Well, the big night arrived, and the three of us gathered together to experience this historic moment in America the only way we knew how:Â via the warm glow of our computers.Â Welcome to the recap of the big finish for the Democratic National Committee Convention.Â Jon, Dw, and I are ready to take you where youâ€™ve probably already gone since, you know, the Convention was last night.Â Okay, on with it!
Dick Durbin Introducing Obama’s Biographical Video
Ted: Are you watching Dick Durbin?
Dw: Yup.Â I’m giving him a pass. He’ll start Jenny Craig tomorrow.
Jon: I wish he’d get it over with.Â I didn’t tune in for pasty-face.
Ted: Dick Durbin looks like a guy who could own a motel on Interstate 80 … near North Platte, Nebraska.
The Biographical Video Starts
Jon: This profile video is a bit lackluster for my taste.Â All these videos have to be compared to Bill in ’92, and that video of teenage Bill with Jack Kennedy.Â This video is a bit generic — apart from the personal details, the themes could be plugged right into Hillary or Biden’s intro video.
Ted: I have to admit that my mind is wandering as I watch this.
Dw: True story. After Obama’s speech in 2004, I told people he was going to be the nominee in the next election cycle. They told me I was nuts.
Ted: I remember his speech, and I too saw a winner.Â But I kept it to myself.
Dw: Wise move. I should learn to shut my mouth more often.
Obamaâ€™s Speech Starts
Ted: U2!Â What is that “City of Blinding Lights?”
Dw: Yessiree. I like. Better choice than “Beautiful Day” for the umpteenth time.
Ted: Wow!Â Tons of “Thank yous”
Jon: 31 â€œThank yousâ€, by my count.
Dw: Tank ya, tank ya. A wunnaful, a wunnaful. You’re welcome. Get on with it.
Jon: Michelle stands out in a crowd of 75,000 in that dress.Â Where’s Joan Rivers to praise it?
Ted: Joan’s trying to find her face — which has been stretched to the back of her head.
Jon: Gwen notes that Barack’s tie and Michelle and the girls’ dresses are all coordinated. Let’s see how that looks at the end of the speech…
Ted: Gwen is good at noticing these things.Â I’m just kind of like “Uh, nice tie.”
Barack Thanks Hillary Clinton (With a Huge Applause Erupting)
Dw: Well, I guess a Hillary namecheck was inevitable.
Ted: Had to do that early for the “unity factor.”
Dw: Like a Hitchcock cameo â€¦ Get it out in front.
Jon: “We love America too much to let the next four years be like the last eight…Eight is enough!”
Ted: Did he just make an “Eight is Enough” reference?Â I kind of liked that show…
Dw: Dick Van Patten gives a little cheer in his rumpus room.
Jon: Isn’t Dick Van Patten a solid Republican?
By the way, my 11-year-old son Jacob is in the room watching this speech.Â It’s the first political moment he’s ever really paid attention to.Â I’m very proud to have him in the room with me.
Ted: My 12-year old daughter is watching, too.Â She just asked me “Is Barack going to be our next president?”Â And my answer was: “I sure hope so.”
Man, his family looks great!
Dw: And his wife doesn’t look like a Fembot. Thatâ€™s very important.
Ted: Yeah, imagine that:Â A modern first lady who isnâ€™t lobotomized.
Dw: But the downside is that we wouldn’t get a first lady who can shoot bullets out of her chest.
Ted: Or walk around in sexy underwear. I don’t think this country has had a first lady do that since Martha Washington.
Jon: “I don’t know what kind of life John McCain thinks celebrities lead”…and with a flick of the tongue, Obama exposes the Republican Party in all its irrelevance.
Ted: Go get ’em, Barack! Unlike John Kerry, Obama knows the stakes.
Dw: This is no “reporting for dutyâ€¦” Thank God.
Jon: BARACK EMBRACES THE 10-YEAR TIMETABLE!!!!Â That’s MAJOR!!!!
And he actually comes out and says drilling is just a “stop-gap.”Â Wow! Actual bravery in a nationally televised speech.Â Suck on THAT, McCain!
