An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

Summary: It's the Democrats. What could possibly go wrong?


Where's Hillary?

One of the biggest questions of the convention -- where's Hillary? -- actually has a relatively straightforward answer. No, it's not that she's angry at Barack (or Bill, for that matter). In fact, she's in Asia, in the small island nation of East Timor. She's actually prohibited by Federal law from attending political activities.

Yep, the Hatch Act of 1939 rears its head once again. For those of you who haven't been following along since 2007, I wrote extensively about the Hatch Act as it pertained to White House use of email accounts for Where Have All the Emails Gone? (free PDF download).

The Hatch Act is a law (in some ways a very obsolete law) that dictates the separation of political activities with governing activities. Mrs. Clinton, by virtue of being SecState, is subject to both Hatch Act restrictions and State Department policies and can't attend.

That's also why we didn't hear from Condi Rice when she was President Bush's Secretary of State.

John Kerry

Unfortunately, while waiting for Biden to speak, we had to endure John Kerry. If I never have to see or hear John Kerry speak again, it'll be too soon. As powerful and masterful as Bill Clinton is, John Kerry is the opposite.

In fact, it wasn't until I suffered through yet another John Kerry speech Thursday night (why won't the Democrats learn to keep him sidelined?), that I realized Obama might have a real chance of winning.

That's because, weirdly enough, John Kerry reminds me of Mitt Romney. It's not just because they're two long-faced men of privilege from Massachusetts, but because they both seem many steps removed from truly identifying and resonating with the needs of most Americans.

Joe Biden

Let's be clear about two things. First, Vice President Joe Biden is the gift that keeps on giving to political pundits. He's often a little too free with what he says, which gives us material to riff on for days.

But the second fact is one many people don't recognize: Biden knows his stuff. The single most important thing you need to know about Biden is that, in the event of a tragedy, he could very competently take over the presidency. Biden is a master of foreign policy and national security and has long been a champion of the middle class.

Although he's never had the public persona chops to make it to the White House on his own, he'd undoubtedly make an exceptional president. I've seen the work he's done over the years and he's one of America's elder statesmen, in the true sense of the term.

That said, when Biden stands up to give a public speech, anything can happen. As a political sports fan, I was definitely looking forward to this one.

Talking of Romney's recommendation a few years ago that the auto industry be allowed to fail, Biden said, "The Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits, but it's not the way to lead the country from the highest office."

I actually strongly disagreed with Mitt Romney's November 18, 2008 New York Times editorial, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt".

While the bankruptcy process may have guided America's once-great auto makers through to a new beginning, it also could have decimated them. The issue goes beyond those companies, though, because that industry has such a reach economically (and emotionally) throughout America. If you think we were fighting a depression back then, imagine just how depressed we would have been if we'd lost GM and Chrysler.

Worse, if GM and Chrysler died, so would have all the aftermarkets that orbit them, from parts makers to mechanics to dealers. And if the aftermarket fell, that would make it far harder for Ford to get parts and resources, so it's likely that Ford would have collapsed simply as a result of the industry around it collapsing.

It's still not clear whether or not the Cash for Clunkers program was a good idea and whether we're really going to see an upside from our days owning Government Motors, but I have to agree with Biden that Romney's idea of letting the auto industry die was penny-wise but pound-foolish.

Speaking of the Bin Laden takedown, Biden also made the only truly strong counterterrorism message I've heard from either party, "If you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth."

It is interesting that the Democrats this time, rather than the Republicans, are the ones with the seasoned foreign policy and military leaders. That's different from the Bush years, where so many of their senior officials had seen war after war and managed them at a national level.

Great quote: "It's never been a safe bet to bet against the American people. We have no intention of downsizing the American dream."

Next: President Obama and some final thoughts.

Topics: Government, Government US


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The real party platform:

    (Think of a 'Meow Mix' cat food commercial) God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god....
    • "Corporate should have losses!!"

