A Wasted First Night?

Rick Moran
James Carville thinks so. Many in the left wing blogosphere also wanted more of an attack dog mentality. And some MSM analysis also believed the Dems spent too much time on emoting and not enough throwing red meat to the partisans at the convention.

The bottom line is this. The parties have around 8 hours of coverage on over the air networks to get their message to the average voter. People who watch CNN, Fox, and MSNBC are more than casual observers of politics most likely and have a grasp of the race already. Instead, campaigns aim their sights at the millions of people who tune in to ABC, CBS, and NBC for two hours a night in order to catch the big speeches and watch the party big wigs comment on what they are seeing.

So each moment is excruciatingly planned out. Themes and issues are carefully mixed and measured to get the maximum benefit from the limited amount of time available.

Carville knows this which is why he believes the first night was a waste:

Speaking on CNN, Carville said the party was too soft in its attacks on John McCain Monday night - the same mistake, Carville says, Democrats made at the 2004 convention.

"The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal - Michelle Obama will talk about Barack Obama personally, Ted Kennedy was a very personal, emotional speech," Carville said. "But I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you're going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera."

"You haven't heard about Iraq or John McCain or George W. Bush - I haven't heard any of this. We are a country that is in a borderline recession, we are an 80 percent wrong-track country. Health care, energy - I haven't heard anything about gas prices," Carville also says. "Maybe we are going to look better Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But right now, we're playing hide the message."

It's no accident this guy was part of the last campaign to beat a Republican. The fact is, all those tears for Kennedy made great TV but the message got lost in all the emotion.

And if all they were trying to accomplish with Michelle Obama's speech was paint her as a regular mom who loved America, they probably succeeded in that as well.

But Kennedy isn't running for president nor is Michelle Obama. And as far as laying into McCain and the Republicans, I have to agree with Carville that it was a pretty tame night.

But was it "wasted?" Not from their point of view. They accomplished what they started out to do. But whether it was the right thing to do and whether it will help bring them victory is another matter.
James Carville thinks so. Many in the left wing blogosphere also wanted more of an attack dog mentality. And some MSM analysis also believed the Dems spent too much time on emoting and not enough throwing red meat to the partisans at the convention.

The bottom line is this. The parties have around 8 hours of coverage on over the air networks to get their message to the average voter. People who watch CNN, Fox, and MSNBC are more than casual observers of politics most likely and have a grasp of the race already. Instead, campaigns aim their sights at the millions of people who tune in to ABC, CBS, and NBC for two hours a night in order to catch the big speeches and watch the party big wigs comment on what they are seeing.

So each moment is excruciatingly planned out. Themes and issues are carefully mixed and measured to get the maximum benefit from the limited amount of time available.

Carville knows this which is why he believes the first night was a waste:

Speaking on CNN, Carville said the party was too soft in its attacks on John McCain Monday night - the same mistake, Carville says, Democrats made at the 2004 convention.

"The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal - Michelle Obama will talk about Barack Obama personally, Ted Kennedy was a very personal, emotional speech," Carville said. "But I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you're going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera."

"You haven't heard about Iraq or John McCain or George W. Bush - I haven't heard any of this. We are a country that is in a borderline recession, we are an 80 percent wrong-track country. Health care, energy - I haven't heard anything about gas prices," Carville also says. "Maybe we are going to look better Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But right now, we're playing hide the message."

It's no accident this guy was part of the last campaign to beat a Republican. The fact is, all those tears for Kennedy made great TV but the message got lost in all the emotion.

And if all they were trying to accomplish with Michelle Obama's speech was paint her as a regular mom who loved America, they probably succeeded in that as well.

But Kennedy isn't running for president nor is Michelle Obama. And as far as laying into McCain and the Republicans, I have to agree with Carville that it was a pretty tame night.

But was it "wasted?" Not from their point of view. They accomplished what they started out to do. But whether it was the right thing to do and whether it will help bring them victory is another matter.