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I didn’t watch it live. Maybe the thrill was gone watching on the computer. But this was it? It was pretty and the man has a lovely voice, but, really, who would be persuaded by this who hadn’t already decided they were going to vote for him?

He began by saying how optimistic he was about America and what hope he saw. A far cry from bitter people clinging to guns and religion, eh? But the remainder was a tableau of the dreary and drearier. The idea, I think, was to show he “gets it” but watching other people’s tales of woe didn’t really tell us all that much about him. And that I think was the cardinal problem: it didn’t say really anything new. And showing clips of old speeches seemed to reinforce the sense that you’d seen it all before.

Moreover, he seemed rather passive. He literally was the narrator. He didn’t tell us what he’s done and why we should think he really can solve these people’s problems. (Sen. Dick Durbin said in passing he was in the state legislature — but did what? Joe Biden recycles Obama’s supposed “leadership” on the nuclear proliferation bill once again.) But you just have to take it on faith, you see, that he is capable of doing things and making good choices. Becasue it’s not what he’s done; it’s what he says that matters. He is not exactly a whirlwind of action and activity.

He did spend just a moment on Iraq. But it was in passing. Iraq is, after all, just an annoyance and barrier to his spending more money on more domestic programs. And that was the theme — all the stuff government is going to do for you. And yes, he told us in an excessively soothing voice.

He ultimately is saying: Bush is bad and I’m a calm guy. John McCain’s message is: Bush is leaving and Obama is too risky. The pictures say “soothing,” but the message was so frothy it’s hard to see what, if anything, people will remember of it.


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