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Democratic Convention Liveblogging: Barack Obama

Longtime readers of this blog know I have been in the tank for Obama for a while. In Hypothetical World my candidates were Gore and then Dodd, but among the feasible candidates there was really no question who I supported. Hillary I like, and think she would have made a fine president (and perhaps still may), but put succinctly, I am so sick of this dynasty crap.

And call me naive, but despite the (supposed) narrowing polls there's still no doubt in my mind that, barring electoral shenanigans, Obama's gonna win it. McCain is, to my mind, some sort of horrible Dole / Kerry hybrid, doomed by the utter lack of enthusiasm he engenders in his party.

Barack still has the task of introducing himself to the vast majority of America which is only now starting to pay real attention to the presidential race. It'll be interesting to see how he does so.

6:00: Good, if muted, speech by Al Gore. I've seen him get really riled up while speaking, but this was him in campaign mode, pulling his punches and just wonking-out up there. Second opinion, courtesy of The Queen: "As soon as Al Gore starts talking, I stop listening."

6:12: Who is this non-Obama person, and why is she talking ... ?

By the way, I busy playing Settlers of Catan last night, which is why I wasn't able to liveblog Clinton or Biden's speeches. Saw them both after the fact, though. Bill, it seemed to me, pulled some sort of crafty triple-cross; like, "Give me in a pre-prime time spot, will they? Well I'm going to give such a kick-ass stemwinder that they'll be wracked with agonizing regret for having stuck me in the six o'clock slot." Mission accomplished, Big Dog.

Biden: Yeah, whatever. He'll eviscerate whomever he faces in the debates, but that speech was a yawner.

Now there's someone else speaking, and he too, by all appearances, is not Obama. I feel tricked, like going to the cinema at the published time and getting 20 minutes of ads before the feature film.

6:22: Speak of the devil, it's Joe Biden again. Time to read Go, Dog! Go! to Squiggle.

6:30: Oh jeeze, who are these people? Delegates? I gotta say, that dog party was looking a lot more lively that the democratic party, right now.

6:36: TV is on mute. A woman with indigo hair is speaking, possibly an X-man of some sort.

6:50: TV still on mute. The mouth of PBS commentator Mark Shield is moving and in my head I hear the voice of Droopy Dog.

6:57: Dick Durban is now introducing Obama, and just bad-mouthed cold pizza. WAY TO LOSE MY VOTE THERE, CHAMP.

7:00: "And now there will be a video, to introduce Barack Obama." Up next: the cast of Gossip Girl introducing Barack Obama, followed by the 1976 Barber Of The Year (West Division), who will introduce Barack Obama.

7:08: I want a framed picture of that portrait of Obama and his grandfather. Also: whenever he says "the Fat Cats" I just want to pinch his cheeks, it's so adorable.

7:10: Obama just came out, and the sound engineer is probably already fired. It sounds like 17 of the 60,000 people in attendance are applauding.

7:12: Apparently Obama is going to utter one "thank you" for each person in attendance before beginning.

7:14: Accepted the nomination, thanked Hillary Clinton, thanked Bill Clinton. Then stopped for a moment, pulled a piece of paper from his breast pocket, and crossed the first three items off his to-do list.

7:16: Lapel pin.

7:19: Confidential to audience: when he says "Veterans are sleeping on the streets" you're not supposed to chap and cheer.

7:20: "On November 4th, we must stand up and say 'eight is enough'." Including that joke does not reflect well on his judgment.

7:21: "too much mccain. too little obama" What he said.

7:27: This speech really is for the benefit for those who have not paid attention to the race thus far. If you've been following the campaign at all, you've heard all this before.

7:30: Okay, here we go. He's mentioning actual policy, and started with taxes. #2, taxes. #3, taxes. #4, end dependence on foreign oil.

7:33: Buh? Did he just endorse nuclear power? Ballsy and awesome.

7:35: Little hearts float out of the top of my head when Obama speaks about Big Dreams.

7:38: McCain could just repeat this portion of the speech at the RNC, if the RNC still stood for (actual) conservatism.

7:40: Just openly questioned McCain's temperament. Oh man, I can't wait for the debates. If McCain wears his cranky pants that day, that could be the end of it right there.

7:45: Each ten minute block of this speech is better than the last.

7:50: Bumpersticker manufactures around the nation are scrambling to get "CHANGE HAPPENS" decals on the assembly line now.

7:52: Keeps saying "promisssssss"; sounds like Gollum.

7:55: Obama is totally emulating the Dr. King speaking-style while talking about MLK. I wonder if that's on purpose or, like, when you talk to a Brit and unconsciously lapse into an English accent.

7:56: That ended very ... abruptly. Suddenly The Queen and I are sitting in our living room, drinking beer, and listening to country music against our will.

7:58: The PBS pundits are all, like, "I'm not ... sure ... what's going on .."

Kind of a strange speech. The first half was like a "Greatest Hits" compilation of various lines used on the stump and in the primaries; the second half covered essentially the same ground, but was all fresh and newly written. It was like Obama pasted his usual rhetoric in Word, used it as a guide to write a brand new speech, and then neglected to delete the old stuff before delivery.

That said, the second half was great, with a lot of attention paid to Big Ideas and unity--something we haven't seen much of recently, as the Obama campaign has been bogged down in responding to the fusillade of negative messages coming from McCain. Hopefully they will again fly the banner of Hope going forward, and not get suckered into these rope-a-dope tit-for-tat flamewars.

Posted on August 28, 2008 to Politics


I liked Al's remark about "pro-choice AND pro-family." Heavens, sir, you couldn't be suggesting that it's possible to be both, are you?

