And it gave me hope. Pierce was impressed with Obama’s reference to “…the hard and frustrating and necessary work of self-government.”

That I heard. That I understood. It is not musical. It is not in any way poetic. But it is a clear line drawn between the president and the person and the party that would like to take his job from him. It is now an article of absolute faith among Republicans that “the government” is an entity separate from “the American people,” which they say the same way that the old Jesuits talked about “the mystical Body of Christ.” It is now an ironclad commandment of conservative orthodoxy that “the government” is something parasitic and alien. There is a reason why conservatives talk about “government” and not “self-government,” because to refer to the latter is to concede that “the government” is really the most basic product of our political commonwealth, that it is what we produce among ourselves so as to order the production of everything else that we do together. This is not an idle distinction. It is the entire message of last week’s Republican convention, and it is the entire message of the campaign they are planning to run, and, make no mistake, it resonates deeply with millions of people because it has been spoonfed to them as a kind of noxious anesthetic for almost foty years now, a long enough time for it to seem as though it is the natural order of things.

“…the hard and frustrating and necessary work of self-government.”

Make no mistake. This little throwaway line was the most direct, and the most serious, challenge that the president threw down at the feet of the Republican ticket on Thursday night because it strikes at the very essence of four decades of conservative political philosophy. We create “the government” we have. “The government” is not imposed from without. It is our creation. Its proper operation is our responsibility. If we do not like the way it operates, we do the hard and frustrating and necessary work to change the way it does. If we believe that it is being hijacked, we do the hard and frustrating and necessary work of using the tools of self-government to run the moneychangers out of the place. If we do not like the way the person we vote for is doing the job with which we have entrusted him — if he, say, allows the crooks who brought down the economy to walk away free, or if he perpetuates policies antithetical to civil liberties, or if he gets a little too cozy with fracking or if he gives away too much in some Grand Bargain — then we do the hard and frustrating and necessary work of self-government to hold his damn feet to the fire and say, “No further.”

Please go read the whole thing if you haven’t already. Obama articulated the key difference between today’s Republicans and the rest of us. They hate government and believe it should do nothing for people, just fund national defense and aid corporations. Most Democrats still believe that Government has a role in making people’s lives better, in ensuring that even the weakest and most vulnerable among us have rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

At the same time we citizens have the responsibility to stand up to our leaders, to voice our needs and our values, to remind our leaders that they work for us and there are certain things we won’t tolerate–whether that’s privatizing social security and medicare, limiting women’s rights, killing people with unmanned drones, limiting voting rights or some other policy that is important to us.

I think Obama’s speech got the job done. It made the convention delegates happy, and it laid a foundation for the arguments he will make over the final few weeks of the campaign. I hope he will continue to emphasize the importance of citizenship–of the necessity of every American being involved in “self-government.” That is the price of democracy.

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?  This is an open thread!

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68 Comments on “Saturday Reads: President Obama’s Acceptance Speech”

  1. ANonOMouse says:

    Good post BB. I viewed Obama’s speech in much the same way as you.

    But, no matter what the professsional tv-pundit-opinion-writer-spinners say, the convention did move the numbers

    Obama’s personal approval went up, Approve 52 / Disapprove 43. Even the (R)AssMussen had a significant swing from Thursday to Saturday. It went from Romney +3 to Barack +2 in 2 days.

    Hell something happened to move the numbers, I say it was the stark CONTRAST between the two candidates and the two conventions.

    Rasmussen (Saturday) 3-Day Tracking

    1500 LV 3.0

    Obama 46

    RMoney 44

    Obama +2

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. And thanks for posting those numbers. It does seem as if Obama is getting a bump from the convention. We won’t no how much of a bump for a couple of days, but it seems substantial so far.

      • pdgrey says:

        BB, this is my take, too. Great post.
        Do you mind if I bring a comment over here (it’s kinda long) about the crap laws the GOP wants?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m more impressed by Obama’s approval numbers. Being above 50 is a very good signal that people are listening to the argument that “he inherited this mess” and that “no one could have done a better job”. Clinton’s argument for Obama in that regard, and his explanation of Obama’s policies and accomplishments, under very difficult financial and political circumstances, rang true. Clinton sold it in imho and unless Romney can find a way to undermine the conclusion that no one could have done a better job than Obama, then Romney cannot win. Folks don’t like to change horses in mid-stream, not even if they’re riding Rainbow Bright’s million dollar pony.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Please do, PD.

