It is a lot to ask of a losing presidential candidate to give up their right to a controlled exit, appropriately stage-managed, spun and cosseted to spare the candidate's feelings. The other night a roomful of Obama supporters raked me over the coals for suggesting that their rage would subside and Hillary would say all the right things on Saturday. Maybe she could have hit a single on Tuesday, but by Saturday, she could knock it out of the park. As Jon Stewart found out during the recent strike, you gotta have writers. I'm glad she took the time to get it right.
I particularly appreciated the speech writer's trope of repeating the line "and that's why we must help elect Barack Obama our President" four paragraphs in a row. One of the first lessons I learned in politics was "repetition, repetition, repetition. (And repetition.)
And one of the basic rules about being on television is to look at the camera. I would have thought someone had told John McCain that, but it was apparent Tuesday night that didn't sink in. Someone apparently did tell him it's important to make eye contact with everyone in the room, resulting in his robotic three-angle head spin. Every six seconds, Bobblehead McCain turned to the right, left and back again. It was so transfixing that I couldn't focus on what he was saying. This guy will be easier to beat than Bob Dole.
As inept as McCain seems today, I don't underestimate the impact of a scare campaign against the man they're already calling a "liberal flip-flopper." Haven't we heard this one before? If the Republicans succeed in defining Obama with negative stereotypes before he fully introduces himself to the American people, Obama may have just made his last piece of history.