Pre-Obama Dem Convention Thread

5:00 [PST]: Somebody next time don’t have Sheryl Crow sing a song about “Get outta of Our Head and Into Our Heart.” What’s the tag line on that one: “Vote Democrat–We’re Nice but Soooooo Dumb!!”

5:48 [PST}: Al Gore is talking smack! With his ho-ho laugh. Quite cute in a sorta weird way. He just said that McCain is all of Bush’s policies and he says, “I’m all for recycling, but that’s just stupid.” Now he’s in full on eco-apocalyptic mood. Solid!

6:03: Michael McDonald now, know my opinion on that, so I’m yamo gonna youtube it now, with Impressionist Week on David Letterman.

The premo section is about 4:00 in (although the early O’Toole impersonation is quite good as well):

Or this classic:

6:15 Susan Eisenhower. As a quasi-Obamacon, I like this. She’s not a particularly great speaker, but I’m a nerd who actually really dug Jim Leach’s talk the other night.

6:16 Wes Clark in the house. Thank God they gotta over their little tiff. Readers will know I supported Clark in ’04. So that’s good. I wish he would have got a larger speaking role, especially last night (Nat’l Security night).

6:18 What a sec–Was that dude’s name Lloyd Fig-Newton?

6:41. I gotta ruling on Fig Newton. I did hear rightly. Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton. Here is the General’s bio. Dude was in the Thunderbirds. I guess you can get away with being called Fig Newton and not have your manhood questioned when you (from the bio) flew 269 combat missions from Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, including 79 missions over North Vietnam.”

For the kids at home, not these Thunderbirds:

These ones:

6:45 They are now blaring Born in the USA. Interesting choice, given it was co-opted by Reagan but also the lyrics are more blue collar Dem. But we just heard, “sent off to Vietnam to go and kill the yellow man.” Given McCain’s history with the VietCong this is strange on multiple levels.

Obama is going to be up very soon. Durbin is going to introduce him. The crowd seems to me fairly mellow, no real knock your socks off speeches yet.

7:03 They are playing the intro video. Nice voice over from one of my fav actors David Straithairn from Good Night and Good Luck (among many others).

7:09. Interesting question from Amy Sullivan at Time:

There are a lot of upsides to excitement and enthusiasm. But we’ll find out if the convention’s two conflicting messages–the country is going down the tubes! the country has never had such hope and possibility and thirst for progress!–are less effective than the “be afraid, be very afraid.”

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Doobie in Denver

Looking over today’s listing, I see Michael McDonald is up for a performance.

Which only brings to mind Paul Rudd in Forty Year Old Virgin (if anyone finds the youtube for this, lemme know and I’ll post it–I was unsuccessful):

“Nothin’ against him, but If I have to hear ‘Yah Mo B There’ one more time, I’m going to ‘Yah Mo’ burn this place to the ground!”

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 1:41 pm  Comments (1)  
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Review Dem Speeches Last Night

Last night a bunch of big guns took the stage: President Clinton, John Kerry, and the VP Nominee Joe Biden. Also the convention finally got its legs and momentum. Tonight will be at the very least interesting.

1)You can (and should) watch Bill Clinton here. While he looked flummoxed and past his prime on occasion during the primaries, this was the Big Dawg in true form. It reminded me of the lovable Bubba side with the tongue (repeatedly and literally) in the cheek. And he unlike any politician I’ve ever seen could deal with vastly complex issues in a clear way to the average listener. Clinton has always been able to make people feel intelligent and part of a bigger solution–amazing gift. Obama doesn’t really have that particular skill.

As even Andrew Sullivan admits, Clinton looked great in the role of party patriarch. It’s the role he should have been playing since the primaries began. He should have stayed out of the race and let Hillary run on her own terms. B. Clinton would have refrained from saying things that hurt his image–which it was nice to see restored last night.  As I’ve said before, I think it was Bill that disqualified Hillary from being VP.  Had he gone the stay out of it/patriarch role instead of so clearly wanting to be back in the White House, I think she would have very likely got the nod. Hopefully his speech and Obama’s shout out to him in his surprise appearance will help heal some of the anger.

2)Joe Biden. Biden’s speech here, here, and here.

Biden is Biden. He stumbles over words,he isn’t the polished Bill Clinton. But he can hold your attention and make his point. He’s got gravitas and it’s clear he’s no bullshitter. As someone raised middle class Catholic Biden is very recognizable to me as Midwestern Catholic working class guy. When he talks about how he is only around still for his kids and grandkids, he’s being sincere. He’s an excellent match for Obama.

3)But the speech that was probably (and unbelievably) the best of night belonged to John Forbes Kerry. Watch this speech–which unfortunately I’m told was cut off by Cable Analysis—where was this guy in 2004? If this dude had shown up against Bush he would be president accepting his nomination for his second term.

