The Democratic convention was a unique event in the way in which it continually rejected the storyline the mainstream media was determined to push. We live in a far different media environment than past elections, particularly on the liberal side. The Obama campaign has come along at a fortuitous time, recognizing that Democrats lose when they try to curry favor with the mainstream press. What exists now is a party that has alternative media to get reality out beyond the filter. Why let Fox News hold you over a barrell when you can embed bloggers or create the media for yourself, publish it online and blast it out to your supporters to pass along?
The early storyline from the fading media was about unity. Would the Clintons be pleased, would they embrace the Obama candidacy? Then the press wondered if Michelle Obama would be too “angry” for mainstream America. The most ridiculous attack was an echo of the McCain campaign’s flailing versus Senator Obama – the elitist nonsense. They attacked the stage design, even though it was as traditional American as you get. They tried and tried to make the Democratic convention something it wasn’t.
The Clintons both gave rousing speeches, unambiguous expressions of support for Sen. Obama. How stupid do you have to be to underestimate Bill Clinton’s skill at speechmaking? Quite stupid. And for Michelle Obama, her speech continued to dissolve the GOP/MSM spin against her. She came across as a likeable affable wife and mother and sister. It continues a racial pattern that has been used against the Obamas for eighteen plus months now: The desire to paint this family as something different, something “other”, to sow the seeds of doubt that it is impossible that the first major party candidate who is black could be just like you. But that’s just it: The Obamas are just like the rest of us. And they found the best way to cast aside the caricature the Republican noise machine has invested so much in creating: they spoke.
Most of all, that’s what Joe Biden and Sen. Obama did. People who are paying attention are realizing that Sen. Obama is the real deal. I hope the mainstream press and the Republicans continue to talk him down. Before the speech, we were told that it would be a speech that sailed over the heads of people, given by the aloof law professor who couldn’t possibly speak to the average American.
Except of course that Sen. Obama is a creature of the middle class in a similar way to President Clinton, and not of the elitist class like President Bush and Sen. McCain. As his speech – seen by over 38 million in real time, plus more in repeats and by over 68,000 mostly swing-state voters in person – made clear, Barack Obama is more than ready and able to communicate concrete solutions to the American people. The McCain campaign has repeatedly tried to tell us that Obama’s communication skills are no more than mere celebrity, but as history has shown us – especially the last eight years – we need an American president who can speak about issues more complex than basic sloganeering. It’s a complex world that we live in and we don’t need more of the same stupidity and irresponsibility in the highest job in the nation.
Obama and Biden refined the “change” message at the convention, now describing it as “the change we need”, bringing a sense of urgency to the ideals that the Democratic party stands behind. We no longer live in a world where the GOP’s spinners who write the mainstream media’s storylines get to define the box in which liberals operate. Obama has been able to bypass the filter right to the Democratic nomination, and he and Joe Biden now have the momentum and backing to continue the journey right to the top.