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Politics Round-Up

Morning Sports Politics Fans!

So here we are on day two of the Democratic National Convention. And I have a few thoughts and hypotheticals for you:

First, as I watch the pundits on all three cable news networks talk about the "fluid" positions of senators John McCain and Barack Obama, I wonder how we draw the line between changing one's mind and flip-flopping.

I've heard both men change their positions on everything from drilling for oil off the coast of Florida to how, when, and whether to conclude the Iraq War.

And I'm still trying to figure out when they've simply changed their minds about something because they've been enlightened, or when they've changed their minds simply for political expediency, with the latter essentially being flip-flopping.

Do you know the answer? I'm just cynical enough to believe that since it's election season, then any time a politician in the hunt drastically changes his mind in the middle of a race he probably hasn't been enlightened. He's probably flip-flopping.

Second, if you watched Michelle Obama's speech last night, did it alter your opinion of her, pro or con? I've read a lot of comments - many on this blog - from people who strongly believe that her strong personality is going to be a liability to her husband's run for the White House. I've also read comments that she's a terrible person who hates America, because of her comment way back when that "for the first time in (her) adult life, I'm proud of my country," and because of the thesis she wrote in college suggesting America was a mean-spirited country.

I've never understood the vehemence behind the criticism of Michelle Obama, especially the strong woman part. Take your party affiliation out of the equation and look back over the history of this country. And tell me when we've had a weak First Lady. Never. We've had some who were more outspoken than others. And we've had some more reserved in their personalities than others. But pick a random First Lady and read a history book about her. They've all been strong, not a pushover among them. As for the proud thing, I don't know what to tell you. Again, taking political persuasions out of the equation, if I were judged on the occasional stupid things I say, I'd have been shipped out of this country on a slow boat to China a long time ago. I don't know the woman, so I don't have a problem giving her the benefit of the doubt that she actually meant she was proudest of this country, as her husband won his first primary race for president. And let's not forget that John McCain was quoted on Fox News saying "I really didn't love America until I was deprived of her company." He didn't say he hated America. Not even close. He simply suggested that he didn't fully appreciate the U.S. until he was forced to live as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. Sometimes things come out in ways we don't intend. And please, don't anyone cite the fact that Cindy McCain has always been proud of America. I salute her patriotism and business acumen and so on. But I have a handful of very wealthy friends - some of whom inherited it, others who earned it from scratch. Maybe it's coincidence, but those friends who inherited have nothing but pride boiling over for their country. But by their own admission they haven't experienced many, if any negatives in their country. My humble opinion? You can love your country without always being proud of it, just like you can love your kids without always being proud of their behavior. I know my folks loved me as a kid (they still do, I think), but I know that while their love never wavered, there were times I disappointed them with my behavior.

As for the whole America is mean thing, I don't know what to say. In college I thought for a semesterthat I was a revolutionary. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder, talked conspiracy theories with classmates - theories that usually speculated about evils the biggest governments of the world might be considering against the little guy, and used stupid words like proletariat and exorcised my demons with frowns, overpriced coffee, Vans, and short-sleeved T-shirts over long-sleeved T-shirts. Someone will give me a tongue-lashing over this stance, I'm sure. But we have bigger issues to worry about in this country than a college term paper.

Third, I'm seeing a lot of pop culture "icons" - and I use that word loosely - taking shots at John McCain for being older, white-haired, etc. Again, take your political preference off the table when you think about this one. I don't like those criticisms. The same people who are cracking jokes about McCain's wrinkles, or his thinning hair, or what they consider to be his less-than-perfectly fit conditioning, would go bananas if Republicans started cracking jokes in the media about Obama's complexion or the texture of his hair or something else superficial. Don't like McCain, if you don't want to. Don't vote for him. But keep it even. If race and skin color - two incidental, superficial qualities - are off limits, then age-related appearance should be off limits too.

Finally, speaking of things that are good for the goose being good for the gander, over the past few years a couple of conservative TV and radio pundits have made it a semi-regular feature to go after the rapper/actor Ludacris for his sometimes profane and/or sexually explicit lyrics and song themes.

