I have listened to (too) many political speeches over the past months. Most of them sound like somebody reading a speech. McCain especially. He is a terrible, terrible speaker, and that, more than any policy positions, could link him to Bush in the impression-centers of voters. I still wince at the sound of Hillary but, through exposure, no longer so violently. I disagree with almost everything Obama says, used to find him endearing anyway, and now hear mostly populism, self-promotion and condescension. As the frontrunner his content has (again) become safe and remote. The philosopher-king is fueled by his contempt for the ignorant masses.
Neither Obama nor his party seems to understand how incentives motivate human behavior — not force, not coercion, not mockery, not nursery-school regulation, but real possibilities of good fruits up ahead for free and responsible actions. They do not understand the wellsprings of a virtuous, free, and prosperous society. They are still entangled in the fantasies of the European Left of 150 years ago.
Thus, Obama is now the creature and the prisoner of the American far Left, which has learned nothing from the failures of socialist and statist and anti-capitalist ideas during the past hundred years. Many leftists learn nothing, know nothing, and propel themselves not with practical wisdom, but with outrage and contempt and a desire to punish those who do not agree with them.
Obama's content smacks of contempt and a desire to punish. "Windfall profit taxes"?! He and Hill want to punish profitable oil companies rather than free them up to find and deliver more oil. I don't care how much they make if they can get a tank of gas back to $45.00. The more holes they make in Mother Earth, the better I like it. He wants to tax the rich, the dirty bastards. He wants to punish America and Americans for being successful. Uncle Sam will solve all my problems if I will just sit quietly and hand nice Mr. Obama the keys.
My most hopeful moments derive from imagining that Obama, as president, will be dissuaded from acting as he now says that he will. In that way, God will once again take care of those who are drunk on statist illusions, and He will once again take care of the United States, despite itself. It is when I take Obama at his word that pessimism floods over my heart.
Obama's is the same losing message, but in a year when the deck is stacked mightily against the incumbent party. I hate to think of a President Obama and a 60% override, but I can't see McCain getting out the vote. His message is confused and he sounds like a tired old man. He is trying to be what his advisers are telling him to be, rather than who he is, and that is rarely a recipe for success. The best I can hope for is that we get real about who Obama is and who McCain is, and agree that McCain is less bad than Obama. I have always thought that Obama was a bad candidate, in the same ways that Gore and Kerry were bad candidates, but that only helps if the Republican candidate is good, or at least above average, which this one isn't. I try to tell myself it doesn't matter, who is our next President doesn't matter, but I can't get me to listen.