I usually try to sidestep self-mutilation, but the lure of a two-minute punditry slot on a Bay Area radio station was enough to make me sit through three (3) prime time speeches by the last still-standing candidates from the two 19th century political parties that have proven even harder to kill than Abe Vigoda. I swear to you it's not the bitterness of being put on hold and ultimately skipped over while listening to a competitor prattle on about John McCain that's guiding my voice when I say to you that watching the cream of America's political crop was about as uplifting as witnessing Luciano Pavarotti and Lou Reed's skeleton croak out a version of "Perfect Day." Which is to say, not much.
You can read Dave Weigel's real-time reactions here. Me, I'm not a big fan either of McCain or of political stagecraft, but is it really too much to ask of a distancing-yourself-from-Bush speech in the New Orleans area that you include in your audience, I dunno, some black people? As for its content and delivery, well, let's go to one of the few National Review writers who actually liked the thing:
McCain's speeches don't have to sound this bad, and don't always sound this bad.
As usual, I liked some of his talk about trusting Americans to make better decisions with their money, yadda yadda, but then it would just devolve into a Bill Clinton-style State of the Union Address where no chicken pot would go left unfilled (or unmentioned). Try reading this section without snoring loud enough to get you evicted from the Quiet Car:
The right change recognizes that many of the policies and institutions of our government have failed.
They've failed to keep up with the challenges of our time because many of these policies were designed for the problems and opportunities of the mid to late 20th Century, before the end of the Cold War; before the revolution in information technology and rise of the global economy. The right kind of change will initiate widespread and innovative reforms in almost every area of government policy ? health care, energy, the environment, the tax code, our public schools, our transportation system, disaster relief, government spending and regulation, diplomacy, the military and intelligence services. Serious and far-reaching reforms are needed in so many areas of government to meet our own challenges in our own time. The irony is that Americans have been experiencing a lot of change in their lives attributable to these historic events, and some of these changes have distressed many American families ? job loss, failing schools, prohibitively expensive health care, pensions at risk, entitlement programs approaching bankruptcy, rising gas and food prices, to name a few. But your government often acts as if it is completely unaware of the changes and hardships in your lives. And when government does take notice, often it only makes matters worse. For too long, we have let history outrun our government's ability to keep up with it. The right change will stop impeding Americans from doing what they have always done:
Last sentence intentionally cut off at the colon as a plea to McCain's speechwriters to bring something better than their C-minus game next time around.
Hillary Clinton? A nightmare. After her barftastic statement that "every vote [for me] was a prayer for your country," Ken Layne of Wonkette summed up my feelings exactly: "I never even hated REAGAN like this." Watching this elite lawyer-for-life over these past few months claim eternal sisterhood with the nation's voiceless "truckers" and "miners" was enough to make me want to graduate from college, hook up a lifetime supply of Pinot Grigio, and listen to Klaus Nomi records all day long while wearing my trusty top-hat and monocle. The pathology is certainly not unique to Yes Hill Can, but is there a political tic more nauseating, more unintentionally telling, than a stump speecher wowing the crowd with heartwarming tales about how some poor Iraq vet, or three-job-having pensioner, or one-armed child eating Puppy Chow straight from the bag, pooled together enough pennies with their last usable fingers to donate to a fucking millionaire's political campaign? If any of these stories are remotely true, it says something mildly worrying about the priorities of certain po' folk, but something straight-out monstrous about the egos of politicians who'd rather pocket the 37 cents (and the infinitely more valuable anecdote) than fold the copper back into the helping hand and say "You know what? I've got enough, thanks. Anything I can help you with?"
As for Barry Obama: All you people who claim to be "tired" of the Democratic campaign, realize that we've got six more months of these bland, lefty-econ platitudes, delivered with all the measured, stentorian gravity of Leonard Pinth-Garnell, making trade restrictionism and laments for the death of the vanishing middle class respectable again for NPR listeners.
I have a sneaking suspicion that after another half-year of this, many Americans who (unlike me!) felt at least a spasm or two of prez-politics excitement and hopey-ness this spring will end up feeling not unlike Purple Rain-era Prince did the morning after in "Darling Nikki." As interpreted by a fake Weimar German lass with an accordion.
(Last link from So Quoted.)