2. Obligatory political filter #1: This is a good and, I think correct, observation from Peggy Noonan:
Another problem with the Michelle speech. In order to paint both her professional life and her husband's, and in order to communicate what she feels is his singular compassion, she had to paint an America that is darker, sadder, grimmer, than most Americans experience their country to be. And this of course is an incomplete picture, an incorrectly weighted picture. Sadness and struggle are part of life, but so are guts and verve and achievement and success and hardiness and…triumph. Democrats always get this wrong. Republicans get it wrong too, but in a different way.
Democrats in the end speak most of, and seem to hold the most sympathy for, the beset-upon single mother without medical coverage for her children, and the soldier back from the war who needs more help with post-traumatic stress disorder. They express the most sympathy for the needy, the yearning, the marginalized and unwell. For those, in short, who need more help from the government, meaning from the government's treasury, meaning the money got from taxpayers.
Who happen, also, to be a generally beset-upon group.
Democrats show little expressed sympathy for those who work to make the money the government taxes to help the beset-upon mother and the soldier and the kids. They express little sympathy for the middle-aged woman who owns a small dry cleaner and employs six people and is, actually, day to day, stressed and depressed from the burden of state, local and federal taxes, and regulations, and lawsuits, and meetings with the accountant, and complaints as to insufficient or incorrect efforts to meet guidelines regarding various employee/employer rules and regulations. At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don't dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.
Neither party ever gets it quite right, the balance between the taxed and the needy, the suffering of one sort and the suffering of another. You might say that in this both parties are equally cold and equally warm, only to two different classes of citizens.
3. Obligatory political filter #2: As I've said before I've got no dog in this fight, but McCain's choice of Palin . . . . wow. I know nothing about her save what I've heard on NPR in the last 24 hours but am I right in reading this as a completely calculated political decision (and the jury is still very much out on whether or not it will prove to be a good one)? I buy into the reasoning that says what the VP choice does best is tell us how a candidate makes important decisions and this one seems to say that McCain is shooting dice and not necessarily concerned about having someone in the wings to run the country if need be. I'm not asking him to remove political calculations from the mix I just didn't expect it to be present to the apparent exclusion of every other mitigating factor. Aside: one of the first things I did this morning while listening to the news was try to find out if there are any precedents for VP nominees withdrawing from candidacy - Thomas Eagleton was the only one I could find, any others?
4. I missed it in the busyness of moving but apparently the FDA approved irradiation of spinach and lettuce - here's some analysis.
5. Haven't watched it yet but here's Brian McLaren and Richard Land on Blogging Heads.