Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Convention thoughts

Truth be told, I typically don't watch much of either the Democratic or Republican National Conventions. I didn't catch really any of the DNC on Monday night, though I did tune in to see Mark Warner and Hillary Clinton last night. A few thoughts on some things ...

- Clinton, who I was especially hard on during the primary, did an excellent job last night. It was a passionate speech that equally focused on her accomplishments and passions, promoted Barack Obama and criticized John McCain. I was most impressed.

- Warner's speech was, well ... eh. I like the guy, and I'd love to have a Mark Warner-type guy running in Georgia, but his speech was so mundane and lacking of fire that I kept finding my mind wander. I'm a postpartisan kinda guy, but his comments were so bland and unmotivating, all his talk did was just occupy time until Clinton spoke.

- Regarding the VP selection, I like picking Joe Biden. I think he's got some good credentials on both foreign policy and domestic policy, and he won't shy away from directly attacking the Republican ticket, which is something Democrats haven't effectively done since the 1996 presidential election. He can go off message quite frequently, but so can Obama, and I think their penchant for candor will be refreshing this year.

- Regarding my criticism of Warner's speech, the speakers as a whole need to kick up the criticism and contrast of their opponents. One thing Republicans do very well is devote their convention to branding their opponents, and it's time we get that. Clinton, of course, gets that, and that's why her speech was so effective (and, from what I heard from Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer's speech in between Warner and Clinton, he gets it too). It isn't enough to say 'we need to move to the future' but also tell folks why they should pick you over your opponent.

- Talking with a friend after a church meeting last night, he and I were discussing the Republican pick for VP. I think it will ultimately be a safe pick in someone like Mitt Romney, but I honestly believe McCain wants to take Joe Lieberman because he feels he'd be the right man for the job. And I think that's the wise choice because it works for the GOP in two ways ... it could pay off immediate dividends by showing bipartisanship and force the party to finally adopt a more mainstream approach rather than wildly lurch to the neoconservative right (save foreign policy, of course, which would grow even more hawkish and unpredictable) or it forces the Republican base - assuming a McCain loss with Lieberman on the ticket - to regroup and reenergize its faithful. Picking a Romney or Tim Pawlenty doesn't offer either opportunity.

UPDATE: In hindsight, it's a shame the Schweitzer speech didn't get better press coverage. Folks were too obsessed with what Clinton would or wouldn't say, they actually missed a solid speech on energy independence that was sharp, funny and engaging (which is hard to do when you're talking about energy independence), and it's one reason why Schweitzer is one of my favorite Democrats.


Post a Comment

<< Home