Friday, August 29, 2008

Convention Summary and Response

Overall, I believe the Democratic National Convention went well for Sen. Obama. No fights broke out between his supporters and the die hard backers of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Sen. Clinton's speech was a case study in conciliation, while Sen. Obama's concluding speech was his usual inspiring work, establishing his moderate credentials while establishing the groundwork for a nuanced, issues-based attack on Sen. McCain.

A few observations:

The convention got better as it went along. Monday night was actually rather disappointing, with mediocre speakers like Sen. Nancy Pelosi, whose speech, posted below, was a study in how not to excite a crowd.

Things got better on Tuesday, with some speakers, such as Sen. Bob Casey launching attacks against Sen. McCain and the Republican Party. Casey's "Four more months" line should be adopted as an overall campaign slogan. The best, however, was Thursday night. Gov. Richardson of New Mexico gave a speech, posted below, that made me wish he had been the vice-presidential selection.

Second, building on Sen. Casey's speech, the Democratic Party, and Sen. Obama in particular, need to go into attack mode. This can be done without violating Sen. Obama's pledge to pursue a new kind of politics. It is entirely possible to make issues-based attacks which focus on Sen. McCain's record of favoring the wealthy and backing the Bush Administration while still remaining catchy.

For example, one ad that has occurred to me would feature photos of Sen. McCain and President Bush together with descriptions of how Sen. McCain has supported the President's worst policies, punctuated by the refrain "Four More Years." An ad in a similar vein would feature the same material, with a digital background showing the M in McCain's turning upside down into a W.

Finally, all conventions, in the end, are pap. You will not see any nuanced exploration of the candidates positions just by watching their party's conventions. For that, you have to do your own research.

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