06 September 2008

McCain's Appeal to Bi-Partisanship

Abbreviated. It’s Friday night.

On McCain’s speech: A relief following the previous evening’s open hostility. Senator McCain employed a terrific appeal to bipartisanship, to smoothing the country’s ridiculously exaggerated polarization. See his reaction to Code Pink’s noisy invasion of the auditorium: “Americans want us to stop yelling at each other…OK?”

Thank you, Senator. You’ve hit it spot on.

Otherwise, his speech was sincere and heartfelt. He offered traditional approaches to critical policies. Was it his best-ever speech? No. However, despite its jumpiness, and despite its slowness, it reminded me why I like McCain.

Too much of American politics of the past twenty (plus) years has suffered from “I know you are, but what am I” syndrome: “yeah, that was nasty, but you did it first” etc. (and all political junkies fall victim to this bit of juvenalia, including yours truly). One thing that consistently threatens our political scene is the series of grudges that each of the major parties hold until they come to power and can exact revenge (cf. Henry Hyde on Clinton’s impeachment as revenge for Nixon’s), which speaks more to politicians’ selfishness than it does to helping the American people.

(Climbing off that high horse now).

Aside: On NPR’s All Things Considered, David Brooks just said that “John McCain risks becoming the new Bob Dole”: someone who America respects, but someone who America rebuffs for the Presidency. Interesting.

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