At least one of those pundits even successfully pushed Pepsi into dropping Ludacris as a spokesman for the soft drink.

Most recently the pundits were outraged over a short song Ludacris recorded, voicing loud support for Obama and at the same time slamming Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Ironically, McCain's age was one of the things Ludacris took aim at.

But I digress. After the song was released, the pundits about which I write, speculated that Luda's support for Obama would hurt the candidate. And they suggested Obama should make a statement by denouncing Luda, not just for the political song, but because his songs in general are so suggestive.

So I wonder if those pundits are going to call on McCain to denounce Daddy Yankee, the Puerto Rican-born Reggaeton rapper, who announced yesterday that he was backing the Republican senator's bid for the White House.

If suggestive lyrics are the standard by which a musician is deemed a credible supporter or not, then, as Newsweek pointed out, someone should tell the pundits that DY has many sexual songs. And his biggest hit to date, Gasolina, really isn't about cheaper, more efficient fuel.

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Get Real, brother

I can understand if your parents (or mine) can have moments when their kids disappoint them. But they NEVER get in front of millions of people and confess that disappointment.

Mrs. Obama said the same thing several times on the campaign trail before she was called to account for it. It wasn't a flub. It was her heartfelt opinion. Talk about flip-flop? I do not trust her when she now reassures everyone she loves this country. That is simply a pragmatic backtrack to get her hubby elected.

I don't think any right-thinking people buy it. I sure don't.

(Note to you: You are killing me with those endless paragraphs. Break it up, please. Take me on a journey, not an uphill climb.)

Pamela

I feel like a stalker. I checked your blog during lunch - and then left my computer sitting on your blog the rest of the day.

I was going to be your first commenter - and missed the chance.

I watched the Olympics and got way to much tv time - so I may turn it off until after november. It will be better for my blood pressure.

James B.

Get Real Brother, if Michelle Obama wasn't caught in the several other occasions you say she expressed lack of love for America, how do you know those occasions took place? I'm not defending her. But it's obvious from the tone of your comment that you're exercising something akin to a journalistic standard. So let's pretend I'm from Missouri: Show me.

As for my occasional too-long paragraphs, I ain't promising anything. If you want to get picky, it was redundant of you to write in parenthesis (note to you...). Your whole comment was to me.

But I don't mind 'cause this is a blog, a casual format, not a newspaper article and not a doctoral thesis. And sometimes I'll write long paragraphs. Sometimes I'll use bad grammar...purposely. Sometimes bad grammar will slip past me. Sometimes I'll make up words in jest. Sometimes I'll make up words to make my point.

But I'll make a temporary trade with you: Use a real name when you write critical things, and I'll keep all my paragraphs short.

How's () I trust you won't kill me when you catch me! And definitely turn the TV off and read more Burnettiquette. It's healthier.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

Get Real needs to "Get Real!"

Can anyone, in all honesty, sit here and say (type) that they are always 200% in favor, backing, the U.S. Government, the country, the people always and forever?

Considering the history of our nation -and this does not mean that I think our country, even our form of government (warts and all) isn't a wonderful place, doesn't have a great constitution, regulations, etc., etc., etc. -but as a nation over the past two centuries, our government has done as goodly number of things that are nothing to be proud of.

Think of slavery, or the Trail of Tears, of the Japanese being placed in concentration camps -just for openers. Sure as heck are nothing to brag about in any of those cases and I find it rather ludicrous then to sit back and pompously say we -the country and people -are the best, the smartest, the fairest. We weren't and still aren't! But, to our credit, we do usually try to do what's right, just that sometimes the vision gets a little bit skewed. Therefore, I think I can understand why Ms. Obama made the comment so many have taken as an affront about being proud of being an American.

