Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dem Convention Day 1 Reax

It seems most of the bloggers I usually read are pretty annoyed that Day 1 was apparently touchy-feely "meet the candidate" boring bio stuff and not constant bashing of Bush-McCain. I didn't watch it as I was busy making a Summer Vegetable Gratin (which turned out well, so I'll be supplying the recipe)... but I can see both sides of it. Yglesias asks why they can't introduce the candidate why throwing jabs at the same time... and Josh Marshall seems pretty disheartened by the lack of offense. I suppose there is truth to that, but I thought the night was really about Michelle Obama, and I'm not sure how many jabs she can really throw. It seems more important to show her as human and down-to-earth etc., than chant "John McCain more of the same" a few extra times. Andrew Sullivan says it like this:
What was necessary tonight was rebutting the only real weapon the Republicans have: dragging Obama into the mud, throwing every extremist attack they can at him, painting him as a commie, alien, anti-American freak. For good measure, they had tried to paint Michelle as an angry black radical.

I haven't yet watched the speech, but Andrew was a fan, and Chait called it "Hallmark TV at its best"... which, while lame, is pretty much what you have to do here.

I understand that the 20 to 30 something blogger set wants to see blood in the water every night, but it's important to remember that this wasn't about you. This was for you mother or grandmother who isn't sure about "that Obama character" and might be moved by Hallmark moments and touching biographies. This is about knocking down the smears for people who've never seen her outside of an e-mail chain.

You've got Hillary tonight and Biden tomorrow... I'm pretty sure you'll see some strong attacks... relax.

Oh, and here's the speech:

UPDATE: Since It's impossible for us to form opinions without pundits, I'll give you snippets from the immensely positive reactions to Michelle Obama's speech.

Howard Wolfson:
Last night was not a night for policy or attacks on John McCain. It was instead an effort to shore up the image of Michelle Obama and help Americans become comfortable with her as First Lady. It was a homerun.

Dana Stevens at XX Factor:
She's Jackie Kennedy with a working-class back story! What else do you want from the woman? Emily's remark about the speech's race subtext can't help but ring sadly true: If you don't like Michelle Obama after this speech, do you like any flavor of ice cream besides vanilla?

Dahlia Lithwick also of XX Factor:
She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned "hope" and "change" for coughing up hairballs of outrage. Every Democrat in America seems to be of the view that optimism is so totally last February; that now's the time to hunker down and panic real hard. Good for Michelle for reminding us that to "strive for the world as it should be" is still cool, and for being so passionate about that fact that she looked to be near tears.

John Dickerson:
That's the biggest speech she's ever given, and she was poised, not slick and inauthentic. People don't know who she is. And what they do know about her may not be favorable, based on the frenzy over her remarks about being proud of her country for the first time. Those who watched now know she is a mother and a wife. She also showed how alive her husband's message is in her own heart. She's got the Obama bug, and it was obvious. She was more passionate about her husband's message than he sometimes is.

And finally here's Juan Williams on Fox almost losing it as he contemplates what it means to see an African-American woman up on that stage:

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