Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Michelle Obama’s Speech Was Good For the DNC

ob-cd671_michel_20080825233530.jpgOkay, before all our loyal conservative and Republican hacks and flacks read the post title and get their undies in a bunch, I’m writing this post more as a political strategist than as a blogger. But don't worry, I still dig into Democrats in this post.

There has a been a lot of scuttlebut as to why, on the first night of the Democrat National Convention, that the headline speakers, Senator Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama, didn’t go for the jugular of the Republicans? Why did they let everybody off? The MSM to the blogosphere expected blood, but instead got…kumbaya?!!? What was with that?

So did the strategy work?

You’re not going to see a poll bump after day one of the convention (notice it didn’t happen after the VP announcement either), but it was a healthy start to the final 70 days of the campaign season in which the vast majority of Americans are only now starting to pay attention.

If you’re a political junkie (and if you read this site, you probably are) then you’ve heard all the rhetoric, could probably give the speeches on behalf of the candidates and argue the merits of each candidates proposals (or lack thereof) till you’re blue in the face.

The simple fact is, we’re in the minority of American voters.

If you’re only now starting to pay attention you don’t want to see Ted Kennedy up there bashing President Bush or Senator McCain even if you don’t like those particular individuals. You want to see what he his party are about. You don’t want Michelle Obama up there bashing Hillary Clinton, you want her praising her and telling people about who you are and what your family, and most importantly your husband, is about.

More than likely, more people will turn into the Democrat Convention because they are curious about the guy with the funny name. Consider that Barack gave the first story after his announcement of Joe Biden as his VP to the stern political tome, People Magazine. Yeah, not quite so stern and known more for it’s stories on which celebrity is getting divorced/dating who or how they came across a miracle diet in which you can lose 30 pounds in four days. If you want to introduce yourself to America, you want to do it in the most read magazine in the country, even if you’re getting softball questions lobbed at you.

And if you’re only starting to pay attention and you pick up this magazine, you’re probably more likely to tune in last night, see Michelle Obama, gush about her husband, how growing up on the South side of Chicago in a poor to middle class home was difficult, how family is extremely important to you and why you are proud of your country (though it begs the question, if one is so proud, why make it a focal point of your talk?…oh, that’s right. You said you only recently became proud of your country.) and then top it off with an awkward video conference with your husband, but it’s still a cute moment because the kids are still young and precocious.

You can avoid all the tough talk and leave it for the coming nights because you were able to define yourself the first night. Now that you’ve defined yourself, you can define your opponent.

The funny thing is, that with all the disunity in the party that exists at this time because the Clintons and their supporters aren’t quite over losing, tonight looms as probably the most important night of the convention with Senator Clinton tonight’s speaker. She supposed to be the evening’s attack dog. But will she leave the door open for people to continue questioning her support for Senator Obama? Who knows.

But while last night’s speeches were very much uninspiring to the political diehards, the convention couldn’t have opened in a better way to introduce America to the Obamas.

(Cross posted to Josh in the Box and Hoosier Access)

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