Friday, September 7, 2012

Democrats Day 3

I wrote about Barack Obama's speech over at PP. Enough about that. And I'm exhausted from two weeks of convention-watching, so instead of a proper post it's notes-style time. My apologies to twitter followers who may have heard some of these earlier. Let's say I'm inspired by the laundry list first half of Obama's speech...

1. I saw a few people who were surprised that the Democrats did an excellent job at the stagecraft of conventions. I think that's faulty memory. I'd say the Democrats have pretty much run good-to-excellent conventions every year from 1984 on. Before that, not so much. And of course there are some missteps in there, but mostly they do a very professional job. Plus, over that era, the Democrats have for whatever reasons had the edge in orators -- Jackson, Cuomo, Kennedy, Clinton, and Obama are or were top-tier convention speakers, and Republicans haven't had much since Reagan (although, yes, they debuted a few promising contenders this year).

2. Similarly, it's nothing new for Democrats to wear their patriotism and gung-ho "for the troops" sentiment on their sleeves. That's been going on since at least 1988.

3. Anyone who really believes that the reason Democrats don't have a thriving lowest-common-denominator talk show culture mainly because liberals are too sophisticated and so there's just no demand for it really should watch Jennifer Granholm's speech this afternoon. No, it wasn't Rush, but it was at least halfway to the spirit of that sort of thing, and the delegates loved it.

4. Six days of conventions, no more than 15 great TV minutes: Eastwood, and Gabby Giffords. I'm sorry, one more: Ted Kennedy, from the grave, debating Mitt Romney. Probably the next-best TV moment from the two weeks were the people Mitt Romney helped personally, but there's no way that was a great TV moment. Other than than the Kennedy tribute, all the videos were average at best.

5. Sarah Palin showed up, in a clip from her convention speech, in a "look back to 2008" video at one point this afternoon. And we had one mocking reference to her later...was it in John Kerry's speech? I certainly didn't hear every speech over the six days, but those are the only two times I remember.

6. Speaking of which: who would have guessed in 1984 that Gerry Ferraro would get a such a brief, uninspiring memorial video (unless my attention slipped, without any introduction or attention drawn to it)?

And that's all for now. I can't imagine what it's like for those at the venues; I'm exhausted from just watching it on TV. Remember: based on previous schedules, we're well under three years to the first nomination debate, and if Romney looses were just under three years away from Ames. So I need a little rest.


  1. "...Well under three years to the first nomination debate..." Maybe that is good for a political scientist, all I can say is, "ugh".

  2. The Republican convention gave the Democrats some golden opportunities, and they took them all, especially this final day and night. I pretty much agree with your assessment of President Obama's speech, though I suspect that its effect may actually grow. It was part refined stump speech points, part pretty bold new statement and the eloquent final section was a civics lesson that inspires on first hearing, and will live as content, contrasting the political premises of the current moment.

    It also elaborates on the basic Obama civics he's been talking about since 2008--which is something I think his 08 followers will see. A click they might well feel, however enchanted or disenchanted they are at the moment.

    The high number of tweets suggests a pretty big audience--we'll see. If it was large, it was partly because Romney wasn't very convincing and people were giving the President another hearing. Audience, word of mouth, a little time, and then we'll see about the bump. In politics as in a lot of things you can only do what you can do, and the Democrats could not have done this better.

    1. I agree that "its effect may actually grow." Obama didn't promise a magic return to prosperity, he offered a call for us to work toward prosperity; he called my 20-something children to not give up on their hopes and dreams by becoming politically apathetic, but to engage and remain engaged. This young adults who voted for Obama four years ago, they have seen the results when they stop in the mid-term elections.

      Obama called them to pick up the sword -- the ballot -- and keep fighting because if they don't the problem of education won't go away, (remember, many are riding the tides of unemployment in college), the direction of rights turns back.

  3. I apologize a little for going off on last night's speech in the other thread. Hopefully I wasn't the only Obamacon deeply frustrated by last night's speech; surely the Obamacons weren't the only ones who saw in Obama's race and post-modern moderation an antidote to the stupid impotence of Dubya, a man of "good ideas" (to his defenders), and realistically, little else.

    Last night sounded like a lot more Bush-esque "good ideas". But we're not scholars, we're just average people, we haven't internalized Neustadt, we expect the Presidency to be much less weak. In a Neustadt sense, having a significant cohort in Congress that acts more out of fear of getting Dick Lugared than out of responsibility to their damn job puts the President in an awfully difficult spot. We expected Obama to rise above that. But he is, after all, just a man.

    So I was wrong. In the context of the election, though, it will be interesting to see whether the millions of others like me, who invested in unrealistic expectations for Obama, express their disappointment by voting Romney in November.

  4. The highlight of the Democratic convention was Bill Clinton offering a specific, detailed defense of the administration's policy choices. The highlight of the Republican convention was a lot of people offering variations on "You didn't build that."

    That tells you everything you need to know about where the parties are at right now.

  5. Two contrasts stand out to me.

    First, last week on 'what mattered,' I said Romney's lack of mention of the military mattered. I still believe that. And after this week's convention, I think that oversight will cost Romney the election.

    Obama talked about a 'wounded warrior,' waiting to have his legs amputated, and later, running a race. This isn't just a president who works as Commander in Chief; it's a president who goes back, checks up on things, gets to know you.

    My 20-something children know who's serving in the US military. Friends have discussed signing up, some did, because they wanted to go to college. These things matter to them.

    1. Edit: second contrast was for funding education; providing options beyond offering your body up for war.

    2. I was shocked to hear Kerry actually call Mitt out for failing to honor the troops in his acceptance speech. I mean, that's reminiscent of circa-2002-2004-era GOP rhetoric. Which Kerry of course knows all too well.

      And Granholm? Pure red meat. "In Romney's world, cars get the elevators, and workers get the shaft." Gotta love it.

      Frankly, it was nice to see Dems play a little hardball.

    3. Kerry's speech was unexpectedly funny; and I'm waiting for the etch a sketch of Romney in flip flops.

      Granholm; I didn't hear her speech, only the part of it referred to as a 'Howard Dean" moment without the technical malfunction. But that did impress. I wonder what others think of her political future? Does she have what it takes to, for instance, be a serious VP candidate?

    4. Does she have what it takes to, for instance, be a serious VP candidate?

      Yes, without a doubt. Unfortunately, though, she's not eligible - she was born in Canada.

  6. I found Granholm's speech delivery to be delightfully bonkers. Is this her normal style, or was it an ad for her TV show?

    1. All I can say is that Jenny Granholm is a bad, bad bookend for Obama. She was there when the Obamabots first settled in, and helped him throw out the first lefty shibboleth. And now she's there as they wind down.

      She was bizarre and strange, in a way different but in parallel with the Teddy the Swimmer romantics earlier. Both are a sign of weakness, that the Obamabots know they have some holes in their base support.

  7. Dr. B,

    The difference between dems. pro military/vet attitude now and 1988 is that its working. Its a Bush/Bin Laden ripple effect. Ds have a credibility on other military and service matters, because of their handling and their opponent's mishandling of tangentially related issues.


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