Random Thoughts

Michelle Obama’s speech last night is being nearly universally praised as a smashing success. Even some righties admit it. The only exception I’ve found so far is Byron York, who creates an appearance of inconsistency through creative quoting. Well, that’s what they pay him to do.

The Right keeps trying to spin Michelle Obama into Angela Davis ca. 1970. I’ve thought all along that if the American public could just get an unfiltered look at her, most of them would like her just fine. Especially compared to the genuinely disturbing Cindy McCain.

Spouse speeches at these conventions usually are fairly forgettable. I’ve been trying to remember some from the past. The only presidential candidate wife whose convention appearance I remember is Pat Nixon in 1972, for some reason. And I don’t remember if she actually spoke. I just remember that when she appeared on the stage she got huge applause, which I took to be in sympathy. Wow, Pat, you put up with that creep. How do you do it?

I also remember one veep spouse speech — Marilyn Quayle, 1972 1992. She was so hateful, so arrogant, so smug, she was nearly unbearable. I remember the reactions of co-workers, mostly women, the next day — usually a finger down the throat, to suggest gagging. I think that she and Pat Buchanan’s declaration of culture war helped Bill Clinton win the election.

Michael Tomasky
thinks Michelle Obama should have been schmaltzier. He also said that last night wasn’t nearly negative enough. I want to see John McBush thoroughly skewered the remainder of the convention, but I don’t necessarily think it was a mistake to keep the first night positive and uplifting, especially since it was Kennedy night.

With all the sturm und drang over the Clintons, it was such a delight to forget them and remember the Kennedys. Back in the Kennedy era, Democrats were Democrats, dammit. No triangulation; no wussy DLC accommodations to the Right. Now there’s just Ted, and his time is almost up. I love the symbolism of Caroline and Ted passing the torch to Obama.

So, Day 1 was about This is who we are. This is our vision. The rest of the convention needs to be, Now, let’s go kick some right-wing ass.

16 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

  1. I don’t necessarily think it was a mistake to keep the first night positive and uplifting, especially since it was Kennedy night.

    Exactly. Kennedy was in no shape to be the attack dog and it would have ruined a really sentimental moment. If Michelle went after McCain (or Bush) instead of beautifully introducing America to her family and her life experiences, all the media would have been talking about today is how angry she is.

  2. The Right keeps trying to spin Michelle Obama into Angela Davis ca. 1970.

    Last night I kept thinking: Laura Petrie, plus 40 IQ points and if feminism had happened 15 years earlier. Perhaps it was the dress.

    Come to think of it, Barack does have a kind of goofy, Rob Petrie-ish demeanor sometimes. All part of their charm.

  3. My mother, who’s coming up on 80, said that she thinks the Obamas would be the classiest first family of her lifetime, with a possible exception for the Roosevelts. She’s gotten really, really, really tired of stupid vulgarity being glorified. (She’d be voting Democratic anyway – she’s mightily disappointed by Obama’s embrace of the “center”, but comments that there’s still a long way from there to McCain – but she is herself a classy little old lady from Pasadena who deserves a less appalling White House occupant.)

  4. Boy, Maha, do I agree about Kennedy. As Ford said after pardonning Nixon something about our long nightmare being over, the exit of the Clintons may indicate that our (Democrats) long nightmare may be over.

    Cohen (?) over at Wapo referred to Michelle and her speech as evidence that she’d been ‘lobotomized.’ How gracious of him.

  5. you should watch the convention on PBS, channel 26 in DC. CNN didn’t cover Pelosi at all. PBS was showing nearly everything. They also scored and interview with Carter immediately following his brief appearance.

  6. I was kind of disturbed by the post-evening analysis by Tweety and Rachel Maddow (others were involved, but I lost the names) going on about the lost opportunity to do some Red Bashing. But I appreciated the differentiation. “Vote for us because we’re just as nasty as they are” doesn’t float my boat. We have to do it, yes, but let’s get off on a positive spin.

    I think it would be wonderful if Hillary and Bill and Joe all drew bold lines in the sand and bashed the Repugs repeatedly over policy, the last 8 years, the war, the economy, “the way they are,” etc., until their heads spin. Then lets finish with Obama doing his forward-looking, inspiring dawn-of-a-new-America finish.

  7. Dave

    I continually get ‘disturbed’, although I know better, when what I take as a sensationally wonderful speech etc. is then trashed by the media ‘personalities.’ I know better because the media, to hold our interest, have to ‘tell a story’, create a story out of usually no story, like “once upon a time and then one day and just when everything was going well…”

    Of course in the world of fiction writing “when just at the last moment…and they all lived happily ever after” would wrap it up. Of course, what the media don’t want to do is wrap anything up, in other words kill a good story – which is more often than not one that they’ve created.

  8. I like the “McBush” designation,Maha. It’s the most efficient and concise linkage I’ve seen yet. Brief and to the point… just like we learned in school.

  9. And in ring number 3, we have the indefinable Cindy McCain, hying herself to Georga to speak with the Prezident without minders, conducting public diplomacy on her own, as a private citizen. That such activity is illegal if not base for treason is disregarded.

    Nixon interfered with official negotiations of the Johnson administration to obtain political victory in 1968.

    Reagan interfered with official negotiations of the Carter administration in order to obtain political victory in 1980.

    Now Cindy McCain, wife of a presidential candidate is giving th President of Georgia whatever assurances in private so her husband, a wrinkly deranged deluded never was, can obtain political victory in 2008.

    Why is this let pass without comment?


  10. When I was watching Pelosi snivel through her speech yesterday evening, I had this sudden, crystal-clear thought:

    Dear God in heaven, I miss Ann Richards.

    Pore George… born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

  11. and in ring number 3, we have the indefinable cindy mccain, hying herself to georga to speak with the prezident without minders,

    it’s the midnite mccain to georgia!

  12. Regarding “Pat Buchanan’s declaration of culture war,” I hope everyone saw Rachel Maddow’s slashing takedown of the disgusting racist, anti-semitic, isolationist homophobe.

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