Obama’s speech was spectacular. It hit the right notes, had the right cadence – punched back at McCain’s petty and reprehesible attacks effectively and accomplished the convention’s task of firing up Democrats in preparation for the hard slog of the general election ahead. David Shuster got ahold of some bad information when he said it was just going to be a workman’s speech.
That said, I’ll now offer a few opinions on the evening’s earlier events.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine must have said the word “faith” fifty times. As a rationalist, non-believer, that was a huge turn-off for me as well as his use of scripture. I’ve never gotten a good feel for the guy anyway, but now that I know he’s the Huckabee of the Democratic party, I am incredibly thankful he was not chosen as Obama’s VP. I’m having a hard enough time putting my full support behind Obama because of his FISA vote, his capitulation on off-shore drilling and his prejudice against gay marriage. If he had picked Kaine and I had to hear the word “faith” every other minute during the general, Obama would have absolutely lost my vote and MANY of those I know. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, religion has no place – none, whatsoever – in the political arena.
Now, Gore hit the mark as well. I enjoyed his speech far more than I enjoyed Bill Clinton’s and thought the former VP was one of the highlights of the entire convention. I’m happy he didn’t start open-mouth kissing anybody, that was a big improvement from 2000. I’m not sure if he’d been asked to speed things along, but he spoke so quickly, I was having flashbacks to the Micro Machine commercials from the 80’s. While I’m not sure his speech brought any votes over for Obama (not a ton of environmentally concerned voters headed McCain’s direction in the first place), he did what he came to do: deliver a message on the environmental intentions of Obama and remind everyone how the Republicans have wrecked any solid pro-green legislation.
After Gore’s speech, MSNBC aired McCain’s commercial congratulating Obama on his nomination. With the black curtain behind him and McCain looking down at the camera (so he’s looking down at Obama… didn’t think I’d get that, did you, McCain people?!), he looked like Darth Vader. The words coming out of his mouth were completely disconnected from the visual. The visual said (imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice), “OBAMA. I WILL BURY YOU. I WILL MAME YOU AND EAT YOU FOR BREAKFAST. YOU ARE GIRLY-MAN AND IT IS OVER FOR YOU. I HAVE BAD BREATH.” Perhaps he just shouldn’t have aired an ad rather than air one that was obviously insincere and meaningless. Good college try on being a uniter, not a divider after all that Paris/Britney debacle. Whatever.
To further my record of pointing out the least important of observations, I would just like to say that Michelle’s incessant wearing of ugly little flowers around the collar of her dresses has got to stop. She paraded those things at least three times this week. I can’t tell if they were part of the actual dress or just broaches her kids made or what, but a couple of times they turned a very nice dress into an artsy-craftsy debacle and were utterly distracting for someone who can be as shallow as I can – and that’s most people.
Now Obama’s speech is what a Democratic Convention speech should be, complete with zingers and sound bites, given in an insprirational tone that had the crowd standing the whole time. Not only will I talk about it with my peeps this whole weekend, but I’ll remember those rebuttals every time McCain tries to attack him on any of the topics Obama mentioned last night.
McCain will simply be unable to match Obama’s performance. He can barely read from a teleprompter, let alone stand as long Obama did without tripping over his words or making a gaffe. His staff should have him practicing his speech at least five times a day this close to the Repub Convention and taking gingko biloba pills. Probably won’t help, though.
It was distracting at the end of the night when Obama developed a little pocket of spittle on the left side of mouth, though. I felt for the guy, I really did and kept urging him silently to wipe it away when the cameras were busy capturing some doe-eyed girl in the audience looking like she was at Jesus Camp. Playing that country music song at the end of the speech was also a mood killer. Bad call – when there are so many other awesome choices. I would have chosen The Chemical Brothers’ “Galvanize” or something from Wyclef.
And, obviouly, Obama did not heed my MEREDITH VETO when he ended the speech with “If John McCain wants to debate…..” All the MSNBC commentators kept gushing about it afterward, saying Obama lifted it from Aaron Sorkin’s movie, “The American President,” or “The West Wing” or something. No biggie, though.
The big loser of the convention, I must admit, is MSNBC. The on-air fighting and snideness was entirely unprofessional. I really like MSNBC. They’re not as vanilla and boring and appropriate as CNN. While they have plenty of liberal commentators on, they include Scarborough and Buchanan and other righties all the time. But Olbermann’s ego has gotten out of control, Scarborough acted like a complete old white man jackass when he went off on Shuster and the constant shutting up of Chris Matthews during his lengthy philosophical meanderings was just pissing him off – I had to switch to hi-def PBS because I didn’t want to witness Matthews having an on-air aneurysm.
Brian Williams and Tim Brokaw have to be utterly embarrassed. Either way, some big dick over there has got to come in and get the troops in order. Perhaps it’s the absence of Russert and his leadership that has all the alpha-wannabees vying for dominance. Either way, MSNBC was getting painful to watch. The Huffington Post used to have all the reports under one big heading: MSNBC IMPLOSION, but now they’ve separated them all. The clips are all worth watching though. It’s like toddlers in a sandbox throwing poo at each other.