Elections '08 Presidential Race

Michelle…. Home Run


Ted Kennedy’s appearance and video was an inspirational tear jerker
designed to draw the Democratic clan together.

Michelle Obama’s speech was something else. It was an introductory message to the whole country.

….He’s the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail’s pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he’d struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father’s love.

And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And one day, they – and your sons and daughters – will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country – where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

No matter what negative drivel James Carville was spewing on Monday night, Michelle’s here-we-are-get-to-know-us speech hit every note with graceful accuracy and inarguable authenticity—and did exactly what needed to be done.

Even her dress was good. No cliche red blazer. (Yeah, yeah, it’s a trivial point. But you know she had to think a lot about it.)

Her talk about her dad, his struggle with his canes and his courage….it was all very effective.

And it didn’t hurt for us to see all over again that Barack is genuinely hot for his wife.

Yes, and the kids were impossibly winning and obviously (and unfake-ably) well-loved by their daddy.

“I hope everybody has an open heart and an open mind in this campaign,” blurted the often very irritating Chris Matthews in a moment of genuine emotional overwhelm, before he went back to being his usual hyperactively-defended pundit self.

Me too.

Michelle Obama was always an impressive woman.. But she’s grown stronger and more politically sure-footed in the course of the campaign.

Yet, what she had to show us on Monday night, was that she was someone the country could take to its heart—and be proud of. She did exactly that: She showed us she’d make one hell of a first lady.

Carville, you sour-grapes-spitting moron,, this is not like every other election. This time the first night had to be personal.

The platform and the talking points can—and will—come later.


  • Absolutely right on ! Here are two comments that are telling, one from a moderate conservative who supports Obama and the other from someone who’s as crazy as Woody.

    “Michelle and the girls were a homerun for Dems tonight,” Wingnut Crank Kathryn Jean Lopez writes at The Corner.

    From Obamacon A. Sullivan, who’d been dissing the convention: “One of the best, most moving, intimate, rousing, humble, and beautiful speeches I’ve heard from a convention platform. Maybe she should be running for president. You don’t need any commentary from me. This was a home-run.” Later: “(I)t succeeded in the most important task. Michelle did it. She more than did it. She struck fear in the GOP tonight. Their lies about the Obamas will fail. As they should.”

    Michelle Obama is awesome – she was so goddam good and the cutaways to her mom brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never seen anything like it from a prospective First Lady, and she had a tougher job than any have so far, including Hillary Clinton V.1.

    I haven’t even read Carville’s remarks because I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down, but he’s the past. One of the beauties of this convention is that a schmuck like Carville – whose wife published the Jerome Corsi book and claims it was “scholarly research” – isn’t at the center of the festivities but is part of the past. Carville has a lot of goddam nerve even showing up at the convention, given that he’s married to someone who was in charge of rolling out and defending a SwiftBoating operation against Obama. I have no problem with a prominent Democrat happening to be married to someone who votes Republican, but the Carville-Matalin circus – especially in the light of her pushing the Corsi book – is a bit much for my delicate sensibilities and it signals that these people are phonies who share a love of power, television and consultant’s fees and tawdry Beltway careerism over any principle.

  • I haven’t talked to my sister about the convention yet, but she’s an Obama-supporting former Republican, very politically moderate but outraged by Bush’s incompetence more than anything else, but I’d be more interested in her impression than Carville’s. I can guarantee James Carville that swing voters don’t need slash-and-burn attacks 24/7 in this election. An overwhelming majority will be inclined to support the Democrats already on the issues and on their sense of the country going down the tubes and wanting a turn of direction, and what they need is reassurance that Obama isn’t some “other” who can’t be trusted, not because he’s not smart enough or can’t marshall enough experience at all levels of his administration – but because his life story seems different (and, yes, the race thing.) The McCain strategy is ant-Obama, not John McCain’s got a plan that addresses your problems. So it’s good strategy on the part of Obama’s Chicago Boyz and Girlz to open the convention with a strong appeal on the personal level.