Biden and Clinton both made clear how stark the difference between Obama and McCain is. Bill focused more on McCain being the last in a long and exhausted line of Republican orthodoxy (supply side economics, fiscal mismanagement, politicization of science, etc.) while Biden focused more on a point by point foreign policy event by event take down of how Mccain was wrong on X (e.g. Iraq), Obama was right on X. McCain wrong on Y (Afghanistan), Obama right on Y.

But Kerry gave voice to the anger in the party and among independents. He gave voice to McCain’s flip-floppery (and coming from Kerry that’s pretty harsh). He gave voice to how really God awful McCain’s campaign is. Check it:

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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There Will Be No (Convention) Bounce

Deft analysis by Bill Scher on why we shouldn’t expect a bounce from the conventions, VP picks, etc. They might just act more as a reset button.

That said, the Republicans are going to be beyond brutal v Obama in their convention. I guess the Obama Camp hopes that something nut job crazy comes out of someone’s mouth. Might happen but they better not be banking on it.

Because bounce or no bounce, this has not been a particularly good convention so far. We’ll see what Obama can do. For all the summer I thought it was 60/40 Obama but it has certainly gone down to 50/50 and maybe under 50 for Obama at this point.

He still has a strong advantage in the electoral college and the race doesn’t really start, as they say, until after the conventions. Obama needs badly to ace the debates. Keep his cool but add some steel and be merciless in sticking the knife in McCain. Goad him into getting angry and off-topic because once he gets into that mode, he’ll make some serious error.

But they have ceded the offensive position to McCain to be sure. Perhaps they are thinking that there is a finite supply on this attacking (i.e. rope a dope strategy) but if they are thinking such a thing, they are going to pay for it. Not in a 24/7 Cable News World. Not when McCain is using the Media as free advertisement for lying ads. Like today’s on Iran.

Camp Obama appears to be putting too many eggs in the basket of voter turnout. A little unnerving I would say.

But things can change on a dime. Camp BO has to be hoping McCain picks either Romney (good for them) or Lieberman (great for Obama). I wouldn’t underestimate how dumb McCain is as a politician–he’s only done as well as he has given he had a Rove Lt. in Schmidt. If he picks Lieberman, all bets are off.

Update I: All that taken into account, these are extremely good numbers for Obama. It continues to appear that McCain’s only real route to victory involves an upset in Michigan. If Obama has PENN and NM locked down which I think he does (and these numbers confirm) plus Iowa, then without Michigan he is at 243. With Michigan he is sitting at 260.

In the scenario where Obama wins Michigan, then McCain basically has to run the table on Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada (down in the poll just cited), Florida, and Indiana. If McCain wins Michigan, then he puts serious pressure on Obama. Obama would then have to win Florida. Or NH, Ohio, and Colorado.

But if Obama can’t win Michigan, he is not going to win Ohio. Having lived in both of those states, Obama’s advantage is Michigan. Just as if Obama wins North Carolina he will already have won Virginia. Also, if McCain loses Colorado, he only has a 5% chance of winning according to the Obama Camp’s numbers.

If the election pushes 1-2% points in Obama’s favor nationwide, then North Carolina, Alaska, and Montana are in play.

For the best electoral mapping, here.

Published in: on August 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hill’s Convention Speech

Hats off to Hilldog. She brought her A Game tonight. (Text of her remarks here).

I’ve thought for a long time that what cost her the VP slot ultimately was Bill and think that’s sad he let his ego ruin her chances. That and Hillary’s predilection for yes-persons only loyal to her who simultaneously are afraid to tell her hard truths leading to group think. I’m not saying she would have been Darth Cheney Evil but that route has been tried recently from Blair House and it’s been not so good.

Electorally they would have been unstoppable and would have won a LBJ-like 1964-esque landslide. Off the top of my head I would say the two of them together, they would have won 38-40 states. It would have been a fantastic story and if only she didn’t have the baggage of Bill and her circle of cronies it could have happened.

I never liked disagreed massively with her reflexive hawkishness abroad and her command and control economic schemes at home, but she would have been (as she showed tonight) a fantastic campaigner/attack woman as well as a wheeler and dealer vis a vis The Congress (which she could still be in reverse to the White House), and a strong advocate for positions on health care, environment, justice issues. [Without her necessarily having to be in charge of the manner in which those policies were enacted which from my angle would have been the best of both worlds].

Update I: (Morning After)  Per Crowley’s comment that Clinton did not specifically point to any aspects of Obama’s character/readiness for the office, I think the reason for that is simple: she doesn’t believe he is ready. Never has, never will I assume.  She believes in the Democratic Party and its ideals as she said last night and she is voting for Obama based his adherence to those same values (not his personal attributes) and given what occurred in the primaries–and that she’s a Clinton–that is all (and more) that could have reasonably been asked for from her.  She is perfectly set up to be the nominee in 2012 if Obama loses without having been seen to do anything other than support him/make clear to her voters they must support him.

Published in: on August 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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D. Gergen on Michelle Obama’s Speech

What he said.

To watch M. Obama’s full speech here and here.  Text of the speech here.

Published in: on August 26, 2008 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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