Those were a few excellent moments at the Democratic National Convention today. I heard one on the radio - the official nomination of Barack Obama as the nominee. (It was somewhat hokey, but hearing thousands of "AYE!"s erupt in the arena was cool.)
Then, the Big Dog gave a very, very strong speech. What's amazing about Bill Clinton is that he is SO completely confident in front of crowds like that. It's clearly something he relishes, something he truly enjoys. And he not only made very strong statements of support for Obama, but got in more than a few digs at his friend John McCain.
Next came the speeches of John Kerry and Joe Biden. More on those after the fold.
Kerry gave a better speech than I can remember him giving throughout the entire space of his own campaign. Certainly better than his "John Kerry, reporting for duty!" acceptance speech.
"I have known and been friends with Senator John McCain for almost 22 years. But every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of the maverick instead of the reality of the politician, I say, let's compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain."
"Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain's own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would not vote against the immigration bill John McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before being against it! Before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself."
That's pretty solid, and a good theme for others to continue upon. Like Gore, he seemed more at ease with himself after his own (failed) campaign. Though Ezra Klein does make a good point:
The Democratic Party has a tendency to write its losers off. For years after he failed to attain the presidency, Gore was discarded by the very party that nominated him. After Kerry lost to Bush, he was similarly derided: It became impossible, in retrospect, for anyone to explain why Democrats trusted in a wooden windsurfer.
Achieving the presidential nomination is not easy, though, and tonight Kerry reminded the convention center of how he did it. Kerry wasn't exactly courageous as a foreign policy voice in 2004, but he was nominated because he had the potential to be one. There was a gravity to him, and a somberness that came of experiencing both war and its manifold betrayals. Hemmed in by a sense of political caution that reacted poorly to an adverse political environment, he never quite rose to the occasion.
Tonight, however, he did.
I thought that Bill Richardson was due to speak next, but it wasn't on C-SPAN which, uh, shows everything. So I'm not sure what happened there.
And then Biden was officially nominated, and accepted that nomination with a very solid speech. I have less to say about that, except that I tihnk I'm really pretty comfortable with him as the VP candidate. He knows his stuff flat, and is very likable. His story is rock-solid, and by all appearances he gets along well with Obama, who made a nice, short surprise appearance after Biden was done. They seem to complement each other well as well as share some really important strengths.
So, that was a pretty effective, and enjoyable evening as far as such things go.