Just because I voted for Barack Obama doesn’t mean that I want to see Mitt Romney destroyed, or even hurt. I don’t agree with Governor Romney’s politics, but I don’t wish him ill and I certainly wouldn’t disrespect him.
This is the problem with American politics — Americans like the person who asked this question. They are on both sides of the aisle and they are equally horrible for our country. Last night, I found no glory in the fact that Mitt Romney lost; instead, I was hopeful and happy that Barack Obama won. I didn’t go to the polls to vote against Mitt Romney; I was there to vote for Barack Obama.
Much like John McCain four years ago, Mitt Romney went out with class last night, and he deserves our respect. I have never thought that Mitt Romney was a bad man. I thought Obama would be a better President, but there was never any hatred on my part for Romney. We can disagree with his politics or the way he campaigns, but there is no reason to look at Mitt Romney as a villain.
Yes, Governor Romney is incredibly wealthy and was probably out-of-touch with “average Americans” like you and me. But with all of that money, Romney could live a life of leisure and never have to work at anything again. Instead, what did he do? He devoted himself to public service. There’s no question that he loves his family and has a great relationship with them. He spent a significant amount of time in a leadership role with his church — not just by sitting in a pew every Sunday but by taking a leadership role where he gave up time to help the families and people of his community. Saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, serving as Governor of Massachusetts, running for President in 2008 and 2012 — none of those things were token jobs where Romney was a figurehead that got the credit while others did the work. They were all challenges that Romney tackled with hard work and, in each instant, he “left everything on the field”, as he said in his concession speech last night.
Make no mistake about it — running for President is one of the most difficult, exhausting, and thankless journeys that an American can take. Everyone who runs for President makes tremendous sacrifices, and nobody seeks the Presidency because they are bad people who want to do harm to the United States. Candidates for the Presidency like Mitt Romney — win or lose — are patriots. They have a vision for this country and the passion to put themselves on the frontline. To serve all of us.
Laugh at Mitt Romney? Taunt him? No, I would thank Mitt Romney. I’d tell him that I may not have cast a ballot for him, but that I appreciate the sacrifices he made in order to try to move our country forward. I’d admit that I disagree with his politics, but that I respect his beliefs and admire his passion for going after what he felt was right. I’d tell him that I know last night was probably one of the most difficult experiences of his life, but that he conceded with class, he demonstrated a remarkable work ethic throughout the campaign, and that I hoped that my fellow Democrats would have offered their support of him if Obama had lost as seamlessly and earnestly as he offered his support for the President during his concession.
We cannot and will not bridge the divisions in this country if we continue to be ugly towards each other. Politics alone will not take us where we need to be. There must be some magnanimity, some cooperation, some compromise between all of us — from the President and the Congress to the State Governors and Legislatures, and right on down to you and me and our neighbors. “Politics” and “compromise” are dirty words because we drag them through the mud along with anyone connected to those ideas. That has to stop. It has to stop between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it has to stop between the talking heads on cable news networks, and it has to stop with people who anonymously leave messages on blogs encouraging a celebration over the heartbreaking defeat of someone who put everything on the line to serve his country. Celebrate Obama’s victory, not Romney’s defeat. Congratulate Obama and his supporters, but don’t hesitate to appreciate Romney’s work ethic and devotion to service.
We are at our best when all of us — or at least the largest majority of us — are moving forward. We are at our best when we remember the first word in our nation’s name is “United”. The idea of a constant conflict pitting Democrats vs. Republicans where one side must win and one side must lose is not progress. It’s Civil War without violence — but not without casualties. As someone who knew something about Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, once said, “Let us have peace.” We should follow General Grant’s advice and add, “Let us have progress.” With peace and progress will come prosperity for all of our people.
Well, I’ll only be 36 years old — Constitutionally eligible to be President, but just barely — and woefully inexperienced, so I’d need someone who is respected and has a solid resume. How about Leon Panetta?
Actually, Panetta would be a damn good running mate for someone (not just in the hypothetical “Anthony for President” silliness). Panetta served eight terms in Congress, was President Clinton’s OMB director and White House Chief of Staff, and is now President Obama’s Secretary of Defense after serving the first two years of the Obama Administration as CIA Director. That’s about as solid of a resume for a present-day American public servant as I can think of. Any Democrat running for President in 2016 should have him on their short list for Vice President.