      So says the Obama-loving communists at DNC. I just wonder how Obummer would get his donation then. Hoho. The liberals just could not use their brain.
      • less than 20 people

        how many did he go through to get those 20 people?

        would be just as easy to find a bunch of democracy hating people to say obama's a communist, socialist, isn't a citizen, blah blah blah. you know, a president elected by the people of the country. hey wait! we can start with you! that's 1.
      • and btw

        your democracy loving party has done something never before done in the history of our country. congress averages a filibuster about every 10 years. in the last 4 years your patriotic elected officials from the right have managed over 400.

        really really really tough to govern when you can't pass anything. when you can't even get people approved for vital positions, positions filled usually within months of a new presidency that remain empty to this day, when the opposition is only interested in obstructionism.

        your flag waving leaders have held this country and economy hostage in their determination to undermine the will of the american people. you know, those people that elected the president to do a job. now good look up the word filibuster.

        but hey, stick a camera in the face of a couple of dozen people. use the word obummer like you actually have wit.
        • Please see my direct response to him, as

          that includes a few links - mostly to nonpartisan sources but I included a few from both right- and left-wing sources as well...

          These guys don't get it. If they really checked up on what politicians do, they'd find Obama by and large being "Bush's third term", and whose bipartisan and compromise has given the GOP a free ride. In 2003, Obama talked of single payer. After 2009, all he did was lift Romney's own plans, using his own people.

          Indeed, noting how the GOP loves to give corporate handouts to corporations, especially those that offshore, how Obama is the C-word is the biggest LIE being told. The GOP loves offshoring to C-word countries (China), and those sites that go into detail on votes tell it all...

          It's all documented stuff.
      • LBiege ...your a F*****g jerk

        End of story.................
        Over and Out
        • Wow, my post with links to several sites has to wait

          but your immature slop got posted?!!!!!!!
  • Neither were good, Neither were bad

    I feel like I am watching an episode of "I wish someone would figure this out" after watching both conventions. The sheer vastness of " they get it not" fom both parties leaves one wishing for a Kable third this stage I am, either way - either party, looking at four more years of my wallet getting slimmer.
    • We really really really

      Need edit capability.
      • New CMS

        It's a new CMS. I understand that's many of the items the programmers are working day and night on. But, as with all mere matters of programming, when it'll show up is, well, a mere matter of programming.
        David Gewirtz
        • it's a tech site

          day and night and still not fixed? no other tech site i visit has this problem.
          maybe you guys should contract it out.
    • Well, since private industry creates jobs and sets their value,

      scapegoating any figurehead from any political party won't do you much good.

      Stop whining about wages going down. The politicians, dare they do something positive for you and me and others, will be called "comm unist" or something by the usual one-liner fluffheads...

      And it's documented, stagnant wages not keeping up with inflation... tons of articles exist online... you'd be surprised... Indeed, "The American dream died in february 1973" - web search that article. And "the vicious cycle of stagnant wages".

      Then look up corporate welfare, especially as handed out by the politicians that claim to love this country, hate "Communi sts", et cetera...
      • in short,

        ask why corporate leaders devalue the worth of your labor, why you have to do more for less, give up vacation time, etc, etc... or do you choose not to defend your own value?
  • Wrong Site Buddy...

    I though this was a tech website. What on earth does your blog have to do with technology? Use another forum to post political opinions.
    • Go ahead

      glance at the top of this page where it says topic.

      It says "government".
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Since you say it's ok I'll post my opinion

        Obama has three "qualities": He's incompetent, He's a liar and He's a Socialist. He wants the government to control everything. All money is to flow through the government and they will decide what it is to be spent on and how much each person can have to spend. Obamacare is just the start. 49% of all Americans currently receive some type of government support. The Chosen One wants it to be 100% If that's the type of country you want then by all means vote for another 4 years of "Change".
        • Oh no...

          Another idiot that doesn't know what "socialist" means trying to sound intelligent.
        • Did you mean to say Romney care?

          Maybe you should look that up.
          • I put in some news articles

            but they're being vetted. It's worth the wait; there's nothing bad in that response...
        • oh no you didn't!

          did you just use like almost every single sound bite the right and fox has been pushing for the last 4 years!?! SNAP! truly, a singular mind indeed. true, there's no real thought in there, no valid arguments, you know, just the talking points, but if you keep working on that soon you'll start believing that you can actually think! good job laddie, good job indeed.