Biden and Clinton
I saw President Clinton and Senator Biden’s speeches tonight (but not Senator Kerry’s). Admittedly I saw them at a wine night, so I might have been somewhat distracted. And that might explain why I’m not as high on either speech as many others are. Certainly, I think Hillary Clinton blew both out of the water.
President Clinton’s speech, I thought, was particularly flat. It felt disjointed, I didn’t feel like his heart was truly in it, and it never really developed thematically. Particularly given Clinton’s higher baseline, I felt disappointed. The irony is that, before he started speaking, I was really excited and all my friends were more reserved. I still like Bill Clinton, whereas they were less-forgiving of his efforts against Obama in the primaries. Afterward, I had the most negative assessment of the speech, and I was definitively in the minority.
Biden’s speech I thought was significantly better. His son’s introduction was heart-wrenching, although I wonder if between that and Michelle Obama’s speech there has been a bit too much sentimentality. Biden started a bit slow, and stepped on a lot of his lines (though once it yielded a gem, when he accidentally(?) called John McCain “George”). The old debater in me didn’t like that. But he picked up the pace and really started to light up McCain as he went on. He developed the meme that I think is, ultimately, the strongest case Obama can make against McCain: he was wrong. He might have experience, but his experience is at being wrong. I still think he could have been even more aggressive (apparently Kerry set the standard for the evening), but it was still quite good.
But again, I seem to be in the minority. Andrew Sullivan has blog reactions, and they seem mostly positive (excepting Linda Chavez, and honestly I don’t care what she thinks). So maybe I’m just being a grump. Wouldn’t be the first time.