I’ve watched a month’s worth of television in the last couple of days. I figure if the Dems are going to put on a show the least I could do is to see how good a show they do.
But what has struck me most are the pundits. Hell, they’ve drug out Steve Buscemi, the actor who blew away people before he was blown away himself on the Sopranos. (I watch some TV.) Buscemi was asked by CHRIS MATTHEWS (read as scream!) of Hardball just how bad was Al Shapton’s speech last night. Geez, is Buscemi really qualified to do that? He didn’t appear so with a deer-in-the-headlights look. Besides, should we care what he thinks? In addition to Matthews, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Howard Fineman of Newsweek were appalled, but reports this morning say he electrified the audience.
Al Sharpton drew a rousing response when he forcefully challenged Bush’s argument last week before the Urban League that the Democratic Party takes black voters for granted. But Sharpton said that Republicans turned their backs on black voters years ago, and that it was Democrats who fought for and delivered civil rights and voting rights.
“Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so serious, is our right to vote wasn’t gained because of our age,” he said. “Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.” With applause rising from the convention floor, Sharpton shouted, “This vote can’t be bargained away. This vote can’t be given away. Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.”
And in the Times:
The Rev. Al Sharpton took the fight directly to President Bush in a booming and freewheeling speech on Wednesday night, challenging the president’s commitment to basic civil rights and recalling the disputed Florida vote of 2000, which has become a rallying cry for many black voters.
Mr. Sharpton, whose one-liners and rhythmic cadence were audience favorites during the primaries, had a hard time at first, his voice shouting, his face scowling. But Mr. Sharpton soon regained his familiar tone, hitting Mr. Bush with some of the most caustic and pointed remarks of the convention.
Edwards also got good marks, and of course, they’ve already anointed Barack Obama the next Democratic nominee based on his speech.
Fact is, there have been some good speeches, but nothing to make the hair on my arm stand up. Nothing that gets my heart pumping with an adrenaline rush. Certainly nothing to make my eyes well up.
But the media is determined to rate these speeches: Which ones succeeded (Obama, Edwards, Clinton). Which fell flat (Kennedy, Heinz Kerry, Dean). Which were counter-productive (Sharpton, if you believe the MSNBC crew and of course, Fox News.) George Stephanopoulos, who by himself can discredit an entire profession, gushed after Edwards’s speech, that he was “very effective” and “most impressive” in his quieter moments.
But maybe in the confines of the Fleet Center when one is waiting for something to get excited about, the speeches can “electrify,” But sitting at home, which where the real audience lies, I think I lot of folks are yawning.
Give Sharpton credit for taking Bush on and Edwards credit for at least have some substance, but some of his speech seemed to be trying to out GOP the Republicans.
And we – John and I -we will have one clear unmistakable message for Al Qaida and these terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. We will destroy you.
Believe me, I’m not wearing love beads or a tie-dyed shirt, but I’m not comfortable with that John Wayne shit. I don’t think he was talking of the way to truly destroy Al Qaeda. Which is to change some of our oppressive policies and get Saudi Arabia to offer some kind of education that isn’t inculcating children with fundamentalist doctrine. We can’t kill them all. Every one killed creates two new ones. But the Dems seem to be too afraid to trust the judgement on the American people. They just want to prove they love our soldiers and will give them more protective armor.
In fact, Stephanopoulos and I agree (I worry that’s not a good thing) about the effectiveness of quieter moments. All the speakers seem to be shouting. I guess it’s expected when you see a vast sea of signs and smiles waiting to wave and beam. It’s hard to believe you can be intimate.
But if the TV audience is the true target – however small that may be (registration required) – they need to talk softer. Converse, not yell.
I just hope Kerry doesn’t adopt those oh-so-stentorian tones tonight.