Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Clinton, Kerry with base hits; Biden goes down swinging

If John Kerry had put together a speech in 2004 like the one he delivered Wednesday night, he might be president today.

Kerry’s brief appearance had rhythm, humor, one-liners and passion. He dismantled McCain without being nasty, and he gave the Bushites the thrashing they’d escaped so far. He dared to use the word ‘torture’ and effectively fired back at the Republicans the flip-flopper accusation that buried him four years ago—a delicious irony.

Bill Clinton looked comfortable and said all the right things. Thank you and good night.

They were both prefaced by impressive, albeit scripted, testimonies from an array of military officers and amputee vets, at long last hitting the indefensible Bush war strategy while looking convincingly like the party that respects, really respects, the troops.

But Biden, to my taste, was all schmaltz and boilerplate, and reminded me why he pulled down all of 1% of the Iowa caucus votes. I was expecting more takedowns of the failed Bush policies; instead, we got the laundry list of miracles he and Obama will perform once in power, making him sound like a huge promise whore. Before that, we heard a family saga that went on too long and folksy advice from Biden’s elderly mom waving down from the galleries.

All in all, a disappointing end to the most persuasive and hard-hitting session of the convention so far.

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