Tell Your Friends

What if they gave a convention and nobody watched? Sasha Abramsky tried to find a bar in Clovis, New Mexico that was willing to show Barack Obama's speech. No dice.

In a town with numerous restaurants and bars, not a single one was showing the speech. Some had no televisions; others did have TVs, but they were tuned to one or another sports channel and the owners and bar-tenders were damned if they were going to change channel for the convention.

But, he argues, maybe it doesn't matter. [more ...]

[T]he sheer majesty of Obama's speech, the confidence he exuded, the promises he made, will, I believe, ricochet through the next two months. People in Clovis might not have watched the speech tonight, but you can be sure they'll be seeing extracts on the news and in political commercials from here until November. They'll see Obama going after McCain on economics and even on national security and military strategy, the Republican's terra firma. They'll see Obama pledging a new economic deal for working Americans. And they'll see footage of Michelle Obama and their two adorable children watching ecstatically as Barack spoke. That's all money in the bank for the Democrats.

It's true that huge numbers of people didn't watch the Democratic convention. But they won't watch the Republican convention either, particularly if the Weather Channel turns out to be more interesting. Some will get their political information from Rush Limbaugh, some from Jon Stewart, some from their friends. Let's hope their friends saw Barack Obama's speech, and all the other great speeches that explained the difference between Democratic policies and Bush/McCain policies.

John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No healthcare? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

If your friends didn't see the speech, don't be shy about educating them. The difference between a Republican president and a Democratic president is real. It's meaningful. And it's time for a change.

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    Millions tunned to watch Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Prabhata on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:22:06 AM EST
    More people watched Hillary than Bill and Biden. M.Obama was third, though I understand that many AAs watched her.
    I already made up my mind, so I didn't care to watch Obama.

    I didn't watch it.... (none / 0) (#18)
    by p lukasiak on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:06:04 AM EST
    ....I was far more interested in the visual presentation, and how the Ocropolis was handled.

    Its obvious that rather huge changes were made to the set.  Remember when it was supposed to be reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial?  Well, the Lincoln Memorial doesn't have any windows, let alone the 'multi-lite' windows that showed up in the temple.  And all those flags that suddenly appeared in front of each and every column -- probably a late addition as well.

    As for the speech itself, from what I've read, for any other candidate, it was a good s speech.  But it failed to do the one thing that needed to be done -- establish an "identity anchor" for Obama.  While he did a good job of pointing out the differences between Republicans and Democrats, he presented himself as "a Democrat", rather than the embodiment of the Democratic Party agenda.  Lacking a 'signature issue', and given the question "who is Barack Obama really", he needed to present himself as the vessel through which the Democratic Party agenda would be fulfilled in a way in which the question "what would Obama do" would be superceded by the question "what would the Democratic Party do?"  

    With a candidate like Obama, "Democrats vs Republicans" works only when there is no "air" between Obama and the Democratic Party.  While Obama may have brought himself closer to the Party, he didn't eliminate the gap.


    This is not an attempt to throw cold water on (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by magnetics on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:35:11 AM EST
    the enthusiasm of others; but I didn't watch the speech.

    I am neither a PUMA nor a racist, (am in fact half of a mixed-race marriage.)  

    There has been a lot of blood under the bridge, and I question whether that is redeemable or not.  I say this, having voted Democratic in every presidential election since McGovern.

    I vowed I would vote for Obama if he chose Hillary for VP, which would have made as nearly as possible an unbeatable ticket out of the gate.  I do not accept the argument of friends and family, and my darlings the Clintons,  that I must vote Democratic no matter what.  If McCain shows himself egregious beyond any current estimate, I may come around; but odds are I will sit this one out.  I will certainly not vote Rethuglican, or work (like the PUMA's) actively to defeat Obama.

    The argument that SCOTUS is at stake does not move me; I have noted Obama's closeness to Cass Sunnstein; and others have noted the liklihood of his being an Obama nominee.  The fact that Sunnstein of all people considers Obama a great Constitutional thinker does not fill me with confidence.  This may sound Off Topic-- but it's not, IMO.  'Nuff said, no doubt.

