This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Democratic Convention Day One - Did Michelle do enough?

I think the answer is yes.

Michelle Obama delivered a convention address last night that was perfectly pitched. It was accessible, genuine and heartfelt.

By stressing the common themes of family, change and values the Obama camp hoped Michelle would make an an emotional connection with voters. I lost count of the number of times I heard the phrase "American family." And by successfully linking her family's rise and success with the fulfillment of the American dream - "America's a place where you can make it if you try" - Michelle forced voters to make an important connection in their minds between the Obama family and voters' perceptions of the 'typical' American family.

It seems odd now that anyone would question it but the speech also helped to erase doubts that she was 'an angry black woman.' It was simple and family based which should go down well with female voters who feel hard done by after Clinton's defeat. Incidentally, there was a warm tribute to Hillary which I thought was a nice touch and should help to improve Democratic unity.

If, at times, the speech seemed cloying and schmaltzy then this was OK too. After all, Americans go mad for this sort of thing. And if you can't do it when your husband is about to be officially nominated as Presidential candidate, when can you do it?

When Obama appeared by VT link at the end, there was also a good joke about him pestering Michelle until she went out with him and how Americans would need a persistent President. The little girls also looked cute. If the object of the address had been to introduce Michelle to the American people then it worked very well.

Tonight, Hillary makes her debut. She needs to go out of her way to show that she is right behind Obama's candidacy, if not rumours of Democratic disunity will haunt the rest of the week and the campaign.

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