Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Obama's Scary Ego makes Convention Appearance
Obama? Oh-BUM-uh! (or, could be "Oh, Bummer!" but that would be dating me).
Tonight at the Democratic convention we saw some interesting stuff. Well, I heard it--I chose to fold laundry with the dulcet tones of Bill in the background. That is, of course, Bill, as in "I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." which is his most famous of speeches. Tonight's rates a C in comparison. I'll give you my review of Bill and then get to my main point.
But first, the guy who must have been really depressed when Hillary had to concede. His speech was what you'd expect. It had a couple of cute phrases: " People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power." And, after bashing Republicans with straw men: "They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm." Well, this time Bill was not so charming himself, and by offering just about exactly what everyone would've guessed, he actually came across to me as a sore loser doing his perfunctory best to look like a good sport. But Bill always loved the limelight, and losing this shot to be back in the White House just doesn't thrill him. His obviously staged mouthing of "I love you" during Hillary's speech last night, while the red light of the camera was on, also didn't ingratiate him much.
But more relevant to the campaign and the nation's future was the introduction of the Vice-Presidential candidate, Joe Biden. This was his first nationally-televised platform as the nominee--his one shot to impress the party and convert the undecided. As I read over the transcript of his remarks, I felt my muscles tighten and my ire rumble. Biden's speech was filled with outright lies, and misrepresented John McCain's positions and their outcomes. But, I kept telling myself, that's the Veep's job: attack dog against the opposition. Biden, too, did exactly as expected, and not in such a clever or masterful way, either. He's just not Mr. Charisma. And, he didn't succeed in his limp effort to make Barack look like a master statesman and unafraid warrior ("Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan? The fact is, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban — the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 — have regrouped in those mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff echoed Barack's call for more troops.") Like the Joint Chiefs heard Barack and only THEN decided, "Gee, this guy's RIGHT! We need more troops!" Um, I thought Obama was running as the bring-'em-home candidate!
OK, I'm not going to go through Biden's speech; my sanity's too precious. More important is what followed his speech: Obama himself. In a move never before seen at any political convention, Barack decided to "drop in" on Biden just when the VP nominee was to have basked for the first time in glory. Just when Biden was to be feted for his individual, separate contribution to the ticket, Barack "drops in" to steal his thunder. What a friendly gesture.
Here they're even moving the convention to huger quarters (INVESCO football field!) for Barack's speech Thursday, and the guy can't wait till then to step into the limelight. He's a control freak, clearly. Has to insert himself right in front when the lens is trained on the other guy. He's like the hammy kid who leaps in front of the camera just as it's snapping the well-posed portrait. This is worrisome to me. We've got two candidates here with zippo military experience (for the first time in several decades) and the lead guy is an egomaniac who can't wait his turn to speak.
We've seen just by the trajectory of Obama's career that he can't wait to take the lead in the school play--he jumped from "community organizer" to a local political slot, up to a short blink in the Senate--just enough to qualify him for national stardom. He's not a patient guy--he wants that big part. Of course, if he gets it, when answers to the tough questions aren't scripted, he won't be able to dodge responses with "that's above my pay grade."
Does the surprise appearance of the party nominee at the Convention tonight help or hurt? Given how livid Biden must be to have his big moment ruined by having to stand aside and grin like the Cheshire Cat while his benefactor upstaged him, I'd guess their relationship must be, um, strained. And few watching would think, "gee, I didn't like Obama before, but NOW he's my guy!" Also embarrassing and phony was Obama's need to praise his wife's, Hillary's, Bill's and Biden's speeches at this point. This was the time to play up the Vice Presidential selection, not to remind folks that everybody so far is just a warm-up act for The One.
(You might want to take a look at this excellent blog post on Obama's surprise appearance at the convention tonight: http://michaelmedved.townhall.com/blog/)