Why is it too that anyone who is an actor, a musician, any type of artsy type individual who becomes successful apparently is not supposed to have any intelligence, is unable to make a rational decision about ANYTHING without the Media or some organization or other coming forward and ridiculing them for taking/making a stand? Just because people are performers does not mean every last one of them is an imbecile and therefore, is not entitled to voice their support of anyone else -be it another artist-type, some one from the public at large or in support of a politician. The overwhelming majority of them are perfectly capable of forming an opinion and by rights, are also allowed to verse their opinions too -same as all the rest of us. What format they choose as their artistic outlet should have no bearing on their individual thought process about anything else.

But that isn't what you asked at the beginning of your post either, is it James? You wanted to know if what I saw on the TV last night of Ms Obama strengthened or weakened her in my eyes and frankly, I felt her words made her seem even more viable to hold the position of First Lady!

And I loved watching their daughters interject their words -vying to get their Dad's attention and being normal youngsters like my kids were, like I'd love to see my grandchild respond in a similar fashion should an opportunity like that ever present itself to them.

And while I'm on a roll here -doing a little venting or ranting -be honest about this too but how many people who are millionaires/billionaires or even those who have a very healthy six figure income really have a clue as to what life is like for the majority of the rest of us peons here? How many of them know how much a gallon of milk costs -or even a gallon of gas for that matter? How many of those in those brackets really and truly know what it is like to worry from one day to the next about the most basic things in life -a roof over their heads, utility bills, other expenses and food, of course? Even if they know what some things cost, how many of them really worry about that?

And thinking about that last paragraph and the questions there, does not being fully aware of those things mean that all those who are in the higher income brackets then have no business being in any positions of power, whether it be business, the law, medicine, education or politics?

So freaking much stuff being tossed about that really is very petty -just my opinion there.

Finding ways to help society as a whole -not just businesses, although that is important too, learning more about our environment and how to protect it in a reasonable manner, striving towards making things more equal for all, staying out of conflict with other countries (also means not to be trying to force our way of life on others), getting affordable health care for everyone, and world peace should be goals not just for those running for office but for all of us to support as well as many other things that need attention.

Now, I'm going back to my little corner and stay quiet for a while.

GrizzBabe

Another well thought-out and balanced post, James.

I like Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama encompasses everything good about the strong, black woman stereotype. But that image gives some people pause. I think they are afraid she is going to turn into Shenequia -- the neck-jerking, finger snapping, confrontational black woman.

At least, that's what I hear when people use the phrase "too strong" in reference to Michelle Obama.

The CEO

I have no problem with Michelle Obama or what she said. I understood what she meant. She looks just fine as a First Lady.

The problem with words and political correctness is that they needhold in art as well as society or there can be no political correctness.

Ultimately, it's all perception, but really, isn't it all so sad.

Mary

A few people I know have said some very hateful things about Michelle Obama. I don't know why she is the center of controversy. She seems very well educated, a strong and loving partner to Barack, his confidante, a terrific Mom, and more.
As a First Lady I think she'd be very involved and show good leadership. As a family, I think they are all very close and loving.

The comments she made may have been taken out of context. With a news team around every corner and people just hanging on every word there's always going to be things said that might not sit well with everyone or
understood. So be it. I've had some harsh things to say about this country at times. Things I don't necessarily feel ALL the time but not being in the spotlight no one cares. I've been grumbling for YEARS and cannot wait until the current nightmare is out of office.
I'm really more surprised that people are questioning Michelle Obama than they are the state of the economy, the war, the deficit, gas prices, the current administration and their lies, etc. etc. etc.

mark

Let me quote Ms. Obama. On February 18, 2008, Obama commented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

Mr. and Mrs Obama had taxable income of over $900,000 in 2007. Not bad for a couple of down-trodden citizens.

Sharon

Anyone who gets into the public eye is going to get sniped at, because that is what the media tend to do.

Because these days some of the media are into cheap shots & soundbites rather than analysis of what is being done/said etc. & it's easier to write, & to read. Not that you do it, James, thank goodness, of I wouldn't still be reading your blog.

This 'cheap shot/no-brainer' form of journalism is unfortunate, but there we are. If we decide to keep subscribing to that kind of media, buying that kind of paper, we have only ourselves to blame.

BTW - read a transcript of Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Congress. Sounds like he's got a lot of sensible ideas.

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