I think I’m not the only one who listened to NPR last night while puttering around the house, keeping an ear on election results. I listened to Mike Huckabee make a speech as I made Hella Good Cookies, snorted at Romney while I transferred cookies to cooling racks, and ate a slice of pizza while I listened to Clinton. I took a big shit during McCain’s speech (I waited to flush until he was done). By the time Obama started talking, it was time to transfer cookies to a tupperware, and Loki was eating his evening pumpkin.
And I noticed a few things about these speeches, so I thought I’d share my comments with you. Because I love you all so very much.
Huckabee appealed to people who want lower taxes by saying he wanted to “hang a gone out of business sign on the doors of the IRS.” Which is something I can certainly sympathize with, because I think we should have a consumption-based taxation system, rather than our current one. He also went on to cite his second amendment record and his opinion on immigration (that it’s harder to get on a plane in your hometown than to cross the international border). There was an awkward moment of silence when everyone thought he was talking about equal rights, but it turned out to be equal rights for fetuses, so everyone cheered anyway. He definitely went for the friendly kind of guy feel, appealing to evangelicals for that warm and fuzzy sensation that leaves your Jesus receptors tingling.
Romney, on the other hand, went for hard policy. I was kind of astounded when he talked about Reagan’s “values,” until I remembered that some Republicans are into that kind of thing. He went for the economic power angle, talking about our need to dominate the world and stressing our superiority. Have I mentioned that the thought of a Romney nomination terrifies me? Fortunately, after last night, I think that’s pretty unlikely.
Clinton, I noticed, pushed hard on the working class values, which is interesting, because she’s not working class. And she has in fact done a lot to hurt the working class, so it’s weird that she’s a “working class” candidate, as NPR kept stressing. (When they weren’t talking about the hopeless “race and gender divides” splitting the Democratic party.) Her parents may have been working class, but she went to Wellesley and Yale, and those are not working class institutions. She also worked the family end of things, talking about mums and dads and hope for America. I gagged when she started talking about Iraq, a war she voted for, but that might have just been a slippery tomato. She also pimped the sympathy card when she mentioned the tornadoes in the Midwest (which were sad, but it was kind of obviously a political choice on her part to say that her heart went out to the victims). Nice reference to swiftboating, Hil.
McCain, of course, was ecstatic over being the frontrunner for the Republicans, although with competition like Romney and Huckabee it shouldn’t have been a big shock. I note that he stressed his mother’s age (almost 96), perhaps in a reference to critical statements about his age. NPR also commented on this. Also, I thought it was funny that NPR kept referring to McCain as “war veteran and former prisoner of war John McCain.” I was intrigued to see that he didn’t talk about policy very much in his speech, which made him stand out from the others (as did the use of the Rocky theme for entry music).
Obama led with a strong public sympathy card, I thought, referencing the storms (and making a dig at the federal government) and mentioning his young children. His speech definitely had more of a rockstar feel to me, with people screaming and shouting and pop music to introduce him. The moment when he said “our time has come” and the crowd just exploded was pretty intense. (Loki did not appreciate it.) The “house divided cannot stand” line certainly seemed to take off; he has a nice turn of phrase when it comes to political rhetoric which I certainly admire. I can see why so many people are seduced by him. Obama’s certainly running on a platform for change; if he gets the nomination, I hope he can put his money where his mouth is.
It was quite a night, and I think that things are only going to heat up this year. It’s kind of weird to think that nine months from now, there is a serious possibility that Americans will be electing our first black or female President.