A few thoughts on last nights cable-only event:
1. The Dems are or should be grateful that the networks didnt carry the convention last night. Too call it tepid would be too much compliment. Ive had warm water with more flavor.
2. Its no secret that the speeches are being toned down so as to avoid a negative, anti-Bush convention, everyone knows this. But this strategy has left a void. The crowd, energized Monday night by their beloved boy-wonder, found that same enthusiasm kicked helplessly out of reach by the speeches of Ted Kennedy, Ron Reagan, the governor of Arizona, and Theresa Heinz Kerry. The only thing to get excited about all night was the performance delivered by Barak Obama -- yes, he is a rising star. The strategists, as I understand their thinking, didnt think it wise to spend four days denouncing the president. They want their delegates to hear something positive about their own candidate, and feel good about their own party. They want the American public to hear an affirmative reason to vote Democratic. The problem, as became clear last night, is that while it is dangerous to do nothing but ridicule a sitting president, it is likely just as dangerous to expose the true values and agenda of the Democratic Party. As Dick Armey used to say, "Conservatives are afraid that if we tell people the truth, they wont understand it. Liberals are afraid they will." Thus, we never heard any positive, affirmative spin for the Democratic agenda. No mention of gay marriage, advancing "choice," raising taxes, raising tarrifs, cutting military budgets, curtailing law enforcement, affirmative action, or gun control. The closest we got to any discussion of an issue was Ron Reagan extolling the virtues of stem-cell research in a speech that was ostensibly to be "non-partisan" (though he couldnt pull that off) and delivered by a man that I wager most Americans would call a "moderate" if for no other reason than that he was a Reagan at the Democratic National Convention. Now, the next two days may prove otherwise, but I bet the Dems are smart enough to know that talking out loud about their true agenda for America wouldnt play well. So instead, we get platitudes about John Kerrys heroism in a war that liberals despise.
3. I caught Wolf Blitzers take on Ted Kennedys speech. It went something like: "Gee, that was pretty tame for ol Ted. Not much red meat there, was there? I thought he was supposed to rally the troops and fire things up. Bill Snyder, youre our chief political analyst, you listened to Senator Kennedy closely. What did you think of the speech?" Snyder: "Well, Wolf, I was really interested to see who was in the audience here. Did you see Maria Shriver? Shes here tonight. Of course, you know, shes the wife of the Republican governor of California. And shell be an honored guest at the Republican convention next month. Isnt that amazing? Maria Shrivers here." Thanks guys.
4. Theresa Heinz Kerry did nothing to help. As one FoxNews reporter said following her speech, Mrs. Heinz Kerry was the first first lady (nominee) to have a keynote slot at a national convention...and she might be the last. Another reporter called her speech "bordering on the bizarre." Watching the post-game on FoxNews, I knew the left knew they were in trouble as soon as the analyst from NPR started saying how very little turns on the performance of a first lady. No one votes or doesnt vote because of the first lady. This was really inconsequential for the campaign. The others on the show, Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke, Bill Kristol and Brit Hume all thought her performance was awful. It did nothing to tell us about the candidate. It told us only about his wife -- and did nothing to make us more comfortable with her. Yet another reason not to carry this on network television.
5. Barak Obama will be a star.
6. Its true that Monday night had a different feel to it. The crowd was excited, enraptured even, by Clinton. Maybe Tuesday night was just a bad hangover; the price you pay in the morning for one too many shots of Slick. If not, if this is all they got, the Dems are in trouble.