Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic National Convention: Day 1

9:17 p.m. EST

The media just insist on making the narrative of this convention Clinton versus Obama. I'm not saying that there are no tensions in the party--it's just that every interview on MSNBC and CNN is centered on the rifts, rather than the unity, in the party. I think Nancy Pelosi said it best earlier tonight when she told an MSNBC reporter that the DNC will be unified. It has never been unanimous.

9:30 p.m. EST

Ted Kennedy: "My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here, and nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight..."

In a night of sterile, scripted, canned-for-television addresses, Ted Kennedy's appearance offers the first real moment of emotion and genuine excitement.

10:33 p.m. EST

The Michelle Obama video did an excellent job of delivering her moving, inspiring life story to the prime time audience. (Briefly noted: I had no idea that Michelle Obama's brother was the head coach of the Oregon State men's basketball team.)

10:49 p.m. EST

Michelle was obviously, understandably, and charmingly nervous and stilted at the beginning of her speech, but it wasn't long before she hit her stride. This convention was at risk of a disappointing start, but Michelle has delivered here, especially with her appeals to women voters and her acknowledgment of Hillary Clinton's lifetime of public service.

10:56 p.m. EST

Obama via satellite: "Now you know why I asked her out so many times even though she said no."

This satellite address was awkward, largely because of the logistics, I suppose. That could have gone more smoothly.


Day one has been heavy on biography and light on policy. The healing is underway, now let's get to the platform tomorrow! A feel good night was necessary to portray the Democratic party as unified and the Obama family as representative of traditional American values, but now that the message has been delivered, it's time to get on to the policy.

The Obama story is absolutely powerful and deserving of attention and celebration, but millions of Americans have heard the story dozens of times before. It's time to get on to a new, tougher message on the economy, on national security, and on how the party is in sharp contrast to the Republicans and John McCain.