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|Thoughts on the Democratic Convention|
Aug. 27th, 2008 at 7:02 pm
My family watches political conventions the way that many men watch sports. So far, my response to the Democratic Convention is, “How ’bout them Clintons.”
With supporters like that, who needs opponents?
I think that Biden was not a good choice for VP. Not that it matters; I’m not the intended market. Even so, Biden deflates Obama. Biden mires Obama in the “old Washington” frow which people want Obama to rescue us. It mires Obama at the moment when Obama’s campaign is experiencing some awkwardness in its transition from the primary to the general election. And it saturates the Democratic presidential ticket with overly-general rhetoric that won’t stir general election voters the way that it stirred the true believers who vote in primaries (and it’s worth noting that Biden’s overly-general rhetoric didn’t even stir voters in primaries).
Michelle Obama did a nice job. Just one nitpick: I was surprised that she didn’t talk more about Democratic values. I don’t think that listeners came away understanding why she believes in the Democratic party. This isn’t a big deal by any measure, because her main goal was to introduce herself. Nevertheless, I do think that the first convention night would have had a bigger impact if people who turned-in came away with an afterglow about how great the Democratic party is — how they look out for the little guy, how they work against the special interests that want to take short cuts at the workers’ expense, how they value creating a sustainable future by protecting the environment. That kind of stuff. She’s not running for office, so she can afford to speak in grand generalities.
And who paid Paul Begala to describe her speech in such glowing hyperbole? Seriously, it was a fine speech and a good delivery. But it wasn’t all that.
Teddy Kennedy is a titanic figure. The Alexander Hamilton of our own day. Controversial and often mired in scandal, he has had a bigger impact on American politics than anybody who hasn’t been president, and perhaps a few who have. He’s been a constant and powerful presence in American politics for decades. There was something heroic about his appearance and his strength on Monday night. I understand why so many people found it moving.
The pundits in the mainstream media are way off on Hillary Clinton’s speech. She won half the delegates, for crying out loud. She’s entitled to have her speech be about herself. She was compelling and on-message, and it was arguably the finest speech in her career. Makes me glad the Democrats didn’t nominate her.
And then there’s the Greek temple thing from which Obama is going to deliver his speech tomorrow night — reminds me of the Stonehenge set in Spinal Tap. Again, I’m not the target market for this spectacle, but I can’t help but feel that it’s going to strike undecided voters as ridiculous. I feel the same way about Obama’s attempt to use his own presidential seal that even says “Yes, we can” in Latin. Or Obama’s epiphany comments that McCain uses in his “The One” ads: “A light will shine down from somewhere. It will light upon you. You will experience an epiphany, and you will say to yourself, ‘I have to vote for Barack.'” (I have a feeling that some who try this will get a stupor of thought.) Or like this more-than-slightly-disturbing, celebrity-studded American Prayer video. My goodness.
I’ll write more as the convention wears on.