Comments about the first night of the DNC?

The First Lady tells about the "rusted-out" car in which Mr. Obama used to pick her up for dates.

I have to confess I did not watch the convention last night — during the portion of the evening I devoted to television, I watched the last episode of the “Breaking Bad” season from Sunday night — although I plan to catch Bill Clinton’s act this evening. Watch for my comments on Twitter in real time.

It’s probably just as well I missed it all, since I read that last night “was crafted to make a special appeal to women and Latino voters,” which by the logic of Identity Politics means that the Dems weren’t interested in speaking to me.  I used to be a member of the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council (really; I’m not making this up), but I ended up resigning on account of, you know, not being Hispanic. So I don’t think that qualifies me. And even if I were a woman, I doubt the way the Dems would speak to me would appeal. Speeches from NARAL are not the way to win points with me.

The highlight seems to have been Michelle Obama’s speech, which I’ve heard described in various ways, but I don’t feel that I have enough of a grasp on it to comment in any way. Well…  except to react to some nonsense I heard this morning on the radio on the subject. Someone was paraphrasing Alessandra Stanley at the NYT as saying, in essence, what a terrible thing it is that in this day and age, a First Lady or one who would be First Lady defines herself in 1950s terms, talking about how she met the candidate, etc.

Listen, folks: I care about what the person running for office has to say, and after that my interest drops off sharply. Were I to care what that person’s spouse thinks — whether that spouse is Michelle Obama, Ann Romney, Michael Haley, or Dennis Thatcher — the only conceivably useful information for me would be any light they could shed on the candidate himself or herself. Since the only reason for that spouse to be on the podium is his or her relationship with the candidate, why would I want to hear about anything else?

And truth be told, probably the only thing a political spouse could say to me that would affect my vote would be this: “Look, I know this guy. Nobody knows him better. Do NOT vote for this joker, not matter what you do.” But so far, I’ve never seen that happen. But it could. Which is why, if I were to run for office, I would not insist that my own better half make any campaign speeches…

But as I say, I didn’t even catch any of these speeches. As to those of you who did tune in last night — your thoughts?

30 thoughts on “Comments about the first night of the DNC?

  1. Brad

    From the NPR report this morning: “If Republicans were reluctant to talk about social issues at their convention last week, the Democrats had no such hesitation.” That was in reference to an extremely strident (based on the clips they played) speech from the head of NARAL.

    Oh, yeah. Just what we need… What are they trying to do, bludgeon me into voting for Romney?

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  2. Herb Brasher

    She came across well. But the whole context of a party convention is much more a pep rally (complete with ‘band’) than anything else. They really could save a lot of money by replacing these get-togethers with some good PBS-aired policy discussions Just do away with scripted conventions and debates that don’t do justice to any definition of the word ‘debate.’

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  3. Herb Brasher

    Yes, the emphasis upon gay and abortion rights came up in about every speech. The culture-war gauntlet has been laid.

    Will it actually make any difference in the end, who gets elected (I mean on these issues)? This is a ploy, isn’t it, to win over the ‘half’ of the electorate that each party thinks is bigger?

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  4. Brad

    Speaking of radio… I was looking for the Takeaway segment I referenced above (I originally mistakenly referred to it as NPR), and listened to it again. Which raises one of the problems with broadcast news, even very well-done broadcast news. I was jarred by Politico’s Juana Summers saying, “There’s no question that Michelle Obama was arguably the best speaker of the night.”

    If you don’t see the problem, read it again: “…no question that Michelle Obama was arguably…”

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  5. Doug Ross

    The DNC moving Obama’s speech indoors tomorrow due to weather concerns was going to save them a lot of embarrassment when the Bank of America (how ironic!) stadium was not going to be filled with hope-and-changers from 2008. They had only distributed 65,000 tickets out of a 74,000 capacity.

    It’s a leading indicator of what is going to happen in November. The enthuisiasm just isn’t there. And that’s not because of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or the Koch brothers. Results matter.

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  6. Brad

    I don’t understand why the president would speak anywhere other than the convention hall anyway. I don’t remember any precedent for that. Do y’all?

    By the way, I don’t know the particulars of this case, but… isn’t it usual that, when you have a concert or a rally or speech in a stadium, that a certain amount of the capacity is blocked off and not used?

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  7. Brad

    Actually, this change of venue may present me with a problem.

