Good-bye Denver!/Hello Labor Day

McCain’s pick for Vice president left me a bit puzzled; I mean, all very nice that you picked a woman (and a governor), but the political positions involved leave me uncomfortable and Governor Palin’s experience level left me a little underwhelmed. John Dickerson of Slate summed up with a “Huh?” in his headline; yes, she was one of those considered, but still… well, it’s 2008 – we have an African-American presidential candidate; had a woman candidate; even had a Latino candidate (in Bill Richardson, even if he was more second or third tier); why not a woman VP candidate?

Democratic Convention thoughts:

Even though I have cable, I stuck with the PBS coverage. It was comprehensive stuff.

Salute to Teddy Kennedy.

Michelle Obama was pretty awesome.

Hillary Clinton was very good and gracious in her speech; the best of Hillary, I’d say (and I’m not exactly a fan of Hillary’s speeches; her sing-song speaking voice has been rather grating for me; but this time, she kept it smooth; I liked it). Mark Halperin on Time.com gave great grade.

John Kerry was actually pretty good speaking on the third night – quite strong. Halperin graded a good grade for Kerry on Time.com.

Bill Clinton did pretty well; hit all the points. Yeah, that’s right – he was a President of the United States – and he sure knows his politics. Halperin gave high marks on Time.com.

Beau Biden, Joe’s son and Attorney General of Delaware (and soon-to-be shipped to Iraq, as a JAG officer) was poignant in giving the intro to his dad; the camera’s capturing Michelle Obama’s getting teary eyed over listening to the tough tragedy of the Biden family was sweet.

Joe Biden – well, he was being Joe. His mother’s reaction to his reference of how she made him get back at his bullies when he was a kid (she mouthed to the person sitting next to her, “That’s true!”) : that was priceless!

Al Gore – “it’s time for a change…” – reminiscent of his vice presidential nomination acceptance speech of 1992, which I so very much remembered for getting my attention. He was right then; he is right now. If only 2000 had been different…! At any rate, I liked his speech; he really got to the heart of the urgency from the environmental front of issues (he scared me, as the news about the Arctic is rightfully scary) and he gave a wonderful analogy of Abraham Lincoln, who was seen as insufficiently experienced – yet inspired and re-shaped America. (well, Lincoln was Republican, but I’d think he’d be amazed and impressed by today’s Democrats and Obama). Anyway, I pretty much agreed with Mark Halperin’s grade on Time.com for Al Gore.

And, of course, the history making moment of Barack Obama as the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party on the 45th Anniversary of the March to Washington — well, it was something. The video preceding Obama was interesting – yeah, it summarized his bio and his career; but, in a way, I thought it was almost a sequel of “Dreams of My Father” – in terms of his bio, it focused more on his mom and his maternal grandparents and had photos of his mom, his sister, and him.

The speech itself – well, the experts grasped it far better than I did. As someone who’s read both his books and heard a bunch of his speeches (at least on-line or on tv, or reading about interviews), much of the speech felt like a smoother re-hash of Obama’s best lines. He really demonstrated his specifics and his wonkish side; in fact, it almost got boring for me – almost Bill Clintonesque, really in the lengthiness of specifics (and, really, Bill Clinton’s past speeches have bored me). I’d give it a very solid B for Obama; he pulled his punches on McCain where he had to, and he tried to sell himself in one of the big moments of this marathon job interview for the top job of this country. I like his lofty rhetoric speeches, but this was where he probably had to get it down solid. He should have smiled more, I think. I like his smiles, but again, this is a marathon. He’ll have more opportunities. Joe Klein posted on an article Time.com and is quite right that by next week, we might not remember this speech; one of the historians on the Lehrer/PBS presentation made the excellent point that if Obama wins, his inaugural speech could outshadow this convention speech. This is just one more step in the process.

Still, I felt a bit of a tug of the heart strings when Obama referred to the March of 45 years ago; that’s really something.

So, we’ll see! Only in America can we have such amazing times in the 40 years since the Civil Rights era; dare we hope and believe?

A funny interview in Newsweek with actor Don Cheadle. I was particularly amused by his response to the question about his former castmates George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt, regarding who’d he date, if he were gay, which he isn’t; he apparently figured Damon and Clooney would treat dates to nice dinners and said Brad Pitt would just go for a burger; hmmm! Plus, a reference to his being in the cast of the “Golden Girls” spinoff, “Golden Palace”!

On the environmental and alternative energy front: the idea of green roofs and the real difficulties of harnessing wind power.

Off to Washington DC for Labor Day weekend!

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