Gooses and Gander and Whatnot

I threw in some random thoughts during the GOP’s Convention last week and thought it only fair I do the same for the Democrats.

  • I noticed some U-S-A chants during the speech given by the double-amputee veteran’s speech.  These might have been a bit more justifiable given that the woman speaking was a vet but, still, I wonder… Who are we versus?
  • All of the call-and-response was a bit much.  Even Zazzy, who generally wishes all politics just went away (perhaps she is the most libertarian among us?) started to mock it, deliberately calling out the wrong ones at the wrong times.  To me, it felt like reading a story book with my children.  “FORWARD NOT BACK!”  “ROMNEY SAID NO!”  Srsly, folks?
  • I thought Julian Castro’s speech was phenomenal, minus the previously discussed nonsense.  Again, I’m sure there are plenty of places for folks to quibble and argue, but as an orator, he was impressive.  And, naturally, I loved his emphasis on education.  He seems to have a real future, though I admit to always being a bit creeped out by identical twins.
  • I dosed off during Michelle Obama’s speech, which was entirely a function of it being the first day of school and nothing to do with her.  I thought what I heard was really good.  Both candidates’ wives delivered the goods, albeit in different ways.
  • Regarding Mrs. Obama, sometimes I wonder how much she wants to scream, “I HAVE DEGREES FROM PRINCETON AND HARVARD!  I AM A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL LAWYER!  I’M THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM 99% OF THE TIME AND THAT INCLUDES WHEN IT’S JUST BARACK AND I!  AND I’VE BEEN REDUCED TO TALKING ABOUT LETTUCE!  I’M GOING TO KILL EVERYONE!”  Maybe I’m way off, but I get the sense that her talent and ambition makes taking on the First Lady role a bit difficult.  And I don’t mean to belittle the role of the First Lady.  I only mean that, all things being equal, I bet she’d rather be doing other things.  It is also entirely possible that previous First Ladies were just as accomplished and/or ambitious and there is nothing unique about what I presume to be her predicament.  I totally cop to being a relative noob on politics and often assuming something is setting a precedent when that is not at all the case.

 

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19 thoughts on “Gooses and Gander and Whatnot

  1. Oh, call and response. If I never hear another chant beginning with “Hey hey, ho ho, [fill in blank] has go to go!” or “What do want? X! When do we want it? Now!”, it will be too soon. Have those every gotten anybody on side who doesn’t already agree with you? They annoy me even when I DO agree with the chanters.

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  2. And I totally agree about Michelle Obama. She’s someone who could have run for president herself, and she’s stuck doing ridiculous first-lady stuff. (I half think it would be funny for her to run in 2016. And the look on Hillary Clinton’s face would be entertaining, as well.)

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  3. Michelle Obama reminds me a lot of Hillary Clinton in terms of her individual abilities and potential. I could totally see her as Senator from Illinois in the future. Assuming she has any political aspirations that is.

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  4. Hillary Clinton was quite accomplished before becoming First Lady. Law degree from Yale, partner in a law firm, sat on the board of directors of Wal-Mart I believe.

    It’s a relatively recent phenomenon, of course, for First Ladies to be really professionally successful in their own right, as there wasn’t historically a lot of room for women to be professionally successful. There have certainly been thoroughly kick-ass First Ladies (Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt come immediately to mind; others may be obvious too), but the reality of the First Lady who is every bit her husband’s equal both intellectually and professionally is somewhat new. I’m interested to see how we handle it going forward, as it becomes more and more common and First Ladies become less and less willing to stick to “lady issues”.

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  5. Knowing what I do about marriage and companionship, I strongly suspect Michelle Obama has more input into Barack’s thinking than mere First Lady stuff. Barack Obama is a cautious, erudite kinda guy. He’s a basketball player and a fairly competitive one if the stories are true. This says a lot about him. Hard to put into words, but basketball is more than a game of skill. It’s a head game, a contest of wills, a delicate balance of individual talent and team play. None of this is coming out very well. If you’ve played basketball, you know already and if you don’t, there’s no explaining it.

    Michelle Obama is no less ambitious than her husband. Nobody gets into Sidley Austin without some seriously competitive ass meat in the game. She out-earned her husband for years. She got into Chicago politics in the Richie Daley administration and has always been involved in community organising.

    I think Michelle Obama’s happy enough in her role in the White House. Obama’s a bit of a Hamlet, I’m pretty sure he needs the emotional grounding of a brilliant woman in his life. She’s still relatively young, born in 1964, I’m sure she’s got a brilliant career ahead of her.

    The job of POTUS is almost too much for any one person. I wish we had something like Switzerland, where it was a team effort. As the role of the Vice President has changed over time, from spare tire to senior advisor, the role of First Lady has changed. Her mandate is to keep the Commander in Chief sane and grounded. A bulletproof bubble comes up around all such persons in high office. It’s a lonely place, we’re told. It’s reassuring to know Barack Obama has a woman of such intellectual and emotional power inside that bubble. If you’ve ever known true love and intellectual companionship while fighting great obstacles, you’ll know what I mean when I say it can’t be done alone.

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    • Oh, I hope to god that Michelle has Obama’s ear. I don’t doubt that. But I’m sure she’d rather be more than Cicero whispering in his ear. I’m sure there are a number of times and a number of topics on which she must bite her tongue. And I bet it makes her want to scream the aforementioned scream.

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      • The power of the first lady is in the velvet glove.
        Championing the things that everyone cares about.
        Finding solutions to problems that … are big enough, and not too big.

        Once we had a tradition of Nightingales… the first lady stands in that tradition.

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      • Barack and Michelle are team players.

        Here I will betray my age a bit. If Obama could be compared to an NBA player, I’d choose someone like Kareem in his first few years with the Bucks, the greatest of all the low post players. Kareem was an outrageously great player but he racked up a fair number of fouls, too. Kareem needed Big O, Oscar Robertson, to manage the backfield and support him at post. It was chocolate and peanut butter with those two.

        Bill and Hillary Clinton, same story. I don’t think Michelle bites her tongue around Barack. She knows and obviously loves this man. She’s supporting him and those kids, her mother’s in that situation too, don’t forget. There’s an actual family living in the White House.

        It’s good, that Barack Obama has so many women in his life. I’m sure it will sound a bit fatuous and condescending to say such a thing but I believe it’s true. Lord knows I’m bereft of common sense in a great many situations: without the woman in my life, I’d be a lost soul.

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  6. God bless the wives – all of them. If political hubby isn’t out “hiking the Appalachian Trail”, he’s invisible to his family for entire months of the marriage.

    Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson (mid-1960’s) wife was Maryon Pearson, and she was tough as old boots. She had a great persective on things:

    “Behind every successful man, there stands a surprised woman.”

    [On being asked during an election campaign by a reporter, “Is there anything you’d like to bring up, Mrs. Pearson?”] “Yes, three doughnuts and six cups of coffee.”

    “The big problem is to find suitable hats. I don’t care for them all that much, but you have to wear them in politics.”

    “We lost everything. We even won our own constituency [district in US-speak].” Had Pearson lost his constituency, he probably would have left politics; Maryon notoriously hated politics and wanted him back in private life.

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