By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Joe and Beau show

Maybe I’m speech’d out, but I wasn’t hugely taken with Joe Biden’s address. He was good, and he certainly did what he needed to do. But there was a ragged, stop-and-start feel to it. Clinton and Kerry were better.

Beau Biden, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more moving. Judging from what I saw on television, there wasn’t a dry eye in the convention hall.

Funny, but I thought Bruce Springsteen was going to come out when it was announced that there would be a “special guest.”

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  1. Esther

    Nah, Bruce wouldn’t play the Pepsi Center. He’d hold out for Invesco Field. ;-)Beau’s speech was very stirring. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know the story of what happened to Biden’s first wife and daughter.I think Joe Biden did a pretty good job of connecting Obama to the domestic and foreign-policy issues. But it’s more about forging a personal connection than it is the stand on any issue.

  2. O-FISH-L

    As a Republican and knowing that it will all come down to the undecideds, Joe Biden scares me. CORRECTION: Biden scares the sh*t out of me. He almost sounded Republican. Whether it was talking about his traditional family, his son proudly fighting for our country or his wanting to hold Russia accountable for invading Georgia (are the CNN studios in Atlanta OK?) I had to catch myself before I broke into applause. Seriously.Dick Morris, who I agree with about 75% of the time, said last week that the risk of Obama naming Biden as the VP choice was that voters might come to think the ticket was upside down. Tonight, Morris was proven right.Not since Lloyd Bentsen have the Democrats been so strong at VP. Like Bentsen, however, Biden is stuck with a lightweight at the top of the ticket. What Dukakis lacked in charisma, Obama lacks in accomplishments. Getting the asbestos removed from a couple of apartments in Chicago doesn’t a President make. Still, I think Obama will more easily mask his weaknesses than Dukakis did, and Biden will be a key factor. ps – Biden obviously reads Media Nation. 22 hours after my post suggesting that Hillary should have used the “open door” of the long campaign trail to attest to what she came to learn and admire about Obama, Biden did exactly that. No charge, Joe. This one is on me, your old pal O-FISH-L, a fellow Catholic American of Irish descent. Three cheers to the green, white and gold (not orange, like Hillary’s pantsuit)!

  3. Dot Lane

    I’m so tired of hearing the “lightweight” charge thrown around. Obama obviously has the intellectual capacity to handle being President, unlike his predecessor. What had George W. Bush accomplished prior to winning the Presidency (twice!) against more qualified opponents? We were required to start the clock on Bush when he sobered up, thanks to the complacent media, and I hardly think being Governor of Texas provides any appreciable training to be President unless it is to turn a blind eye to cronyism. So why the insistence now that Obama isn’t ready? What has McCain shown you that suggests he has either the mental ability or the temperament to be President? I certainly don’t get the impression the McCain has learned much in all his years in the Senate, unless it is to be able to figure out which way the wind is blowing and change positions accordingly. So now that we’ve established that McCain has no executive experience, we can start to examine “lightweight” status. Got into the Naval Academy because of family connections and promptly finished at almost the bottom of his class? Lightweight. Cheated on his first wife and married a wealthy woman who financed his political career? Lightweight, and bonus points for Republicans conveniently forgetting how they criticized John Kerry for this. Landmark accomplishments during his Senate career? What’s that sound? Crickets chirping, I think.Biden adds foreign policy experience which far outweighs any possessed by John McCain. Obama brings a pragmatic problem solving approach to governance with an understanding of domestic policy. Of course you’re scared, because you know in your heart all Mitt Romney is going to bring are the religious crazies traditional Republicans wish they could get away from, but can’t if they want to win elections.So, from now until the election: 9-11! P.O.W.! 9-11! P.O.W.! Repeat as necessary….

  4. Brian Flaherty

    Biden did start off slowly going through his thank yous and what not and he did make some mistakes but overall I felt he was strong. Between him and Bill Clinton, I am worried.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Interesting … right after I posted, I caught Chuck Todd saying that Biden was working with a new speechwriter and wasn’t comfortable with the text. Which explains why he was good enough, but couldn’t quite get it going.

