Convention Bits, Night One, updated during the festivities
Al Gore (here's a transcript) was solid, but nothing special. Best zinger was saying wouldn't it have been nice to go after the people that attacked us and still threaten us, al qaeda? instead of confusing them with Iraq? I liked Gore's strategy of speaking to Bush-voters from 2000("Did you get what you expected?") and Nader voters ("Do you still think there's no difference between the Democrats and Republicans"?). I suppose the tone-it-down strategy has some merit, but nobody's watching anyway, so does it matter?
Best speech so far: the man from Canton, OH (live feed) from the Steelworkers Union. No public speaker, but what he said made a hell of a lot of sense ("It's not all about profits, sometimes you have to take care of the people"). If I was an undecided blue-collar worker who voted for Bush before, watching C-Span on a Monday night, uh, oh nevermind.
Meltdown....they say they want to attract new voters, young voters, apathetic voters, and then they pick the world's worst music. I could go down the street and hear a better cover band.
Carter: (Transcript)"What a difference these few months of extremism have made." He refused to have his speech vetted, and he's pulling no punches. But again no network coverage, save PBS.
Hillary: (Transcript)Never really liked her speech giving voice, and tonight was no exception. Still, I liked the things she said. But overall didn't do much for me.
Bill: (Transcript)Took just the right approach. His emphasis on choices made by different sides is pretty brilliant. And associating himself with Bush/Cheney, recipient of the tax cuts, avoided war just like them, was also a nice touch and gives Clinton-haters a reason to vote for Kerry in an indirect sort of way. It puts a face on the "wealthiest 1%" line, and a face many don't like at that.
I just don't know if Kerry can pull this big event off. It's all about Thursday. Can his speech style persuade? Will anyone undecided be watching? I tend to think so. There seems to be a willing electorate out there. Charlie Cook, a DC political reporter, has looked in depth at the polling numbers and notices that among undecided voters there is a heavy diapproval of Bush. It's there for the taking for Kerry.
What did you see? Where do you agree/disagree?
UPDATE: Best bit of analysis of the night is from someone I don't usually care for: Andrew Sullivan: "the way in which the Democrats used the service record of Kerry against Bush was straight out of the Republican playbook. It's a pretty low blow, and Carter delivered it with a deep thud. When you describe someone as weak on defense and a draft-dodger, you're usually a Republican. But not this time."