The speech we've all been waiting for was finally delivered two nights ago. In his acceptance speech, the Senator from Arizona laid out his plans for the American people. I did not watch the speech in its entirety because I do not quite like Senator McCain's style of delivery. However, I read the transcript on NPR and found it rather poignant. Nonetheless, there are several points in the speech that I do not agree with.
In his opening remarks, McCain thanked the current administration and also was gracious enough to George H. Bush and his wife. It wasn't an accident but rather deliberate that he did not mention the efforts of Bill and Hillary Clinton, a couple who have tirelessly served the American people. McCain made the argument that if elected his administration would work across partisan lines and would give credit where it was due. So, what's the problem with giving a little credit to the Clinton administration for the economic challenges it successfully addressed? So, there goes the first mistake of his speech.
Also, most of the speech was spent attacking the Obama campaign. At times, it almost seemed as though the Obama campaign was synonymous with the current administration. It was sometimes unclear if McCain was attacking the current administration for its failures or the Obama campaign for its proposals. It seems as though he was not sure what route to take in criticizing George Bush and so he superimposed the failures of his party's current administration on Obama.
Another sore point was when the Senator addressed the failing school system. He provided options for parents with children trapped in underperforming schools but failed to mention a program that has become a thorn if the flesh of the current administration; "The No Child Left Behind" reform. How do we in Senator McCain's own words shake up the system and give parents choice? Rewarding good teachers and helping bad teachers find new line of work does not improve the quality of education of any country. There is a root problem when schools underperform. Mostly, it is poverty. His speech did not address what needs to be done in rural Mississippi or Georgia where underperforming schools are the norm and not the exception. For several years, students in the state of Georgia have come in the lowest percentile in performance on the SAT and ACT. How does McCain plan to address that problem? If he needs advice, I'd suggest using community organizers who know the people, but McCain and Palin may be offended by that.
On taxation, the McCain campaign has mentioned that it will keep taxes low. However they have failed to mention who reaps the benefits of the lower taxes. From the analysis of several respected pundits on the issue, yes the McCain campaign has a plan to lower taxes but that plan does not benefit the average income earner. From what I've gathered so far, the reduction is going to serve the needs of the upper echelon of society while people who really need to see their taxes reduced are going to wonder what went wrong with the promises.
On the issue of health care, McCain promises to help Americans find and keep good insurance. News flash, it has always been possible to find and keep good health care. What has not been possible is paying for the good health care so that once it's found it can be kept. The United States has some of the best healthcare facilities the modern world has seen. However, paying for this world marvel is no joke. I recall a visit I made to the doctor a few years ago when I was having some pains that were diagnosed as an ulcer. I went in for a procedure that the technician told me would last 7 minutes but would cost upward of $700. I refused the procedure, went home and ate my way regularly to good health. I found a doctor to attend to me in seconds but I could not have ever afforded the bill even with an insurance plan. Insurance lest we forget is not a philanthropic enterprise. Insurance companies are in it for the money.
Addressing the problem of energy, McCain echoed the sentiments of Palin and Guiliani. They promised to drill for more oil. However, drilling is not the problem distribution is. While drilling may reduce a dependence on foreign oil, I have yet to find an argument that drilling will reduce the cost of energy. In the long run, independence from foreign oil will be good for the national security of this nation but high energy costs will only cause domestic havoc. For the increase in oil prices the nation has experienced over the last couple of months, the relative calm of the American people should be applauded. Only in America can gas prices double without a comensurate salary increase and the people hold their peace. Only in America.
Finally, the most disturbing aspect of McCain's speech was the incessant references to God or to His grace. Since when did McCain become evangelical? It's sad but sweet talking that way has never failed to woo evangelical Christians. The same Christians who snubbed McCain are the same ones who at once offered him support once he asked Palin to join his ticket. Its akin to the United States having friendly ties with Iran simply because Iran goes into a partnership with Great Britain. How does Palin at once make McCain a suitable candidate? James Dobson is now a supporter of the McCain-Palin ticket. How did that happen? Remember my post about how the Convention seemed like a revival? Their Convention style was a ploy to get evangelical Christians on the ticket and they won. I wish the church would open her eyes and seek discernment because for those who listened closely touchy evangelical issues such as gay rights and abortion were left out of the major Convention speeches. Undoubtedly, these Republicans are up to something.
So, for lack of words, it's on. The campaign has began in earnest. The Conventions with their pomp, pageantry and bright lights are over. Now the real work must be done. We must elect the best candidate as President of the United States.