    Magnetics (1.00 / 2) (#10)
    by weltec2 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:51:41 AM EST
    You have not said anything. You are rambling all over the place. You say, "The argument that SCOTUS is at stake does not move me; I have noted Obama's closeness to Cass Sunnstein; and others have noted the liklihood of his being an Obama nominee.  The fact that Sunnstein of all people considers Obama a great Constitutional thinker does not fill me with confidence.  This may sound Off Topic-- but it's not, IMO.  'Nuff said, no doubt."

    That seems pretty important to me. That does not move you? Then what does? What is your point? Please state it clearly.


    Parse my argument, logician. (none / 0) (#23)
    by magnetics on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 01:13:46 PM EST
    The argument made here and elsewhere is that we must vote for Obama to save SCOTUS; my point about Sunnstein is that we could easily vote Obama and yet lose SCOTUS.  Is that so hard to follow?

    Other than that, my point about blood under the bridge was an attempt to state obliquely that Obama's conduct in the primaries and caucuses, his use of racism as a weapon against the Clintons, his disrespect (yes I believe he did intend that notorious finger flip), his refusal to come to the table about Florida and Michigan -- all of these have given me a visceral dislike of the man that I will not likely overcome by election day.

    Since you asked.


    Funny (none / 0) (#6)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:29:39 AM EST
    Who on earth would imply you were racist if you did not watch the speech?  I am curious, what is your definition of racism?  

    Accusations of racism have been a leitmotif (none / 0) (#24)
    by magnetics on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 01:22:10 PM EST
    throughout this campaign, and failure to vote for Obama in the primaries was often attributed to racism on the part of the voter.  Let us not attempt to define racism in any large sense, and adhere instead to an operational definition, of a racist as one who would not vote for a candidate of race differing from their own.

    For the record, Jesse Jackson (Sr.) ran a fascinating primary campaign in 1988, in which he enunciated and communicated the values of progressive Democrats in a way of which I have not since seen or heard the equal.


    wrong again......my god, cant we move forward (none / 0) (#25)
    by ps911fan on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 04:56:46 PM EST
    people did want to watch the convention and the obama speech......its tiring to see efforts to tear apart where not needed or wanted.....

    Ratings ...

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/obama-speech-final-day-of-dnc-reaches-a-quar ter-of-american-households/

    Nielsen just released the ratings for the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention last night and found an estimated 38 million viewers watched on television, setting a new record for convention viewership.

    Other interesting notes:

        * Thursday night generated substantially higher ratings and total viewers (13.4 rating, 38.4 million total viewers) than any other night this week; Barack Obama's speech also generated 3.3 million more viewers than John Kerry's four years ago.
        * Obama continues to attract high ratings among African Americans (a 21.0 rating for African Americans vs. a 12.4 rating among whites.)  Obama's speech was the 5th highest rated non-sports program among African American viewers since 1997.
        * Older viewers continue to dominate viewing.  People age 55+ watched at five times the rate as teenagers (ratings of 23.7 and 4.5 respectively.)


    I am one friend and admirer of (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by zfran on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:45:47 AM EST
    TL who does not see the aura around Sen. Obama and, consequently, thought his speech last night was not "majestic" nor god-like. It was a good speech, not a great one. The theatrics outshone the tone of the message. His message, I thought, was one of dem principles and therein, lay one of the problems. Should we believe, now, 2 months before the election, that suddenly, he has the very principles so many have been questioning throughout for practically the last 18 months?

    the same question was asked (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by TimNCGuy on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:33:12 AM EST
    in an article i read on Tuesday after Michelle's Monday night speech.  This article did a compare and contrast about the Michelle that was present at the beginning of the primaries and the re-invented Michelle that was presented in her convention speech.  The conclusion of the article was that they were two completely different women.

    So, I don't know how much faith I would put into a new tone being given by Barrack that seems less filled with the bi-partisan unity stuff.