    Frankly, if Carville and his old friend George were still hungry and using their heads to win elections rather than collecting checks and blowing hard on the tube, Hillary might well have been the candidate. But the world has moved on…

  • Very insightful and informative posts from Celeste and Reg, Ms Obama and the fading yet still inspiring Ted Kennedy tore the place up. I liked the camera shots of VP candidate Joe Bidden in the crowd, applauding like the “everyman” that he seems, and brings to the Dem ticket. And I think that with Obama and Bidden the Democrats have finally got the big picture, accentuate the disconnect between the American voter (many strapped and worried economically), and the wealthy High Brahman born corporate robber barons of the Republican Party.
    And Reg and Celeste both rightfully chastise James Carville who is nothing but “a mouth that roars” the crypt-keeper and blatant opportunist who along with his wacky mean spirited wife, the screeching Mary Maitlin are the TV “go to people” and “one quote wonders” for Corporate TV.
    How could these supposedly political opposites be married to each other? It’s a set up and a scam by two cynical publicity hounds for personal economic gains.
    There just no way it could work if true.
    Can one imagine a working marriage between Maureen Dowd and Charles Kraphammer er I mean Krauthammer? Could there have been a marriage between Dorothy Parker and Walter Winchell?
    Rush Limbaugh and Molly Ivins?

  • I guess I have seen Barack Obama’s wife too many other times talking way to much for me to be interested or inspired by what she has to say. I would rather see Obama’s two daughters talk about their daddy, than listen to another, rags to riches story from Michelle. I don’t ever remember seeing the wife of another presidential candidate’s on television so often.

    And Celeste you should not let your bias dull your vision or fashion sense. You noticed and mentioned Julie Korenstein’s (LAUSD) 60’s bee-hive hairdo, but you did not notice Michelle previous 60’s flip hairdo, whenever I saw Michelle I was reminded of Marlo Thomas in the 60’s T.V. show “That Girl”. At least Michelle vetoed her previous hair style for her “introductory” speech.


  • Where’s Woody?!?

    For the first time since I’ve been paying attention to an election seriously (since 1992), I feel like a candidate and his wife are normal married people. Michelle rocks.

  • I don’t ever remember seeing the wife of another presidential candidate’s on television so often.


    How often was Hilary Clinton on television in 92?

  • LL, Hey, I actually liked the flip. Like here:


    Listen it all comes down to personal preference, and I personally happen to really like Michelle’s sense of style and don’t mind that she pushes it from time to time. (Last night’s blue dress skated the edge.)

    I also think Cindy McCain also has a great sense of style. She what looks good on her and what doesn’t. (Even though every so often she has a bad hair day and suddenly starts looking like a Texas real estate agent, and not in a good way. But with that many days on the road, she’s allowed. Also, she needs to stop it with the décolletage unless it’s a dressy deal.) But for the most part, Cindy does restrained/classy/sexy really, really well. And it isn’t just her money.

    (Can you believe I’m taking the time to write about this? Oh, well.)

    And just to show you that it isn’t all partisanship, Republican Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has the exact same hair as Julie K. but it works beautifully on her. And I don’t think it’s just youth. (I’m waa-a-ay closer in age to Julie than to Sarah, so my sympathies are with the former in that regard.)



    (click on Julie’s photo for the full effect.)

    Okay, I’m going to behave now and return to serious pursuits.

    Reg, I do want to know what your sister thought, though..

  • Adam: George and Laura aren’t “normal people” and neither were his parents, George and Barbara? This is “the first time…(since 1992), I feel like a candidate are normal people???????” And their two girls getting into trouble but turning out to be “nice young ladies,” Jenna even writing a too-cute children’s book and making reading appearances with her ex-librarian mother, seems to me like the epitome of the ups and downs of “a normal family.”

