Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Democrats in Denver

Everybody is covering it; you can get YouTubes of all the speeches everywhere, and a goodly number of bloggers are live-blogging the event, including the inimitable Kenneth Quinnell and Sinfonian of Blast Off!. So there doesn’t seem to be any need for me to go to great lengths to cover the news as it happens, unless there’s something big that really happens. So, for what it’s worth, I’ll just be recording some thoughts and impressions.

I got home from my vacation in time to catch the Ted Kennedy tribute, including the introduction by Caroline Kennedy, the film, and the speech by Sen. Kennedy himself. All I can say was that you had to have a heart of stone — or no sense of history — if it didn’t move you, regardless of the politics. I’m old enough to remember Caroline Kennedy as the little girl playing in her father’s office, and I’m old enough to remember Teddy Kennedy as a young man who tried to follow in his brother’s footsteps, and the failings and tragedies — both personal and political — that came with it. I’m also old enough to realize that it’s time, to coin a phrase, pass the torch. And they did that with grace and class. I don’t feel old. I feel amazingly fortunate to have lived to see it happen.

What struck me about Michelle Obama’s speech was how extraordinarily ordinary the story she told was. I mean that in a good way. There is nothing in her life story that anyone in America couldn’t identify with or understand; her family, her upbringing, her education, her marriage and raising kids. The point was obvious; introduce Michelle Obama — or re-introduce her to counter the lies and gossip put out there by the same mindset that demonized Hillary Clinton in 1992 (and are now egging on the PUMA delegation at the convention). I suppose that has to be a part of this or any convention, and if so, Ms. Obama did a fine job. I’m sure the ankle-biters will find something to say about her speech and the Kodak moment with the kids afterward, but for the moment, it was a good moment and will go far to accomplish the task.

I watched the coverage on MSNBC because that was the channel the TV was on when I left on vacation, and they did a pretty good job of not being too obnoxious, but there were times that Chris Matthews was borderline mute-worthy. They have yet to perfect the technique of vamping while waiting for things to happen on the floor of the convention and, to quote Toby Ziegler, making this four-day political infomercial interesting. I’ll leave it to the bloggers to find the fun stuff and link to it as the show goes on.