n listening to The Brian Lehrer Show this morning, a caller just said that she hated Michelle Obama's speech, that it was "too yearning, too sing-song." She wanted a harder edge; in fact, she admitted, she wanted Hillary Clinton.
Now, as I've said before, I like Hillary, I'll continue to vote for her as senator as long as she chooses to serve, and if she'd been the nominee, I'd be voting for her in November. But Hillary isn't a great speechmaker. She's got like two notes, and nowadays she uses them to pretty good effect, depending on the audience (she didn't use to), but otherwise, she generally gives a speech the way John McLaughlin sings lullabies.
I thought Michelle Obama's speech was superb. I thought Ted Kennedy's appearance was superb. It was great television, it was great political theater. If I could have had anything from the first night of the Democratic National Convention, it would have been a little more on pointing out Republican hypocrisy on the issues. That, I think, is the best way to make the intellectual case against that party and its nominee -- much as I appreciate the need for the gut-level, too-many-houses-to-remember charactizations, too. Campaigning that McCain would be four more years of Bush only goes so far; I don't think most McCain leaners think that, for the simple reason that he isn't Bush. But he's been a hypocrite in all his flip-flopping on issues. And the Republican positions overall are hypocritcal. (Tax cuts for the elite; support the troops, until they come home; compete globally by gutting education, etc. etc. etc.)
And I'm sensitive to the criticism that an "all Obama, all the time" convention only lends credibility to the charges of arrogance and that this is a coronation. So, if I were planning this schedule, now that "family night" is over, where it was all about the personal anyway, I'd make Tuesday and Wednesday night far more substantive. Which, given the speakers, I imagine it will be.
Speaking of Hillary and her speech tonight: she has a high bar to hit here, partly through no fault of her own, partly from her own fault. Why John McCain decided to run a number of ads (at least two so far) that use her statements from the primary race about Obama BEFORE she has a national audience to rebut them (and McCain) -- and same with Biden -- is beyond me. Seems kind of stupid. And as everyone points out, there's a whole bunch of Republicans on video that are going to make great ads for Obama after the GOP convention.
But it has also occurred to me and others: if Hillary had won the nomination, what statements from Obama's own mouth would McCain be using in advertising against her? I can't think of anything, but then I didn't get too much up in arms about either of their statements about each other, chalking it up to electioneering. So maybe there were a few and I didn't notice. But I'd still like to know the answer.