    And Adam: “I don’t remember seeing the wife of another presidential candidate’s (sic) on television so often”: true, Laura hasn’t been the media darling Michelle has, but whenever she’s been on Leno or elsewhere being herself, people really like her, and she’s got a very high popularity rating, probably higher than anyone else in office. But why is a Republican politician wife who’s put her career secondary to family just so retro, while a Dem like Michelle is being lauded (like on HuffPo) as so post-feminist?

  • OK, since we’ve ventured into the fashion do’s and don’t’s: speaking of (hair)do’s, that upswept hair thing with the shoulder-less dresses reminded some of a failed attempt to mimic the look of Jackie O, but she’s too large and broad- shouldered to make it work.

    This new look, the softer, relaxed hair with the more relaxed dress silhouette, emphasizes her waist which is small relative to her huge arms and but. (I know that sounds bitchy, but there’s no fashion critique without tip-toeing around it.) It also says “career woman with a softer edge,” a look you can wear to the office or matronly suburban luncheon, corresponds to her speech.

    Celeste, gotta disagree about Cindy: she’s too cute and hot-looking to tone herself down into the matronly looks that Michelle looks better in, and I’ve never seen her look over-the-top with cleavage. Figure-hugging, more European, designer fashions better suit her tiny, toned body. Besides she’s stuck next to that Krypt Keeper with his age spots and all, and probably needs a mental boost — hey, she’s a very rich, very cute lady who wants to live it. But I DO agree about the hair: when she veers into Teased Texas ca. 1977 hair a la Julie Korenstein or Amy Winehouse, she looks more her husband’s gen — maybe that’s the idea, and she’s fighting it with the evolution toward cute-chic outfits.

    This is by no means frivolous — spouses must create their own “brand” and style to reflect their message. Michelle’s whole speech, pitching herself as a smart Ivy League-educated lawyer who’s more focused on her family and husband’s career than herself (take that, Hillary!) very much reflected her new look. Lessons from Laura, maybe, whose graciousness she’s admitted admiring? Laura’s a lot more universally popular than self-consciously aggressive feministas Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and the “old” Michelle.

  • “(Last night’s blue dress skated the edge.)”

    Wow, you guys have antennae that totally elude me. I thought that was a nice, normal looking dress – wouldn’t begin to know what to say about it other than it looked reasonably stylish and very attractive on her. I’ll add that I like it when she wears sleeveless dresses because she’s got a very cool “female-buffed” look – not over the top, but “healthy.” I’d be willing to settle this election by having Michelle arm-wrestle Cindy M.

    Also, I have no idea what “post-feminist” means. Despite her fairly high-end career as a lawyer and advocate, Michelle seems very focused on her family and husband – which I find endearing but I’m not certain how “feminists” read that. If post-feminist means that stereotypes and rigid agendas associated with feminism in popular discourse are obsolete, I’m all for it.

  • “(Cindy M’s) too cute and hot-looking”

    Wow – Cindy McCain looks as plastic and cold as any I’ve seen. Not attractive at all IMHO. And any comparison of Michelle to Jackie O (remember that weird whispery voice and affectless manner) is bizarre – Michelle outdistances Jackie by several miles. Jackie was “hot” after years of Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower, but I saw a clip of her famous TV tour of the White House not long ago and it was unimpressive to say the least – she had a boring personality and projected about 15% of Michelle’s smarts and sizzle (unless you’re some old guy stuck in the ’50s who thinks Marilyn Monroe was the ideal woman – for my money even back in the day Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner blew MM away.)

  • Hey, WBC, I hoped you’d chime in. And I think your assessment of the intention of Michelle’s dress was dead on.

    Listen, I think Cindy’s got great style and I like her occasional short skirts. She’s got good legs and she doesn’t wear short skirts like she’s trying to be younger. They work very well on her.

    Laura’s style is more conservative, but she’s got a lock on looking good too. She really knows what looks good on her and goes for simple lines. I’ve always liked how she dresses.

    Check out Michelle’s blue dress designer.


    And here’s the LA Times “blue dress” review.