Ted: Wind, solar, biofuels…I think I just had a Green orgasm.
Dw: He’s killing on every one of these topics.
Ted: And it’s not about drilling or “Shootin’ at some food, and up from the ground comes a bubblin’ crude.”
Jon: Well, Jed Clampett is pretty much all that’s left of the Republican base…
Ted: I always thought Jed was a Democrat.Â Now, Jethro...that’s another story.
Jon: Well, Jed was open to new things, and he moved to Beverly…Hills, that is…Democrats…movie stars.
Ted: Good point.Â Jethro just kind of lived off the wealth … kind of like George Bush.
Dw: Foreign affairs! Foreign affairs!Â This kills the “Hussein” nastiness. He’s hitting targets from both angles – head-on and subtle.
Jon: And YES!Â We’re back to the 2004 speech!Â The echo had to come in somewhere.Â And to tie it to the troops is just brilliant–partly because I bet more troops will be voting Democratic this year than at any time in recent history.
Ted: God, if I were stuck in Iraq on my fourth tour of duty, I sure would. And for all you doubters out there who thought Obama has no vision, fuck you. Oh where are my manner, “Fuck you, please.”
Dw: Vision or substance. We got substance in bushel-barrels tonight.
Ted: I’m just waiting for the guys selling peanuts and pop in the stadium to start yelling “Yo, substance!Â Get yer substance, here!”
The Big Finish
Jon: You’ll never hear John McCain talk about finding middle ground on abortion, guns, gays, etc.Â His constituents wouldn’t have it.Â Ain’t life grand in the world of absolutes–as long as you’re self-interested enough not to care about anyone else?
Ted: Which makes elections about â€œsmall things.â€Â That leads to a loss of hope and “settling” for what theyâ€™re shoveling.
Jon: Sorry, Barack, this election really is about you.Â That’s why you’re standing there.Â If it were about us, Hillary probably would be up there (in a smaller hall).
Dw: Heâ€™s breaking down the cult of personality, building context, and here it is:Â the tie in.
Ted: How it all relates to the promises of the “I Have a Dream” speech.
Jon: Amazing, by the way, that we got 40 minutes into the speech before he mentioned MLK on this night.
The Speech is Over
Ted: That’s it? Thatâ€™s the end of the speech?Â I want more!
Dw: No, no, no. It’s perfect. This is the poli-sci speech I was clamoring for. I’m telling you, they took the playbook and knocked it ass over end. What I loved was that he didn’t rely on bumper stickers to hit it.
Jon: Barack Obama is magnificent.Â I keep trying to find something to say about the end of that speech, but I’ve got nothing.Â I’m pretty sure McCain won’t have fireworks at the end.
Ted: That was an amazing speech. It had substance, with passion, and vision.Â And I gotta say â€¦ finally, a Democratic nominee with a spine.
Jon pretty much sounds the keynote on our views of Obamaâ€™s speech, so he gets the spotlight to close our coverage of the Democratic National Committee Convention. Take it away, Jon!
Jon: Tonight Obama swept away all the trivializing GOP attacks of the last month–not just by responding with a strength he hadn’t shown before, but with a massive substantive counterattack against McCain and with a heartfelt scolding:Â These are serious times, far too serious for the silliness the Republicans have displayed this summer.Â The Republicans’ eventual comeback Friday and this weekend, of course, likely will be more GOP silliness–perhaps even accusing him of paraphrasing Aaron Sorkin too closely at several points, exaggerating the points that we (and Brian Williams) have noted.
I honestly don’t know how the Republicans can follow this in St. Paul, but I’m more excited than I previously was to find out.Â They’ve got so little time to build a coherent response to the series of indelible moments this week.Â If all they’ve got in response is insults, mockery and belligerent muscle-flexing, it’s going to be the most disheartening, despicable GOP convention since 1992–with likely the same result in November.Â The GOP must be reeling right now; the Obamas, the Bidens, the Clintons, and 75,000 folks in a magnificent political spectacle just knocked them to the floor.Â Can they even get up off the mat?