8/27 8:05 pm PST
I’ve never been called a man of few words, but let me say this as short as I can — yes, yes, yes I accept the nomination.
Going in, I was dreading Joe Biden’s speech. The man can talk, maybe even as much as I can. Distilled essence of Biden is, I think, the active ingredient in Ambien. So how’d he do tonight?
Short answer: Pretty darn good.
Biden provided us with some very touching biography. Sweet, honest, and affecting. “You know folks, my dad used to have an expression. A father knows his success when he looks at his son or daughter and sees they came out better than he did. I’m a success!” he said, speaking of — and to — his three children.
Some of the speech was awkward. There was one joke where he claimed that, “the eight most dreaded words in the English language [are], the vice president’s office is on the phone.” Huh? And he mangled quite a few words, a couple times when he should have rang them out on applause lines. And he called McCain “a good soldier,” when in fact he was a naval aviator. But those are quibbles.
He got the crowd going on the chant line, “that’s not change, that’s more of the same.” More importantly, Biden delivered the speech the Clintons couldn’t or wouldn’t. It was based on Obama’s themes, not his. His delivery wasn’t Clinton smooth. But he proved an enthusiastic supporter for the top of the ticket, and a pointy-toothed attack dog against the opposition.
Was he right on the facts? He made quite a few mistakes, such as confusing the Taliban for al Qaeda. And who knows where he got the idea that Obama will save us all $2,500 a year on our medical bills. But none of that much matters tonight — Biden did the job required of a veep, and he did it pretty well.
Tonight, when many Americans got their first good look at Joe Biden, the Biden they saw was the best version of Biden I’ve seen in 21 years of watching him. Biden 3.0 came off as smart, likable, feisty — and mercifully, uncharacteristically brief.
“I watched how Barack touched people, inspired them. We have the power to change it. Change is what Barrack Obama will do.”
Oh, Barack has changed plenty just in the last year — on Iraq, the surge, unconditionally meeting with tyrants, his relationship with Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers.
I can’t wait to see how he changes next.
8/27 6:45 pm PST
Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow…
Ironic, given that Bill Clinton tonight mostly talked about the past. His administration, his wife’s campaign — those were the things he kept bringing up.
Clinton came out swinging, boldly stating right up front that, “I am here to support Barack Obama.” “Second, I’m here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden. I love Joe Biden and America will, too.” And that’s about as much mention as Biden got in Clinton’s speech.
And why does Bill think Obama is “the man for the job?” Let’s take a look at his words.
Well, Clinton based that endorsement on “everything I learned in eight years as President.” It’s all about Bill.
And why is Obama so good? Because “the long, hard primary” had “strengthened him.” In other words, Obama was weak to start.
And with Joe Biden on board, “America will have the national security leadership we need.” Obama wasn’t qualified, so he picked a veep who was.
But the digs didn’t end there.
Clinton very pointedly mentioned crushing “credit card debt.” And Biden is pretty much a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delaware’s many credit card companies. Clinton knows that. The media know that. And pretty soon they’ll remind you of it, too.
And then there was the claim about Obama’s “acute grasp of foreign policy,” which is sure to remind folks that Obama was against the surge before he admitted it’s working, and that Biden — like Hill — voted for the Iraq War.
He claimed that, “Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she will do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.” But that’s not the speech most people heard her give last night. And, “that makes two of us. Actually, that makes 18 million of us.” The 18 million figure is the number of people who voted for Hillary during the primaries, and that served as a pointed reminder that the Clintons remain a powerful force.
It was a powerful speech, expertly delivered — and much of it could have come straight from Hillary’s stump speech. The recurring theme was that “the job of the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and restore American leadership in the world.” Those are not the themes Obama is running on. No hope, no change, were anywhere to be found.
Michelle Obama noticed, too. When Michelle really smiles, she lights up the entire Pepsi Center. All she gave Clinton was her tight, closed-mouth smile. And unlike Clinton’s rhetoric tonight, that doesn’t light up much at all.
The secret to Bill’s speech was found right in the beginning when he smiled and told the crowd, “You know, I love this.”
We know, Bill. We know.