DNC, days 3 and 4

Oh, I’m falling behind here, on the political junk. I watched day three right before leaving london, again on that SkyNews channel loop with my mom. I don’t know if they cut some things or not, as I have seen references to Jimmy Carter, and to a roll call that I never saw, and I saw all that the loop had to show of all the first three nights.. but anyway, night 3 began with Bill Clinton, who did what he does, and did it well as usual. You could see he enjoyed being up there again, comfortable in front of the crowd, able to talk about his issues, but again it was a slightly awkward position as he was trying to bring unity to the party in a place where he wasn’t entirely wanted. Obama wants things both ways, in a sense: he wants to get the voters who are loyal to the democratic party, but he also wants to start anew. This isn’t so different from Bill Clinton himself was trying to do in 1992, but Obama either wasn’t impressed by that or for political reasons didn’t want to dwell on it, while Clinton obviously would have preferred to have been recognized a bit more for how “change” and “hope” worked out so well the last time around, let’s do it again, sort of thing. His speech was great, as his speeches tend to be, and he had probably the best turn of phrase of the convention: “We must lead by the power of our example, not the example of our power”. He also got into explaining how the policies of the current administration were causing specific economic difficulties and why a democratic president’s policies would be far superior, and he did it in a way that didn’t seem boring. I did notice that the lyrics as he left were “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone…”

Other speeches were also pretty good – I was surprised to see John Kerry up there at all, when the point is meant to be moving from the past, but he actually gave a pretty good speech, by the end. And Joe Biden was strong as well. Still, by this point the only thing that really mattered was how Obama was going to come across. He came out at the end of Biden’s speech (see around 21:20 in that clip) to do a little casual DJ-ing and thanking people, but it was Thursday night that was his big moment.

The last day of the convention was moved outside. Before Obama, there were a number of military speakers, Stevie Wonder, a number of “regular guy” speakers, a few medium sized democrats, Al Gore being a nice robot, and another montage, somehow the least impressive of the three that I’ve seen (the Michelle & Hillary montages were more personal I guess). And then Obama came out. He had the same problem getting the crowds to quiet down that Bill Clinton had the night before, except that you couldn’t really hear the crowd on TV when things were outside so it didn’t feel as viscerally energetic when watching as it had indoors. Outside was a nice change of pace and there were some pluses, but I wonder if the energy inside was more powerful… Barack himself seemed to have a bit of a sore throat or something and was not as in the zone as I’ve seen him at other times, though he definitely warmed up somewhat by the end. THe speech was decent but more concrete than electrifying, which may be just what he needs, since he’s being accused of just being an empty talker. He couldn’t be accused of just getting people with charm with this speech, I don’t think; it even got a bit boring at times. But again, that might have been the right way to go, getting down to business instead of just inspiring, and the end part about MLK was pretty powerful, so all in all I think it did the job.

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