    I’ve changed my mind and now plan to try to run up there for tomorrow night’s finale. I wonder if the smaller venue is going to complicate my getting last-minute credentials? I’ll have to double-check when I head up there.

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  8. Brad

    By the way, I just realized that Peggy Noonan is blogging from the convention. “The Democrats killed. The first night of their convention was a great success,” she wrote, adding, “The question is: Killed in the room or killed also in the country? We’ll get a sense of that through polls and comments over the next few weeks.”

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  9. Brad

    More from Ms. Noonan: “The Republican convention site last week never looked so full, so crowded and full of human passion. The Democrats had animal density.”

    Is that a good thing?

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  10. Doug Ross

    @Brad,

    Well the DNC was bussing in people from SC, Raleigh, and Georgia to try and fill the stadium so they obviously hoped to fill it.

    Maybe if they didn’t require a photo id, they’d get a bigger crowd.

    Or they could let in all the Occupiers who blocked the bus shuttles for the convention yesterday.

    Justin Bieber could get 74,000 paying customers to hear his garbage. Obama can’t get 74,000 people to attend for free.

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  11. Brad

    Well, I was right. I had some credentials lined up for tomorrow night, and they just fell through. So I might be back to plan A — watching it at home on TV. At least it’s easier to blog that way…

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  12. Jesse S.

    @Doug

    I wouldn’t call it indicative. You have an incumbent against a non-incumbent. It isn’t like they are really building a platform up in Charlotte, the planks were already in place.

    Not that any of this matters. In a month the right will be screaming “Debt” over and over while the left will scream “Leveraged Buyouts”. In the end the gripping battle for America’s soul will still be between the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Business School.

    If Obama wins we get 4 years of gridlock and if Romney wins we get some red tape ripped back for business and maybe Obamacare gets repealed. Where does that leave us?

    I’d say what I feel, but yeah, family blog and all.

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  13. bud

    The Democrats must be the worst marketers of their own brand of any entity in the history of the universe. The GOP is asking the silly, rhetorical question – “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Talk about your hanging curveball right over the middle of the plate. And yet the sorry Democrats manage to whiff it with all kinds of cerebral sounding blather. Here’s how to answer that:

    Absolutely we are better off than we were four years ago. That was about the time our nations financial system was imploding under the weight of greed and incompetence underwritten by the previous administration. The job market was in a freefall losing more than half a million jobs per month. We were also mired in an endless, unnecessary and divisive war in Iraq while Osama Bin-Laden ran free. We had a huge donut hole in the Medicare Prescription Drug plan that has now been filled. Young adults can now stay on their parents health insurance policy until they are. And no one can be denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition. Yes we are better off today than four years ago. Our military is now freed from the outrageous policy of discrimination known as don’t ask, don’t tell. Young immigrants who came to America as children now have a path to citizenship. Everywhere America is moving forward. Now ask me a tough question.

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  14. Doug Ross

    @Jesse

    I agree with you.

    Until Americans decide to vote out Pelosi, Ried, Boehner, McConnell and the rest of them, it doesn’t matter who the President is.

    Until we have term limits and a balanced budget amendment, we are screwed.

    Until we have a flat tax, we are in a world of hurt.

    Until we get people to understand that Social Security and Medicare have unsustainable financial models, we are up the creek.

    Until we stop deficit spending on preemptive wars, we’re dead ducks.

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  15. Brad

    And I agree with Doug on the deficit spending part. We should pay for war as we go — to the extent possible. We had to do some deficit spending to get through WWII. But we shouldn’t have done that to fight the War on Terror.

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  16. Steven Davis II

    Obama isn’t the stadium filling rock star he was 4 years ago. His popularity is closer to KC and the Sunshine Band this go around. People lose interest when you haven’t done anything new in the last four years.

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  17. tired old man

    @jesse
    @doug ross

    Sorry, but if Romney gets in, he has a Dem senate which will make it impossible for you to realize the political wet dream of “if Romney wins we get some red tape ripped back for business and maybe Obamacare gets repealed.”

    They may let a little biz red tape get by, but there is no way that ObamaRomneycare is getting repealed –especially after all the hard feelings about to be generated by falling over the fiscal cliff of statutorily mandated defense and entitlement cuts.

    And, if Obama stays in, expect equally bruising treatment.

    Which means the 2014 mid-term elections are going to be very decisive.

    Take it any way you want, but this country is now painfully and equally divided.