    I think Hillary got a lot better over the years. She’s just not a natural at it. Her make-up at the debates, however, was so skillful it looked like she’d been airbrushed. (And I mean that as a compliment, not a slam.)

    Frankly, I like Pelosi’s style most of the time. Very power/business, but still with a bit of kick to it.

    Barbara Boxer on the other hand, whom I like, is not terribly good at dressing. Her blazers are boxy and shapeless, she is way too fond of turtle necks which do not suit her at all, and while she generally has a flattering hair cut, once in a while she goes off the rails and has very scary hair days.

    Kathleen Sebelius, however, is does the sporty, toned-down business thing extremely well, but then isn’t afraid to look hot in a strapless red number for state dinner-ish events.

    Okay, I really will stop now. I have deadlines, and we’re going to frighten everyone with a Y chromasome.

  • Yes, Michelle did exactly what she needed to do. The punditry afterwards was outrageous yet totally predictable. What did they want her to do up there…attack Cindy McCain? I liked her dress but that sun/broach thing was distracting…was it a sun?

    Hey I live blogged the prime time coverage and will be doing the same all week (and next week)…feel free to stop by. –zach

  • I think Michelle’s a total babe. Great arms and shoulders. As my neighbor said, if Barack’s elected she’ll be the best-looking first lady we’ve ever had. I suppose that’s arguable, but she’d get my vote.

    (Note to self: Step away from the fashion commenting. Now. Right now.)

    Zach, it was a turquoise and silver star burst-ish thing that was her own. Couldn’t see it close enough to really tell what it was. But the dress had to have something, and it couldn’t be pearls…

    (Now, I said. Stop. Stop. Stop.)

  • Incidentally, I find Laura Bush a very sympathetic, likeable, attractive woman. Which, coming from someone as anti-Bush as I’ve always been (save for a few months after 9/11 – until that crazy Axis of Evil speech) is why I don’t think it makes much sense to compare her popularity to Hillary’s or Pelosi’s. Both of them are high-powered political figures who polarize people more on issues than on personality or how they dress. If Laura Bush were, say, wearing Olympia Snow’s shoes (pretty good shoes) or Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s (not so good) I’d have a completely different basis on which I’d respond to her.

    Laura Bush has done a good job of doing what First Ladies are supposed to do, which is go around doing stuff that anyone with a grain of humanity would approve of and softeniing their husband’s image to the degree they can by reminding the world that the folks in the White House happen to actually be people with lives that go deeper and beyond their political agendas or what various factions see as their flaws and mistakes in the public arena. That’s about 5% of what I care about ‘cuz I’m an issues guy, which is why Bush’s penchant for prayer or Clinton’s penchant for….well, whatever…weren’t major concerns of mine, but it’s hanging out there for many people.

    Even as First Lady Hillary played a political role that most First Ladies hide if they’re doing it (a la Nancy Reagan.) Laura Bush is in a different category – more of a Lady Bird Johnson type (who I thought was a terrific lady who handled her role impeccably, as much as I depised her husband.)

  • Celeste, tell the truth. You had the “Home Run” post already headed up even before the speech began, didn’t you? I can’t imagine under any circumstances that you would say less of M. Obama or her speech.

    Well, the ballpark had a short porch, and she was playing in front of a home crowd hitting only softballs. There’s a lot of games left in the season and many on the road against some tough pitching–although that doesn’t include the Obama friendly MSM.

    My prediction: The Democrats will pull her back, just like they did the “cookie baking” Hillary Clinton, just to fool Americans about what she really is, and she’ll end the season below the Mendoza line.

  • Katherine Marsh in New Republic worries about “Stepfordizing” Michelle, since she doesn’t fit into any mold, neither the elegant, upper-crust Jackie O type (sorry, reg, but she’s been for decades an icon to the East Coast Seven Sisters set), but on the other hand, softer than her enemies have pictures her. Basically, we all seem to agree on one thing: Michelle is finding her own way.

