The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, July 26, 2004


I'll keep this short and sweet, as today was a relatively busy day (had a midterm)...

--The little intro music the convention band played for each speaker is awful, and has to go. If they're gonna do that, hire Paul Shaffer or something. Oh wait, he's Canadian. I'm sure Bruuuce would let McAuliffe borrow Max for a while!

--The round-table sock-puppet punditry on the cable news networks is bad enough. But as idealistic as my convention-watching was in its intent, the callers on C-SPAN are so much worse. The liberal callers stutter and stammer and get their facts wrong, and the righty callers spout verbatim RNC talking points. Then again, at least this boils down cable news roundtable coverage to its essence, and for that perhaps I should be thankful.

--Hillary's "5-minute" speech ended up running 12 minutes in length, so let's have none of this stuff about her getting shafted. She was very effective, and it took two brief shakes of my head to set aside my feelings of "boy, she'd make a great president".

--Saw portions of Gore and Carter's speeches. Gore was hard-hitting as usual, but more reserved at times, and peppered his speech with bits of humor, particularly when recalling the 2000 Florida debacle. Carter's speech provided the most pointed attacks of the Bush administration of the night, and as an 81-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, he was able to say pretty much anything he wanted without having to worry about any consequences for the party as a whole. Of course, the usual suspects didn't have many nice things to say about him.

--As for Bill? Blew the roof off (text). I was disappointed they didn't do the "hall walk" thing with him that they did back in 2000 in Los Angeles. He made a great explicit case for Kerry while also making an accidental case for repealing the 22nd Amendment. Ok it's kinda hard to reconcile those two, but you get the idea.

Will Clinton's speech overshadow Kerry's? I'm not sure. From an oratory standpoint I'd take Bill over John any day of the week. But the answer to this question is in our expectations: The knock on Kerry is that he's not charismatic, that his vocal delivery, while weighty, is a bit stale and tired. Thus, the expectations are low, so all Kerry has to do for his speech to be a success is to exceed those expectations. This, of course, was the advantage Bush had in the 2000 debates with Gore.

So the question becomes, will the low expectations for Kerry survive Clinton's lights-out speech? Given that they'll be three days apart, I'm guessing they will.

Tomorrow: Dean, RonRon, and more!


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