Come Together
Well, it looks like the Democrats are finally getting the convention they wanted. Although Joe Biden sounded like he could have used a few more run-throughs of his speech (nothing worse than stepping on your applause lines), his personal story will play well with blue collar Democrats, and his pointed attacks on John McCain’s judgment are among the strongest we’ve heard from a party leader thus far. If nothing else, Biden certainly helped finally move the Democratic Party’s critique of McCain beyond guilt by Bush association.
The risky Clinton double-header also seems to have worked to unify the convention, even though it remains to be seen whether Bill and Hillary were truly able to convince their hardcore supporters and other reluctant voters to fully back Barack Obama. And Bill Clinton’s speaking skills continue to amaze me. Whereas many speakers seem lost in the cavernous arena (like a passenger in a busy, unfamiliar airport terminal), Clinton could have been having a casual conversation with a few old friends, such was his control of the audience and venue.
Now we turn to Barack Obama’s outdoor stadium speech this evening, the last big risk to be taken in Denver this week. The dramatic setting (and MLK speech anniversary) calls out for some classic soaring Obama rhetoric, but he has already signaled his intention to make the strongest possible case yet to those voters feeling economic insecurity, many of whom are still sitting on the partisan fence. Obama will no doubt attempt to strike a delicate balance between inspirational generality and greater policy detail.
For more of my thoughts on the convention, you can listen to my appearance earlier this morning on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Joy Cardin Show here (the 7 a.m. CST hour). I will also be doing convention wrap-up as a guest tomorrow morning on New Hampshire Public Radio’s The Exchange. You can listen to that broadcast live here (lower left) at 9 a.m., or catch it later here.

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