Friday, September 7, 2012

DNC 9/6/12 - Obama, Jill and Joe Biden, Kerry

Some thoughts on the DNC tonight as I watched the speeches...

John Kerry
Kerry gets right to business but in a very accusative and argumentative tone. He seems rushed. Not a good start.

Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures—and that too is a responsibility of the leader of the free world.”

THANK YOU!!! This is important and Romney got it wrong.

It took President Obama to restore our moral authority—and to ban torture.” – This is very important. A lot of Christians talk about what Christians should care about… this is definitely one of those issues and unfortunately we don’t.

Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.” – Tacky and unnecessary. I don’t like this at all.

Something about which I am VERY proud of our country and President - “President Obama promised to work with Russia to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and signed an historic treaty that does just that.”

Kerry spends a lot of time making fun of Romney. Most of the issues he brings up need addressing but this is just not a good way to do it.

Dr. Jill Biden
If that isn’t Gospel then I don’t know what is - “THE WAR IN IRAQ IS OVER!” 

I absolutely love that the VPOTUS’s wife is an active teacher at a community college.

Joe Biden is from Scranton, PA? He kind of reminds me of Michael Scott. That explains a lot. :)

A LOT of people make fun of Biden but I think, as a human being, I like him. He seems like a really good guy. Here’s his biopic:

Joe Biden
Candid and sincere… I absolutely love his shout to his wife and kids.

The first 10 minutes were anecdotes. They were good but no policy.

Moving more into policy but still anecdotally. This speech is good but the purpose of the speech isn’t to talk policy (so it seems) but to let Biden do what he does best: connect with the people and promote Obama.

THIS is high point of the speech. Biden reinforces the humanity of Romney instead of demonizes him and corrects those who he leads. He shows that he is able to disagree without denigration… so good!  ------- “Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit. My dad managed, his dad owned — well, his dad ran an entire automobile company, American Motors. Yes, what I don't understand is in spite of that, he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, don't. I don't think he's a bad guy. No, no. I don't think he's a bad guy. I'm sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. But what I don't understand, what I don't think he understood, I don't think he understood that saving the automobile worker, saving the industry, what it meant to all of America, not just autoworkers. I think he saw it the Bain way. Now, I mean this sincerely. I think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write-offs.

Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits. But it's not the way to lead our country from the highest office.”

President Barak Obama
Slow start…

This is something I think we can all believe in and something I don’t hear much from the GOP: “that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C.

Probably the boldest thing I have heard a politician say. Honest assessment about the current economic times. No promise of quick fix. And bucking democratic notion that government isn’t the only solution: “Now, I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth.

And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It'll require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.

And by the way, those of us who carry on his party's legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.”

This is very important to me: “And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children's future.”

YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I pray to the Lord above that, whoever is president, this happens. In your mercy… – “And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don't even want, I will use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways, because after two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation building right here at home.

What exactly is so wrong with this, my conservative friends? Is this the great evil you want to fight against?: “I want to reform the tax code so that it's simple, fair and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 - the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president, the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.

Many of my Republican friends stumble on this issue and the president seems to be addressing it here: “We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don't want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we certainly don't want bailouts for banks that break the rules.” I would ask… if we really think that the Church should be the one leading the way on charity, then why aren’t our churches doing it? We can’t help the poor, and do God’s will, by words alone. Following Jesus actually means using our feet not just our mouth.

I hope you watched. This is our President and this is a good outline of his plan for the future if re-elected.

In my next post I will end this political coverage of the RNC and DNC with how I think this all fits into the Kingdom discipleship of following Jesus.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DNC 9/5/12

Just my thoughts on some of the speeches at the DNC today. Sometimes I just listed quotes I found interesting and worthy of more thought.

~Rep. Cleaver's speech is a must see for Christians, even if you disagree, just to hear some preaching at the DNC.

~Sister Simone Cambell, a nun: it was good to hear a pro-life, person of faith take the stage. She ended her speech with a call to kindness... how Nun-like of her :) It was actually good.

~ Not a fan of Elizabeth Warren's speech. I probably just offended all my Dem. friends, but you probably deserve it :). Too sentimental and way too many cliches. Not polished enough for her time slot and too aggressive and accusative.

~Clinton was simple and really well-done. It is a must see. My Dem. friends watched the RNC, I hope my Rep. friends will at least watch this speech, if only to hear the heart of their neighbors around them who genuinely feel this way.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
The speaker’s opener is less like “speeching” and more like preaching.

This must change, because just as bees cannot sting and make honey at the same time, members of Congress cannot simultaneously make passionate enemies and expect political progress.” -- A great call to civility required of both sides. Lord, let these be not words alone.

“And we have, in many instances, been hit. ‘You know, ‘they are a liberal, they are progressive.’ Look! If being liberal and progressive means that I care for children and whether they go hungry; COLOR ME LIBERAL, COLOR ME DEMOCRAT!”

