dnc: the first night

Let the progressive love-in begin.

The Democrats kicked off their national convention Monday, and they decided to demonstrate their commitment to making a break from the old, partisan politics of George W. Bush and John McCain by choosing Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy to speak that night — who are stellar examples of unity and harmony and bringing people together. Good call there.  There’s no better way to demonstrate a new, different approach to the ways of Washington than to showcase the incompetent Speaker of the House and a guy who has been in the Senate forever and ever.  But wait…no tribute to past and present failure can be complete without including Jimmy Carter.  I was annoyed by Pelosi, amused by Kennedy, and I ignored whatever Jimmy Carter had said.

I continue to be impressed by Caroline Kennedy. I think that she would make an excellent candidate for public office, and she didn’t rule it out when she was on MTP with Tom Brokaw. She would be a tough opponent for Republicans, so I hope she stays on the sidelines.

Now to Michelle Obama’s speech…

My initial reaction to it was that I liked it.  If the objective of the speech was to humanize her and to make her less scary, I think she accomplished that — although the appearance of Barack and his interaction with their daughters probably did more to advance that narrative than she did in that speech.  On the other hand, I don’t think this kind of positive speech comes naturally to Michelle Obama.  Maybe it would be easier to buy into Michelle 2.0 if I hadn’t heard some of her previous speeches, but her smiles during this speech looked forced.  Even with this new tone, she still talks about remaking America.  America isn’t totally broken.  There are changes we need to make, and stuff we need to change, but America is still a great country.

What was accomplished?  Nothing much Monday night. I’m not sure that this convention will give Barack the bump he needs to regain momentum, unless the Clintons are willing to shift the focus from themselves to Senator Obama.  There’s no evidence that this will happen, so unless Barack gives the speech of his life Thursday, this convention week will be a wasted opportunity for the Democrats.