About Last Night
9:41 AM, Aug 28, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
Our four day national nightmare is almost over. If we can just get through tonight! In the meantime, some thoughts on yesterday:
1) THE BIG HE - Everyone else went gaga over Bill Clinton. I didn't, but then again objectivity when it comes to this particular political figure has never been my calling card. I guess since none of the speakers who preceded Clinton even bothered to make a case for Obama, the bar had been set low. Since Clinton actually put forth an argument about why specifically Barack Obama as opposed to any generic Democratic nominee should be president, he rallied the faithful.
At the risk of tamping down all the good Democratic feelings, the finishing coda of the speech where Clinton reminded everyone that his political foes had said in 1992 that he wasn't ready was clearly a dig at Obama. If you compare the rÃ©sumÃ© of the 1992 Bill Clinton with the 2008 Barack Obama - well, there is no comparison. Clinton had been a longtime governor, an attorney general and a noted policy wonk who could talk with mind-numbing specificity on virtually every issue. Indeed, he did speak with mind-numbing specificity on virtually every issue. Obama, on the other hand, is a longtime community organizer, a former associate at a small law firm and a short-timer in the Senate with no accomplishments. His grasp of policy is questionable, his willingness to discuss policy non-existent. Bill Clinton must surely know that in any comparison between his 1992 self and the present day Barack Obama, Obama comes up a loser.
Even stillâ€¦At the risk of letting the facts intrude on Clinton's auto-hagiography, Bill Kristol rightly points out that in spite of having glittering credentials for such a young candidate, Clinton in fact wasn't ready for the White House. I bet even Democrats of a certain vintage remember the series of Clinton pratfalls that paved the way for the Gingrich Revolution. So if a young fellow as prepared as Clinton was in fact ill-prepared for the task that awaited him in the Oval Office, what does that say about Obama?
I must, however, confess some pity for the former POTUS. Throughout his wife's speech on Tuesday, Bill Clinton repeatedly mouthed the touching sentiment, "I love you." Hillary didn't return the favor last night - not once. It must cut like a knife to be so uxorious and not have your feelings reciprocated.
2) THE DEMOCRAT BIG TENT - During a chat with Chris Wallace, Howard Dean said, "We're reaching out to Evangelicals and people like that." I'm sure Evangelicals everywhere were touched by the gesture. Same thing for people like that.
3) HEY JOE - America learned last night what political junkies have long known - Joe Biden is a perfectly mediocre politician. As Mickey Kaus mordantly observed, Biden has longevity, not gravitas. His speech last night was pure Biden - he comes across as a decent guy, but not a particularly impressive one. Since he's the one who's supposed to add ballast to the meringue-like Obama juggernaut, he didn't get the job done last night.
4) NOT ENOUGH RED MEAT? - If you read the lefty blogs, you know they share one common complaint- the convention hasn't been mean enough to the Republicans. They all seem to want their anger expressed from the convention dais.
What they don't understand is that anger is an unattractive thing. Going negative is one thing - going negative with anger is quite another. The angry left that somehow managed to see John Kerry's speech last night lapped it up. It was an extended, bitter whine about swiftboating and the Bush administration. It was typically humorless and utterly unappealing. In other words, it was pure Kerry.
One of the reasons Barack Obama enjoyed such success is that he transcended the Democratic paradigm of seeking office through a combination of whining and grievance-mongering. Most of the country has no idea just how angry the angry left is. It would be to the Democrats good fortune if things remained that way.