This morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough compared the two conventions to Muhammad Ali versus Chuck Wepner. His point, of course, was that the Democratic Convention was vastly superior. Aside from the inconvenient fact that Wepner actually knocked Ali down, Scarborough’s analysis doesn’t ring true to me.
Both conventions had bumps. For example, the Democrats had the embarrassing moments such as the Obama speech venue change — and removing God and Jerusalem from their platform. And the Republicans had Clint Eastwood. Yet both conventions also accomplished what they set out to do. Mitt Romney was humanized – and Barack Obama fired up his base (a calculated move which could have some negative consequences).
While I was generally critical of the DNC (as potentially turning off mainstream Americans), the third night was, by far, the best. On Thursday, Democrats eschewed their message of victimhood and radical liberalism, in favor of a more traditional, populist and — yes, patriotic – message that will play well in middle America.
In paying so little attention to our troops and veterans, Romney gave the Democrats a sword. And to paraphrase Nixon, they twisted it with glee. Sen. John Kerry’s speech was surprisingly good. Joe Biden’s speech had its moments, though it lasted about 25 minutes too long.
I was also greatly impressed by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s speech. To be sure, it has been mocked by Republicans as proof she needs to switch to decaf, but it struck me as one of the best speeches of either convention. Granholm found ways to zing Romney, while also coming across as funny and likable. This is no easy task.
She could have delivered another boring speech, and nobody would have minded. Instead, she took a risk. Whether it’s a musician or a politician, there is something utterly attractive about a person willing to lay it all on the line. It was carnal. I found her enthusiasm compelling. And I don’t even agree with her.