There can be little doubt that almost every Democrat, and the majority of objective Republicans and Independents, would agree that the Democratic Party put on a very good show and had a highly successful convention in Denver these past several days.
Of course, the key factor was probably the unqualified and effective endorsements of Barack Obama and Joe Beiden by Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton, which should have the impact of convincing most of Mrs. Clinton' supporters to vote for this ticket in November. A second key factor was Obama's expected dynamic and compelling acceptance speech at the end.
I'll now mention some other things I liked that were quite effective, in my opinion, and then I'll point out a few things that could have been handled better.
One of the well-known, heavy and understandable emphases in John McCain's campaign has been on the apparent differences between the two principal presidential contenders in the area of national security expertise, military experience, and presumed competence to serve as commander-in-chief. It was therefore effective that the convention organizers arranged for about two dozen retired generals and admirals to come on stage in full support of Obama. Their spokesman, a retired general, mentioned that he had traveled extensively recently with Obama to several countries in Africa and the Middle East, meeting national leaders, and he was highly impressed. Another symbolic positive, from the Democrats's perspective, was that Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of former Republican five star general and U. S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower, a highly regarded business consultant noted for her expertise on the Soviet Union and the energy industry, came out to confirm her personal support of Obama.
One of the things that bothered me with almost all the speakers, including Obama, was the definite impression that the great many things he would do as president to put the country "on the right track," were virtual promises of actions, as if he didn't need the approval of Congress or, with some issues perhaps, support in the Supreme Court. I know that most voters know that Congress has to approve all federal legislation, and that their needed support may be implied, but it still bothers me and the concern could so easily have been covered in very few words. I also know that this implicit exaggeration of presidential authorities is not at all unique to Democrats. It seems it's a pattern followed by almost all politicians in this country.
Another thing that bothered me, and probably the majority of Republicans and Independents, as well as many Democrats, was that no mention was made, as I recall, of any pledge to balance the federal budget, and there was only limited clarity on how Obama and Beiden would pay for all their many policy positions. Again, this seems to be a common situation with politicians, especially presidential candidates.
Of course, one of the ways Obama will try to pay for his programs is to end the war in Iraq, costing at least $10 billion monthly, and bring our troops home as soon as possible. However, he acknowledged firmly that he plans to add a lot of troops in Afghanistan and spend much more to pursue and find Bin Laden and his lieutenants. He also plans to spend a lot of money to rebuild our military, provide tax credits for alternative energy development, hire and increase pay for teachers, and provide universal health care, among many other expensive programs. When one factors in a tax cut for the bulk of our 305 million population, it's an important question how this will be paid for without adding to our annual deficit and the federal debt. It's not viable to expect that a tax increase for the very rich will cover the shortfall. They have very smart tax attorneys who will figure out how to minimize their larger tax bites.
This reminds me, it also bothered me that I don't recall any of the speakers, including Obama, talk about the need to greatly reform our current ridiculous, expensive, and overly complicated federal tax system. It could be that I just missed hearing it, but I don't think so. Certainly Obama didn't mention it. I find this amazing. The complete reform our tax system, which affects everybody, is a genuine no-brainer. Well, it will be interesting now to see how the Republican Convention in Minneapolis goes. Certainly it was quite surprising to me that McCain has just picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President.