    Personally I find her broad shoulders kind of intimidating and so the bodice dresses backfire instead of softening her, and think the look is better with yoga/Pilates arms — but some think that reflects her strong image. While I thought her blue dress hit the right tone for her speech, the whole thing seemed too fabricated, too self-consciously adding to “the Obama story.” I’d like to see her in action.

    Zach, good catch for a younger guy with the broach thing — at least no one’s wearing that awful Sarah Jessica-Parker huge floppy flower thing! (Michelle’s a fan of the movie.) But then you’ve been able to see past Cindy’s bad hair days to the other Cindy trying to emerge from beneath convention. She should lose the platinum blonde which looks white, tho.

    And yeah, Lady Bird (WHAT was her first name, anyway?) and Laura are similar in softening the tough-guy, crude images of their husbands (both Texans, coincidentally?).

  • Reg, I can’t agree that Jackie Kennedy was not attractive/sexy. It is precisely that voice, and her focus, that managed to elicit attention and loyalty from so many of her husband’s posse. Say what you will about breathy voices (ummm…like Marilyn’s), they are pretty seductive at close range, “for your ears only.”

    Celeste, you are right about Hillary’s almost stunning look in the debates. She looked as much sandblasted as airbrushed. I wonder if there is a sort of short-term botox effect, because a couple days later after a major appearance she would look pretty haggard (actually, she looked hung-over on occasion). Hillary herself was sexy back in the 70s, in a high-energy, can-you-keep-up-with-me sort of way. She was obviously way into her husband, though. There were (and still are) plenty of interesting brunettes around her, so all was good.

  • I’m gonna regret this but I gotta ask: reg, whence comes your knowledge of Olympia Snowe’s footwear?

  • Woody, nah, I’d be critical of Michelle if I thought she needed to correct her pitch—if anything because I do really like her and want her to succeed.

    Frankly, I’m lucky I blogged at all last night. During much of the speech and its aftermath, I was in the middle of a full-blown panic attack because my son and his buddy went ice climbing on a mountain near Sequoia (he’s a rock climber) and, althhough he said he’d call me when he got off the mountain, hours came and went, and by 11 pm, I developed an extremely close relationship with the dispatch woman at the Inyo county sheriff’s department—just to make sure nobody had reported any accidents, and so I knew who to call if I’d not heard from him by this morning.

    He’s just fine by the way. It was all about nothing. They had a great time. The climb took longer than they thought. I was merely being crazed worrier mom.

    On the other hand, I can now tell you that, Linda, the sheriff’s dispatcher has four boys, the oldest of whom is in Iraq, so I had to explain exactly zero about worry to her.

  • Sorry guys but Carville, Gergen et al are right. I suppose that they had to do the dog and pony show with Michelle (ever since “Checkers” our politics continues to be degraded) but time is running out and some red meat must be thrown. People have to reminded why the “GOP” Brand is in the tolet. I guarantee next week will be a four day slim-fest of the Obama’s as unpatriotic others not fit for office – “Elitists” who don’t “Share your Values” – that means they’re black and urban and don’t kid yourselves.

    MCCain can’t win on his merits or his party’s. His only choice is to go scorched earth and rely on a supine media to let him get away with it. That’s it. He knows he’ll be a cypher – the Dems will increase margins in Congress regardless. But if he can hold on to the WH then all those interests will be able to block reform. Ansd that is the name of the game. If the public buys this sludge they deserve what they get. This is it. No more chances!

  • “Reg, I can’t agree that Jackie Kennedy was not attractive/sexy.”

    I didn’t say she wasn’t – just that she was not my model for a woman who is attractive on several levels. I’m sure she was brighter than she appeared in public – but her husband obviously had a thing for MM types and she had some of that MM affect that personally I consider a bit off-putting.

  • Michael – OT but admit it, wouldn’t you take (hope that’s not an inappropriate verb) Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner over Marilyn Monroe in a New York minute. Maybe I’m weird but my favorite ’50s blonde is Judy Holliday.

  • richard – trust that they’re working from a strategy that takes more into account than Carville or Gergen are capable of comprehending at this stage of their careers.

