Friday, September 7, 2012

Democratic National Convention, Day #3

Now that we're on day 6 (or 10, counting the days between) of the conventions, I'm glad to say this stage is over. I anticipated President Obama's speech, but my brain is full, I want a couple of "no politics" days somewhere in here before the election! And, truth be told, days 1 and 2 of the DNC were hard acts to follow. Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton raised the bar so high, day 3 was bound to feel a little slow.

Of course, nobody better say one negative word about former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords saying the Pledge of Allegiance. If you do--and I say this as an atheist--you're going to hell. [Story continues below]

I missed a rather large chunk of the convention due to work and exercise on Thursday. So, I missed speeches by Caroline Kennedy, Scarlett Johanssen and Eva Longoria, though I plan to catch them in the next day or so (so much for politics-free days, I guess). I came in on Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who was very feisty, and on message. Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist--now apparently a converted Democrat, or close--gave a nice speech that endorsed Obama while jabbing a finger in the eye of the party that he says left him.

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John Kerry's speech was great, showing much more fire and spirit than I remember from his run in 2004. It was like he was getting his revenge or something, really zinging Romney, Ryan and the Republicans. . .oooh, RRR? Does that work out to 666 in some numerology thing? Never mind, moving on. . . Dr. Jill Biden was lovely and eloquent, which is great because she opened for her husband.

Joe Biden. . .sigh. . .oh, Joe. So earnest, so eager, so long. Joe said "literally" too much when he meant "figuratively" Joe wandered off script a few times. The material of his speech was fine, there was nothing wrong with his message. But I've really never been a fan of his style, and I think it slowed down the whole proceedings. Or, maybe that was the idea? [Story continues below]

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The showcase for the night was of course President Barack Obama, his acceptance of the nomination, and his pitch to the country for reelection. By anybody else, this speech cooked. But from Obama, it was just very good. It wasn't lofty like Michelle's speech, and it wasn't a barn burner like Bill Clinton's. I think by design it was necessary to scale it back from the soaring rhetoric from 2008.

As Obama said--and I know it's going to infuriate conservatives--he's not a candidate anymore, he is the President of the United States. He's not a blank slate as he was (and as Romney is), and can't base the entire speech on hope and change. He had to ground this speech, and build it upon the notion of continuing hope and change begun, but not yet finished. So, necessarily, this couldn't be the spiritual high we all got from Invesco Field in Denver the last time. And though his speech didn't top his wife's, and didn't top President Clinton's. . .he still blew Mitt Romney's speech out of the water. No contest.

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