    Every speaker I heard at the convention, with the exception of the Clintons, went out of their way to talk about bi-partisan unity.  If Obama had intended to jetison that, why did all the speakers earlier in the week harp on it?


    supertankers... (none / 0) (#19)
    by p lukasiak on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:38:35 AM EST
    ...supertankers don't turn on a dime --- and what we are seeing is a supertanker that was headed for the rocks, and is doing everything it can to change direction -- but forward momentum still exists.

    I think until three weeks ago, Obama was planning on running the same kind of "personality cult" campaign he ran in the primaries -- Team Obama didn't get the message that the last three months of the campaign sent, i.e., that campaign only works when nobody else is trying to define you.

    While the whole "is Obama arrogant" controversy raised doubts about Obama, it was the Paris/Britney ad that crystallized those doubt -- taking the doubts them from a rather shapeless "anxiety" to a sharply defined one.  I don't think that Obama had any intention of picking Biden three weeks ago -- Biden wound up being picked because voters needed to be 'reassured'.

    But even that reassurance wasn't sufficient... Obama would have to be re-invented....and there was very little time to do that before his speech, and certainly not enough time to create a new message, and revise all the speeches that would be given at the convention.  (there were tons of last minute schedule changes -- but I don't know if that is normal for a convention.)

    I thnk that the biggest sign of how "last minute" this whole thing was is the Ocropolis.  They basically threw flags in front of the columns to hide them (while Bush used columns, they were merely 'evocative', and the 'patriotic' display was custom designed to fit the 'set', Obama built himself a very specific temple, then had to do everything possible to hide that fact.  There was no sign of patriotism 'built in' to the set -- and the lack of 'customization' of a patriotic display is all you need to know about where Obama was originally headed with his campaign -- it was going to be "all about Obama".)


    think you may be right (none / 0) (#21)
    by TimNCGuy on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:53:43 AM EST
    if you check out this article on Politico http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12964.html they have a different take on the speech and note the "clash" of the new vs old politics to be found within

    No. (none / 0) (#9)
    by indy in sc on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:41:56 AM EST
    You should belive that now, 2 months before the election, he was the very principles he has demonstrated throughout his public life.  Look at his votes and ask yourself how far away he his from the dem principles you mention.  Of course, here and there you will find votes you don't agree with, but if you look at the totality, you will find the truth.  He is not "the most liberal member of the senate" as his republican detractors like to paint him, but he is firmly in our camp.

    I respectfully disagree. One of his (none / 0) (#11)
    by zfran on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:51:52 AM EST
    goals last night was to show everyone that he was not the elitist he had been painted as. A man of the people, who invites all who want to come to encircle him (in this case Invesco field) (but puts qualifications on how you can get a ticket and attend that event)but in truth, is not a man of the people, but a shadow of who he wants you to believe he is. To get where he now is, he had to push and shove lots of people along the way (but who doesn't?). I want a grown-up who tells me (mostly) the truth all the time. I believe Sen. Obama does not. I believe he tells me what he "thinks" I want to hear and then when he's talking with you, he changes his rhetoric to fit your liking. And, when he changes his opinion(s), it's always someone else's fault, never his own. That's a childlike quality, not an adultlike one.

    Half way through the speech (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jane2009 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 07:44:18 AM EST
    My roommate starting yelling "And a chicken in every pot!!!" Yeah, exactly.

    Part way into the speech, Obama said, "So -- so let me -- let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president."

    Okay, so I definitely get that the upshot of all this change is to be the creation of Utopia, but I still don't know how he plans to get us there. I don't believe much of what a politician says, unless it's backed up by what a politician does, and I was hoping this speech would do more than say, I'm not McCain! and that it would explain more of the mechanics of Obama's method. It wasn't a good speech for me, because while it promised the moon, I'm still waiting to hear how he's planning to finance and build us a rocket to get there. I've heard this speech a thousand times before.

    Your post is really funny. (none / 0) (#2)
    by theybannedmeinboston on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:32:16 AM EST
    If our local watering hole tuned its TVs to the convention, they'd have to clean food off the TV screens.

    The rules of the pub are clear.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:56:53 AM EST
    no religion, no politics...and for good reason.  Why end up in a drunken argument with somebody when you can be laughing and merry instead?