    Something will break, and one candidate will win — but it will not be the golden days some people are envisioning. We have almost two years of stagnation to go before the country votes in a decisive way.

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  18. Scout

    I saw a good bit of it. I heard that description that it was targeted to hispanics and women after the fact and was quite surprised by that assessment. I wouldn’t have thought so necessarily. There was a nice tribute to Ted Kennedy that culminated in clips of Kennedy and Romney in some debate from the 90’s when Romney was espousing completely other positions than he is now and Kennedy was clearly beating him in the debate. That was kind of enjoyable. There was a mother of a very sick child that talked about how the loss the lifetime cap was going to make possible life saving surgery that her daughter would need in the next few years, and what it would mean to her family if Romney succeeded in having the ACA repealed. It was pretty moving. I also liked the comments of some guy from Colorado whose name I don’t remember. (Sorry – he wore a cowboy hat and was hispanic and I think holds a position in the Obama administration and is maybe a past governor and his name might start with S). I’m sure Michelle Obama was good too, but alas I think I was fading in and out of consciousness on the couch by that point.

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  19. Phillip

    Doug, obviously the enthusiasm is not going to be quite at 2008 pitch, but as the election approaches and people are truly confronted with the idea of a Romney/Ryan administration and what that might mean, I think many people will overcome their mixed feelings and ambivalence about Obama and decide that the dangers of re-unleashing the forces that got us into financial catastrophe in the first place are too great. I’m looking at 286-252 electoral college for Obama worst case scenario, and probably a little bit bigger than that. Romney wins back IN, NC, VA, IA, and maybe Ohio or Florida but not both and that’s where he loses the election.

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  20. kc

    “Listen, folks: I care about what the person running for office has to say, and after that my interest drops off sharply ”

    Weren’t you complaining recently about the broadcast networks not airing the conventions from start to finish? Dude, make up your mind …

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  21. bud

    But we shouldn’t have done that to fight the War on Terror.
    -Brad

    You mean the Orwellian “War on Terror”. Seriously there really is no such thing as a “War on Terror”. That’s one of the most annoying, obnoxious phrases of the 21st century.

    Let’s talk about Dougs main point, the national debt. The vast majority of the debt is due to either the dispicable wars (rather than war on terror, how about imperialistic wars of revenge) and the Bush tax cuts. No need to get rid of Reid and Pelosi, they’re pretty much victims of the GOP fiscal irresponsibility. Simply a return to the fiscal discipline of the Clinton days, without the nonsensical flat tax rubbish, and we’ll be just fine.

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  22. Doug Ross

    @Phillip

    It’s a real stretch to hold Republicans completely responsible for the financial disaster of 2008. It was a result of the mutual efforts of Republicans and Democrats. All those same culprits will still be in Congress for the most part.

    And there’s a difference between being fired up enough to go vote FOR someone versus AGAINST someone. In the latter case, people tend to expect others to do it for them.

    Anyway, the next two job reports and the price of gasoline will do more to influence people than anything else.

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  23. bud

    Anyway, the next two job reports and the price of gasoline will do more to influence people than anything else.
    -Doug

    Perhaps. But the job reports may do nothing more than confirm what most people already believe about the economy. It just may already be too late to make a difference regardless of the numbers. As for gasoline, haven’t people figured this out yet? Prices go up and prices come down regardless of who the POTUS is. My sense is the 4% of persuadables will likely look elsewhere to decide.

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  24. Brad

    And Bud, again I will say that there is nothing “Orwellian” about calling this war that President Obama pursues so aggressively by the simple, obvious, discriptive “War on Terror.”

    And if you keep insisting otherwise, we’ll just have to have you down to the Ministry of Love for a little chat. :)

    Now you see what I just said at the end there? THAT was Orwellian.

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  25. Brad

    By the way, if you look up Ministry of Love, Wikipedia points out one of the wonderful things about Orwell’s Newspeak:

    “In a sense, however, the term is accurate, since its ultimate purpose is to instill love of Big Brother in the minds of thoughtcriminals. This is typical of the language of Newspeak, in which words and names frequently contain both an idea and its opposite; the orthodox party member is nonetheless able to resolve these contradictions through the disciplined use of Doublethink.”

    It makes me feel double-plus good to see someone use language so well.

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  26. bud

    I’m going to retract my last comment to Doug about the jobs report. Upon further reflection I think he’s probably right.

    Reply

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