DNC 2nd night

“Tell me with whom you walk, and I’ll tell you who you are.” –U. S. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-California)

Does that sound like the introduction to a swiftboat commercial tying Obama to Ayers and Rezko? I think Congressman Becerra chose the wrong motto in urging the Democrats to believe in Barack Obama.

The early speeches during the 2nd night of the Democrat National Committee (which I watched mostly on C-Span) lacked the warm fuzzies of the first night. Nearly all the speeches were passionless. Many were delivered with deadpan facial expressions in loud monotones. It’s easy to see why Obama is the nominee based on his ability to give speeches. The rest of the party appears to be nearly devoid of talent in that regard.

The “Bush-McCain” litany against the Republican nominee was the broken record of the evening.

Exceptions to the dreariness noted above plus a few random observations are noted below:

  • Barack Obama predicted that the Republicans would run a campaign based on fear. Today’s Democrat convention speakers consistently invoked fear of faltering economy as a reason to reject McCain and choose Obama. There was little optimism other than the video montage intro to New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
  • For all the VP buzz she was generating, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was singularly uninspiring in her speech.
  • Dennis the Menace should have been given a primetime speech. Rep. Kucinich was an exception to the rule. While others delivered droning, wooden speeches, Kucinich was a passionate, animated cheerleader that really stirred the crowd (even though I disagreed with a significant portion of what he said. It was wasted though, as the very next speaker didn’t carry through with the momentum Kucinich created. The spirit of the crowd quickly dissipated as the convention descended back into numbing boredom.
  • Both Kucinich and Governor Ted Strickland began their speeches with a mention of the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Clinton also remembered Stephanie Tubbs Jones during her speech.
  • The on-air personalities at MSNBC have already lost that euphoric feeling that airing the Olympics provided. The anchors, reporters, and contributors at MSNBC, for the 2nd straight day, were contentious with each other and resentful toward other networks. Joe Scarborough asserted himself a bit more this morning, breaking through the group-think barrier, but his co-workers were becoming disgruntled with him (though not as disgruntled as they were with Pat Buchanan). I can’t imagine the chemistry within the NBC family being this toxic during the days when Tim Russert was still alive. I think his absence has caused the staff to be less cohesive.
  • U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania pointed out that he is the token pro-life speaker tonight, but that’s all he said on the topic. Perhaps he should have elaborated more, as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have gotten an earful from the Catholic Church over their pro-life stances over the past two days.
  • Gov. Ted Strickland needs to compare notes with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer made Montana sound like utopia, with bipartisanship, economic growth, energy sector growth, improved education, tax cuts, and budget surpluses. Montana is one of the 8 states in the USA that I’ve never visited, so I have no firsthand knowledge of the situation on the ground in Montana. (If you’re wondering, the other states I’ve never visited are Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.)
  • Schweitzer and Kucinich were the cheerleaders of the day.
  • Strickland, Kucinich, and Governor David Paterson of New York delivered the most “red meat” that elicited any sizable audience response. Otherwise, the litany of grievances offered by other speakers against “Bush-McCain” yielded anemic responses.
  • Schweitzer should have been the keynote speaker, not Mark Warner of Virginia. In four more years, if the Democrats nominate a new candidate based on his/her speaking ability as happened this time, the nominee might be Schweitzer.
  • Clinton was the focus of the night, kept the audience involved, included the expected message content, but didn’t hit a home run. The video montage was more inspiring than the speech.
  • Clinton’s zinger of the night was saying it was appropriate for Bush and McCain to hold a convention in the Twin Cities next week because it’s hard to tell those two Republicans apart. Clever, if false.
  • Clinton’s plea for the election of Obama was rooted in partisanship.

DNC 1st night

I just thought I’d offer a few observations of the Democrat National Convention rather than ramble at length like I usually do throughout my blog.

  • A night of the “warm fuzzies” with Sen. Claire McCaskill’s kids, Craig Robinson, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Michelle Obama, and Sen. Ted Kennedy.
  • When the convention is in session, the best network to tune in to is C-Span. Commentators and pundits eat up all the time between the major speeches, so the only way to hear the “minor” speakers is to watch it on C-Span. I was amazed that even PBS and C-Span 2 were overflowing with commentators that drowned out the “minor” speakers. So I intend to continue to watch C-Span when the convention is in session, then flip through the other networks for analysis before and after.
  • As for analysis after the first night, MSNBC was the standard-bearer for group-think. The lone analyst of the Republican persuasion, Pat Buchanan, was hardly tolerated. Rachel Maddow, who gets her own prime-time show in the time slot after Keith Olbermann once these conventions are over, vented her contempt for Pat Buchanan, and Chris Matthews chimed in with his own denunciation of Pat Buchanan. I think nothing would satisfy Rachel more than to see Pat fired from the NBC family. The post-Tim Russert NBC family is straining to remain cohesive across the political spectrum of its regular contributors.
  • For analysis BEFORE the first night, again, I have to wonder about group-think at MSNBC, as Joe Scarborough is morphing into a Scranton Democrat just like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Is he being himself? Or does he feel the necessity of conforming a bit more keenly than Pat Buchanan does?
  • I had to laugh when Caroline Kennedy told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that she would NOT walk him through the VP vetting process, and then laugh again when she lauded CNN for being the best news channel to the delight of all the assembled reporters.
  • Carl Cameron appears to be delighted to be in Denver, for a change of pace, instead of shadowing John McCain, which is his customary Fox News beat. It seems upside-down to see him in a Democrat venue. Meanwhile, it was odd to see Major Garrett away from the convention because his customary Fox News beat is Barack Obama, and Barack was in Davenport, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri, today instead of in Denver. It’s too easy to envision Major Garrett at the convention, but that’s not the case, yet.