Friday, September 7, 2012

My problems with the Democratic Convention

Michelle Obama spoke beautifully. Bill Clinton gave the kind of policy driven speech that politics geeks like me wish we could hear all the time, and did so with the charisma he is famous for. And President Obama gave a fairly typical speech. I agree with the consensus that it was an average speech for him. But I think the context of the last four years dictated that more than anything Obama actually did or said.

But while Clinton largely nailed the policy points I care about, Juan Cole highlights some of the big issues that I can't agree with:

Dear Democratic Party:

If you bring Gabby Giffords to say the Pledge of Allegiance, you have to bring up the issue of gun control somewhere in your speeches or platform.

If you slam Republicans for foreign policy naivete, you have to explain why you just pissed off 1.5 billion Muslims by giving away all of Jerusalem to Israel as its capital.

If you boast of taking out Osama Bin Laden by saying if someone kills innocent Americans we will follow them to the ends of the earth, you have to explain why it is all right to kill innocent civilians in Yemen with drone strikes when there is no legal framework for US attacks on Yemen.

If you slam Mitt on Afghanistan policy, you have to explain why your Afghanistan “surge” was not a failure.

If you keep invoking the ‘scripture’ and ‘God’ you have to explain why we shouldn’t just let the Republican evangelicals run things.

If you say you care about global warming and the rising seas, you have to explain why you are praising more oil and gas drilling.

If you praise the Arab masses’ striving for rights, you have to explain why you continued in force the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act here at home through 2014, which allows warrantless surveillance of Americans of the sort deployed by Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi on their populations.

Not much to add. The point about bin Laden was something I caught when the president said it. It just doesn't make logical sense to me. We really need to do something about basically our entire approach to terrorism and much of our foreign policy. And that's not even mentioning yet the horrible decision this past week to not indict anyone pertaining to torture during the Bush administration.

There were some nice moments during the convention that I hope helps the chances Democrats get elected. But we can't continue to ignore these problems. If we do things may get worse if we don't win and let Republicans control things again.

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