August 28, 2008
Avoiding A Long, Disappointing Fall
I. The Barack Obama campaign has been floundering. If he had a lead in the polls in late June--and the summer polls are notoriously fickly--he clearly lost it by the convention’s beginning. And so far, the convention--dominated, ironically, by the Clintons--has not particularly helped. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden performed quite well last night, but if Obama fails to deliver a spellbinding oration tonight, the Democrats could be in for a long and disappointing fall. Why is Obama in trouble?
Now that the convention season is upon us, TNR has compiled our best convention coverage from years past.
Howard Wolfson, former communications director for Hillary Clinton, has been writing for us from Denver. Here are his thoughts on McCain's upcoming v.p. selection. What will John McCain's pick, due tomorrow, of his vice-presidential running mate, say about him to the American people? McCain is running ahead of the generic Republican ballot because many Americans believe he is an independent maverick, an image he forged during his 2000 run.
Schweitzer's Little Rebellion
An interesting tidbit from Ben Smith: The Obama campaign didn't originally plan on Brian Schweitzer delivering the barnburner he did. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer said his show-stealing speech Tuesday night, which brought the crowd in Denver to its feet and made him the talk of the convention, was a last-minute improvisation that departed from the prepared remarks he'd agreed on with the Obama campaign. "We had a convention that went through the first day and didn't get anybody fired up," said Schweitzer, who spoke on the second evening after keynote speaker Mark Warner of Virginia.
Thanks to the current Lieberman-for-veep boomlet (and the very interesting news that Karl Rove has been trying to smother it in its crib), there's been a fair amount of discussion about exactly how much John McCain would hurt his standing among pro-lifers if he picked a pro-choice running mate such as Lieberman or Tom Ridge.
August 27, 2008
The Me Team
WASHINGTON--Three images from the Beijing Olympics linger in my mind: Becky Hammon, as American as they come, winning a bronze medal with the Russian women's basketball team; Liang Chow, the Chinese coach of the U.S.
War of the Words
Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia "Everybody out. You have 20 minutes to inspect this damage," barks Alexander Machevsky, shock-trooper of the Kremlin’s propaganda war in Georgia, as he tries to shepherd 25 Western journalists out the open back of a military truck. Machevsky is not having a good day.
Back on Track
Walking into the Pepsi Center this afternoon, I ran into a prominent elected official who’s also a strong Obama supporter. What did he think of the convention so far? Not much, it seemed. The Democrats’ message to date felt muddled, he said. He was looking forward to Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama “breaking through” with their respective addresses. This muddle was partly a matter of necessity. Saluting Ted Kennedy, putting a warmer face on Michelle Obama, and granting Hillary Clinton her moment were things that simply had to be done.
Not To Be Forgotten
When Tammy Duckworth takes the stage tonight for the DNC tribute to veterans, she’ll be representing not only veterans of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also those from peacetime and all of America’s conflicts. Duckworth is an Iraq War double amputee from Illinois who in 2006 made a spirited but unsuccessful bid for Congress and is currently director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. The theme for the day is “Securing America’s Future,” and Duckworth joins a roster of heavyweight Democratic voices speaking that day, Bill Clinton and V.P.
Angels and Demons
The unlikely presidential nominee grew up without knowing his biological father. He was raised by a single mom and, when she was away, by his grandparents. As an adolescent, he memorized speeches by John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King and made a point of making friends from other ethnic backgrounds. As a youngster, he was known by a different name, and, as a presidential candidate, he had to remind the voters that he was not from a privileged background.