The conventions are over, leaving me satisfied that our democratic traditions are alive and kicking. The parties have some liabilities—the Republicans’ more evident than the Democrats’—but I found it hard not to get excited about the strenuous, face-to-face character of the political action and oratory.
Blatant lies marred Paul Ryan’s otherwise impressive speech, leaving Ann Romney to claim the palm as the Republicans’ best speaker. She was not just interesting and animated; she did a masterful job of recasting her husband’s character, inadvertently proving that she’s a much better stump-speaker than he.
The Democrats not only had better hats and sexier women (let’s admit it: we all notice); their speakers were more thrilling, and their delegates more engaged and visually interesting. Democratic delegates were a real force in the proceedings, unlike their Republican counterparts, who, when they bothered to fill their seats, spent their time texting or listening warily with folded arms. I loved the Democratic delegates’ orchestrated use of placards.
As for the Democratic speakers, they offered resounding proof of the health of their party. San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren, First Lady Michelle Obama, and former presidential nominee John Kerry were all standouts, topped only by Bill Clinton, whose ability at once to enlighten and entertain is far superior to anybody’s.
Besides the political import of the convention, it was a treat to hear so many fine modern speeches that were by turns colloquial, fiery, affecting, and funny. Though Democrats still have much work to do ideologically, it was good to see them working successfully as a body to reassert the basic values of fairness and equal opportunity.
All images are screenshots from PBS coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
‘How Does Everyone Know When To Hoist Those Signs?’, Bloomberg Businessweek.