Experience alone does not a president make

by lestro

After a day of celebration, relaxation and pride (remember the day after the 2004 election?  What a difference around the world, eh?), it is time to get back to the hard work of political punditry and that, of course, means post mortems on the campaigns.

The big game today seems to be “what went wrong” for John McCain and Newsweek goes right for the jugular, asking if the McCampaign was “the worst ever.”

It is tough to say it was the worst campaign ever, but it certainly ranks among them. According to Newsweek, the reason it is the worst comes down to two words: Sarah Palin.

… Team McCain ran a campaign that ranks on the bottom of this list. This was an aimless and chaotic operation made worse by poor choices at key moments. Their first mistake was picking Gov. Sarah Palin.

Actually, this was NOT their “first mistake.” However, Palin was the Gateway Meme, the first look behind the curtain that allowed the general public to see how everything Johnny Mac said was like a turd in the punchbowl that cannot be denied.

It was clear by September 3, 2008, before Charles GibsonKatie Couric and Tina Fey pulled on the thread that would eventually unravel the campaign, what Newsweek now describes:

By picking Palin, McCain simultaneously eliminated his own best argument against Senator Obama—the limited experience of his opponent—while compounding his own most negative image, that of someone who was erratic and out of control. The pick also fueled the feeling that grew throughout September and October that the Republican candidate was willing to take any step necessary to win the campaign. The Palin pick made every decision that followed seem purely political.

Like Katrina pulled back the curtain on the Bush administration, Sarah Palin revealed McCain as willing to do or say anything to get elected, all with little to no forethought.

And that’s no way to run a campaign, let alone a government. Read more of this post

My Selfish Racism

by the squid

I am not a sentimental person; but Tuesday night I was rocked to the core.

My wife and I are raising three mixed-race children; I am the black, she is the white.  We have a nice life, but sometimes I worried. I worried about how our children were going to identify themselves to others and I wondered how they will feel about me and their mother while growing up.

In our community, I am still a minority; however there is a wide range of people and experiences with which my children interact; but to know going forward, for the next four years, they will see a man of color – one the same hue as their father and uncle – being articulate, being vigorously debated, having state dinners, making decisions that matter for millions of people and who has a wife which reminds them of one of their grandmothers really affected me.

After Obama was elected, my wife and I spoke about race (as it occasionally comes up in our lives) and she said, “He is not African-American, he is half white…”  For the record, she said the same thing years ago when Halle Berry won the Oscar.

My wife’s point asks: What about the mother?  My wife doesn’t consider our children Black, but hers, and she feels the mother’s genes should be considered as well.  So my wife and I came up with a name for my wife’s condition: White woman with Black kids syndrome.

For the first time, Wednesday night, my five year old daughter said she was African-American; but to be accurate, our kids may have to identify themselves as half Black, a quarter Irish and a quarter Italian.

However,  America considers them Black because of me.

Now my children will see someone, who looks like me and who is not an actor, or a sports star or an entertainer, but as a person who has to make important decisions about life and limb much like their father, but only on a smaller scale.

It was a selfish racism which, I felt, would deter America from electing a person of color. There have been times in my life where, as a father, I have held myself back with feelings of inferiority and hoped that my fear would not translate or be seen by my children.

Now I feel I have a little bit of help from Mr. Obama.  He won’t be able to pay my mortgage, but he may be able to alleviate a burden my children would have to bear because of me – and that was a point on which both my wife and I agreed.