Sunday, October 12, 2008

Biden, Bill and Hillary Speak to Better Instincts of Americans in Scranton, PA

I just saw Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton give inspiring speeches on CSPAN at a campaign rally for Obama in Scranton, PA.

Inspiring - literally - as in uplifting, appealing to our better instincts. Joe Biden ending his speech with a call for Americans to "get up" and reclaim the country. Hillary speaking about how well the economy was doing the last time a Democrat was in office. Bill Clinton agreeing with Jill Biden that this was the most important election of our lifetime.

Uplifting. Strong criticism of McCain and Republican economic and foreign policies, of course, but no personal attacks. The crowd even cheered McCain when Biden cited his service to the country. The crowed booed McCain when Biden accurately described McCain's "erratic" response to the economic crisis. But no one in the crowd called out vile things about McCain. No one shouted "kill him!" as someone at a Palin rally shouted out about Obama.

The difference between this Democratic rally and what we've seen at Republican rallies this past week should cause all independent Americans, and one hopes some Republicans, to think about the way the Republicans have been conducting this campaign. Rough and tumble politics, sharply worded attacks on policy, are a longstanding and important part of our political culture. Calling on the worst instincts of Americans may be a longstanding part, too - but can we afford to continue a party in office that appeals to these instincts, repeatedly, in this campaign?

The Democratic rally this afternoon in Scranton was not only inspiring in what Biden, Hillary, and Bill said, it was inspiring in its example of what politics should be.

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