The third night of the Democratic National Convention was another strong night for the Democrats. I can't call it a monster night for them, but it certainly was a very good night for them. It was the night they took off the gloves and hammered the abomination of the past eight years of darkness of George W Bush. I was thrilled to hear Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden finally start to draw lines of distinction and hammer away at John McCain.
They were tough, they were clear, and most importantly they all did it with respect and did not have the ugly hatred and crassness that is usually reserved for the Republican Convention. This convention has really been a lot like 1992 where the lines of difference have been drawn, people have been alerted to the economic failures by another Bush, and the youth, diversity, and promise of the Democrats have been on showcase.
In 1992 the Republicans followed with a hate fest led by the likes of Pat Buchanan who spewed irrational ugliness against Democrats, Hillary Clinton in particular. It backfired and we'll see how the Republicans come back next week. McCain has come back by going negative so how they go positive in a convention they have to let George Bush speak at will be a tough needle to thread.
If Barack's speech in front of 80,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver this evening is the home run he is so capable of hitting, the Dems will be in great shape and put the Republicans in an awkward position in Minneapolis next week.
NOMINATION BY ACCLAMATION:
The Democrats orchestrated quite a show during the Roll Call vote of delegates. The speeches of the state party chairs were long winded and agonizing (like some people say this blog is), and then rumors started swirling of New Mexico deferring to Illinois who would defer to New York.
Mayor Daley spoke for Illinois. I mention this for three reasons, 1st he said the 'home of the 2008 World Series between the Cubs and White Sox; 2nd, he's the best Mayor in the country and my Mayor, and 3rd, because no one wants an Obama victory more than Daley. Chicago is fighting to be the host for the 2016 Summer Olympics and an Obama victory would greatly enhance the chances of Chicago to win the bid.
Daley passed to New York where Hillary Clinton was walking to the convention floor with a posse of the New York Congressional Delegation. In an appropriate and well scripted move, Hillary Clinton, she of 18million primary votes, who fought tooth and nail until the last possible moment, moved to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation.
Symbols, gestures, and actions matter. I though Hillary walking to the floor like she was a WWE Wrestler rushing the ring unexpectedly was a bit over the top, but you can't under emphasize the fact that Clinton made the effort and motion to the delegates on the floor of that convention.
Democratic, enemy number one, of this blog has been John Kerry. Last night John Kerry reached out to me and many other Democrats and showed what we wished he was four years ago.
His speech on the election was full of some of the best lines of the evening. Too bad he has fallen from importance so fast that almost no one even pays attention. Click on this link to see the Kerry speech. This speech was full of the 'red meat' Democrats have been begging for and from the guy that considered putting John McCain on the Democratic ticket in 2004. See it by clicking this link.
This John Kerry would have won four years ago. My favorite lines...
"They misread the threat and misled the country"
"Talk about being for it, before you're against it."
"To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician"
At the end of the first paragraph of Bill Clinton's speech last evening, the 1st paragraph after a three and a half minute raucous standing ovation, he said "I love Joe Biden".
Well, after that speech by Bubba, I can say, "I love Bill Clinton."
The man is the best we have ever seen in drawing contrasts and making things simple and clear to understand. Embedded above is his speech from last night and if you watch it you will say, 'THAT MAKES SENSE!!
Bill rocked the house and the rumors that he would be booed were ridiculous. The struggles of the Obama campaign have made people appreciate the brilliance of Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. The result was the biggest ovation of the Convention thus far.
Did he lose his shit during the campaign a couple times?
Yes, but he was defending and fighting for his wife. As I wrote a number of times during the primary, it is easier to be the candidate than the spouse of the candidate. To see coverage go against your spouse is gut wrenching and Bill over reacted a couple times, but he did what a husband should do, advocate and defend his wife.
I felt he was clear in his support for Obama, even better than Hillary was the night before. His speech was less powerful and poetic, but it was a better campaign and convention speech.
The question will now be if the Obama campaign does what the Kerry campaign didn't. Take the Clinton speech and use it! Don't feel the ego to have the message be totally yours, because the Clinton messaging is 99% better than that of the Democratic party.
They also have to embrace Bill Clinton and travel with him. Both Biden and Obama should never go a week without an event in a swing state with Bill Clinton, because he is still "The Natural" when it comes to campaigning, and without the anger of defending his wife he will be better than ever. An Obama loss would stain the Clinton legacy and reputation. Their speeches were great, but now they have to deliver on the campaign trail.
This is the speech of the night I think fell flatter than I would have liked. Reading the text of the speech it was great, but Biden stepped on it at a couple key points.
Yet the overall presentation was a B+/A-. The intro video telling the story of Joe Biden was fantastic (will post here as soon as I find it). And the intro of his son (embedded below) was a moving story that had half the convention in tears. The Biden narrative really carried the night and covered the weaknesses of the speech.
Unfortunately Joe Biden did not kill it like I hoped he would. However, this is exactly what I feared when I wrote "Anyone Want to Pick a VP?". Delaying that pick meant that Biden had little time to work and fine tune a convention speech. He hasn't been on the trail for more than a week and is in the spring training of the Obama-Biden ticket.
They probably started the writing the convention speech last Saturday. They most likely fine tuned it up until Tuesday night and the result was that Biden had far too little time to work on it to get up there and nail it. There was a great deal of importance on this speech and Biden did really good, but not great. If Obama made the choice a week earlier, Biden would have had his legs underneath him and some practice and I think he would have been much better.
Look at the speeches by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Don't kid yourself that they were written in the last week. They had been working, practicing, and finetuning them for weeks. That is why they hit them out of the park.
Now I don't give Biden a total pass, he has to take some heat for the performance too. He needed to hit the Cheney line better and should have been a little smoother on the call and response at the end of the speech, but considering the way they rushed the announcement and the speech I thought he did pretty well.
Couple a B- delivery with an A speech and and A+ intro and narrative and Biden still had a great night.
Just like Bill Clinton, 'I love Joe Biden' too. Yet, he could and should have been better.
Now is the time for Barack Obama to deliver. The stakes are higher than ever, he needs to nail this speech...