    I caught the speech on the radio on the way home from softball...sounded like the crowd was goin' nuts.  I'm hoping Obama can pull it off even more, it will be a helluva lot easier listening to Obama for 4 than McCain...since we're only talking about the superficial anyways.  


    Not interested in speeches myself (none / 0) (#4)
    by splashy on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:54:37 AM EST
    Never listen to them. I find most speeches boring, because they just don't talk fast enough and give enough meaty information. Too much appealing to emotion too. I wander off.

    I go to what they do, not what is said. Votes, actions, who they support and with whom they, that is what tells me where they are coming from.

    Sorry, that's just how I follow things.

    I haven't even watched Hillary Clinton's speech, even though I heard it was a good one and have supported her for quite some time.

    This is a great line. (none / 0) (#5)
    by ding7777 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:10:31 AM EST
    It's time for us to change America

    But how?  That's question.

    Will Obama expand faith-based programs?  

    Will Obama "fix" Social Secuirty via personal accounts?

    Keep funding the failed  "No Child left behind"?

    Universal Health Care?

    I tended bar (none / 0) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 07:21:57 AM EST
    And I would never put anything on the screen that was political at all. It's an invitation for disaster! It was a White Sox, area and I would have been tarred and feathered if I even put on the Cubs, let alone anything as touchy as politics.

    Absolutely... (none / 0) (#20)
    by desertswine on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:39:00 AM EST
    No politics and no religion. Unless you want a beer in your face.

    Majestic (none / 0) (#14)
    by koshembos on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 07:33:09 AM EST
    "Sheer majesty of Obama's speech, the confidence he exuded, the promises he made." This is Abranmsky's description of the speech. Mind you, it doesn't describe the speech; it describes, mainly, the atmospherics of the speech. I have no clue what majestic means in this context. Is Obama running for the King of the US? I am sure he is confident; that actually is his problem. His confidence overlaps with arrogance. Finally, he made promises.

    An Israeli prime minister made a lot of promises before the elections. After the election he didn't deliver. When asked about his promises, he responded: "I didn't that it's illegal to promise."

    In other words, who cares about promises? I don't think he means them.

    By the way, if Abramsky went from one bar to another, how did he managed to watch the speech?

    I think it's obvious that Obama's speech didn't rise to the heights of the Clintons speeches and may even be short of Biden heart felt speech.

    Are we stuck or what?

    This speech is the final opportunity (none / 0) (#22)
    by frankly0 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:58:42 AM EST
    for the MSM and its pundits to heap over-the-top, wholly uncritical praise on Obama, just as they did in his "race" speech. (I seem to have heard some pundit on MSNBC as describing the moment as (I'm paraphrasing) the "most important moment in the history of the United States". I had to double check with my daughter that that is what this woman had said, and that is what my daughter had heard as well.)

    From here on out, the speech is going to be deconstructed by the Republicans and events themselves. Obama's popularity rose dramatically after the Berlin speech, but came back to the ground after the Republicans used their ju-jitsu. I'd pretty much expect the same here.

    And the Republicans couldn't have a better megaphone to use for the occasion than their own convention.

    Not True TChris (none / 0) (#26)
    by john horse on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:46:43 PM EST
    Obama got great ratings for his speech.  I found this on dailykos:
    Nielsen Media Research said more people watched Obama speak than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final "American Idol" or the Academy Awards this year. Obama talked before a live audience of 80,000 people in Denver.

    His TV audience nearly doubled the amount of people who watched John Kerry accept the Democratic nomination to run against President Bush four years ago. Kerry's speech was seen by just over 20 million people.


    I didn't say anything about ratings. (none / 0) (#27)
    by TChris on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:11:21 PM EST
    The first sentence of the post was tongue-in-cheek, I admit, but the post and linked article referred to barflies in Clovis.  The larger point is that most people who will vote in November didn't see it.  That's why Obama supporters should tell their friends about it.  I am nonetheless pleased that so many people care so much about this election that they took the time to watch the speech.