So, there you go, that’s my ticket: Bergen/Panetta 2016 (although “Bergen/Panetta” kind of sounds like the name of a concentration camp.)
(And the previous sentence is a clear example of why I could never be President.)
George McGovern, the former South Dakota Senator, 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, and longtime advocate for minorities, the poor, and the hungry, died this morning in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The 90-year-old former Senator’s death was not unexpected as recent reports have detailed his failing health, but McGovern was actually quite active in politics and the issues he believed in until earlier this year.
McGovern was nominated by the Democrats to face incumbent President Richard Nixon in 1972 and routed in both the popular vote and Electoral College, winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. But McGovern’s legacy extends far beyond his unsuccessful 1972 bid for the Presidency. As liberal as Barry Goldwater was conservative, McGovern was a tireless advocate for the poor and the hungry, not just during his career as an elected official, but throughout his life and up until his death.
After the turbulent 1960s, as the Democratic Party was reshuffling itself demographically into what it has been for the past 40 years, it was George McGovern who welcomed and embraced minorities, women, young voters, and gays. Some people call this “progressive” in 2012; George McGovern thought that way in 1972. He was way ahead of his time — even for many Democrats. As he later joked about his landslide loss to Richard Nixon, “I opened the doors of the Democratic Party — and twenty million people walked out.” Indeed, in the 1972 election, nearly 1/3rd of all Democrats voted for Nixon instead of McGovern.
The GOP successfully painted McGovern as a radical, peace-seeking pacifist in 1972, and tried to portray him as somewhat of a wimp. McGovern was a dove on Vietnam, but he was no radical, no pacifist, and certainly no wimp. Several days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, McGovern enlisted in the Air Force and flew 35 combat missions over Germany, Italy, and Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Yet, peace was certainly an aspect that drove McGovern throughout his career, and helping those who were less fortunate was his ambition for public service. The war that McGovern constantly sought to fight was a war on hunger. It was a concern that he was vocal about during his time in the House and later in the Senate, and President Kennedy appointed McGovern as the first director of the Food For Peace program. Later in life, that fight to feed the hungry continued. Nearly 20 years after leaving the Senate, President Clinton (who, along with Hillary, managed the McGovern campaign in Texas in 1972) named him as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN’s Agencies for Food and Agriculture. For the last decade of his active life, McGovern was a United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassador on World Hunger for the UN’s World Food Programme.
Though the Democratic Party distanced itself from McGovern following the 1972 election because of the magnitude of his defeat and the Nixon campaign’s successful portrayal of him as a radical, McGovern’s impact on today’s Democratic Party cannot be denied. The voters that helped elect Barack Obama in 2008 — African-Americans, women, Hispanics, gays, and young voters — were the people that George McGovern opened the doors of the Democratic Party to in 1972. He was a monument to American Liberalism and his legacy cannot be denied. Nearly all who worked with or against George McGovern — Democrats, Republicans, or Independents — respected his honesty, his ability, and his heart. In a divisive time when many politicians have forgotten the definition of public service, they should look to people like George McGovern and Bob Dole who personify the true intent of public service.
In the bipartisan spirit that he worked while seeking solutions that would help the most people possible, we should honor and remember George McGovern — not as a forward-thinking father of modern American Liberalism, and not even as a war hero — but as an American who represented the best of what our country can be and dedicated his life to the most faithful definition and purpose of public service.
If you missed Part I, featuring John Kerry, you’re lucky. If you survived Part I, you’re now in a better place because it’s time for my favorite member of the Obama Administration, one of my favorite Democratic politicians of my lifetime, and, let’s be real, the greatest thing to ever come out of Delaware (even though he was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania — Dunder Mifflin represent!) — the 47th Vice President of the United States of America, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.!
•People can disagree about politics and policies and social issues and a myriad of other flashpoints, but how can anyone dislike Joe Biden? Sure, maybe you wouldn’t vote for him, but wouldn’t you love to hang out and watch a football game with him? It’s easy to hammer him about his gaffes, but I would wager that no one who has worked closely with him has ever said, “I hate that Biden guy.”