    • janey says:

      So Obama is not the great orator that Clinton is. That still doesn’t mean that Romney would make a better president. If we award the position on who is the greatest speech maker, we will soon have a dictator in the White House. Remember, Hitler was a great speaker.

  2. pdgrey says:

    That post of Charles Pierce also pointing out the GOP has co-opted the ruined the word government. Bad word now, just like liberal and a host of other words. Thanks Frank Luntz, AssHole. Speaking of Frank Luntz CBS just hired this jackass. And in conclusion, as Bill Clinton would say, I want the true meaning of words back.

  3. pdgrey says:

    Thanks BB

    Helen Wheels /HT

    So this tells me that this womens group is OK with all of this:

    – Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Equal Pay for Women Act

    – Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment

    – Every GOP member vote FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation

    – Every GOP member vote FOR Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health

    Coverage Amendment. While Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employer

    to deny men employee health coverage for Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio

    Amendment allows Employer to deny female employees & female

    dependents: contraception, tubes tied, and hysterectomies.

    – GOP Redefine Rape

    – GOP write legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina

    – GOP change legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence
    to “accuser”

    – GOP write legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides
    abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)

    – GOP write legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income
    pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

    – GOP write legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die

    rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

    – GOP write law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women

    should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland)

    – GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.

    – Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women: GOP write Bill to CUT

    funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

    – GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned
    Parenthood.

    – GOP voted for a Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood
    health centers.

    – GOP write Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.

    – GOP Write Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS

    all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception

    coverage. (Dan Burton(R))

    – GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday
    signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the
    country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and
    declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

    States passed 83 laws restricting access to abortion, nearly four times the
    23 laws passed in 2010. A lot of that had to do with the 2010 elections, which
    ushered in a wave of Republican legislators and governors. This year, the
    number of states with fully anti-abortion governments — in which both the
    governor and the legislature oppose abortion rights — increased from
    10 to 15.

    The GOP has also refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.

    And Red States have passed 83 laws restricting access to abortion, nearly
    four times the 23 laws passed in 2010. A lot of that had to do with the 2010
    elections, which ushered in a wave of Republican legislators and governors.
    This year, the number of states with complete anti-abortion governments — that
    is those in which both the governor and the legislature oppose abortion rights
    — increased from 10 to 15.

    • ANonOMoused says:

      Thanks pdgrey, that’s a list worth forwarding and saving for future reference.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Does anyone remember the “outrage” that ensued a few years ago when one of Obama’s speechwriters was pictured with his arm slung over the shoulder of Hillary Clinton as he chugged down a beer? The calls for his scalp were scattered all throughout the blogosphere with cries of “disrespect” thrown around for effect.

      The same people who kept bringing attention to this lapse in judgment are today upholding the GOP and its radical proposals to harness women, their access to healthcare, and their right to make decisions in private that should never be part of the public debate.

      Mocking Sandra Fluke and giggling over comments tweeted by the likes of Erick Erickson in reference to the “Vagina Monologues” has replaced whatever “indignation” they sought to underscore by Obama’s frat boy speechwriter seems pale by comparison. At least he wasn’t proposing policies that went against women by calling them sluts.

      They beat the drum for Obama to fire the frat boy but stand in unison with Mitt who refuses to “comment” about women’s issues and his running mate who “personhood” for a clump of cells.

      I keep thinking that I can no longer be surprised by idiots who excuse the GoP for being hateful assholes, but apparently I’m not. The same voices who rose up in horror at the Stupak Amendment are now finding excuses to support a ticket that promises to do far worse.

      Hypocrisy will never go out of fashion as long as these “critical thinkers” are at play.

      • pdgrey says:

        Pat, I believe now, they weren’t who they said they were.

