WELCOME BACK, MY FRIENDS, TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS
So there's going to be a Hillary Clinton speech at the Democratic convention on Tuesday night and, now, this:
NBC News has learned that the Obama campaign, in an effort to quiet talk of the Obama-Clinton drama, has offered Bill Clinton a speaking role on Wednesday night at the Democratic convention -- before the vice presidential running mate speaks.
Sources say that Clinton in fact will speak....
Regular readers of this blog know that I had negative things to say about Obama's decision to do the Berlin speech -- and then I was upbeat when recent poll numbers came out. This isn't a wild mood swing -- I think he's running a good campaign. But I still think he loses votes when he's surrounded with too much spectacle and drama. And now, on top of the big football-stadium speech he's planning, he's going to have to endure a couple of nights of the Clintons' rock-star act (plus, possibly, a contested roll-call vote against Hillary) before he does his rock-star act. Not good.
Or is it possible that the inevitably ecstatic reaction to the Clintons' speeches will make the Obama speech on Thursday seem less hubristic than it would have seemed otherwise? I just don't know.
I wonder if Obama should have made his speech like a stadium-rock show, in one way -- by inviting the Clintons up to speak, the way a band might invite a fellow superstar to play a couple of numbers. That might have worked better -- the two Clintons as Obama's opening acts. Then it wouldn't have been a solo show that could be called an ego trip -- it would be Demopalooza.
At the very least, he really ought to share the stage by ending the speech with a hands-in-the-air victory tableau -- himself, his running mate, and the two Clintons. I remember the post-convention image of Dukakis joined by Bentsen and Jackson and it utterly buried the notion of party disunity, which was the talk of the political world before that. (Dukakis's subsequent collapse was for other reasons.) Dukakis came out of that convention with a huge lead; a unity tableau might not do Obama as much good, but it will be a plus, and I think he needs to do it. It would also be an indelible visual rebuke to all (the press, the McCain campaign) who want to use the Clintons to bash Obama.