I’m far from convinced that party conventions make for much in the way of worthwhile television. There are always entertaining moments, like Zell Miller’s rabid, mouth-frothing rant four years ago. Awkward, silly moments, like Obama’s interaction with his wife and daughters via teleconference after Michelle’s speech last night. But, for the most part, they’re fairly uninteresting, uninspiring speeches, given by mediocre public speakers, repeating uninteresting boilerplate attacks on the opposition candidate, and even less interesting, and less specific, plaudits for the nominee.
So, although I always watch them quite religiously, both Republican and Democratic, I rarely feel like I have much worth saying about them. But, so far tonight, there have been some really entertaining moments.
As Steve Benen said, Kucinich’s speech was “a real stemwinder”. It’s worth a click over to Youtube to see it. Although his halting cadence in the high-energy, ranting section in the middle is a bit odd, I’ll have to give the man this much – he sure knows how to give a speech!
And, although it’s not yet up on Youtube, Bob Casey’s speech was remarkably good. I saw Casey debate Rendell on Meet the Press on the relative merits of Obama and Clinton, and I found him rather…pathetic. Especially compared to Rendell’s funny, smooth, and witty repartee, Casey was dull, formulaic, and simply uninspiring.
But tonight? His cadence is also a little off, and he’s not the most expressive speaker. But his line about how McCain is ‘not a maverick, but a sidekick!’ was pretty good, and his use of the repetition of the phrase ‘we can’t afford four more years – how about four more months?’ worked really well, especially in the convention setting. It would have been better if he had figured out how to make it obvious to the crowd that they were supposed to chant ‘four…more…months!’ with him at the end of each stanza, but still – it’s good rhetoric, a snappier way of putting the ‘more of the same’ idea. Much like, as much as I hate to admit it, the deplorable, but probably effective, thing the Repubs did in ’04, handing out sandals to the delegates and having them wave them around, chanting ‘flip-flop! flip-flop! flip-flop!’
Anyhow, the whole process is actually giving me a little hope and optimism for the next 8 years…