I watched and listened to the "Mavrick's" (sic - someone in the crowd had a sign written as such) speech last night, and I just have some random thoughts to share, about the speech and about the election in general.
First off, what a complete and total lack of charisma this guy has. Maybe it wouldn't be so noticeable if he wasn't going up against the force of nature that is Senator Obama, but wow. He just doesn't strike me as a leader, at least not at the level he's aspiring to. The thought of him going into high-level diplomacy talks leaves me nearly speechless with wonder at the fact that he's made it even this far into the process.
Of course, I should take a moment here to point out the obvious - no matter which candidate gets elected, it will be a major upgrade from the stupidity and ineptitude (and I won't rule out maliciousness) inflicted upon us and the world at large for the past eight years.
When his speech was interrupted briefly at the beginning by a protester (I couldn't tell what she was protesting, and none of the articles I've read this morning has mentioned it), McCain drew big laughs by telling the audience to ignore the "ground noise and static." Yep, pretty funny. Pretty telling, too, that a dissenter is automatically labeled as "static." Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he should have convened a committee meeting to discuss the concerns of one disruptive attention hound - there's a time and place for dissent, and this wasn't it - I just thought the manner of dismissal was highly interesting.
Also, I found it interesting that McCain wound down his speech by encouraging citizens to get involved in their communities. Hey, why not? Volunteer in your community, try to make a difference by reaching out to people, and maybe tomorrow you too can be ridiculed by Mr. McCain's vice-presidential nominee!
For all the talk of McCain vs. Obama being a contrast of substance and style, I thought Mr. Obama's speech was much higher in details than Mr. McCain's. The only thing I really got from the senator's speech last night is that he already has his sights set on a couple more rogue nations as targets for military action once we get done doing whatever the hell it is we're doing in Iraq. Oh, and that Obama = higher taxes and McCain = lower taxes. Actually, I was reading yesterday that Obama's plan would raise most taxes around 5%, while McCain would only raise them 3%.
Which brings me to my next point: in politics, I don't believe there are any fiscal conservatives. No matter which party they're from, anyone who gets into office is going to try to fleece you out of as much of your money as they think you'll put up with. Therefore, if someone is referred to as a "conservative," I can only assume that they're a "social conservative," aka the Department of Shit That's None of the Government's Business. That's why, although I do not identify myself as a Democrat, I would have a really, really hard time ever voting for a Republican candidate for high office. You can say Democrats will take more of your money, and you might have an argument; but I feel like Republicans will take (or keep) more of your freedoms. Which is worse?
And a note to all political candidates, regardless of party or which office you're running for: we get it! Your opponent is a total douchebag who hates America and Americans, and he may even be a criminal or a terrorist. That's a given. But let's assume for a second that your ads actually convince someone NOT to vote for that person. Does that mean they're automatically going to vote for you? How about, instead of telling the world why the other guy is such a terrible choice, you actually try to make a case for yourself as a good choice? Oh, right, you can't do that, because it turns out you're not such a hot choice yourself. Duly noted.
I have no particular qualms with John McCain personally. To the contrary, I actually have a ton of respect for him. I know he's been through stuff I can't even imagine, and to come out of it determined to continue serving his country speaks to his character. I have no doubt that he really does care about the regular citizens he mentioned in his speech and that he wants to help them. On the off chance he's actually elected, I hope he succeeds in loosening special interests' and lobbyists' hold on the government, turning around the economy, improving education, etc., etc., and leaving people free to choose their own paths in their personal lives. I worry about the last one, which is the big one for me, but as far as the rest of it, hey, he'd have a shot.
Listening to Senator Obama speak, though, I get the sense that he has his eyes on a bigger prize. I think Senator McCain wants to bring America "up to code," so to speak: he wants to put the country in a position to do the things we should be doing already. That's an admirable enough goal. But I honestly believe that Mr. Obama wants more than that - not just to fix things for today, but to lead us into the future, going above and beyond anything we've done, or perhaps even imagined, previously. And I think he's the type of person and leader who can do that. I think he can make America into a leader of the world in fact as well as in name, a nation who leads by example instead of by force. That's the type of place I want to live.