Thursday, September 6, 2012
I've had the strangest feeling all day, and I just could not place it. Not for the life of me. Finally, at the end of the day, somewhere on the drive home, it hit me: I am nervous as hell.
You and I have some things in common, obviously. One of the things I know you pride yourself on is your even-keel sensibility. You rarely get rattled or nervous -- at least not often in the time I've known you.
I didn't used to get nervous.
Then I had kids.
I don't so much get nervous for myself anymore. I get nervous for them. What does the future hold? What will our country be like when they're ready for school? For college? For a career, for marriage, for kids of their own?
For when they have to take care of their aging parents?
What will life be like in that America?
One thing we know for sure is it will be different than it is today, and most of that will have little to do with politics and government. But it will have some. Politics -- the campaigns we run -- and the government we choose for ourselves matters. It matters because in the larger scheme of things, it is really one of the few things we can control.
And the laws and the policies we choose for ourselves, as you know, aren't ever really for ourselves. They are for our children. All our children.
Yes, I think about the future for my children and I freak out a little bit. Okay, fine: a lot.
But I think about a future for my children in a world where Barack Obama has served two terms, and I freak out just a little less.
You say he's got to re-sell himself.
I say he's got to sell us the world. Which is really just another way of saying he's got to sell us on ourselves.
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Friday, September 7, 2012
modest. humble. normalcy. carefully modulated. workmanlike. distant. cursory. reserved. familiar. dull. pedestrian.
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Friday, September 7, 2012
If you wanna be a star on stage and scream
Look out it's rough and mean
It's a long way to the top
If you wanna rock 'n' roll
-- AC/DC "It's a Long Way to the Top"
Publisher's privilege: I won't close out our Into the Echo Chamber Convention Specials on such a sour note, Kenny Chesney video links excepted. It was just too much fun.
Matt, I'm not actually going to disagree with you that much. It was not a barnburner speech we got from Obama. It was not in his top ten. Maybe not even in the top twenty.
I was going to give you a version of what I've already said in the Finally Friday post earlier this evening -- that this was the the speech of a community organizer. That it was as much a practical call to action as a policy or political speech. Like I said, he didn't really frame it in terms of him versus Romney/Ryan. And like you said earlier, this was more like a State of the Union... without the detailed policy we need and expect in such a speech.
But you deserve better than that. Our readers (the few dozen who have honored us by following along) deserve better.
I said the other day that there were only a couple of guys who could change the narrative: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Clinton put the R&R ticket back on the ropes with blow after sweet rhetorical blow. Democrats will be mining that gold for days, maybe weeks to come.
Obama did, too, but he did it in a different way.
Matt, I've been thinking a lot about the election of 2008, and what it really represented, at least for me. I really didn't like George W. Bush. For so, so many reasons, most of which have been chronicled on this blog.
One of my biggest grievances against him was that he seemed to genuinely hate government and public service. I realized they really bloomed during the John McCain/Sarah Palin campaign, but the tea party has its strongest roots in the Bush II Administration. [This is a paradox in so many ways, because Bush -- who many tea party weirdos actually disdain -- blew up the size of government during his tenure.]
I don't know if we ever really talked about it, but the big reason I didn't support Hillary Clinton -- my old boss -- for President wasn't because I was disloyal. It broke my heart, and I struggled with it. It was because she was too divisive, too political a figure. What's more, I knew the scope and range of problems facing our country would take not just a gifted politician -- which she surely is -- but a well-seasoned, savvy bureaucrat.
It would take a person who understood the workings of government, or at least understood how to learn about those workings, how to manipulate the levers of power to even begin to fix things.
I went with the Constitutional Law professor.
Constitutional Law professor and community organizer, I should say.
I voted for Obama because I didn't need a guy with a full basket landing on a aircraft carrier with a bullshit "Mission Accomplished" sign behind him. I needed the guy who knew how the aircaft carrier worked, how much it cost, and whether or not we actually needed the goddam thing.
I need -- we need, we still need, I think -- not the CEO President, but the Organizer-in-Chief.
All of that to say two things, Matt. One, the guy is trying to fundamentally change the nature of not just politics but how we govern ourselves. I really believe that. And his speech last night was -- yes, poll-tested -- a reflection of that. And a call to action. A call to service.
It takes a lot of work -- and a long time -- to get the job done.
Hey, as Bon Scott sang, it's a long way to the top. Look out. It's rough and mean.
Two, it's Friday night. I know I gave you shit about Kenny Chesney (who I like well enough, for the record).
Let's congratulate ourselves on a job well done -- I think we both know we're both egotistical enough to do just that -- sit back with our families, and toast our good health, good fortune, and good wishes for a good campaign in the next sixty days.
Crank up the good stuff, Matt. Loud.
Have a great weekend. And thanks for this great idea.
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Welcome to a special Democratic Convention Edition of Into the Echo Chamber, the weekly electronic conversation of the 2012 presidential campaign as viewed from two Twitter feeds. Matt Spence is monitoring the Twitterverse of the Romney Campaign, Republicans, and the "red" side of the aisle at @SpencerianRed. I am monitoring the tweets of the Obama Team, Democrats and the blue team using @SpencerianBlue. Our email-based back-and-forths are normally posted here on Thursdays.
For the week of the Democratic Convention, we will be attempting to post one exchange per day. Stay tuned.