So, the conventions are over. Now we can settle back in our easy chairs and bask in an inundation of vicious attack ads for the next two months. Oh yes, one of life’s simple pleasures, and we only get to enjoy it every four years.
And while you’re at it, send a few robo-calls my way, along with people conducting fake political surveys which are just a prelude to leaving me with a plug for their candidate. So much to look forward to in the next two months.
Okay, Obama’s speech: eh. Nothing special, though it’s mostly a matter of comparing Obama with himself, his previous speeches. Some very good zingers, but nothing new from a policy standpoint. A vision for America, but mostly devoid of specifics. In other words, pretty much like all those Republican speeches last week. But as Joe Scarborough pointed out this morning, President Obama says nothing with far more eloquence than Mitt Romney says nothing.
We had music practice Thursday night and then needed to get cat food for the kids, lest they be unbearable, so we didn’t get home until 9:30–just in time for Joe Biden’s speech. So I basically heard just two speeches last night–Biden, and Obama. I missed Jennifer Granholm’s apparent freak-out, and caught some clips of some good lines from John Kerry. But that’s all.
For me, watching only two speeches, the highlight was definitely Joe Biden. They say he’s great out on the stump, mixing it up with people. He’s a real “man of the people” in the best political sense. None of the others–Obama, Ryan, and certainly not Romney–can connect with people like Biden does.
Biden’s speech told stories, basically two of them–rescuing General Motors, and killing Bin Laden. Then he brought those stories together, and honed both his attack on Romney and his praise for Obama. No shortage of hyperbole, obviously, but it was effective. The only other good storytelling I heard came from the wives, Ann Romney and Michelle Obama, as they talked about their husbands. Ann was especially effective in that way, I thought.
Now, humor me as I do some grading of the various speeches. I am, as you know, Infallible and Omniscient. Besides, I think I’m pretty much in line with what our All Knowing and Wise Pundits are saying.
Julian Castro vs. Marco Rubio. Pretty much a wash–both were excellent–but I’ll give Rubio the edge.
Michelle Obama vs. Ann Romney. Both were very good, highlights of their conventions. But Michelle Obama gave the best speech of either convention. IMHO. My goodness, how far she has come since those early sordid conservative portrayals of her an as “angry black woman.”
Elizabeth Warren vs. Condoleeza Rice. I missed both speeches, but from what I’ve heard, Condi was superb.
Obama video vs. Romney video. Hands-down, Romney’s. Unfortunately, they used that video earlier in the evening, when few people probably saw it. Instead, the Reps introduced Romney with…Clint Eastwood. Serious mistake.
Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan. Easily Biden. Even if Ryan hadn’t included so many easily-checked lies and distortions, damaging his credibility as the fact checkers savaged him, my vote would still go to Biden. Of the four persons running for office, he gave my favorite speech.
Bill Clinton vs. Chris Christie. I really like Chris Christie, but was severely disappointed with his speech. It was very self-serving, and didn’t help Romney at all. Clinton, on the other hand, did something you seldom see in political speeches: he didn’t talk down to his audience. Rather, he tackled the details of complex subjects, trying to explain truly wonky stuff. I’m not saying he presented everything accurately. But he didn’t just utter punch lines and talking points. He took a high view of his audience, and I appreciated that. Although I liked Michelle Obama’s speech better, I think Clinton’s speech will be the one that will be remembered (maybe the only one from either convention). Besides, Clinton is obviously a rock star among Dems.
____ vs. Clint Eastwood. The Dems had no counterpart for Clint Eastwood. Good move.
Obama vs. Romney. I was genuinely impressed with Romney’s speech, and thought he did well…for Romney. Meanwhile, I didn’t think Obama’s speech was anything special…for Obama. Different measuring sticks. I might be inclined to give the edge to Romney, except for two things. One: the Eastwood introduction, which totally overshadowed Romney’s speech. Two: the omission of any mention of the troops and Afghanistan, which will haunt him throughout the election. Obama’s speech basically did no harm; there was nothing there (that I saw) that the Republicans can use against him.
DNC vs. RNC. I thought most everything about the Democratic convention was done better. The stage crafting, and the on-messaging of the speakers, was impressive. I generally liked the RNC videos better. Every keynote speaker (that I heard) at the DNC was superb. At the RNC, on the other hand, Chris Christie was a disappointment, there was the Clint Eastwood fiasco, and the only thing people are saying about Romney’s speech is that he didn’t talk about the military. Big blunders.
The biggest blunder at the DNC was that idiotic platform vote. Leaving “God” and “Jerusalem” out of the platform could have haunted Obama throughout the rest of the campaign, just as Romney’s omission of the military will be continually thrown in his face. But I’m still amused that the Democrats had a chance to fix their platform blunder–albeit in a thoroughly clunky and dishonest way, in front of the entire nation–because Republicans immediately and indignantly pointed out the error. If they had just held their tongues for a couple days, they would have had a couple of mighty weapons to use in the remaining two months.
There were lots of speeches earlier in the evenings, and I enjoyed pretty much all of the ones I heard. Unfortunately, unless you were watching C-Span, you would have missed many of them, because the cable networks felt it was much more important for you to hear shallow banter and talking points from their On TV Every Single Day Ad Nauseum pundits.
So that’s how I saw it. Just sitting here on a lazy Friday morning typing stuff off the top of my head.