•And he immediately sweet-talks his wife. This is a man who knows where his bread is buttered, if I can use a phrase that makes me sound like an 80-year-old man.
•Wow, it’s taken me this long to realize that the Vice President’s daughter is hot? What’s my problem? Hello, Ashley Biden.
•With that said, I feel it’s important to note that Abby Huntsman still holds they key to my heart. Also, a restraining order.
•No current American politician is as good as Bill Clinton, but Vice President Biden is a very underrated speaker with a similarly natural, folksy delivery. Sure, he slips up from time-to-time and says something dumb, but I still feel like he’s an underrated orator.
•Joe asked Jill to marry him five times and “I don’t know what I would have done on that fifth time had you said no.” Come on, how can you not love Joe Biden?
•As a speaker, Biden is usually hot or cold. When he’s cold and undisciplined, he trips up and says something goofy. Just a few minutes in tonight and the VP is on fire. Great delivery so far.
•As good as Clinton was on Wednesday night, Biden’s speech is tighter, less rambling. This is one of his better speeches ever.
•I’m glad John Kerry showed up earlier so that I could be mean-spirited because I don’t have much to be a smart-ass about with the Vice President.
•”Loyalty” is definitely the one word I’d use to describe the Biden Vice Presidency. By the nature of the office’s historical evolution, it is the recent VPs, particularly Mondale, G.H.W. Bush, Gore, Cheney, and Biden (and, to a lesser extent, Nixon and LBJ), who stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. I think Cheney was more powerful, but Biden is better and more helpful to his President. If I were to rank the “best” Vice Presidents in history, I think it would be Gore at #1 and Biden at #2.
•Speaking of Al Gore…where the hell has he been? He split with Tipper and there were those allegations of some misconduct with a masseuse and now he’s Democratic persona non grata, isn’t he?
•I wonder if Gore, John Edwards, and Jimmy Carter are sitting somewhere all pissed off because the Democratic Party intentionally gave them the wrong directions.
•I can just imagine those three calling and trying to make arrangements for the Convention while Debbie Wasserman-Schultz tells them, “Oh, that’s weird…we totally sent your tickets to you…..Yeah, those were the only ones available, so if you can’t find them, I’m really sorry………You know, there’s a lot of television coverage and that’s much better than being in the arena………No, of course we’re not hiding you like the GOP hides George W. Bush during Convention time.”
•If any party delegates — Republican or Democratic — are reading this, do you realize how silly your dumb hats look? Nominating a President and building a party platform is important work; it’s not New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
•The Vice President is giving one hell of a speech. This is way better than I expected.
•It drives me crazy to see people in the audience watching the speech through their phone or iPad screen. IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! JUST EXPERIENCE IT!
•”God love Jennifer Granholm. Wasn’t she great?” — No, I’ve gotta disagree with you there, Mr. Vice President, she came across like a lunatic. I thought she was going to end her speech with “Cocaine’s a helluva drug.”
•Oooh…I want one of those circular UAW Obama/Biden signs! Those things look badass!
•Damn, they got a whole wheelchair section on the floor of the Convention hall. They should call it the “FDR Section” just to be cute and see if anybody complains.
•Biden halted the crowd when they booed Mitt Romney’s name and said, “I don’t think he’s a bad guy.” Thank you, Mr. Vice President. We don’t have to hate each other to disagree with each other’s politics. Except for Rick Santorum. We should definitely hate him.
•”Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” really is a good tag line.
•With Biden’s reputation for verbal gaffes, I bet President Obama and his aides hold their breath every time the Vice President gets that smirk on his face before he finishes one of his punchlines.
•The Vice Presidential candidate’s usual role at Conventions is to be the hatchet man (or woman), but Biden’s not doing a hatchet job; he’s giving a very focused speech.
•I’m sorry, guys, I just don’t have much to poke fun at here. I’ve been a fan of Vice President Biden for a long time, but I’ve never seen him like this. That was undoubtedly the best speech of Joe Biden’s life and I think it even rivaled President Clinton’s barn-burner from Wednesday night. Damn solid speech, Mr. Vice President. I’m proud to have Joe Biden on my side.
