Since I listened to Rick Santorum's defense of the rights of the unborn at the RNC, it seems only fair to give some time the woman Rush Limbaugh made famous by mocking for not wanting to get unintentionally pregnant, Sandra Fluke:
Now on to John Kerry, the heartbreak of 2004, speaking about Romney's foreign policy proposals:
Using "Respect" as the intro is an interesting choice. Weird to think that if he had won in 2004 and then won re-election, this could have been making his speech as incumbent tonight. Ah, alternate history... Oh, good one about his outsourcing the job of Commander in Chief to Neocons. And finally somebody addressing American exceptionalism as being something produced by doing exceptional things. Like standing up for freedom and fighting global warming. This is really a nice succinct argument for Obama's foreign policy. Eliminating more of Al Qaeda in the last three years than in the previous eight? I like this "he promised" "he did" motif he's got going here. And now name-checking Netanyahu against Romney. Refused to accept the false choice between diplomacy without force and force without diplomacy. You go, John! Really gratifying, this is like anti swift-boating. And now he's throwing "for it before you were against it" back at them too. It really is amazing that the party of defense and strength abroad turned out Romney as a nominee. Kind of a testimony to how well Obama's been doing, that things seems stable enough that it isn't even a major issue.
And now to the woman who would be my Senator, Elizabeth Warren, who gave a speech I've already heard plenty about, busy as my work-week was. Let's see if it was as rabble-rousing as I've been led to believe:
Who was she introducing by the way? Oh yes, that's right, one former President William Jefferson Clinton:
Somebody has to follow it. And the somebody who's speech would most strongly compared to it, for good or ill, of course, would be President Obama's. I've heard that it was more restrained than many were expecting, but I wonder if some of that was the comparison effect. Let us see:
Did they really move inside because of the rain? Maybe yes, probably no. But it is a nicely filled-out room. Okay, I'm already doing the compare to Romney game. I have to think the guy who seems more optimistic and relaxed is going to take it. Look at Bush/Gore. Look at Bush/Kerry. And it's already clear who's on what side of that between these two speeches. Although he does keep slipping in to this slightly pugnacious look. I guess this race has him riled up! Beats Romeny's exaggerated-eyed aloof nod, to be sure. A choice between two paths, good. I'm liking this, we've been there and tried that, and we are moving forward. And, however it plays, I have to admire the, "I'm here to tell you the truth- it won't be easy, it won't be quick." Didn't work so well for Carter or Mondale, but it's still the higher road. Interesting to observe to the side, as I'm watching this on YouTube- 1.165 million views, 11,702 likes versus 3,388 dislikes. (Update- the most viewed one I could find had 356K views, with 2,804 likes versus 3,558 dislikes.) Even given that the net audience skews younger and better educated, therefore more likely Progressive, that's pretty good. Remind me to check Romney's stats after... Asking us to choose a path that leads to more manufacturing jobs and less imported oil dependence. Reminding us that climate change is not a hoax, and the dangers it poses to our children's future is not a joke. And now education as the key to future competitiveness, which government has a role in, but everyone has to work on together. Now reminding us of his foreign policy promises, and how they've been delivered on, sounding almost Bushian with the new tower rising and Osama Bin Laden is dead line. And remembering to mention the troops in harm's way (boy do I bet Romney regrets that one) but tying it back in to policies to take care of the troops when they come back home. You know, I think what this really sounds like is the more sober, responsible speech of a sitting President. It's appropriate, I think, and the way you put down a challenger by contrast. Definitely some chutzpah on the foreign policy inexperience of Romney and Ryan given he came in with none himself, but hey, he's delivered. I'm liking this "I refuse" line, listing the things that benefit the middle class that he's not willing to give up on so that an upper income tax-cut can happen. Pivoting from that to, "this is the choice we now face." And packaging the Republican policy prescription as being something that's not who we are. Believing in the next little girl who might become President! Government can't solve all of our problems, but it isn't the source either. "We" like a thousand times. Nice- "you were the change", "you did that" to counter the "you built that." The party certainly knows how to not roll over and play dead by ceding all language of citizenship and patriotism to the Republicans. Interesting end- owning up to his failings and limitations, but how we give him hope. Like 2008 inverted. And if we share that hope, then he asks us for our vote. Wow, that was an end!
Do I have any closing remarks that compare the two? Why yes, yes I do. In the boring realm of facts, the Democrats did much better. Witness, for eample, Factcheck.org's rundown of Biden and Obama's speeches (By the way Joe- I apologize for dropping you from this review. You know I dearly love you, but my time was too limited, and you know how Bill likes to go over...), and contrast the exaggerations there (and surely there were some) to the outright lies documented there for Romney and Ryan. As far as tone goes, I agree with Sean Trende's column from RealClearPolitics that the Democrats actually seemed like the riled-up and enthusiastic challengers this year. As for Obama's speech, I'm not sure I agree with those who found it comparatively lackluster. As I said above, I found it to be more appropriately sober and honest about the road ahead without ceding a single policy or rhetorical point. That being said, I can understand Joe Klein's take on it, and I think he's on to something: An ideal Democratic candidate might be accomplished by a mind-meld between Obama and Clinton. Maybe I'll run on that...
And there you have it. Our conventions are done, less than 60 days to go. Ding! for round two!