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The Democratic convention as a Potemkin unity

Johnny and I finished painting the basement last night, and allowed the TV to be turned to the convention. We listened while we painted. We finished about two hours after Clinton spoke. With the exception of Carter’s speech, they got everything they wanted from the first night: unity. Unity for what, of course, is the big question. In the end, all disagreements, from big things--the war--to small--health care--the party will for the convention (and I presume for the campaign) just shut up and vote anti-Bush. This is a heck of thing to hinge a political party on, especially during pressing times. It is too dependent on both events and Bush’s prudence. It is also an attempt to hide Kerry’s weaknesses. It won’t work, Bill Clinton’s excellent speech (never mind the demagoguery), and the focus on 9/11, notwithstanding. Now comes the real work. I wonder if viewership (not large as it was, according to Drudge) will decline to nothing by the time Kerry speaks. I’m betting it will decline, and this portends their problem in the campaign.

Jonah Goldberg in USA Today writes, in my opinion, an almost perfect column on the Democrats and the start of their convention. You must read the whole thing and when you do so, note a couple of formulations which are entirely fitting; here is one: "The point of this Potemkin unity is to seduce moderates and swing voters into believing that Kerry’s their guy." Also see this good piece on John Kerry by David Brooks, he says Kerry has unified the party "through sheer force of prolixity." Right.

Discussions - 1 Comment

I liked how Jonah Goldberg described the Dems switching to Kerry (after the Dean explosion) "because he was the most ’electable,’ according to all of the exit polls. In other words, Democrats voted for Kerry not because they liked him, but because they thought other people would."

If memory serves me right, the lead convention usually bumps the nominee’s poll numbers up 10 points or more--a figure that floats back down once the opposing party’s convention lumbers along. With Kerry and Bush neck-and-neck over the weekend, I would be surprised if Kerry puts much (if any distance) between himself and President Bush. Ceteris paribus, adding Edwards to the ticket, thus, looks like the only thing that will make this election a close one.

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