Sunday, November 09, 2008

Campaign promise kept?

Last Tuesday night, in his first speech as president-elect, Barack Obama announced to his daughters that they'd earned the right to get the dog he and Michelle had promised them. As the grown-up child who'd never been allowed to have a pet other than fish, this vow really resonated with me. I mean, Obama was telling the world -- not just his kids -- that a puppy would be joining the family in the White House.

It's one thing to break a campaign promise, but one to your two little girls? And it's not like he can now take the dog away if they don't walk him or her as they promised they would. If he doesn't come through on this one, he's gonna look like a jerk.

This led me to think about other pronouncements Obama could make as his daughters get older. Imagine the turns the average press conference could take:
  • "US troops have started a staged withdrawl from Iraq, to end in 15 months, when Sasha will get a Barbie Dream House, but only if she cleans her room."
  • "We will achieve a balanced budget, at which point Malia will be allowed to wear makeup -- but just lip gloss, no red lipstick."
  • And if there's a second Obama term: "Following the enactment of the new healthcare initiative, Malia will be permitted to date, as long as we meet the boy first."
Of course, the Clintons probably tried that last promise with Chelsea -- and see where that got them.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The last, desperate throes ....

I'm not a big one for endorsing candidates, but given the passion of the season, I feel compelled to say a few words about the tenor of the presidential campaign.

There's clearly a sea change here -- a broad contrast between a hugely popular candidate who's more or less kept to a positive message, and his opponent, who seems to think that cultivating fear will punch his ticket to the White House, even if it means he goes against everything he used to say he stood for.

These days, it's impossible for any one person to effect change in government. Between Congress and the lobbyists and God knows who else, there are too many voices, too much money involved, for anything to change too quickly or too easily. Of course, a skilled manipulator can manufacture a crisis or enemy to color peoples' perspectives, but as we've discovered, that only works for so long. And the Founding Fathers intended that the balance of powers would prevent any one branch of government from having too much control. That's why I don't put too much stock in campaign promises -- they're too easily dashed.

I just look at character. Who's the candidate I feel I can trust to represent us well to the rest of the world? Does either candidate have another reason to want to be president -- like does he have daddy issues to resolve? Which one do I trust not to insult my intelligence?

I'm really looking forward to a change. I'm really tired of the rest of the world hating the US and thinking we're stupid for having elected our leadership. And I'm sick of politicians pissing in my face and telling me it's raining.