I nestled into bed last night and got ready for Obama's speech. I wasn't sure what to expect, but my expectations were high. And to be honest, the show I saw blew me out of the water.
Before one word was uttered, the night was already historic. The first African-American candidate from a major party running for President...accepting his nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech...in from of 80k+ people...it was an extraordinary moment in political history.
This historical backdrop, combined with the actual staging of the event, then the introductory video, then the speech, then the celebration; if I was asked to script the last hour of a political convention, it would be something like that.
There was nothing major in the speech that alarmed me. He hit all the popular themes that got him the nomination, and even reached out to centrists with his comments regarding gun control and gay marriage. It was a little light on specifics, but that's what the next few months are for.
The speech, in and of itself, will be mostly forgotten in a few weeks, but the impressions will linger. Challenging McCain, standing up to criticism of his patriotism, challenging the people watching to continue the movement...these snapshots of emotion are what people will remember.
Once the emotion has died down, it will be interesting to see the reaction to the speech. Will it continue to go down as one of the best in history? Time will tell...and a win in November would go a long way.
So, we had the history from last night, and then today, a little bit more. By now you know John McCain announced his VP nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She is the second woman to be selected for a major party ticket, and come November 5, we will have either a woman or African-American elected to the executive branch for the first time.
I had the television on in my office this morning, the background noise of Joe and Mika is very comforting, waiting for some sort of breaking news. The McCain camp did a great job of concealing the choice of Palin. Every TV talking head kept revising their selection as potential picks were confirmed to not be in the mix. Blackberrys would go off, prompting everyone to stop what they were doing to see if one of their contacts had just responded.
CNN put up a graphic that 'signs' pointed toward Palin, but FOX got the first confirmation (surprise, surprise). With less than an hour before the rally was to begin, it was confirmed by the McCain campaign, and the scramble to find out something about Palin began.
Compared to the event from the night before, or even the introduction of Biden, the event in Dayton earlier today seemed amateurish. Issues with the microphone, music, no one seeming to know where to stand...combined with the smaller venue, crowd, and nervousness of Palin in her speech...it just wasn't flattering for the Republican roll-out.
Her speech was also a stark contrast from Bidens. Instead of delving into policy or political themes, it was more of an introduction of herself and family. Almost as an afterthought, she mentioned how much she admired McCain and was grateful to be selected by him. It could have been better...and probably needed to be better...but I think that the shock of the selection muted the criticism.
We will find out more about her in the near future, so stay tuned. Once the media (and Democrats) start finding out more about her (the beauty pageant, the Vogue photo shoot, etc.), we'll see how well she can stand up to the scrutiny and criticism.