August 27, 2008
DNC: I already miss the Olympics
Every four years, I'm psyched about watching the summer Olympics again. But the conventions? I remember watching the 2004 DNC and getting excited about all the speakers, crushing on Barack Obama with the rest of the world, and feeling hopeful about the upcoming election. I don't know how professional news people go to these things every four years, because that old political enthusiasm isn't exactly bubbling up in my heart this time.
This year, even just the nightly one-hour network broadcasts are, in the words of Jack Shafer, "unfolding with all the drama of the formation of a stalactite." He advocates adding some actual decision-making to the conventions, or at least shortening the conventions from four days to three or two.
How about one day? A one day convention, with speeches by Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, one party leader (like Ted Kennedy or Kathleen Sebelius) and one random inspirational person who works at a hospital or something. Then Obama. Then that's it.
At least one of these people would ideally point out how exciting and historic it is that the nominee is black--a point that no speaker has mentioned yet, as Alessandra Stanley writes in today's Times. So far, we've heard an awful lot about how much the Obamas are like everyone else in America, when some of the things that make Obama such an inspiring candidate are that he's relatively young, has spent time working directly with poor people, and that he's from a mixed-race family.
Also, is anyone else a little nervous about Bill Clinton's speech tonight? Especially after his remark about candidate X and candidate Y yesterday?
"This has nothing to do with what's going on now," he added after a momentary pause.
As long as he sticks to a charming yet blistering and occasionally funny assault on John McCain and George Bush, he'll be OK.
But right after Clinton tonight [full schedule], we get to hear from your old favorite mealy-mouthed political disappointment, John Kerry, reporting for duty. Ugh. After 2004, you thought at least you'd never have to listen to him again, right?
So far, the photos of Obama watching the convention on TV are the best thing to come out of it. Here's my favorite:
UPDATE: I don't know if he sincerely meant any of it, but Bill Clinton certainly said the right things in his speech last night. Though I would have liked a stronger attack on McCain and a better reasoned argument about why Obama is ready to be President than just a statement assuring us that he is. Here's the video.
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