In my humble opinion, the Democratic National Convention was a political disaster, a wasted opportunity to present Obama and his case for the presidency. And I have been very impressed with Obama, he is a superb politician, even a great one, and he and McCain are two amazing pros, duking it out, but that said, this DNC was embarrassing hubris, the sort of arrogance you normally don’t see until a president’s second year in office.
Michelle Obama’s speech was all about her… this is who I am, this is what I thought when I first heard Barack’s name, this is how we fell in love, here are my children. Great stuff for me, as a historian, and great stuff for the public after the inauguration but the average viewer is saying, “Hey, you aren’t president yet buddy and this isn’t about you, it’s about me, and what will happen to my job, my taxes, my security?”
The Obama Campaign obviously sensed that this was a mistake and tried to make up for it by words… both Michelle and Barack are now saying – and he said it in his speech last night – “this isn’t about us it’s about you” but they couldn’t change the venue and as Michael Deaver taught us people remember what they see more than what they hear and last night they saw Barack Obama being coronated president.
It would have been much better if Obama had relied on speech writers. I guess he didn’t want to share the limelight with a Peggy Noonan type or maybe he started believing his own PR and thought he should just write it himself. There was no emotion.
In hindsight, it would have been much better if he had accepted the nomination at the convention, where it would have been seen more in the context of history. They wanted to show that they could draw a crowd and McCain can’t and that he is like Kennedy who accepted the nomination at the Los Angeles coliseum. But as it turned out, it was more like winning the Indianapolis 500 on a race track in Cincinnati. Maybe it counts in history but it would have been more satisfying to win it at the brickyard where it is normally run.