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Diane Francis

Diane Francis

Posted: August 26, 2008 05:06 PM

Democrats Flunk First Night


Organizers of the Democratic Party's confab in Denver don't understand that politics is show biz.

Conventions are TV series, watched by people fleetingly, and must compete against better, more interesting programming.

And the fundamental flaw is that the Democrats seem to think that conventions are like university courses, meted out piecemeal to willing and interested students. Unfortunately, any messaging should be condensed all the time: positive about Obama but it must, at the same time, always slag McCain. This is because Obama is a newby up against a seasoned, experienced McCain who is perceived as safer unless annihilated.

McCain's team gets it. He upstaged the Democrats' whole evening by appearing on Jay Leno's Show right after the speeches ended as CNN pundits repeated themselves ad nauseum. He was on at 11PM Eastern and 8PM Pacific, prime time.

McCain's performance was fun to watch and he was funny, self deprecating about his age and on message. He gave back-handed compliments to Obama, Biden et al then played the tired old POW card over and over again.

Here's my guess as to the rest of this week's "show" line-up:

Tuesday night -- Hillary talks unity and McCain appears on David Letterman

Wednesday night -- Biden talks tough and McCain appears on Jimmy Kimmel

Thursday night -- Obama delivers eloquence and McCain goes on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Or Fox.