And his flavor of the McSame remark, "I'm into recycling, but this is ridiculous". Very witty!

Posted by: Charity on August 28, 2008 6:25 PM

I've chosen not to watch the Democratic convention and instead form my opinion solely on your account. Please report responsibly. Thank you.

Posted by: Beth on August 28, 2008 6:37 PM

These representative yokels from around the country are actually tremendous. The Latina education PhD kept waving her hands anachronistically and smiling -- I loved it. The North Carolina kept saying "I cain't do it" as people cheered -- I loved it. Barney Smith is getting chanted at as he walks slowly away. Wow; it's all great.

Posted by: Andy James on August 28, 2008 6:44 PM

Something to keep you entertained until the Big Speech(tm):


Posted by: Eric on August 28, 2008 6:45 PM

*not* "pulling his punches", surely?

If you pull a punch, it hurts less.

Posted by: David on August 28, 2008 7:16 PM

i thought it was totally cute when his kids were like
"hey, we're on TV - look!"

Posted by: Leah on August 28, 2008 7:25 PM

I really hope you liveblog during the debates. I had a grand ol' time here and on Slate during both speeches.

Posted by: Ashley on August 28, 2008 8:01 PM

I caught that 'ssss' too... Reminds me of "Escape from NY" - Sssssnake Blissssssskin....

Posted by: Jim in Missoula on August 28, 2008 8:02 PM

anything that ends with pyrotechnics is pretty much awesome in my book - country music or no.

Posted by: Leah on August 28, 2008 8:03 PM

1) How about a shout-out to my main man Paul Giamatti for that awesome narration during that Barackography?

2) Favorite phrase uttered by Obama: "Happy talk."

3) When he looked into the camera and said, "I've got news for you, John McCain..." I half expected Vince McMahon to be there by his side.

Posted by: Eric on August 28, 2008 8:20 PM

Really? I thought this was PHENOMENAL. Am I just caught up in the mood? Was that really as roused as you and the Queen got? Wacky. I thought Obama actually attacked, but did so in a manner that was dignified. I love how he listed the issues the Repubs always throw out there, stopped, looked straight out and said "I get it". And then he opened the can of whoop ass with style. I only wish McCain had to speak directly after this.

Posted by: chris on August 28, 2008 11:05 PM

Obama was obviously the man of the hour. On Wednesday, I was pleasantly surprised by Brian Schweitzer of Montana. He relished being up on stage and fired up the crowd while being charming, wonky, and sorta goofy all at once. He's enormously popular in his home state and it's obvious why.

If for some reason Al prefers to keep doing his work from outside an official government position, Schweitzer's the obvious pick for Energy Czar.

Posted by: Eddie on August 29, 2008 3:36 AM

I thought the same thing about the "eight is enough" joke. Really? You're going to go with a pun about a Dick Van Patten sitcom?

Posted by: craig on August 29, 2008 9:31 AM

I keep thinking, "Hell yeah, Obama's gonna win! McCain's own party doesn't even like him, and Obama's got people fired up!" But then I remember that I live in deep-blue, gay-friendly, black-mayor-governor-having Massachusetts ... and that all those rubes who voted for Bush---TWICE!---are still out there.

Based on McCain's VP pick, I'm hoping that those rubes are made up of more misogynists than racists. When thoughts like that are among the best I can come up with about how our nation elects its leader, something is seriously wrong.

Posted by: Daddy Scratches on August 29, 2008 9:37 AM

Oops. That's "black-governor-having Massachusetts." Far as I know, there isn't a mayor of Massachusetts. *Sheesh*

Posted by: Daddy Scratches on August 29, 2008 9:40 AM

I need some of your optism. Will you please comment on McCain's VP pick? I wasn't a Hillary supporter, for many of the same reasons as you, but think she would (or will) make a fine president. However, I belive every woman of voting age in the US, especially those who supported Hillary, should be absolutely insulted by McCain's pick, as though we are not smart enough to distinguish between two women, we'll vote for ANY woman. Women of America, listen up! We're too smart for this! Cast your vote based on your concern for women, children, and families, not based on the candidate's chromosones.

Posted by: Anna on August 29, 2008 10:37 AM

Imagine, your second funniest post ever (after "The 30 least hot follow-ups") and it's about a political convention. Hysterical. Plus, I can pretend I'm informed without having spent all that time actually watching.

On a more serious note: You are actually the one who got me thinking about Obama. I actually made a bet with a co-worker after '04 that Hillary would be the Dem candidate this year and was pretty happy about it. (My Republican prediction was Jeb Bush. But W did such a lousy job that he's put that dynasty out of business for a while ... I hope). But you started me thinking about "this dynasty crap". And then Hillary acting all entitled about the nomination soured me on her candidacy and got me to take a more serious look at Obama.

Posted by: gruve on August 29, 2008 7:03 PM

All I know is that I heard from people all day long that they didn't even know that they could be inspired by a politician. The descriptions of his speech last night sounded more like people who had just seen The Dark Knight again. I heard a lot of, "That guy is a badass!" which is not something I've ever heard about any other politician.

All that in mind I just have to say, that guy is a badass!

Posted by: AZ Dave on August 29, 2008 10:57 PM

7:20: "On November 4th, we must stand up and say 'eight is enough'." Including that joke does not reflect well on his judgment.

Actually, I thought it was a good one. Only because it quickly illustrated a shared cultural experience. Gave something people could easily connect to.

I, and the thousand or so people I watched with, thought the speech was amazing. He totally stripped McCain down to his cranky underpants. Obama did exactly what he needed to do and then some, and in the process, making the case for liberalism--as opposed to conservatism. Good stuff!

Posted by: slag on August 30, 2008 12:04 AM