Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Dems Get Serious

8 years of peace and prosperity are nothing to scoff at, but what a really miss about the Clinton years is the eloquence. Obama graciously said in his surprise appearance that "Clinton reminds us when we had a president who put people first". To me, the speech last night reminded me of when we had a president could put words together. Bill at his best shines brightly, Bush, at his best, is somewhat coherent. I recall during the 2004 DNC, a commentator memorably describing Bill Clinton's speech as being "like hearing Mozart play after a night of Salieri music." The speech at this DNC, with its full-throated backing of Obama, long way to erasing Bill's tacky and boorish behavior during the primary.
More surprising was that John Kerry gave a rousing and fiery speech. If he had been like this on the campaign trail in 2004, he might be sitting in the Whitehouse. Ezra Klein has some thoughts on the speech.
The message of Kerry's speech could be summed up like this: "From one flip-flopper who would say anything to get elected to another, Mr. McCain." Kerry was brutal.
The Democratic Party has a tendency to write its losers off. For years after he failed to attain the presidency, Gore was discarded by the very party that nominated him. After Kerry lost to Bush, he was similarly derided: It became impossible, in retrospect, for anyone to explain why Democrats trusted in a wooden windsurfer.

Achieving the presidential nomination is not easy, though, and tonight Kerry reminded the convention center of how he did it. Kerry wasn't exactly courageous as a foreign policy voice in 2004, but he was nominated because he had the potential to be one. There was a gravity to him, and a somberness that came of experiencing both war and its manifold betrayals. Hemmed in by a sense of political caution that reacted poorly to an adverse political environment, he never quite rose to the occasion. Tonight, however, he did. He delivered arguably the greatest speech of his career.

Biden was really good too.

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