Yes, Mr. President, hope on! Continue to hope, Mr. President. No matter what, Mr. President, you keep on hoping. When everything is gone, you continue to hope. As long as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sits on the throne of grace, Mr. President, hope on! Hope on! Hope on! We are people of hope!... Continue to speak of hope to the American people, because it is impossible for hope to overdraw its account in God's bank. – I cannot over exaggerate how much I relate to this.

If you are a Christian, I strongly recommend you watch this speech. I am not asking you to agree with everything in it, but the man’s heart and faith are sincere and he has no shame:

Sister Simone Campbell (“One of the Nuns on the Bus”)
Paul Ryan claims his budget reflects the principles of our shared Catholic faith. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the Ryan budget failed a basic moral test, because it would harm families living in poverty. We agree with our bishops…”

In case you don’t know, Paul Ryan is a practicing Catholic. His own church leaders of claimed that his budget bastardizes their faith claims and goes too far.

First, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are correct when they say that each individual should be responsible. But their budget goes astray in not acknowledging that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our immediate families. Rather, our faith strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another. I am my sister's keeper. I am my brother's keeper.”

Good exegesis of Genesis 4.

We all share responsibility to ensure that this vital health care reform law is properly implemented and that all governors expand Medicaid coverage so no more Margarets die from lack of care. This is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do.”

Pro-life speaker at the DNC and the RNC had Condoleezza, a pro-choice Republican. Just an interesting observation. I am more interested in how our words are so divisive on this issue, so polarizing as if “Republican” and “Democrat” were solely identified with pro-life and pro-choice, yet, in actuality, the platform speakers reveal a much different story.

I was not a fan of this speech. Maybe I have been hearing too many of them lately but it just had too many clichés and too much sentimentality. This was the warm up act for Clinton and I just think it could have been better.

Warren raises some interesting questions about Romney’s hiding money in other countries to avoid paying taxes. Is that right? The first few verses of Romans 13 might have something to say about this. Likewise, she brings up good points about Billionaires with lower tax rates than “their secretaries.” She talks about how the system is “rigged” against the lower class. This is more than true. These are questions we all should be asking ourselves.

Warren also noted her work in the “Methodist” church where she taught Sunday school. She quoted one of her favorite bible verses (Matthew 25) and even gave a few lines of a devotional on how this relates to God, us, and her political stance. There has been a lot of preaching in these speeches and it is definitely different than what I think the normal American would have thought was going to happen at the DNC.

President Clinton
Somewhere President Bush is astonished that ex-Presidents are allowed at these national conventions. In all seriousness, I have never heard one person’s name more obviously avoided than Bush’s was at the RNC. Even Voldemort was like, “I can’t believe how bad they’re treating him.” Bush’s own brother, Jeb, didn’t say George’s name, even when talking about how proud he was of him. 

Maybe hitting on Michelle Obama is not the best way to start your speech, William.

You see, we believe that `’We're all in this together'’ is a far better philosophy than ‘You're on your own.’

Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24.  In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private- sector jobs.  So what's the job score? Republicans:  twenty-four million.  Democrats:  forty-two.”

Bill Clinton talking about working with Reagan and the Bushes. Pointing out that the far right has vitriol for Obama that is unlike any other time. What is this in the far right? This is not like Jesus. Clinton is talking a lot about cooperation and it is a lesson we could all stand to learn.

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did.  Listen to me now.  No president, no president -- not me, not any of my predecessors -- no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. Now -- but he has -- he has laid the foundations for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity.  And if you will renew the president's contract, you will feel it. You will feel it. Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election.  I just want you to know that I believe it.  With all my heart, I believe it.”

Honest assessment of the economic times both past and present. Good to hear Clinton’s heart.

You need to tell every voter where you live about this.  It lowers the cost of federal student loans.  And even more important, it gives students the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for up to 20 years… Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary.  This will change the future for young Americans.”

You better believe it!!!!!!!!!

This speech is too long and too good to live tweet through. This post would become more of a long and jumbled mess than it already is. Many of my Democrat friends watched the RNC. I would hope the same of my GoP friends. If you haven’t, watch this speech:

It is issues based. It isn’t full of clichés and anecdotes. You may not agree with it but you will get a great idea about what Democratic politics are about and some fair rebuttals to Republican claims. If you listen honestly, and not with your guard up, you will hear the hearts of many of your neighbors and friends who honestly believe this.

I think the thing that is most sticking with me are Clinton’s claims about the Romney-Ryan plan. If you are voting for Romney and are complaining about the economy and debt, you HAVE to address these accusations. How does Romney plan to give trillions more in tax cuts to billionaires, increase defense budget spending by trillions, and still reduce the deficit and debt? It would seem to me that he would have to gut vital social services, education, etc. to even get close to the debt he would be ADDING from the tax cuts. It really doesn’t add up and I am afraid the talk about balanced budgets and debt reduction is smoke and mirrors. “Don't you ever forget, when you hear them talking about this, that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic.”

