The pomp and circumstance, the fireworks, and the Basil Poledouris-esque coda belong to history and yesterday’s news. Now, it’s time for Americans to consider what Barack Obama actually said during his Democratic nomination acceptance speech and to break apart the “red meat” hidden within the rhetoric. I have some questions for the Obama campaign, and I urge voters to consider them as well.
On Changing Politics
First, how many times did Barack Obama make reference to his Party, the Democratic Party, in order to contrast it with the Republican Party? How many times did he attack George W. Bush and John McCain? Did that sound like post-partisanship? Did that sound like someone who truly believed in a United States of America not defined by red and blue?
Obama mocked McCain for agreeing with Bush 90% of the time, saying he is “not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.” Has George Bush really been wrong 100% of the time? Does that include the surge in Iraq? Does that include tax cuts for Americans? Does that include AIDS initiatives in Africa? Does that include school voucher initiatives that would benefit poor inner-city children? Could someone who disagrees with President Bush 100% of the time really be interested in non-partisanship and a different kind of politics?
On Domestic Policy
Obama mockingly referred to McCain's 26 years in the Senate as evidence that he is part of America’s addiction to Middle East oil and part of politics as usual. What about Joe Biden's 30-plus years in the Senate? How exactly does Obama plan on ending Middle East oil dependence within the next 10 years? Might using domestic sources, which Obama opposes, help America achieve such independence?
Obama suggested that he will lower the cost of health insurance while also suggesting that insurance companies will be required to provide insurance coverage to everyone, regardless of condition. How will such a requirement lower insurance costs for everyone, instead of raising them?
Obama says he will bring tax relief to Americans. Could Obama please explain how McCain's proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts, which provide the greatest percentage benefit to lower and middle class Americans, would not provide tax relief, whereas Obama’s proposal to let those tax cuts expire and raise capital gains taxes would? Furthermore, President Bush lowered taxes for Americans in the lowest tax bracket from 15 percent to 10 percent, a decrease of 33 percent. Was he also wrong to do that?
Barack Obama refers to the difficulty of an entrepreneur starting a small business. Might that have something to do with the excessive regulation and taxes that Democrats have imposed on these small businesses? Might the death tax, which forces small business owners to sell their businesses prematurely and which Obama opposes eliminating, pose significant hurdles to small business owners?
On Social Policy
Obama said he wants his daughters to have the same opportunities “as your sons.” Does Obama doubt whether Senator McCain and his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, want those same opportunities as well?
Obama said “We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.” Can we not also agree on reducing the number of abortions?
In reference to John McCain, Senator Obama said the following: “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.” What exactly is the “record” on which Obama is running?
Obama again proposed eliminating nuclear weapons from the world, something he has suggested on numerous occasions. Is that how we will deter Russia, which he emphasized in his speech we must do?
Last, how many times did Barack Obama utter the phrase “War on Terror”? Hint: one less time than he mentioned keeping toys safe in America.
Americans certainly have a clear choice this election. While Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech at Invesco Field was made for Hollywood, voters now need to ask themselves whether it was also made for reality. These questions should help provide the answer.