It's not about Joe Biden. It's not about Hillary Clinton. In Denver and in the country, it's about Barack Obama, the man on whom the Democrats are pinning their hopes.
Which is not to say that Biden and Clinton don't matter. They matter a lot. The Hillary Factor is still keeping the chatterers chatting here in Denver but she and the worry that her diehard loyalists will never say die are not quite Topic A today, more like Topic A-minus. Joe Biden's solid credentials make it harder for the Hillary holdouts to keep on holding out.
Yes, their girl didn't get the nod but the boy who did brings all that foreign affairs gravitas (in Washington we absolutely love gravitas) and years of Washington experience to the ticket. So he talks too much. Nobody's perfect. He'll serve just fine. In the meantime, Democrats are crossing their fingers that he'll think first and talk later. They're happy so far, but then he hasn't talked much, has he? A rousing acceptance speech does not a campaign make. I'm writing Monday afternoon and he was only named on Saturday. The Democrats here are adopting the AA slogan: One day at a time.
Clinton and Biden can help or they can hurt, but Barack Obama is still the man who's got to seal the deal. Unless, of course, the American people decide they'd rather have a beer (distributed by his wife) with the man who thinks the current policy against gays serving openly in the military is just fine -- and by the way, how many houses does he own? Oh, who's counting? Not John McCain. (I wouldn't mind an extra house or two myself.)
Seal the deal. Make the sale. That's what it's all about. It's what George Bush did and John Kerry didn't do in 2004. Things began well enough for Kerry: a grand arrival in Boston harbor on a glorious day, Vietnam buddies by his side, flags waving, martial music playing, and the requisite party officials and loyalists all in tow and beaming. For the Democrats, it seemed like the Fourth of July and Christmas all rolled into one.
It wasn't. The freshest face in the Boston crowd was a Harvard man's, not the Yalie who was supposed to be the star of the show. (It was a good year for Yale, alma mater to both the Republican and Democratic nominees.) But Harvard took the day in the person of Barack Obama. He gave the keynote address and look where he is today! (And look where they are. George Bush is in the basement and sinking in the polls, and John Kerry is . . . well, I don't know where John Kerry is. Windsurfing off Nantucket, maybe?) You gotta love it.
Yes, you've got to love it. Only in America, as they say. We all know who sealed the deal for their party's nomination. Now they've got to seal a much, much bigger deal: Who is going to run the most powerful country in the world? The conventions may be fun, but that is serious business, deadly serious.
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