Friday, September 07, 2012

Obama and Biden in Charlotte

I thought President Obama made the best case he could for himself during his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, given the largely self-imposed constraints he's placed on his own campaign: he's more focused on reducing the deficit than in directly creating jobs; he's fixated on bipartisan cooperation on domestic issues, no matter how many times the Republicans slap him down; and because he wants the flexibility to propose actual cuts in benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, he's not making defense of those programs nearly as prominent as it should be. That said, he got in some good verbal shots against Romney and Ryan last night.

I've only heard the last part of Vice President Joe Biden's speech so far. It was important for the Dems to recognize that there are wars going on and soldiers serving in them. And I normally find Biden's over-the-top rhetorical flourishes endearing.

But when he said that the only sacred duty of the national government was to train soldiers for war and then take care of them when they come home, I wondered if I had tuned in to some local cult of Ares. Then he followed it up by referring to soldiers killed as "fallen angels". Yikes! It's way easier to send "angels" to war than real live soldiers. And even Republicans would have added as sacred govt duties the need to protect "unborn babies" and the second half of the 2nd Amendment. I'm guessing Biden doesn't really think war and its consequences are the only "sacred" duty of democratic government. But that IS what he said.

Idolizing the military and glorifying war are not good things. Whether it's politically helpful or not.

It seems that Friday's jobs figures at least don't suck. There is a recovery under way, not as strong as it would be with major stimulus, but stabilizing the financial system and saving General Motors stopped the economic free-fall in 2009. The biggest drag on the economy right now is all the reductions in public employment by Republican governors - and that means basically teachers, cops and firefighters.

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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