I watched a good chunk of Obama’s victory speech last evening. Regardless of what you may think of his politics, the man is a very skilled orator. The speech he gave last night was better than McCain’s speech yesterday by a country mile, and Clinton came off to me (and others from the reactions in the blogosphere) as self-serving.
For what it’s worth, I consider myself neither a Republican or a Democrat. Based on what I’ve seen right now, I will probably vote for Obama in the fall, but I’d like to see what both candidates offer in terms of visons for the future. It’s easy to make gauzy promises about health care, education, the economy and energy policy… it’s another thing to offer concrete plans. And it’s still another major hurdle getting those plans implemented without serious ‘modification’ from the lobbyists and Congress.
I will pay close attention to the energy policy being offered by both candidates. Without a credible energy policy that puts it’s focus on moving away from fossil fuels as well as using them as efficiently as possible over the next decade or two, the other policies won’t matter much. The modern economy requires massive inputs of energy to function, and if we all don’t become wiser stewards of those energy flows, we will cut our own economic throats in the coming years. Having a rational economic policy or better health care won’t matter a damn if you can’t keep the lights on. Both candidates will offer pie-in-the-sky plans. It will probably take some digging to figure out what makes sense and what is just election-year pandering. Hopefully more than 5-10% will be the former.
While the McCain/Obama contest will get dirty at points, I expect it to be positively genteel compared to the brewing storm that is the Coleman/Franken senatorial race. You have two flawed candidates running to a senate seat that both parties consider crucial and winnable. We Minnesotans should get ready for a non-stop barrage of slime being hurled our way over the next five months. Both candidates have skeletons in the closet, and the money and energy being poured into the state will assure we’ll get repeated views at all of them. It should be entertaining for a few weeks before it becomes downright tiresome. By Labor Day, most of us will be thinking November can’t come soon enough.