      • peregrine says:

        Some of them were Hillary supporters who are now for Romney. I was reading 2 of these switchers’ blogs last night. What always surprises me is how much they take for granted the work, the struggle, and the protests women underwent for Roe V. Wade to finally pass. Now, this history-challenged 40-something female blogger is passionate for Romney who plans to repeal this act. She’s enjoying “star” treatment at two Obama-hating blogs so it it may come down to self-promotion over protecting women as a group.

      • RalphB says:

        Maybe I should care why those folks are in the place they are, but I don’t now. They are opposed to just about everything I am for, so screw ’em.

      • NW Luna says:

        You may be referring to the Obama speechwriter who mimicked forcing a beer at the mouth of a life-size paper cutout Hillary stand-up poster, while his hand was positioned to grab a breast. Yes, that was sexist and hateful.

        I thought then, as I do now, that the incident said loud and clear that these men thought Hillary — and by extension other similar women and her supporters– were targets for harassment, rape, and ridicule.

        But I am not one of those who support Romney/Ryan. It is illogical and inconsistent to condemn sexist innuendos while applauding politicians who stand for misogynist policy and legislation.

        I don’t understand why you would assume that everyone who hated that speechwriter’s sexist frat-boy vileness with the Hillary poster figure have terminal ODS and have gone over to the GOP’s hatewing fringe.

        Misogyny and hate should be condemned wherever they arise, left or right.

        (Pat, I don’t want this to be seen as attacking you …. I don’t think you were really lumping all of us who called out FratBoy’s disrespect as being Romney lovers now.)

  4. dakinikat says:

    I agree with you and Pierce. I never got the tingly leg. I found this speech struck the right chord.

    • RalphB says:

      High flying rhetoric, which is what the bobble heads wanted, would have went over like a lead balloon. He needed a serious speech and that’s what he gave. Judging from comments I’ve heard it seems to have worked OK..

    • NW Luna says:

      I suspect many have lost their earlier infatuation with Obama. The same level of speechifying which gave them tingles 4 years ago doesn’t now; the honeymoon is long gone.

      Seriousness was appropriate. I hope, as BB mentions, that Obama has grown in the office.

      Still wish he’d grow more in the direction of FDR-type backbone, and less in the bipartisan direction.

  5. northwestrain says:

    0bama’s toga slipped and oops he’s just another politician playing the game. Sort of what most of us saw 4 years ago. Someone who was not ready and he still isn’t. The other guy isn’t ready — but at least 0bama isn’t a Mormon and he isn’t one of those angry white guys — so there is that.

    Now the question is — after 4 years of following the Bush/Cheney blueprint in his attempt to be the non-Clinton — will 0bama change and copy another politician. 0bama is not an original thinker.

    That list of the GOPigs war on women is really depressing — we haven’t come very far at all — and in many cases it is women who are the Generals in this WAR on women. I see no leadership on this (human rights=women’s rights) for either of the 0bamas. But as I’ve said all along — neither are leaders — they just follow the money.

    • dakinikat says:

      Like I keep saying, I understand every voting strategy but voting for Romney/Ryan. Any woman that can do that declares herself a royal eunuch or breeder. Take your choice.

    • pdgrey says:

      I wish Bill Clinton would put out a cease and desist message to Ryan like the musicians do when the Pubbies use their music.

      • bostonboomer says:

        All Ryan is doing is inviting comparisons between Bill Clinton and Romney/Ryan. I don’t think most people will think the comparison favors the Republican ticket–especially if they watched Clinton’s speech on Wed. night.

    • northwestrain says:

      Oh good grief — if Ryan’s talking then Ryan is lying.

      Can we take bets on how GOPFOX will report the latest Ryan lying? Quote him.

    • RalphB says:

      Did you read the comments on that piece? They mocked and killed Ryan with criticism.

      • northwestrain says:

        YES I read that piece TWICE — which is why is wrote — if Ryan’s talking then Ryan is lying.

        But will FOX do an in depth review about exactly how much Ryan lies — HELL NO.

        i know you love 0bama — fine.

        Ryan is a lying pile of crap — and Romney is a man-god in waiting.

        Get off your high horse please.

        Your remark was uncalled for

        I am not the ENEMy.