We’ll finish this up in Part III with the main event as President Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for a second term as President.
It’s the big night and I am back to bring you my Smart-Ass Commentary for the final night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention as President Obama and Vice President Biden prepare to accept their party’s nomination for a second term and this seemingly endless campaign cycle officially kicks in to gear with the stretch run to Election Day.
Listen, I have to be very honest. I’m having a much more difficult time coming up with Smart-Ass Commentary this week. I guess part of it is that I am a Democrat and I did work for Barack Obama in 2007/2008, but to be fair, I was able to be a smart-ass during the President’s State of the Union Address earlier this year. I think the bigger problem is that last night I was reminded why the 1990s were so awesome and why Bill Clinton should still be President, and instead of joking about it, I was just really sad. I’m going to try to do a better job tonight, but I must note that my love for Joe Biden is just a little below my love for Bill Clinton, so just know that I know that I might be disappointing in this role tonight.
You know, if only there was something to help bring out the inner cynic within me. If only there was a ghost from campaigns of the past. If only there was some sort of a specter to remind me and my fellow Democrats of how far we’ve come and how low we once were. If only there was a speed bump placed in between the utter awesomeness of Bill Clinton and Joe Biden in order to keep the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte from exploding due to the fact that Clinton and Biden are the coolest fucking Democrats alive. If only we could be interrupted by the political personification of a vacuum…
…YES! Now, THIS is something I can be a Smart-Ass about. Let’s kick the night off with the only man who was less popular than George W. Bush in 2004 — Senator John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts!
•It’s nice to see that Senator Kerry could take time off from being on the $20 bill to speak to us.
•If he salutes and says he’s “reporting for duty” like he did at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, I’m voting for Mitt Romney.
•Hey, fellow Democrats, remember when we nominated John Kerry to be President? Man, that sucked.
•Let’s be straight here — John Kerry and Mitt Romney are pretty much interchangeable.
•What a weird speech. It’s like Kerry started up from the middle of the speech.
•This reminds me of 2004 when everything was really shitty and I looked at my ballot and said, “Well, I can’t vote for Bush, so…I guess it’s Kerry.”
•Oh…another memory…remember when he picked John Edwards as Vice President? That guy turned out to be a star.
•I have absolutely no interest in anything that John Kerry is saying and, as his speech goes on, my body is beginning to shut down in order to protect itself.
•John Kerry had everything backwards — your human form is not supposed to look like a Mount Rushmore sculpture.
•In case you don’t understand, I’m insinuating that John Kerry is a fucking rock-headed bore.
•I do like the fact that Kerry’s talking about Osama bin Laden’s death. As I’ve mentioned, if I were President Obama, I’d just have a photo of bin Laden’s body on the stage at every campaign stop.
•Kerry says that Romney/Ryan are the most inexperienced foreign policy two-some to run in decades. Or, since that goofy Kerry/Edwards ticket.
•Is John Kerry criticizing somebody for being a flip-flopper? Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle “John Kerry”?
•Just think, if John Kerry had his way, this speech would be capping off his second term as President and he’d probably be nominating husband-of-the-year John Edwards as POTUS.
•”Let me say something else. Let me say something else.” — YOU HAVE THE MICROPHONE AND THE STAGE, STONEHENGE FACE, GO AHEAD AND TALK.
•Jesus, I can’t believe I voted for this man to be President of the United States.
•John Kerry just spoke for twelve-and-a-half minutes without saying a goddamn thing. •That might be #2 on my list of “Biggest Wastes of My Life”. #1 is the entire year of 2004. Congratulations, Senator Kerry, you finally won something!
I feel like we need to start a new post in order to cleanse ourselves after that reminder of the political abyss that John Kerry and John Edwards dragged us down into in 2004. The good news: Joe Biden is next!
No. Joe Biden is a good Vice President, and he has been a loyal member of the Obama Administration. I have a lot of respect for Vice President Biden. I think it would be totally unfair to dump him from the ticket. Plus, it would look like a total panic move (which it would be), and it would leave the President open to criticism about the first really important decision he made as the nominee, make it possible for the opposition to say that he was blaming Biden for his troubles, and suggesting that he needed Hillary to save his ass in 2012.