I’m really digging this sort of convention


Well, Bud already kind of said what I wanted to say — or part of what I wanted to say. But dang it, I said it on Twitter last night!

Anyway, I mentioned before that I sort of didn’t get around to watching the first night of the DNC. But I did watch last night — although I missed maybe the first hour — and almost immediately loved it. My first, rather tentative, impression:

Normally, I tend to stew a lot during these things, whichever party is doing its thing. I might be watching the convention of the party whose candidate I wholeheartedly support, but dang — so many of those other people, throwing out all their partisan talking points, get on my nerves. There are high points, such as Bill Clinton’s magnificent speech in 2012, but then low points, such as Elizabeth Warren’s speech that very same night. And then there are all these speeches from people I never heard of, whose distinguishing characteristic is that they are enthusiastic partisans, and they’re standing there tossing out trite red meat to the crowd.

But I didn’t feel that way at all last night — even during the odd few seconds when AOC was on. She’s on, and suddenly you realize she’s… nominating Bernie Sanders? Did no one tell her what’s going on? Oops, she’s gone…

But hey, there was nothing partisan about it. Just AOC interrupting the party shindig to nominate somebody who isn’t actually a Democrat. Someone Democrats had decided rather firmly to pass on. It was just… odd.

What followed that, though, was wonderful:

Those vignettes from across the crunchy were both goofy, and wonderful. Celebrating what America is about, a snapshot at a time. These delegates didn’t just represent their states, they brought their states with them! And it was fun.

Quite a few people reacted by saying there seemed little reason why this would ever be done the old way, after this. And at least one I saw pointed out that this far better way was also quicker. Yup.

Finally, I realized why I liked ALL of this. Sally Yates, Bill Clinton, Colin Powell — all of it:

Far as I’m concerned, this is the way it should always be done in the future.


15 thoughts on “I’m really digging this sort of convention

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Actually, why WOULD there ever be a traditional convention in the future?

    They’re kind of pointless. They don’t decide anything. Used to be, they came together to wrestle with the issue of who the presidential candidate would be. They did that within my lifetime.

    But now, it’s all predetermined by (gag) direct democracy, back in the various states. Primaries and, in some places, those wretched things called caucuses.

    So why NOT just have those people in those states call it in via video stream? It’s already been determined.

  2. James Edward Cross

    The Democratic Party has a rule that anyone who has garnered over a certain number of delegates has to be nominated. AOC was asked to make the nomination. She made it very clear on social media that she supports Biden.

  3. Ken

    Enjoyed the roll-call of delegates. Liked Michelle Obama’s address. And Kasich’s.

    Not so much Powell’s or Clinton’s or the Carters’ or many of the other mailed in endorsement videos.
    They looked too much like TV campaign ads. Would’ve been better in person at a conventional convention.

      1. bud

        Norm, correct me if I’m wrong but I think he’s saying Obama’s message was disturbing. He’s raising a red flag.

          1. Norm Ivey

            Right. It was a terrific speech, but disturbing. Especially when you set it up next to other speeches he’s delivered, which tend to make me want to watch them standing up and saying ‘Amen!” every so often.

            Its message was disturbing, as it needed to be.

      2. Scout

        I heard commentary on NPR just now that other people had that reaction as well. Which I found surprising. My reaction was like Brad’s.

        They seemed to be saying that it was shocking that he was so serious and not totally optimistic, like being optimistic is his thing and all he is allowed to do. But to me, his thing is being honest. And this is what is happening now. I wouldn’t have expected him to say anything different. He just said it really really well and focused.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Here’s the thing that continues to amaze me, Scout…

          People express surprise, even dismay, that Obama — after staying silent for so long — is criticizing his successor. Because it’s “unprecedented.”

          You know what’s unprecedented? This moment. Having someone like Donald Trump be the successor.

          Good Lord, I hope any of the 44 normal presidents we have had would have criticized their successor this way if he’d been anything like this uniquely, outrageously unfit individual (which, thank God, never happened before now). To the best of their ability, anyway (only a couple in my lifetime have had rhetorical gifts comparable to Obama’s).

          To the extent they cared at all about the country, they would have an obligation to do so.

          And the way Obama did it was magnificent, and admirable. Every word he said was calm, measured, and perfectly suited to the message — which is what we always expect from Obama, and never, ever expect from his successor.

          This speech deserves a high ranking among speeches of ex-presidents. It might not have made us feel as good as Bill Clinton’s winner in 2012, but he had an unhappy, really a truly disgusting, subject to deal with…

          1. Barry

            Considering the current President spent years (Primarily on Fox News who enthusiastically enabled him) publicly lying about and calling into question the citizenship of President Obama, I thought Obama’s speech was downright quaint.

            I was hoping he’d really trash Trump and his enablers and stuff his lies down his throat.

            1. Barry

              BTW- I listen to the Michael Smerconish radio program on the POTUS channel each day on Sirius radio- an excellent show.

              His guest host this morning was Dr Anthony Mazzarelli. He felt the speech was a little tough but I’d say 80% of the callers thought it was a great speech.


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