It may come as a surprise to some, but I haven't been paying much attention at all to the Democratic National Convention. I caught bits of information leading up to the event, and have since heard a few excerpts from the speeches delivered on the floor. I heard Nancy Pelosi comparing the policies and positions of Obama and his opponent, and trying to stimulate audience participation by chanting "...McCain is wrong". I listened to the thoughts of John Warner, as he imagined a time just four month from now, when we could possibly have a presidential administration that "believes in science". And of course I heard Hillary Clinton speak about potential unity.
I have also gleaned some concerns and reactions from hack radio. There have been the standard issue claims that nothing substantive is being discussed. According to Rush Limbaugh it's all just been "re-packaging of re-packaging". He had some remarks about the surprise appearance of Ted Kennedy, but they were mostly veiled observations that the ailing Senator lacks the energy to be truly inspiring. Limbaugh did point out that he thought it was ironic that they introduced Kennedy with a video montage that began with images of water. Naturally this blowhard is capable of calling the opposing playbook "tired" while still referencing an event that happened nearly 40 years ago. He even supplied the word "Chappaquiddick" for any of his listeners that weren't following closely.
Speaking of water, Limbaugh did have an interesting concern regarding the coming Republican National Convention, to be held in Minneapolis starting on September 1st. He's been tracking the development of the Gustav storm system off the coast of Haiti. One of his sources projects Gustav to develop into a category 5 hurricane, and head straight for New Orleans. Obviously if this happened it would be an effective reminder of how the Bush administration (and by extension, the entire GOP) failed to react strongly and quickly, and left thousands of victims to meet their own fates. Since Katrina, there have been numerous accounts from affected families who report that promises made by Bush and Co. have been left unfulfilled.
Limbaugh predicts that should Gustav visit the Louisiana coast, the "drive-by media" (as he calls the press) will surely dredge up the lingering problems associated with the re-building of New Orleans. In addition, he claims that there will be no coverage of the Republican Convention if all of this happens. I find it amusing to hear him construct contingency justifications for the possible defeat of the GOP in November. It's as if he's preparing his audience to accept that fate has decreed an Obama victory. In that case it will have had nothing to do with the failed policies of the last eight years. It won't be related to the thwarted expectations of Middle America, or the breakdown of the neo/theo-con coalition.
Tonight the nation will hear from Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. Everyone will be picking closely over the words of the former president, looking for any hesistancy in his support of the offical nominee. There have been times over the last few months when I have just wanted ol' Bill to shut the hell up. In my opinion he has subverted his own legacy with his doggedly desperate attacks on Obama. Now he has a chance to redeem himself and help heal the fissures created during the primary battle. I have every reason to expect that he'll rise to the occasion. As far as Biden is concerned, I have no idea what he'll bring to the campaign. Although he seems pretty vanilla, he has a reputation for being a mouthy guy. It might be worth tuning in.