I've been a little down on political blogging this week... sure it's been fun to see some blogs grow up a bit at the convention, but to me it also makes blogging seem as futile as ever -- so many people writing the same thing at the same time, with only slight variations. It also feels like a lot of cheerleading is going on -- of course, people are talking up the big speakers, serving as activists as much as commentators -- and while I want to see Bush get taken down as much as the next guy, my enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate has never been very strong. Where his positions are defined, I feel like we disagree as much as Democrats can, and where they're not... well, that's bad too. All that said, here are my own (inescapable) observations:
I think the convention was choreographed perfectly, and Kerry did a phenomenal job with his speech tonight -- especially given the expectations. What struck me most about this evening was the extent to which the Democrats have managed to triangulate Bush's positions, and even what have been seen as Republican values. The GOP will have very little room to maneuver if Bush is going to differentiate himself from Kerry and appeal to independent voters at the same time. (That the Democratic base seems to be swallowing this stuff whole is a tribute to the poverty of the Bush administration's policy/ideology over the past four years.) All this triangulation is political genius -- independent voters are dying for an alternative to Bush, even though they believe he is the patriotic, American choice. The convention will help change that.
The GOP response? I suspect they will do everyting possible to impeach Kerry's credibility, which is certainly an achievable goal. Specifically, they'll find ways to call him unpatriotic and unAmerican, probably by dragging up his votes in re Iraq and military funding. If they're even smarter than this, they'll introduce several substantive policy alternatives to oppose the Democrats' "propaganda" -- although Bush may not have the credibility for a move like this.