Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Trick or Treat
I really am trying to get down with the hope thing but for the Obama campaign to purchase a half an hour of prime time t.v. at the cost of three million dollars is more outrageous and foolhardy than the McCain campaign springing for fancy duds and makeup for Ms. Palin. Delaying the World Series is a seriously bad idea and will piss off any undecided Joe Sixpacks majorly, as it would me, if the Dodgers had survived the Phillies. Thirty minutes of primo airtime is a glaring reminder that Obama had stated that he would finance his campaign with public funding. I believe legislation that provided for public finance of presidential candidates was intended to level the playing field and insure that the presidency could not be bought. Obama is ahead and I hope it stays that way. But, anyone who wanted to hear what he had to say has heard it and the thirty minute program will be perceived as an arrogant, premature victory lap and a cruel jab at McCain who fell to consorting with the devil in this campaign but whose commitment to using public funds certainly smacks of higher ground. To throw away three million dollars of the hard earned grassroots dollars that fueled this genius campaign is as tacky as the garb Sarah Palin showed up with from the Anchorage Consignment shop, Out of the Closet.

I don't know whether his health insurance plan will be economically feasible but it would help remedy an inequity that is shameful for an ostensibly civilized country. I am also impressed with Obama's plans for righting the misguided joke that is "No Child Left Behind" which manacles student and teacher to endless preparation for standardized tests and virtually guarantees that the staggering drop out rate will only increase. Our personal experience with charter schools has been a mixed bag although at present both of our boys attend them and for both we feel that, despite two hours a day in the car, it is the best situation available. Unlike our neighborhood home schools, the charters our boys attend are ethnically and racially diverse and have educational philosophies we can live with. Obama acknowledges the endemic failure of large bureaucratic education machines and promises to double federal funds to charter and community directed schools and place greater emphasis on insuring the quality of education offered at these smaller institutions. While it might be fiscally impossible to carry off, I also admire Obama's commitment to create a large network of parent/infant education programs and to offer an automatic $4000.00 tax credit towards college tuition for any student who completes 100 hours of community service. Consistent in his education policy is an enormous respect for the teaching profession and proposals are outlined to help future teachers with college tuition and elevate the stature and compensation of educators toward parity with other professions. McCain's solution was to take folks fresh out of the military and stick 'em in classrooms. Heck, anyone with a pulse can teach.

I doubt that Obama would be where he is today if he had attended an inner city high school and community college. He truly appears to get it about education. I have been listening to endless NPR interviews with swing state voters and it occurs to me that the chasm in America isn't a cultural or ethnic or religious one. Education nurtures tolerance and open mindedness. There certainly are highly educated people of faith who would have the government adopt their personal religious views, but generally what polarizes America more than race or culture is education. It doesn't matter what friggin' wars we win or if the economy rebounds. The state of our current educational system is a the gravest threat to the next generation and I think it will be good to have a president whose own life experience reinforces the dire need to fix it. But, it saddens me to think of how many God damn bake sales the three million bucks being squandered on air time could have averted.

My absentee ballot has been mailed and I voted for Obama. I remain skeptical about the man and will always wonder what the results would have been if the campaign coffers for both candidates had been equal. Nevertheless, I am awed by the brilliance of his campaign and I sense he will somehow better our educational system and maybe the hope thing is a teeny bit contagious. If nothing else, at least I am more optimistic than Himself. Ultimately, only Obama's accomplishments in office, if he is elected, will prove whether the ends justified the means.


FionnchĂș said...

I wonder how many of those 100 hours of community service sign-ups, however well-intentioned, will result in $4000 worth of labor from sullen, goldbricking, or conniving post-teens? That sort of program, although I support it in theory, would be better tied to class credit, as the sort of "sign me off so we can both get out of here sooner" situations don't result in much quality effort. I saw this effort abused in my days of inner-city teaching near USC, and those Trojans, getting credit themselves, did nearly nothing substantial to assist students.

Good post, and I also agree that Obama failed to take the high road that McCain helped to blaze, whatever his many failings, in hopes of lessening the clout of the political juggernaut fueled by capitalism, cronyism, and favoritism. For all his rhetoric, Obama's beholden to the same masters, whatever their complexions, as his rival. Obama will have a lot of folks lining up, hand extended, to "remind" our new president of his obligations to the powers that be-- those outside the Oval Office who will not be his marionettes, but his relentless and severe puppeteer.

If Ms. Palin did shop at Out of the Closet, she supports gay rights, sort of, right? Listening to her as she blathered out of your Net hookup to Politico about her $35 wedding ring and Inuit earrings, I thought again it was parody. Until print confirmed her frugality. Five kids to raise, and one more on the way.

The Candies Foundation, soon to interrupt a hit gal program with a PSA, tells us in a NYT ad that 3:10 American teens get pregnant, that this costs us $9 billion, that 4:10 go on welfare, and that 4:5 do not marry the child's father. Levi's a coming, as the song goes.

Cari said...

Obama raised the money wisely, he has shown his stellar organizational powers by hiring the best campaign staff and using modern technology to help. I have no doubt that the cabinet he will install in the whitehouse will be of the same quality. To not spend the campain money to it's best use would be as ridiculous as the GOP funding Palin's wardrobe and makeup. The only major TV channel that is not showing Obama's spot is ABC, so maybe there's something else to watch. (I don't know, I don't have cable or dish.) What I do know about the 30 min. spot is that it's not going to be an all talking head thing. Maybe it'll clinch those last undecided voters. Maybe it'll dispel some of those ugly rumors still flying around. Maybe it'll calm some right wing fears. This is something he planned on doing since he got the dem. nomination. I don't think you will be disappointed, if you choose to watch.

Bob said...

Frankly I am baffled. It's like you are people I don't know. Maybe I have been in NorCal too long. Maybe you have stayed in SoCal too long. To say that there is little difference between the two is deep crackpotedness. Deep.