So far, so good

| That loud whooshing sound you heard was the huge sigh of relief that went out through Demo-land when the minefields of the first three days of the convention had been negotiated. Michelle Obama was been choreographed into an updated version of June Cleaver. The PUMA wing of the Democratic party (Party Unity My Ass) was effectively defanged by Hillary's speech. Bill Clinton recanted all the nasty things he had said and implied during the primary campaign and pronounced Barack Obama "ready" to be president. And the Bidens filled the stage with a multi-generational tableau worthy of Norman Rockwell.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama
Obama-Biden 2008
CNN convention as backdrop
CNN - convention as backdrop

After enduring a couple of hours of CNN and MSNBC I switched over to C-SPAN which simply televises events as they happen rather than use them as a backdrop for the blathering and posturing of an endless succession of talking heads. CNN promotes "the best political team on television" and MSNBC promotes itself as "the place for politics." The only thing "unfiltered and uninterrupted" on CNN was inane pontificating interspersed with interviews with Republicans, and MSNBC's place for politics was apparently a wind tunnel, judging by the blowing hair and garbled sound. I say, a pox on both your channels!

Watchers on C-SPAN, for instance, saw Dennis Kucinich give an old-fashioned stemwinder of a convention speech that had them hooting and hollering over red meat!

Hillary gave a rousing speech on Tuesday night — a terrific speech, probably the best I've ever heard her give — making it clear that Barack Obama was her candidate and that all Democrats needed to get behind him. She masterfully invoked all the reasons she had run for president and then asked all those who have been threatening to sit out the election or vote for John McCain, "Were you in this campaign just for me?" That was a brilliant rhetorical move that put those who persist in the uncomfortable position of being even more selfish than Hillary.

Hillary Clinton
"Barack Obama is my candidate"
Bill Clinton
"Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States"

Bill Clinton took to the podium on Wednesday to say that Barack Obama is "ready" to be president, reversing what the Clintons said every day for the entire primary campaign, and yet he got in a back-handed dig by conditioning that assessment by linking it "with Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, insight, and good instincts." The Bill Clinton on display Wednesday night was the good Bill Clinton, not the evil twin that we saw numerous times during the primaries, by turns pouting and erupting.

John Kerry
"This election is a chance for America to tell the merchants of fear and division: you don't decide who loves this country; you don't decide who is a patriot; you don't decide whose service counts and whose doesn't"

John Kerry punctured the John McCain "maverick" myth and called out John McCain's flip-flops (although the media never calls them that) in a forceful and effective way, declaring that "before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what's more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same 'Rove' tactics and the same 'Rove' staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time." Simply excellent!

And yet...

For all the good that they did this week, the Clinton psychodrama still managed to keep two whole days (and more, really) of the convention all about them. What took them so long to get over it?

John Kerry showed he can throw a punch. Where was all that feistiness four years ago? We could have been spared the last four years of misery.

Barack Obama still has to give his acceptance speech tonight in a football stadium in front of Greek (Roman?) columns. We know he can attract a crowd and charm the pants off an audience, but can he shape his command of language, the issues, and policy into the kind of pithy, terse delivery that will connect with all those "blue-collar," "middle-class" Americans that he supposedly hasn't reached yet? (I'm not convinced that's true based on the number of votes he got in the primaries and the amount of money he's raised.)

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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