Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Good editorial, except that what is unsaid though implicit (comparison to Democrat Convention attendance and multiculturalism) is that very but very few ethnic minorities were present. So the GOP must be almost only a party of the WASP establishment, with presumably some Catholics thrown in! It does not bode well for the state of your democracy or the country, since in reality it is very multi-ethnic, meaning with a substantial nonwhite population, with ethnic minorities that together are majorities in major urban areas on both coasts.

Cheers from the North,

Sammy George

Vancouver, BC

Sep 5 2008 - 11:59am

Web Letter

"It's not because John McCain doesn't care," Obama said. "It's because John McCain doesn't get it." Indeed, one of the more memorable lines of the "dueling conventions." Pain's "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change" was just as clever. But there is a difference between writing good speeches and hiring good speech writers. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I am solidly behind Obama.

However, I couldn't help but wonder whether Senator Obama "borrowed" his "doesn't get it" line from another writer, this one in Hollywood.

In the 1995 film "The American President" staring Richard Dreyfuss as the acerbic protagonist Senator Bob Rumson, with Michael Douglas, Annette Benning, Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen--a well-written, well-acted, clever and funny film, with a plethora of memorable lines--Douglas's character, President Andrew Shepherd, thunders in his climactic State of the Union address: "I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it."

Now granted, the Obama line is not quite on all fours with fictional President Andrew Sheperd, but the applause line is very similar.

And then there is the following excerpt from Sheperd's rousing speech, also similar to an Obama theme: "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious men to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections."

No, unlike Rumson, I do not cast aspersions upon the candidate's character. After all, political speechs frequently "borrow" phrases, ideas and lines from others. And what's wrong with that? In legal circles, such behavior is practiced as "citing precedent." In the medical community, ideas and practices are regurtiated, repeated and recognized as the "standard of care." In the political realm it is known--to some, pejoratively--as "political correctness."

No, I am not dissing you, Barack. But I am curious. Did you see "The American President." Good movie, no?

And to all of you, I ask, do you think, in this case, perhaps life imitated art?

Bob Forer

Lawrence, KS

Sep 5 2008 - 7:21am

Web Letter

"The Democrats used their meeting to tell a richer, more expansive national story, one more or less in tune with the party's platform and aspirations." Are you kidding me?

Both parties are lying through their teeth about the future they have in store for us. The only difference between the two is that the Republicans also have to lie about the past eight years. If the Democrats had been in the White House the past eight years they'd be the ones lying about it.

They're both frauds. But now that The Nation is a Democratic magazine instead of a progressive one, the Democrats "tell a richer, more expansive national story." Good grief.

Jan Morales

Takoma Park, MD

Sep 4 2008 - 10:14pm

Web Letter

B. Hussein Obama will be spanked come November.

Shovel as you will your misinformation, nothing can dig B.H.O. out from under the substantial pile of his non-accomplishments now revealed to be his greatest asset.

It's going to be a McCain-Palin sweep!

Sweet Socialist Dreams, Hon'.

B.V. Flanders

Charles City, VA

Sep 4 2008 - 9:42pm

Web Letter

The Republican Convention is a doorway to the vertiginous world of Karl Rove, where the mismanagement of the Iraq War and disastrous deregulation of the mortgage industry is conflated with superior executive ability. Where rugged Western red-state individualism is subsidized with blue-state tax dollars, e.g., Alaska receiving $1.84 for every $1 it contributes to the Treasury. Where Republicans "back door" tax the American people with a $10 trillion national debt and $3.5 trillion + national debt interest payments per decade.

Without question, the Republican Party rejects optimal performance in governance, There is a great deal of profit in incompetence--war profiteering, corporate welfare, debt and deficits, and the pork barrel industry. The GOP regards peace as a continuation of war by other means.

One inadvertently good result of the GOP convention, however, is the ideological deconstruction of gender, with Palin, just as the GOP deconstructed race previously with Clarence Thomas.

If counterfeit conservatives succeed in bamboozling the country once again, then like Citizen Kane this country needs more than one lesson, and it's going to get more than one lesson.

Sioan Stephen Bethel

Brooklyn, NY

Sep 4 2008 - 3:24pm

Web Letter

The kind of situation the United States finds itself today has got to be changed, and the change is not an individual-centered process but the situation will need an individual. In all likehood, Obama is more situated as compared to McCain to bring about a change and find some way out of unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan are alarming and it is difficult to see how the new US administration will confront them. Obama has made Afghanistan a priority. McCain perhaps will find it difficult to change what Bush has done and his election could delay a change. Perhaps Obama is not a captive of the recent past and will be better positioned to introduce a change--which is the demand of the situation and has nothing much to do with political position of Obama.

Subhash Dhuliya

Indira Gandhi National Open University<br />New Delhi, New Delhi, India

Sep 4 2008 - 2:31pm

Web Letter

Senator Clinton's voters were never going to support her during the general election, unless she pulled a bubba pivot and went to a pro-life stance. No abortions unless under special dispensation from the Pope. Didn't you people see A Man For All Seasons? (Whas da matter fo you?)


Caribou, ME

Sep 4 2008 - 1:44pm

Web Letter

Your partisanship is showing!

charles thornton

Reisterstown, MD

Sep 4 2008 - 12:51pm

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.