  6. Aaron Read

    I suspect the difference between Dukakis and Obama is that Obama knows he’s got to let the dogs off the leash to attack McCain, whereas the Duke focused too much on trying to correct the lies.Certainly this week has proven that the Democrats have learned to like to the taste of blood. If not to the point where it’s dripping from their fangs, then at least for a nice tear to the jugular now and then.Still, I’m coming around to Biden but I have this private dread that one day he’s going to earnestly say the most wrong thing you can imagine, and McCain is going to pounce on it, and the Democrats will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. OTOH, if Biden manages to avoid that, he’ll be an immensely powerful weapon both during the campaign and afterwards.I guess he’s the “tactical nuclear option”. You can actually use it and it’ll be very effective…but you still gotta be careful with the fallout. 😉

  7. Tony

    Great point o-fish, I’ve been reading your stuff out here for a while. I don’t often agree but you nailed this one right on the head.

  8. Bill Baar

    Check The Real Barack Obama for Steve Diamonds account of the Obama assault on WGN’s Milt Rosenberg show last night over Bill Ayers.Generals always fight the last war, and I think that’s going to be Obama’s mistake this time. He doesn’t have Kerry’s vietnam baggage, and he’s not running against Bush.He should have taken up McCain’s offer for the ten debates over the summer. It would have given Americans time to get to know him and he can be a charming guy, and her needs the repeated coverage to explain his complicated views on hard issues.If you build trust with another person with equal exchanges of questions and declarations (that’s what some management guru told me once) then Obama needs to start building that trust with the American people with some give and take with an audience.So far he’s blown those opportunities.

  9. Bill Baar

    Not since Lloyd Bentsen have the Democrats been so strong at VP.Lieberman was good….and still is.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Bill: I agree with you that Obama’s kicking himself for not accepting McCain’s invitation. He was trying to sit on his lead, which is always a dumb, dumb strategy.Lloyd Bentsen? A fine choice, but are we forgetting about Al Gore? Now that was inspired. Lieberman was so-so, and of course looks much worse in retrospect. Edwards was awful.Bottom line, though, is that Lieberman and Edwards both managed to lose debates to Cheney, a hard trick to pull off — although Cheney’s a better performer in such settings than he’s given credit for.

  11. mike_b1

    Lieberman couldn’t bring them the one state he was signed on to capture — and the they needed to win: Florida. Thus, he failed.The VP candidates almost always look better than the guy at the top of the ticket. Familiarity breeds contempt.What the Democrats showed last night — to a degree — was a willingness to take McCain’s only plus — his perceived superior grasp of things military — and turn it into a negative, much in the way the GOP hit machine did to Kerry. If I were running the show, I’d trot out a bunch of guys with head trauma and PTSD vets sitting around VAs, interspersed with shorts showing McCain blow ups, to demonstrate exactly what America will get were it to elect McCain.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: You’re not going to tell us Gore lost Florida, are you? And even without going down that road, Gore did far better in Florida than Kerry did four years later.

  13. R. Scott Buchanan

    Dan: I think Mike is right insofar as Florida should have been a lead-pipe cinch with Lieberman on the ticket (at least that was the rationale as I understood it). That it was even a contest was a disappointment, or maybe a sign that too many Floridians knew him.Regarding turning McCain’s war record into a weakness, what’s the polite, poll-tested politicalese way of saying “when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”, and who can we get to push that hard?

  14. mike_b1

    scott: That’s what PACs are for. Remember it wasn’t the RNC that ran the Willie Horton or Swift Boat ads.

  15. Don, American

    His name is Beauregard? How antedeluvian.

  16. Dan Kennedy

    Hey, Don: Ever think of looking anything up? His name is Joseph Robinette Biden III.

  17. O-FISH-L

    Mike, you’re right, it wasn’t the RNC. It was Al Gore who revealed Dukakis’ disastrous weekend furlough program, leading to the Willie Horton ads. Similarly, it was Dukakis who made the devastating Biden / Kinnock tape and circulated it in Iowa.The most damning of the Swiftboat material was courtesy of Kerry himself in his best Brahim accent, “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads…”

  18. O-FISH-L

    Robinette? For a male? Don’t let that get out.

  19. mike_b1

    o-fish: Don’t be so proud of yourself. If the GOP had any leadership ability, Obama wouldn’t have a shot at the presidency.

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