Through the Looking Glass

September 5, 2008

Now Obama is part of the establishment or so you would have thought last night. There were many very odd aspects to the Republican convention. Absent from the Republican convention were not only references to the Republican Party or the G.O.P. Compare the transcripts of the speeches in this convention with those of past conventions; proud reference to the party by name is startlingly absent.

While you are looking at those transcriptions of this past convention try to find reference to President Bush’s remarks on the first day. It is as if according to the Republican website he did not speak. In fact a foreign observer might leave the convention with the impression that Reagan was the last Republican president.

In that setting McCain attacked the establishment, which of course for 12 of the last 14 years has been a Republican Congress and for the last 8 a Republican executive. During the last 14 years the distinguishing feature of Republican rule has been the coherence of the party members in voting and even discussing issues.

Republicans have voted in a block as neither party has voted perhaps ever. This includes John McCain except for a two year period after he lost the 2000 nomination. His maverick tag is not derived from his voting record.

Consider the scope of this undertaking. A party trying to distance itself from itself and John McCain, who has been going to such extremes to solidify himself with Bush’s base, casting himself at 72 as the vehicle for a fresh change? McCain who voted with Bush on nearly everything, the 72 year old face of change?

This is not putting a spin on things; this is a tectonic shift of world view.

What utterly amazed me was McCain’s call to get special interests out of Washington. (His staff of course remains largely former lobbyists.) He skipped over his own voting record to point to Obama’s vote for big oil on the Energy Bill, as an example of the influence of money on Washington.

Obama who for months has been cast as a rabid liberal was last night cast by McCain as part of the establishment that he wants to change! Can you believe it?

McCain called for a change in our economic situation but his proposals are the same as Bush’s programs, except bigger with more spending and taxes lower than they have been. This even has The Economist troubled.

This seems to be the plan: stick with Bush’s policies in order to keep the political base, call for change, and celebrate goals. Without any policy to support the references to change, McCain will push what is called “character” (did you know that he was n the Vietnam War?) and right wing Christian values.