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Two parties, two platforms, two philosophies

Guest Commentary

Posted: September 7, 2008 10:24 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.

These past two weeks the Democrats and the Republicans were given the opportunity to present their political platforms, candidates and philosophy to the American people.

They both accomplished their goals. Obama and the Democrats revved up the party faithful, united the Hillary supporters and presented the message of hope and change to an America weary of Bush.

McCain secured the conservative base, but he had to use up his choice for VP to do it. And we now know that John McCain was a POW and Republicans don't like Barack Obama very much.

The selection of Senator Joe Biden as the next vice president of the United States was a solid choice. Joe Biden has a compelling middle-class story to tell, and he is qualified to be president, if called.

The selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin caught everyone by surprise. She brings considerable political baggage to the campaign, but the choice did unify the Christian right and social conservatives behind Senator McCain.

On the Democrats' Day 1, Michelle Obama gave an eloquent, moving speech. In it she traced her middle-class upbringing, the sacrifices her parents made to ensure a better life for her and her brother, and the value of hard work and education in achieving the American dream.

She described a family life that is replicated millions of times across the nation. Her simple story and soaring rhetoric put the lie to the "celebrity" smear the McCain campaign had been using to define Barack Obama and his wife in order to undermine his appeal to the American public.

The Republicans' Day 1 was washed out by Hurricane Gustav; however, the day was a net gain for Sen. McCain as Gustav also washed George Bush and Dick Cheney out of Minnesota.

McCain will have a difficult enough time convincing voters that a Republican is the best candidate to undo the damage done to the country by a Republican administration; George Bush and Dick Cheney taking a victory lap in prime time would have been a message disaster.

On Day 2, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did indeed "rock the house." Her speech showed why she received 18 million votes, why her campaign for the presidency will be considered historic, and why she is one of the best and most successful politicians of our generation.

The Democratic Party is lucky to have Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is a better candidate because Hillary campaigned against him in the primaries and because she will campaign for him in the general election.
Day 2 for the Republicans started with a token seven-minute video address to the delegates by the leader of their party and the president of the United States, George Bush.

Its gist is that he will vote for John McCain because he is a good man and was a POW. Then Joe Lieberman gave his Zell Miller speech and Fred Thompson trashed Obama, both difficult for this Democrat to watch.

On Day 3 it was time for the Big Dog, former President Bill Clinton, who did an excellent job expounding on Obama's qualifications for the presidency and McCain's disastrous ties to the failed policies of the Bush administration.

Vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden spoke, as well. He proved ready to step into the Oval Office if necessary, and his longtime friendship and professional association with John McCain gives him a unique platform from which to take him down.

The highlight of Day 3 for the Republicans was the unleashing of Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin. Rudy proved to be an effective attack dog, rousing the crowd to a partisan, fever pitch. It was the perfect introduction for Gov. Palin.

Her speech was well written and she delivered it well. She showed she can go negative with the best of them, and she had the Republican delegates on their feet. Afterward, there was no question the Republican base is firmly on board with Palin.

On Day 4, Barack Obama spoke to 80,000 Democrats at Mile High Stadium. If you have not seen the speech, find it and watch it; we may not see something that masterful again for a generation.

Republican Day 4 was John McCain's night to shine. He is not quite as talented a public speaker as Sen. Obama, so he just kind of glowed, but we did learn that he is a maverick, he wants change, he likes Sarah Palin, he loves America and that he was a POW.

And now the real fun begins.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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