Maybe, in domestic campaign shorthand, McCain looks good by acting so tough. But is it wise, geopolitically speaking, for McCain to frame this crisis as the first manifestation of a new Cold War between east and west? Or to beat the drums about "negative consequences" when, in reality, there is very little (aside from diplomacy) that we can do to confront Russia in a region it views as a traditional sphere of influence - particularly since our own military is seriously overstretched, thanks to a disastrous Middle Eastern war, launched under false pretenses, that McCain cheerleaded from the outset?
Maybe, on closer inspection, there is a thin and dangerous line between toughness and bellicosity.
-- DICK POLMAN[B]y the Orwellian year of 1984, political bigwigs discovered there had been this thing called "the teevee," and without fail every four years the party with the most chaotic convention lost. Hence, the era of Unwatchable, Totally Bland and Meaningless Scripted Mush. In other words, the spectacles that you'll see in Denver and St. Paul will be about as real and informative as that Olympics ceremony in Beijing -- they're probably kicking themselves for not coming up first with the idea of a 9-year-old perfect-looking lip-sync artist for the National Anthem.
So, what would be the harm in a country that claims to be the world's greatest democracy of having a, you know, um, vote -- especially for hundreds of delegates who want to tell their grandchildren they stayed strong for the woman who darn near became the first woman president? The Democrats could make a statement -- that we're not phony cyborgs or 3,000 Chinese drummers in unison but real Americans with real differences of opinions that we don't try to cover up -- but at the end of the day we can still come together.
That said, you know they're going to go the phony route. They always do.
-- WILL BUNCH
If it wasn’t enough bad news that Obama only had a 5-7 point lead in national polls instead of a blow-out, this really should set Obama supporters on their heels. I mean, only one former Republican House member from Iowa is endorsing Obama? What about all the other Republican House members from Iowa?
I think this is terrible news for Obama and really am worried about this turn of events.
-- JOHN COLE
Focus on the Family Action pulled a video from its Web site today that asked people to pray for "rain of biblical proportions" during Barack Obama’s Aug. 28 appearance at Invesco Field in Denver to accept the Democratic nomination for president.
Stuart Shepard, director of digital media at Focus Action, the political arm of Focus on the Family, said the video he wrote and starred in was meant to be "mildly humorous."
But complaints from about a dozen Focus members convinced the organization to pull the video, said Tom Minnery, Focus Action vice president of public policy.
"If people took it seriously, we regret it," Minnery said Monday.
-- MARK BARNA
[E]veryone knows Obama can deliver a great speech and mocking one of his obvious gifts could redound to McCain’s disadvantage if it is seen he is being churlish or envious rather than making the point that delivering a great speech while actually saying something relevant and important are two different things. It's a good point but McCain leaves himself open to counter thrusts by Obama. The candidate will speak before 70,000 people in Denver in what will be one of the more dramatic political scenes in many years. It is hard to see how McCain can make the same claims about Obama's speeches after the voter sees so many people screaming their delight and the commentators no doubt falling all over themselves in trying to outdo one another in singing the speech's praises.
-- RICK MORAN
My buddy Barack Obama is planning to announce his vice-presidential selection via text message and email. He told me so on Twitter. See, I follow him on Twitter, meaning I get little updates of 140 letters or less when he travels to another country for a speech or when he decides what the medium for his VP announcement will be. He follows me and 58,260 other Twitterers in return, which means he's privy to my happy-birthday note to my brother, garage sale advice to my pal Steph, and my exclamations of delight on tasting an $18 glass of wine. We're like old friends.
. . . I pictured myself receiving the text message and squealing with glee as though my best friend told me she was pregnant. I figured it would happen in the grocery store where I could make a big scene of it. But I didn't sign on. Why? Well, it's just not that urgent. I can find out who his running mate will be via text message, email or regular old Google News, and I'll still be among the first to know. Heck, I could probably wait for the next day's newspapers to come out and still know before a lot of folks.
But that's probably not the point, is it? The point is a sense of connection. Many young Americans already feel more connected to Obama than to John McCain because, while McCain is old enough to be our grandfather, Obama's only old enough to be perhaps a big brother or an uncle. And while that may not be the reason we cite when deciding who will have our support in November, a sense of connection might be just what it takes to sway some undecided voters.
-- MARY RICHERT
Cartoon by Mike Thompson/Detroit Fress Press