Anyone else feel like tonight's convention as a "come to Jesus" show? Well, not so much Jesus, but a calling of the Demmie faithful and an attempt to reach out to the undecideds, disenfranchised Pubbies, and people tempted to sit this election out.
And is it me? Or am I watching a Reagan-era-type political convention? I was waaaaay young when Reagan waltzed into the White House, but I definitely remember that "Morning in America" ad.
Let me tell you, I was sooooo getting that "Morning in America" vibe.
Holy fuck! Was I watching an Old Skool Republican convention by mistake? Because I sure as hell kept hearing a lot of echoing refrains of personal-responsibility-America-as-Land-o
A few of the speakers were pretty uninspired (Ed. note: I came in at Sen. Kennedy's speech).
Gephardt and Daschle were *meh* at best. You get the sense that the conventioneers were giving the dudes their props but not much else. Not a whole lotta fire there. Mosley-Braun started promising but never really caught fire. Vilsak (first lady of Iowa) left me cold.
I liked Janet Napolitano (Gov. of Arizona), but the reaction in my not-very-objective opinion could've been a little warmer.
Then again, she had a wicked tough act to follow.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Meet Howard Dean. Rock STAH! He got a standing O before he opened his mouth. He went out there with bonhomme, exhorted the troops, and rallied 'em. Best part? His insistence that the Demmies should never again be ashamed to be Democrats.
Dean was *down* with his bad self.
I think history will actually look kindly on Dean (well, at least the footnotes in an obscure history book will) for lighting a fire under the Demmies' asses.
Ron Reagan was also quite good. Took a bit for him to get into the groove, but once he got there he rode the wave. He kept it mostly nonpartisan (well, as nonpartisan as you can get at a big ass freakin' convention of Democrats) and focused really heavy on the benefits of stem cell research. Not much I didn't already know, but I have to say the direct smack down of the ideology of the few in exchange for the futures and health of the many should have Karl Rove squirming.
If Ronnie-boy had a different last name this could be spun, but when the last name is Reagan? The ex-president who oh-so-conveniently just died, suffered Alzheimer's, and was lionized as the greatest-so-and-so evah? Not so easy, methinks.
I gotta admit, was primed for Barack Obama. I've been hearing the nattering masses whispering all good about him, so I was ready with the crumpled tissues to toss at the screen.
Howard Dean may be the aging rock stah, but Barack? He's being GROOMED baby. (Something that was ironically confirmed on tonight's Daily Show by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.) He still needs to learn to let the audience love wash over him, but maaaaan...we got ourselves another potential Great Communicator on our hands. He's got it all: Good looks, good speaking rhythm, compelling story, fairly centrist ideology. No wonder why the Democractic leadership is sporting a woody for him.
And duuuuude, Obama made me tear up. That whole vision he had going for the hopeful, united America. The whole we are one nation and one family. The deliberate rejection of a "two Americas" vision...*sniff* Had me seeing the whole stars 'n stripes.
Audience manipulation at its finest. At least I believe he believes it. God knows we could use a few believers.
And finally, the lady of the hour: Teresa Heinz Kerry. She started slow, but man did she build. She had me freakin' weeping with her paean to the Peace Corps and how (to her) that was the "real face" of the good ol' U.S. of A.
Now the funniest shit is this: occasionally C-Span cut to ol' Hillary Clinton, former first lady and current senator of Nu Yawk. Hil looked like she was grinding her teeth while Teresa pretty much ripped some pages from a certain former first lady's handbook. You could see the thought balloon: "People went after me for saying the same shit!"
Unh, Hil? Here's the difference:
You look like a sorority sistah. Teresa looks like a tough broad. Plus, you try to reason when people diss you. Teresa looks like she'd throw a left hook and walk away while the disser was clutching his bleeding nose.
Not saying that's a good thing, mind, but you gotta admire a woman who tells a reporter to "shove it" to his face because she thinks he's trying to twist her words.
And finally, she can speak five languages and has a cute accent. Trumps an American accent every time.
Interesting side note: Arianna Huffington just last week in Salon said that a good way to judge a political candidate is to look at his wife. Do you want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her and chat? Or do you wanna check and see if she visited Stepford recently?
Theresa? Not so much a stepford. Plus, she's got a way kwel personal history. I'd be askin' some serious questions. Not much sure what Laura Bush could possibly say to me.
Course, her whole "speak freely" part of her speech is slightly ruined by the knowledge that outside the Fleet Center there are fenced in razor wire-topped "Free Speech" zones that are nowhere near the convention and conventioneers, but hey! Details right?
Overall, tonight's session did what it was supposed to: Kerry was clearly defined on the who he is and what he stands for. Still a lot of avoidance of direct confrontation or negativity against the Pubbies and Dubbya. A lot of stealing of Pubbie lines from the Pubbie heyday as the Demmies shamelessly cribbed the opposing party's best lines. A good build-up to "the big night" with somewhat obscure politicians, failed Demmie presidential candidates, and rising stars all having their say. One huge-ass war cry to rally the troops (POSITIVITY NOW! VOTE KERRY!).
Very satisfying indeed....