  • Glamour magazine salutes Clinton this month with a photo spread featuring her wearing a rainbow of pantsuits from fire-engine red to light lilac. The headline reads: “Hillary, we loved your pantsuits!”

    Glamour pokes good-natured fun at Clinton, but the spread is a tribute to the woman who won 18 million votes in the Democratic presidential primary. The real message is, “You go, girl. You made all of us proud.”

  • Reg see Bob Herbert’s column in yesterdat’s NYT. and See Jake Weisberg’s piece in the latest NEWSWEEK. Obama is winning with all groups except those over 50 and is trailing badly among white males over fifty. And the GOP knows its because Barack has a pigmentation problem. All; the garbage is there to provide these folks with a rationale to vote no on the dem without saying that the real reason is that he’s black.

    The strategy is simple. Tradional turnpot models overstate the 0ver 50 vote – they’re the most reliable. Obama’s base – blacks, latino, the youthvote – are the least reliable. The strategy is to get the geezers to the polls and discourage the others. And the PUMAs are just a way of depressing the women’s vote. Thank you Hillary!

    So what is the great Obama strategy? Caving on FISA? Off-Shore Drilling? Just great! Really this shouldbe a debate on Bush and the GOP. Instead its about OBama.

  • @#8 “Adam: George and Laura aren’t “normal people” and neither were his parents, George and Barbara? This is “the first time…(since 1992), I feel like a candidate are normal people???????” And their two girls getting into trouble but turning out to be “nice young ladies,” Jenna even writing a too-cute children’s book and making reading appearances with her ex-librarian mother, seems to me like the epitome of the ups and downs of “a normal family.””

    WBC, I think you meant to write that to me.

    Sorry, if you owned a baseball team and your dad was head of the CIA, ambassador to China, and President…no, you’re not a normal person.

  • Among other things, there’s a GOTV strategy that appears to be unprecedented for Dems. In a close election, GOTV is everything – and the “geezer model” of polling is officially obsolete. I think the “likely voter” models based on past years are going to prove very weak as well.

    On FISA, I think Obama should have made the case and not compromised – although his compromise was basically to say when I’m elected we’ll revisit this bill and clean up the messes, which he’s in a unique position among Senators to promise – but, frankly, I think the Dems would be fools not to put offshore drilling on the table as one option among many. I’ve been saying for six or seven years that I’d be more than willing to offer a very circumscribed ANWAR entree in exchange for serious energy independence policies across the board, just to shut the idiots up and remove the joker from their deck. No way do I think it’s smart politics to be absolutist on this issue, especially when a compromise was being carved out by a group of legislators.

    The reality is that Californians won’t allow offshore – and that’s all I really care about. Florida can do whatever the hell they want – I’ll never go there unless I win the big trip on Price is Right.

  • Celeste, you were born to live-blog! Pithy and hilarious. I especially love the “sour-grapes-spitting” Carville remark. Rock on!

  • To respond to reg’s question, yes to Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner (two very different people) over MM. But how about Jackie v those two?

    I’m sorry I haven’t gotten a response re: Olympia Snowe’s shoes.

  • Carville should be shouted at by any party members for having the nerve to show up at the convention while being married to someone that published Jerome Corsi’s libelous garbage about Obama.

  • Evan #31, yes, that was meant for you, sorry Adam — but still don’t know what your definition is of “normal” based on what’s keeping the Bushes from being normal. So clearly you don’t think the Kennedys, John Kerry with his Heinz heiress wife, Diane Feinstein, Pelosi, the Gores or most Democrats are “normal.” (I’ll grant you that the Clintons and Edwards’ aren’t “normal” for reasons more than wealth.) I saw somewhere that 7 of the top 10 wealthiest office holders in the country were Democrats — if anyone has an actual wealth listing to link, that would be cool.

    So you’re really saying that only the Obamas are “normal” because they’re not as wealthy, though certainly wealthy compared to the rest of the country (and how he got his house from Reznick isn’t the “normal” transaction every average Joe).

