Tuesday, August 26, 2008

democrats first night

I basically agree with Carville that it was a wasted opportunity. No big mistakes, but no overarching theme either, and too defensive, too much of the "sure he's from Hawaii and has a funny name, but he's a really good husband and father and a great guy, too." I'm a great guy also but I couldn't get elected to Congress.

When people seem hesitant there's usually a reason. For the Democrats I think it is the two campaigns that are at war with each other in the Obama camp. On the one hand there is Obama the conciliator who will reach across the aisle and create a new politics--Dukakis with charisma, or Carter for the 21st century, whatever. On the other hand there is the class warrior who will provide health care, fix the economy, and end a supposedly wasteful series of wars--the later Clinton campaign with a more pleasant face.

The two approaches are fundamentally contradictory, and I think that a lot of the inertia in the Obama campaign comes from the difficulty in choosing between them. It is possible to win while fudging such distinctions--indeed many of the recent winners, with the exception of Reagan, did exactly that. But Obama has not quite found the right balance, and the convention so far reflects that tension.


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