        Signing off —

        JESUS FUCKI9NG CHRIST ON A HORSE

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t know what happened here, but I don’t think any of us “loves” Obama. Northwestrain, you’re very welcome here. I can’t figure out exactly what offended you. But sometimes you come across as very angry, and that can rub people the wrong way too.

        There is no problem with disagreement, but we all need to make an effort to be courteous. It’s easier to misunderstand each other when all we are doing is reading words and not seeing facial expressions and hearing tone of voice.

      • RalphB says:

        My comment was for pdgrey and was only informational. I don’t see anything wrong with what was written by you northwestrain and am sorry you thought my comment was somehow aimed at you.

        I assure you it wasn’t and I respect your opinion as much as anyone elses. This is a free country and you own your own vote and opinion.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks, Ralph. I couldn’t see anything you said that was offensive.

      • NW Luna says:

        NWR, it is hard to write conversationally and be totally clear on quick comments — no sound, no visual of facial expressions to show if we’re kidding, snarking, etc. I didn’t think Ralph was implying anything about you.

        Fox is nah-gonna fact-check Ryan, NWR, as you thought since you used “GOPFOX”. I’m surprised the comments on the FOX piece actually pointed out Ryan’s lies, since they’re FOX readers. I take this as a good sign, that Ryan’s not fooling even (some) FOX readers.

        Nobody here loves Obama. We do speak out in favor when he speaks or acts to defend or increase support for sensible healthcare, good jobs, education, civil rights for all, consumer protection.

        But Obama has a long way to go to truly be a Democrat in the likes of FDR or even Bill Clinton. Not that they were as democratic as they could have been in their terms.

      • bostonboomer says:

        NW Luna,

        The comments Ralph referred to were actually on a piece in the NYT Caucus blog. I’m not sure how Fox News came into this discussion.

    • NW Luna says:

      Huh! No one will fall for it. Compare the Big Dawg and Ryan? Ryan is a boy who should get sent back to study hall.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    I read the Charlie Pierce piece a day or so ago. I was so glad he highlighted the “self-government” reference. The Repug refrain of Government = Bad has been driving me crazy. Government is The People, of/by/for The People. Someone recently said that Repugs love America but hate Americans. That needs to be a bumper sticker.

    Personally, my favorite line from Obama’s acceptance speech was: “you didn’t elect me to tell you what you want to hear, you elected me to tell you the truth.” (paraphrased). This election is about speaking truth as opposed to impossible promises or Repug Lies. No president has been without flaws, no president has made no mistakes & some have committed crimes (Reagan & Nixon come to mind). Anyway, I think that line by Obama drew the line in sand – the demarcation between him & Rymney.

    I saw a bit of his St Pete campaign stop on MHP this AM. He looked & sounded so much more relaxed & comfortable than on previous stops pre-convention. One can only hope that the fence sitters will start paying attention now that we are in post-convention mode.

    Thanks, bb, for the insight, commentary & links.

    PS – check out the videos from Rachel’s show last night, especially the interview of an anti-abortion lawmaker by an Aljazeera female interviewer. A simple question, no one has asked him before, showed him for the a$$ he is. “Why do you think a woman would get an abortion?” Lawmaker: “I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that before.” DUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH.

    • pdgrey says:

      I saw that, “I never thought about that before”, stunning.

    • RalphB says:

      The Democrats seemed to me to deliberately stick to the truth, with a little of the usual stretch, in order to better contrast themselves with the outright lies of the Republicans. I think that’s the right path to follow. I like this from Obama’s closing lines:

      We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories. And we learn from our mistakes. But we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.

      • NW Luna says:

        “We take care of our own” as a theme song … May it truly inspire the Democrats and Obama’s next term.

        Although I could do without the reference to “providence,” it’s a whole sight better than “god.”

      • peregrine says:

        Today I read Obama’s acceptance speech and it actually is very good. He gives an impressive list of what he has done to jump-start the economy. He tells us his vision of improving the education of our young people and of re-training those who have lost their jobs. He talks about becoming oil independent. He, thankfully, talks of peace where after 9 years and two wars I’m hoping for. I hear a candidate that has been worn down by the last 4 years and, if he wins, will need the support of the American people like never before.

