Last thursday

A few thoughts about the convention, way after the fact (computer issues):

1. Edwards was OK, but not as good as usual. I still think his message is gold for the Democrats, and, as Saletan says, it probably sounded a lot more interesting to people who haven't been hearing it night and day for the past 9 months. Besides, it has to be difficult to tack on lots of new material (foreign policy, Kerry praising) to a stump speech you've been reciting in your speech for a year, hence his pacing issues. It also made me realize in a way that I hadn't before that Edwards really has quite a stomach for the cheap heart string tug. Uh-duh, I know, but when he's really on, it sounds authentic and that's the beauty of it. But when he's not on, I realize, he says it anyway, because he knows someone out there has a lower threshhold for authenticity, and they'll just love it. I think that's a good political skill even though people with highly evolved bullshit radars will attack you for it. Clinton at times turned my stomach to the same extent that he made me want to stand up clapping at others. But he owned his bullshit like no other, and the country would have elected him for it again if they'd been allowed. Unfortunate that Edwards' national TV time had to be one of the lower-spectrum moments, however.

2. I won't say much about Kerry since that boat has sailed by now. But I was more than impressed with the speech. Before Thursday, I really tried to avoid listening to him talk--I found his presence at the primary debates just slightly more pleasant than Chinese water torture. But I think his convention performance was able to achieve an exciting middle ground between pompous Kerry and smart Kerry. More than anything, you felt that despite his flaws, he is a serious person and is dead serious about the ideas he is putting forward. There was a glimmer of the same "no-bullshit" effect President Bush achieves by pretending he spent his youth being home-schooled by barely literate cattle ranchers. That's good news.


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