This coming from the only president to balance the budget in the last 30 years. Is he wrong? How so?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DNC on 9/4/12

My thoughts on the DNC tonight:

Julian Castro
A public school teacher??? That is awesome…
DNC has better music J… but does this matter?

Castro’s speech begins a little like a highschool graduation speech.

“My family’s story isn’t special. What’s special is the America that makes our story possible. Ours is nation like no other… the chance for your children to do better than you did…” – As I said with the RNC, I do not like this American exceptionalism and I do not like the promise of “more” for the future generations.

The difference between the RNC and Castro’s speech here is that the RNC’s focus was privately directed, talking about people pulling their selves up by their bootstraps and making something out of their selves. Castro’s emphasis seems to be bit broader (but only a bit), about the people as a whole and not just individuals succeeding. Castro emphasized building bridges and fighting for rights. Of the two “this is what makes America great” speeches, I prefer Castro’s because it is more focused on “us” making it together instead of “me” making it.

“The dream of raising a family in a place where hard work is rewarded is not unique to Americans. It is a human dream… the dream is universal but American makes it possible… Now, in Texas, we believe in the rugged individual. Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps, and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can't do alone.

This is a LOT better, in my book. There is a recognition that “we have to come together” and that meritocracy cannot win the day. I still disagree with much of it on the grounds listed above, but I appreciate Castro’s sentiment about this being a human dream not unique to Americans and that there are things “rugged individualism” just can’t solve.

Castro talking about education. As with Jeb Bush, I love it.

Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. ‘Start a business,’ he said. But how? ‘Borrow money if you have to from your parents,’ he told them. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn't determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don't think Governor Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it.”

Romney dropped the ball on this one. He deserves to get hammered.

Good end of the speech. A great theme: invest in equal opportunity and reap the benefits tomorrow. I can’t say I don’t disagree. This was most clearly demonstrated to me by Castro’s anecdote about sending his own daughter to the type of pre-k’s he wants all children to be able to attend.

Gov. Deval Patrick (Current Governor of Massachusetts)
If you missed his speech, it was worth seeing:

Michelle Obama - FLOTUS
The women rocked it at the RNC… I am wondering how FLOTUS will do. She is usually a fantastic speaker as she is very smart.

The beginning of her speech seems overly sentimental. The stories about their early life are amazing, but seem disconnected.

“You see, for my dad, that's what it meant to be a man.” – why not parent? I think gender roles when it comes to parenting and providing for a family are unnecessary distinctions.

We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make, that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…”

I think my views can be summed up in this statement “that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.” If that isn’t Christ then I don’t know what is. I don’t know if she means it, but I do.

Also, “truth matters” got a really big reaction from the crowd. I think it was a subtle dig at Paul Ryan. If you don’t know about the 3-5 big lies he has been caught in lately, not just half-truths, but flat out lies, then you should do some homework. They are atrocious and should cause one to think.

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren't political – they're personal. Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles. He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids. Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it...”

The personal story of the Obama’s going to school on financial aid and having a ton of debt… I will be honest, I identify with that. Whatever that means, I really do get the sense that Obama knows what it means to fight his way to go to college with not much, if any, help from his family, thankful for government grants and loans.

And he believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you, you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”


I don’t think the speech was as AMAZING as many of my friends made it out to be. I thought the end was good. It wasn’t even the words she was saying but the spirit in which she was saying. The words were only marginally compelling but the tears and atmosphere… everyone was choking up. The speech wasn’t mind blowing, not in the fancy smooth talking way. I think the speech was something else altogether; I think it was sobering.

It took me a while to realize the deeper point of the speech. This speech wasn’t to talk about issues or even ideals. This speech was about trying to paint a picture of a president, though his hair is changing color and he has more wrinkles, as the same person he was “4 years ago.” This speech was about inspiring confidence in Barack. Whereas 4 years ago Barack was adorned as messiah-politico, unable to do wrong, today he has been beaten down, tried, weathered, and has hit bump after bump. The message they want to get across is that Obama is still the same person who can inspire and bring hope and change, but it comes “slowly.” That though we have seen signs that things are on the mend, we aren’t done yet.

I think it is an honest campaign and a harder sell. 4 years ago Barack sailed through and I think there wasn’t a good enough job done then to warn the people that it wasn’t going to be all rainbows from inauguration on. The Dems. let the people think and believe that it would be easy because that is what the people wanted to believe. It was a bit deceptive and a lot of people were crushed. It didn’t help that the Republicans openly promised to obstruct Obama’s plan, but, nonetheless, even if all legislation was smooth sailing it would have taken a miracle.

The FLOTUS’s speech seemed to embrace reality a little more clearly tonight. It is not going to be easy but things are looking better and if we stay the course it should be good. That is a tough sell. People want fast and now. I do not envy them but I am glad to see that this is their new campaign.