    Your definition of “normal” seems to be some sort of threshhold of earning under $1 million/year, versus anything to do with the individuals or how they live their lives. Pretty peculiar but one we’re hearing a lot from the Obama camp, unfortunately. As for McCain’s homes (really, his wife’s): I think it’s a positive that he doesn’t go around tallying up her homes and wealth in his head, shows he’s not a golddigger and is leaving her to her own family inheritances pretty much, even though it’s become community property by now. In any case, it’s a red herring — if Obama’s so sure about his “message,” he shouldn’t go there.

    One similar faux pas from Michelle: She accused McCain of not believing that women should get equal pay for equal work. Based on what? Because he didn’t support the ERA years ago, what exactly? Clearly a sop to the Hillary Traveling Pantsuits Sisterhood (a scary-looking bunch, with crazy hats and fierce faces, judging by the ones they closed in on), but a false claim.

  • This issue with McCain’s opposing enforcement of equal pay for equal work is based on his opposition to the 2007 Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

    Here: http://speaker.gov/issues?id=0065#1

    This isn’t arcane or ancient and it’s as fair and concrete as any political season charge based on the opposing candidate’s explicit opposition to a bill intended to remedy some specific problem.

  • Looking at the Ledbetter Act, I can see a number of reasons one might oppose it without opposing equal pay for women, such as: allowing an employee to reveal to other employees what others in the company are earning (e.g., someone in Personnel could reveal a pay discrepency to an employee, to “tip them off” to perceived injustice), broaching confidentiality; the employer would have a harder time proving that discrepency was caused not by gender difference, but by education, experience, etc.; the 6-month time limit to file a complaint would be lifted (that I agree with); and employees could file for punitive damanges, vs. the current twice lost pay.

    While I see the reason for the proposed changes — mainly, that a wronged employee doesn’t know she’s been paid less until another employee tells her what others in her category are paid, and this may exceed 6 months — some of these proposed changes could easily be abused. E.g., as an employer I’ve had to deal with situations where a working mother needs to leave work by 4:30 because her after-school childcare program closes at 5, meaning other employees have to pick up the slack. If she can’t get to work early (and/ or if being available on the phone for customer support makes that unhelpful to the job) she IS worth less as an employee, but could file for discrimination based on sex. Also, a male or another female could be more experienced, more productive, etc. Currently, every job negotiation over salary is just that — there’s no absolute one-size-fits-all pay scale.

    I’d prefer to go a different route: in the case of large companies with large numbers of employees doing similar jobs at similar hours (stores, factories, etc.) discrimination across the board where one sex or race got less than others, would be prima favie evidence. But simply vetoing this bill as written does NOT mean one supports discrimination.

  • I don’t doubt that someone could oppose the Act on technicalities, but bringing up McCain’s opposition and characterizing it negatively – especially in the absence of his proposing amendments or alternatives – is totally fair in the context of political campaigns. Certainly more accurate than McCain’s ads claiming Obama’s plan is to raise taxes when he’s proposing broader tax cuts for more people (not to mention the question of who needs tax cuts the most) than McCain’s plan (which he’s also “flip-flopped” on.)

    Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Bill (as McCain opposed the MLK holiday both nationally and in his state), which doesn’t make them racists, but those calls are fair game against politicians. Goldwater was as fair a man in his personal life as any, but he made a choice “on Constitutional grounds.” Nobody this side of the Citizen’s Councils would defend those votes today. These kinds of votes at the very least raise questions about their sensitivities and their priorities. I don’t think it’s incumbent on Democrats to give the other side the benefit of the doubt regarding the impact of these votes – especially when none is offered to them. This is the nature of the beast called politics.

  • Lilly Ledbetter actually was at this convention and addresses either a forum on this issue or the convention body in some “off” time slot (not sure which.) My point was that this wasn’t a faux pas related to some decades-old position – she was hitting McCain on a legislative issue that’s current and concrete.

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