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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Mike Bates
Bio: Mike Bates
Date:  August 28, 2008
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Convention observations

The first day of the Democratic convention produced fewer attacks than anticipated on the Bush-McCain administration, as it's now called. Maybe Daddy Yankee's endorsement of John McCain threw Democrats off their stride. Undoubtedly they'll make up for lost time over the next three days. Some thoughts after Day 1 of the convention:

The first day of the Democratic convention produced fewer attacks than anticipated on the Bush-McCain administration, as it's now called. Maybe Daddy Yankee's endorsement of John McCain threw Democrats off their stride. Undoubtedly they'll make up for lost time over the next three days. Some thoughts after Day 1 of the convention:

* The most poignant moments came from Senator Edward Kennedy. He suffers with brain cancer, yet seemed enthusiastic, engaged and eager to stay in the fray. The liberal lion is in his winter days, but he clearly intends to go out with a roar.

The video tribute shown prior to Kennedy's appearance was created by award-winning producer Ken Burns. So it was surprising that the film began with Kennedy talking about how much he loves the ocean and continued with recurring references to sailing. For heaven's sake, did Burns never hear of Mary Jo Kopechne, the young woman who drowned in Kennedy's car in 1969? The senator neither called for assistance to save the girl nor reported the incident to the police until the following day. He received a two-month suspended sentence.

Teddy and the voters of Massachusetts hastily put that behind them. He's since become the go-to guy on a myriad of liberal issues. Much to this conservative's chagrin, he's been an extraordinarily effective lawmaker.

The senator may well have wielded more influence by staying in the Senate than if he'd ever won the White House. His two brothers have the Kennedy myth. Yet it's Teddy who will leave a much more substantial legacy of accomplishment than either of them.

* Stories of the Clinton stalwarts' annoyance over Obama's treatment of their heroine continue. Some of the animosity might be attributable to Barack Obama not doing enough to help pay off Hillary's debts. Perhaps Obama's passing over of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his running mate aggravated Mrs. Clinton's feminist partisans even more.

Regardless of the reasons, it appears some Clinton supporters aren't prepared to reconcile. I feel their pain, or at least did once.

In 1976, I was a township chairman for Ronald Reagan in his bid for the GOP nomination against incumbent president Jerry Ford. I was unhappy with Ford for, among other things, playing footsie with the Soviet Union, planning to give our Panama Canal to a Marxist dictator, and appointing the liberal John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court, about which I remain irritated.

Particularly dispiriting was the manner in which the Ford campaign operated. Early on, it had locked up the support of state party officials. They treated the Reagan forces as treacherous renegades worthy of nothing but disdain. Gov. Reagan remarked that Ford's campaign song could have been "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" as his administration tossed out taxpayer-funded goodies to his backers. It looked like Ford was trying to buy the nomination.

When November's election came around, voting for Ford was simply not an option. Carter wasn't an alternative; it was already evident he had the makings of a national disaster. That year I cast a write in vote: Ronald Reagan for president and Jesse Helms for vice president. It was one of the best votes of my life.

Polls show that a significant number of Hillary's supporters are presently inclined to vote for someone other than Obama, even in some extreme cases for John McCain. I hope they do. They've been made to feel like interlopers in their own party. Their candidate's been contemptuously treated. Don't let the Obamatons get away with it, girls.

* Michelle Obama's speech was well crafted and delivered. I almost choked on my Snapple when she claimed she and Barack strongly believe your word is your bond. In November of 2004, her husband told the Chicago Sun-Times:

"So look, I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years. . ."

That's some strong bond. Mrs. Obama spoke of other values such as self-reliance, individual responsibility and taking care of ourselves and our families. This directly conflicts with a number of her husband's proposals, which assume that only Big Brother in Washington can provide for us hapless, helpless wretches.

She talked about people "caring for the least among us each and every day." Sounds good, although the recent disclosure of Barack's half-brother living in a tiny Kenyan shack on less than a dollar a month may leave some questioning the Obamas' personal commitment.

Michelle stated she tried to give back to the country by leaving a private law firm "for a career in public service." Until she took a break to help Barack campaign, she earned over a quarter of a million dollars a year. Public service is really such a sacrifice.

The principal purpose of Mrs. Obama's speech was to underscore how she and her husband are just plain folks. So she didn't point out that she graduated Princeton, he picked up a degree at Columbia University, and both of them are Harvard Law School graduates. Yup, just plain folks.

On the plus side, having the Obamas' cute little girls join their Mom on stage was brilliant. Even the most curmudgeonly of us (and I know curmudgeonly) found that charming.

Mike Bates

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Notes:  This Mike Bates column appeared in the August 28, 2008 Reporter Newspapers.

Biography - Mike Bates

Mike Bates wrote a weekly column of opinion - or nonsense, depending on your viewpoint - for over 20 years. Additionally, his articles have appeared in the Congressional Record, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Mensa Journal. He has been a guest on Milt Rosenberg's program on WGN Radio Chicago, the Bruce Elliott show on Baltimore's WBAL, the Jim Sumpter show on the USA Radio Network and the New Media Journal's Blog Radio. As a lad, Mike distributed Goldwater campaign literature and since then has steadily moved further to the Right. He is the author of "Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths." In 2007, he won an Illinois Press Association award for Original Column


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