  7. ecocatwoman says:

    This is a legislative personhood I fully support: http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/river-new-zealand-granted-legal-rights-person.html

    Under the settlement, the river is regarded as a protected entity, under an arrangement in which representatives from both the iwi and the national government will serve as legal custodians towards the Whanganui’s best interests.

    • NW Luna says:

      Splendid!

      I am reminded of Justice William O. Douglas, who was from Washington State, who believed the wilderness should have protected rights. He was on the SCOTUS from 1935 – 1979.

      During his lengthy stay and commitment to the law, Douglas pushed the envelope on many controversial topics including the preservation and protection of wilderness across the United States, earning him the nickname “Wild Bill” and the criticism of the public and other government officials. ….

      In the 1972 case, Sierra Club vs. Morton, Justice Douglas stated,

      “Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation…So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even the air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains and nourishes – fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.”

      An addition of 166,000 acres of protected lands south of Mt. Rainier is named the William O. Douglas Wilderness in his honor.

  8. RalphB says:

    Tammy Duckworth should kick this guy’s butt handily!

    Joe Walsh To Sandra Fluke: ‘Get A Job’ (VIDEO)

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh for heaven’s sake. Joe Wash should go visit his kids and give them some money for clothes and food instead of making a public fool of himself.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “Joe Wash should go visit his kids and give them some money for clothes and food instead of making a public fool of himself”

        Ain’t that the truth!!! What a dickwad Walsh is.

  9. RalphB says:

    This is interesting and based off state polling and electoral votes only, so it’s relevant.

    Princeton Election Consortium: The GOP convention negative bounce: a final look

    Soon, post-DNC state polls will begin to arrive. So here is the best glimpse we are going to get of the negative post-GOP-convention bounce. Basically, their convention appears to have helped…Obama.

  10. dakinikat says:

    I’m waiting for my FEMA inspector. Lord, I hope they cover some of this stuff that my wonderful private Insurance company decided it wouldn’t any more since I had the audacity to file a claim with them after Katrina.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      The damned insurance companies make me sick. “You’re in Good Hands in Some States” but only if you never file a claim. I hope FEMA can help Dak.

    • NW Luna says:

      Insurance companies! May their CEOs, senior- and mid-management all end up in the last rung of Hell. The devil tells them their insurance does not actually cover Paradise or even Limbo.

      Hope it goes well. Keep appealing if you receive a first denial. Often in medical insurance we can get things covered if we keep appealing. Remember, the paperwork is designed to make it hard for you and everyone else; nothing personal!

  11. RalphB says:

    Good place for Bill to start campaigning. Take FL off the map and Rmoney is very near toast.

    The Hill: Bill Clinton to campaign for Obama next week in swing-state Florida

    The Obama campaign announced Saturday that former President Bill Clinton would stump for the president in swing-state Florida next week.

    Clinton will visit the Miami area on Tuesday, Sept. 11 and be in the Orlando area on Wednesday. The campaign said more details on his events would be “forthcoming.”

  12. janicen says:

    Well late to the party as usual, but I just wanted to add that I too am not a fan of Obama’s speeches which is why I absolutely loved this one. He wasn’t sing-songy, he wasn’t condescending, he didn’t try to sound folksy, he sounded like a President. I guess I’m one of the few, but for me it sold me. That’s how I want my President to sound. Okay, maybe with a higher pitch and wearing a pant suit, but you know what I mean. 😉

    • RalphB says:

      That’s exactly what I thought when I heard it. I thought it was the best speech I had ever heard him give by a long way but I knew the Bots weren’t going to like it much. 😉

  13. RalphB says:

    Great piece by Scott Lemieux on the Nadering of elections.

    Lawyers Guns & Money: The St. Ralph Lecture Series

    As a bookend to Salon inexplicably publishing a ridiculous argument asserting that Mitt Romney is a harmless moderate who if anything is more liberal than Barack Obama, the man who made the Iraq War, massive upper-class tax cuts and Sam Alito possible is back to lecture us with arguments that make Stoller’s look rational (along with some of the same ones.) I always find Nader’s attempts to explain himself after he decided to ruin his admirable legacy by becoming a cat’s paw for the Republican Party entertaining.