Waterloo, Iowa: You can tell a lot about a locality by its waitresses. As I sit here in this little truck stop cafe', one waitress after another is insisting on topping off my cup of coffee. A few days ago in a different region, your coffee cup could sit bone dry and gather dust until the Second Coming and no waitress, save the one who took your order, could be persuaded to give two hoots in hell about it. Waitresses are more honest ambassadors of a town than its Chamber of Commerce. Likewise, you can tell a lot about politicians by their spouses.
After several days of freight schedules that had me rising in the middle of the night to drive, I tried desperately to stay awake for Mrs. Obama's presentation at the Democratic Convention last night. By the time they played a video tribute to Senator Kennedy, I was cross-eyed. I must have nodded off because I missed the part where they paid tribute to Mary Jo Kapechne, whose death provided mute testimony to the Senator's compassion and the media's facilitation of his contribution to the party's rich history of insuring that women are amply subsidized, molested, or aborted altogether.
But the odd hours took their toll and I was fast asleep long before the First Lady took to the podium. Instead, I've had to rely on media accounts in this morning's news. Jennifer Epstein, over at Politico, writes, "It was a surprisingly biographical speech about a man who's already been President nearly four years…" That's good news, though I think she must have left some of Michelle Obama's remarks out of her report. Perhaps you can help me out.
Reaching out to connect with folks, Mrs. Obama said, "Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable -- their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves." But Politico left out the part where the First Lady thanked tax payers who have paid for her excursions to those unimaginable places. She did thank those of us who paid for her and her husband to fly on separate airplanes to Martha's Vineyard, right? I really regret sleeping through that. Sure, the Romney's live quite the lifestyle too, but they don't require a long haul truck driver to subsidize it.
Ms. Epstein writes, "Without being explicit about her husband's argument that a background in business doesn't translate into having the skills to be president, Obama said she watches her husband make decisions on 'problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer.'" While this explains the President's habit of writing off basic economics, it's an incomplete picture because, if he's not paying attention to the data, what factors is he paying attention to? We get a glimpse, though out of focus, when the First Lady says that the President, "…get[s] all kinds of advice from all kinds of people." But then the signal fades and we miss that part of the speech where Mrs. Obama talked about the advice he got from Bill Ayers, or how his philosophy was shaped by Saul Alinsky, whose precepts he taught.
“When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president,” said the First Lady. Well that's just ducky of course, but how did the audience react when she explained how much healthier they will be languishing on a lengthy waiting list for basic health services that will be rationed by government bureaucrats all because "Barack refused to listen to all those folks..."? Bet she had 'em eating out of her hand on that one.
"At the end of the day," said the First Lady, "when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are." Accepting the truth of that statement, I can't find the part of the transcript where she describes how the President's values and vision were formed and enlightened while absorbing 20 years worth of sermons from a preacher who famously invoked the Almighty's damnation of America. How did the audience react when she explained how her husband's vision and life experience resulted in the striking of even a single mention of God in his party's platform? Did they cry with gratitude again? I'm sorry I missed that part of the speech, though I saw enough boo hooing earlier to wonder if the convention is being sponsored by Kleenex.
I think the freight schedule is spoiling my fun. Speaking of which, the road is calling again and I have to go. Perhaps I'll catch more of these biographical glimpses into the President's past as the week goes on. I did notice, however, that his speech has been moved indoors due to fears of lightning strike. If I had just thrown God out of the party altogether, I'd be a little concerned about lightning strikes too.