(Not in the order they went.)
-A lot of good things are being said about Hillary the other night. I will admit I didn’t care for it the first time, but on second viewing she made a better impression. She certainly had the ratings (26 million says Neilson,) and conservative columnist John Fund called it “the best speech of her career.” And, as Mireille noted, they handled the rollcall just fine.
-Governor Warner was terrible. I have to agree with Pat Buchanan on this one (!) – All that post-partisan talk is fine for governing but not for getting elected. For four days, expect the GOP to slander Barack Hussein Osama (oops!) while trashing elitist liberals, limousine liberals, latte-drinking liberals, effete liberals, coastal liberals, Ivy League liberals, I can go on but you get the point. At the same time, Republicans have controlled the White House for the last 7 years, the House for 6 of those and the Senate for 4, and finally scored a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. So yes, it does matter whether an idea comes from right or left. Yes, it does matter whether you call someone a Democrat or a Republican. As cute as it may be to govern by consensus in Virginia, it amounts to unilateral disarmament in a national campaign. Warner certainly didn’t help his 2012 credentials with his combination of Yaaaay hard-working Americans, non-partisan pablum, and weird Olympic-themed China-baiting. Bad on Warner, though I’m sure he’ll make a fine, technocratic Senator.
-Bill, well, here’s the beginning of Bill’s transcript as published in the non-partisan Congressional Quarterly:
CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen…
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. You all sit down. We’ve got to get on with the show here. Come on.
Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be here tonight.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I am honored to be here tonight. Please, stop.
AUDIENCE: Bill! Bill! Bill!
CLINTON: Please stop. Sit down. Sit down. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Bill! Bill! Bill!
CLINTON: Please sit. Please sit.
You know, I — I love this, and I thank you, but we have important work to do tonight. I am here first to support Barack Obama.
And, second — and, second, I’m here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden…
Bill was the Big Dog last night. We progressives may dislike Penn, McAuliffe, government by focus group, the DLCers, a track record of burn-it-down campaigning, you name a problem and the Dean/Pelosi wing of the party has it with Bill. But man can he preach it. “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.” That’s the best of Bubba.
-Beau Biden, Captain Beau Biden, made the first of what promise to be many appearances on the national stage. Introducing his father, Biden delivered populism (“…turns down some fancy cocktail party in Washington so he won’t miss my daughter Natalie’s birthday party”), pathos (his mother’s death,) and policy (from the Violence Against Women Act to the Balkans.) For a six minute introductory speech, it was pitch perfect. Right-winger Michael Barone called him “genuine and moving.” Beau Biden is your Democratic front-runner for 2028, you heard it here first.
-Joe followed with a substantially negative speech. It was time for someone to attack, and that’s Biden’s strong suit. He opened with the expected complements of his Senate colleague, and then proceeded the stick the knife in. Full transcript and video here. Shorter version: John McCain is a friend of mine; John McCain is wrong about everything.
-A note then on Brian Schweitzer, the bolo-tied teddy bear. Schweitzer went on before Hillary on Tuesday, a choice designed to maximize his exposure to a national audience. Following the tepid Mark Warner, the Democratic Governor of Montana grabbed the crowd with his High School pep rally enthusiasm. Schweitzer focused on energy issues, dropping rhymes like “coal gasification with carbon sequestration.” David Sirota collected the approving reviews:
“The Los Angeles Times said Schweitzer “was the surprise hit of the party’s national convention” garnering “rave reviews for [the] rousing speech.” Newsweek called him the “highlight” of the night. And the Denver Post reported that CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin declared “Schweitzer the night’s real winner, the Barack Obama of ’08, for his impassioned speech.”
(Video here.) Schweitzer’s Montana is 58%-29% “right-track,” and with approval ratings consistently hovering around 70% his November re-election is a lock. Schweitzer support for gun rights leads moderates to claim him, but his ideology is old-school populist left — complete with tent-revival style:
Before nearly any professional politician had done so, for instance, Schweitzer organized the first bus trips to Canada to help seniors purchase lower-priced prescription drugs. Invited to Washington for a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser, Schweitzer stood up at the event, broke Washington’s unspoken protocol, and ripped into drug industry lobbyists, many of whom were in the room. While Sen. Bob Torricelli (D-N.J.) immediately tried to apologize to the crowd, Schweitzer’s rant became the stuff of legends back in Montana.
(Sirota has the rest here.) Schweitzer is pro-choice, strong on energy issues, a winner on civil liberties, an epic winner on civil liberties, and wants his National Guard back. There’s a reason I tossed his name at people for Vice President, and the cats over at Fivethirtyeight had similar things to say.