I watched the Democratic convention last night, and despite some heartwarming moments and some rousing speeches, I felt like something was missing. I loved watching Teddy Kennedy last night, and I loved learning about Michelle Obama. (Even more fascinating was seeing her mom and seeing the common mannerisms! I get a feeling that’s her mom is not a woman who’s easily swayed or impressed.) The Obama kids were darling and stole the stage from everyone else. There was their dad trying to give a nice, pre-scripted moment from Kansas City–and they were being kids all over it. Very cute kids! I also was impressed with Michelle’s interaction with the kids. Instead of helping keep them in line with the pre-scripted moment, she was more mom than politician–handing them the microphone so they could speak to their dad, even when he wasn’t ready for it. She was encouraging their exuberance–in the way most moms would. It was very un-scripted and very nice to see.
That said, something was still missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but this morning I was watching James Carville and he pinpointed it–there was no ‘message.’ In political circles the message is the point you are trying to convey to the voters. I know the purpose of last night–to rally Democrats, make them proud of who we are (through the Teddy speech) and then introduce us to our potential first lady. But what was the message? What one theme or point came through the entire day? What sticks with us? The message is crucial–every word spoken should always point back towards the message–that’s how people know who you are and what you stand for. In this world of short attention spans, warm moments like last night are great in the short term, but useless in the long term. The warm, fuzzy feelings of last night will be gone by tomorrow, and all we’ll be left with is the message–if there was one. The GOP excels at this concept–message in short and sweet phrases, something that not only conveys a feeling but one that sticks in your head. Dems tend to like to convey too much, and messages get muddled. We’ve gotten better at it…but last night leaves me wondering what the message was.
I didn’t pick up on one. There was no overwhelming theme of both speeches. In some ways I could say it was about Hope–but if it was Hope, then it was a weakly executed message. Both mentioned it, but their speeches centered around themselves and their own agendas, not around Hope. So the question remains–what was the message?
Without a central message, this whole convention is a waste of time. Voters need to walk away knowing without a shadow of a doubt who we are and who Obama is; what we stand for now and in the future. Without it, its a multi-million dollar party that will garner few votes.