Friday, August 29, 2008

Last Impressions of the Last Night of the DNC

Okay, I've had a night to sleep on it, so here's my take on the Obama speech.

1) For someone known to be an inspirational speaker, Obama's speech was mostly flat. Not much soaring rhetoric until near the end, not much energy until near the end, and it was mostly recycled ideas designed to fire up the base. He really didn't bring his A-game and the speech itself didn't lend itself to Obama's strengths.

2) I'm sure Invesco Field seemed like a good idea on paper, but after the rousing applause Bill Clinton got Wednesday night, the applause Obama got seemed muted by being outdoors. Not exactly the best image for a "rock star" like Obama.

3) There were more than a few attacks on John McCain, George W. Bush, and Republicans in general in Obama's speech. Isn't this the same guy who said he was tired of the way campaigns were being run?

4) Could the fireworks and confetti displays after Obama's speech be any more lame? All of the build-up to the speech from the Democrats and the media (who are pretty much the same thing)...and it was a bigger anti-climax than a guy with ED and performance anxiety.

7) The stage set-up was interesting. After viewing it a few times in long shots, it looked remarkably like...the Oval Office. This may be the only thing they got right all convention. As a speaker, I know the importance of setting and atmosphere can make or break a speech. But it shouldn't be the only thing you're bringing to the table. You have to have something to say.

8) John McCain showed unbelievable class yesterday when his campaign released an ad congratulating Obama for winning the Democratic nomination. Now, compare that to the number of cheap shots Obama and Democrats took on McCain over the past 4 days. If there was anything McCain could have done to stop the momentum Obama had coming out of the DNC, it was putting out the ad he did yesterday.

9) One more thing about McCain. This week his campaign showed that they can take on Obama-Biden on their turf and stay one step ahead of them. The very fact McCain kept coming up in conversation during the DNC, other than in negative terms, is a bad sign for Obama/Biden. If McCain keeps this up, the RNC may produce a bigger bounce than Obama got from the DNC.

10) Did you notice there were no balloons at Obama's speech last night? Jim Leher said that there wasn't a way to do it, but I think there was another reason. Remember the 2004 DNC when the balloons didn't fall when scheduled? That has more to do with the lack of balloons in my opinion than the venue.

11) I haven't mentioned the media much in these posts because there wasn't much to talk about. They're in the tank for Obama. With only a few exceptions, the coverage was pretty much positive. Heck, MSNBC might as well change its name to Moron Sycophantic Numbnuts for Barack's Campaign the way Keith Olbermann was slobbering.

Since the Olympics just ended earlier this week, I'm going to judge the DNC using a standard similar to that used in figure skating. The standards I'll be using are the compulsary (doing the minimum of what they were trying to do at the DNC) and artistic (how artfully they did it).

Compulsary: They got Barack Obama and Joe Biden nominated with a relative minimum of fuss. That gets them on the board. However, I am going to take off points for making a big production number out of a point of parliamentary procedure and how badly it was handled by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Hillary being the one to wrap up the roll call vote in Obama's favor and watching Pelosi really jump the gun with letting it happen without waiting for those opposed to the motion. Badly done on both sides. Out of a possible 5 points, I give the DNC 3.75 points.

Artistic: There's one word that describes my feelings on the DNC in the artistic category: ouch. Too many speakers saying the same things. Speakers yelling when they should have let their words be the powerful moments they wanted. Speakers who weren't used to using a teleprompter getting prime time speaking slots. Digging at the bottom of the political barrel and finding complete unknowns to give speeches. And with the "big ticket" speeches...most fell flat. Only the speeches by Bill and Hillary Clinton saved the DNC from getting a zero here. Out of a possible 5 points, I give the DNC 1 point.

Total score for the DNC: 4.75.

Next, the RNC. Keep your eyes peeled for the same kind of analysis and fun as you saw with these posts about the DNC. And, yes, I promise to try to do better. :-)

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