Denver: Love and…

About last night…

The general consensus of last night was that Michelle knocked her speech out of the park.  There seems to be little regarding anything else.

I have yet to get the chance to read or watch the entirety of Michelle’s speech, though I have read and seen excerpts.  What really sucked me in, though, came at the end when the Obama’s daughters came up on stage and together with their mom had a conversation with Barack Obama via satellite.

It was a touching moment, and one that highligted the Obamas as a family.  The funny thing about them is that they are a normal family, but a normal family from a different era, one that may have never existed.

The Obamas have the kind of family that Republicans talk about all the time.  It’s that bygone nuclear family that everyone says we need to get back to.  The parents fist bump and give each other “good game” ass pats.  Michelle complains about Barack leaving his socks everywhere, and Obama occasionally cedes that she is the boss of him.

And they love each other.

I think Joan Walsh nails it beautifully; it’s an absolute shame that a family such as this has to bend over backwards to prove they are what they are.  I WISH my family life was as functional as theirs, now as an adult, and back when I was a kid.

Compare Obama’s family life to McCain’s record as a family man and it’s no contest.  Obama wasn’t the one who cheated on the wife who stood by him during the years he was kept as a POW, eventually divorcing her for a much younger, more physically appealing, and richer woman.

And yet it’s the Obama family that is being forced to prove their familial bona fides.

Pure shame.

So I loved that moment right down to Sasha, supremely unconcerned with how many people were watching her, stealing the microphone every chance she got.

But on a raw emotional level, the moment of the night for me had to be when Ted Kennedy took the stage.  From the moment I first heard he was going to make the convention, I was eager to see his speech.

The curious thing about Ted is that to me has always carried the physical attributes of age; the shock of white hair, wrinkle at the corners of his eyes, and bags under them, even the jowls and paunch of old age.  Yet, he never seemed old.

He is Senator Edward Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate.

It was that image of him that I had which proved such a stark contrast to when he actually took the stage.  The lion’s mane had grown weak and whispy, and he only took half steps, shuffling to the microphone, squinting out at the audience from behind his spectacles, and in that moment he looked old.

Which was what made it all the more amazing when he spoke for the lion has not lost his roar, and when he promised to get back to work in January, at least in those seconds you almost half believe it even if there’s every possibility that his body won’t allow him to hold true to that promise.

That’s about where I got choked up.

But what I found more remarkable was that here is a man who may very well be nearing the end of his twilight hours, and yet he spoke only of the morning to come, a morning he may not get see.

The lion has spoken.  (If you have yet to watch it, you can here at C-SPAN, as well as Mrs. Obama’s speech)

So, you’ll forgive me if I’m not exactly in agreement with Carville and Begala.  I don’t think yesterday was a waste, nor do I think that it’s a grave mistake to not have the entire convention be ATTACKFEST 2008!  Nor do I think it is indicative of an Obama campaign quickly turning into the Kerry campaign of 2004.

If the rest of the campaign turns into one long hard blast against Bush and McCain, at least we’ll have one night to prove that Democrats aren’t just against something, but are for something as well.  This is something that the McCain campaign, and many of the rightwing blowhards have a hard time with.  I may not have been blogging a lot lately, but I have still been reading, and trying to find straight advocacy for McCain on substative issues is still like unicorn hunting.

Now, if the next three nights turn out the same, I’ll cede the possibility of poor judgement, but one night of decency and respect does not an error make.  And besides, why is anyone listening to Carville anyway?  I’m not trying to bait Clinton supporters, but all things considered one would think that the widsom of Clinton staffers isn’t exactly the most valuable thing going right now.

But that was last night.

Tonight the two big names are Mark Warner and Hillary Clinton.

Mark Warner I don’t imagine is going to be much of an attack dog either, though, given his enormous lead in his Senate Race, he may have the room to launch a few attacks on his own.  But I think it’s going to be far more likely that as a keynote speaker Warner is going to represent a more post-partisan message.  Given his success as a governor of a red state and his history of consensus building, this seems like the role most suited for him.

Hillary on the other hand.

Well, let me say this, I’m actually quite excited to watch her speech.  I think she is going to make a killing to night.  But as Steve Benen points out at his new digs over at the Political Animal, the media has set expectations for Clinton impossibly high.  If you watch cable news, and really, who doesn’t (besides me of course, considering I don’t have cable), you will know that Clinton has to accomplish an enormous number of things in her speech tonight, some of them mutually exclusive.

But I personally believe it is much simpler than that.  I think she has to do only two things; advocate for Obama and go after McCain.  She doesn’t even have to advocate for Obama a whole lot, just enough to get the message across that he’s the guy.

Then I think Hillary Clinton is perfectly suited to kick off a much more aggressive tone for the convention.  For many there’s still a lot of animosity between the Clinton and Obama camps that is getting in the way, but for the rest of us we want to win, and I think Hillary Clinton is going to play a key role in moving us in that direction in just a short while.

And that’s really all there is to it.  For all the talk about unity, I think the only thing that really needs to happen is a convincing show that the one time rivals are on the same page now, and everyone else who’s still bickering like six year olds over a toy are just wasting time and energy.

 

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