I watched about 2/3rds of the Democratic National Convention last week and was very impressed.
Unfortunately, I missed Michelle Obama's speech (though I am intending to watch it online when I get a chance,) but I did see Hillary Clinton speak. I felt she spoke exceedingly well. In that speech she really needed to show her support for Obama, but she couldn't be so effusive as to be unbelievable. She also needed retain her own standing so that if (heaven forbid) McCain wins, she can run again in 2012. I have heard some pundits suggest that she wasn't effusive enough, and others have said that she lacked credibility in her statement of support. Personally, I think she had a very fine line to walk and did so almost perfectly.
As for her famous husband, I think Bill Clinton is one of the greatest orators of our time. As pure, gripping speech, I though he was amazing and nailed all his points. What I wouldn't give to have his charisma.
I've always respected Joe Biden as a thinker and genuine-seeming public servant. In his speech he introduced himself to America well, he took appropriate shots at McCain, and he presented the Obama/Biden ticket with excellence. Not a speech to go down in the record books, but all in all a very fine piece of work.
Finally, Barack Obama's speech was, of course, outstanding. There were points as he moved from broad rhetoric to specific policy statements where I felt like the transitions were clumsy - slightly head snapping like missing a shift in a car. Still, he did have to balance sweeping uplifting statements with real information about policy initiatives and he covered both with excellence.
There was one thing that kinda bugged me that showed up in many speeches throughout the convention - the oft repeated refrain that this is the most important election of our lifetimes. I kept hearing that and wishing that some speaker would stand up and say "No, this isn't the most important election of our lifetimes. It's the third most important election of our lifetimes!"
The first most important election of our lifetimes was the 2000 election, when George W. Bush became president for the first time. Imagine how different the world would be today had Al Gore been president! [I wont say "had Al Gore won the election", since that opens the whole kettle of worms about who actually won. I'll leave it that he didn't become president.] The second most important election of our time was in 2004, when John Kerry didn't become president. That was our second chance to mitigate the damage inflicted by GW, and we screwed the pooch.
This election, then, is our third chance. It is only as important as it is because we blew it the previous two times. Even though I know Obama is going to raise my taxes and institute other policies that may not be in my personal short-term best interests, I fervently pray that we make him our 44th president.
Remember, this is the third most important election of our lifetimes. Let's get it right!
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