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August 26, 2008

Our Man On The Floor: The Teddy And Michelle Show

From Nathan Stormer:

Michelle’s speech was all in all pretty fluffy but it countered the McCain nonsense about a reckless elitist about as much as any ad ever could.   Extremely humanizing.

Along with Teddy coming back to roar, the family moment with the Obama’s was actually great.  David Brooks just burped up a stupid criticism that Michelle did not normalize Obama enough because America sees him as a messiah.  Hogwash.  That is the best he could do?

Until Kennedy, I thought the massive spectical emphasized the hollow procedure of a convention, missing all the passion and commitment.  But Teddy made the set go away and brought it to the human level it needed to be at.

From Dalia Lithwick/Slate:

What I loved best about Michelle Obama’s speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn’t do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned “hope” and “change” for coughing up hairballs of outrage.  (More.)

From Alan Chin …

What the presentation tonight showed is blue state America, at least the urban, educated wing of the Democratic alliance.  There wasn’t a lot of press on this, but the show tonight — including Michelle’s sister and brother — showed the party as multi-state, multi-region, multi-ethnic, muti-race, multi-everything.  It was the real America.  This campaign goes beyond a discussion of race, as fixated on by the mostly white media.

If there is one useful thing this convention does is show that.  Of course, the right wing will hate this.  They will probably say that the Obama children were exploited for talking to their Dad when Obama said they wouldn’t be used in the campaign.  But what Monday night showed what nice, educated people sitting around having fun, in this case, talking to each other using Skype.  The right wing will hate this because it wasn’t about paranoid fear and loathing.  It wasn’t about hate or the bible.  It was about normal America.

(All images © Alan Chin.  Denver. 2008)

  • jean

    “Michelle’s speech was all in all pretty fluffy ”
    What? She’s going to give a policy speech? We’ve been there with Hillary (remember health care?). THAT IS NOT HER JOB, not right now.
    Separating the Obamas from the Clintons right now is part of the job, no matter that she probably will be very proactive.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    “the whole world is watching”
    which, in my opinion is what the people in this slideshow look like they wish that they were doing, rather than enduring the un-endurable there, there not in Denver.
    look, if this is all there is, then Whynot just post their TelePrompter text scrolls?
    (and for goodness sakes, Alan ~ open up that lens one f-stop)

  • alan chin

    hi gonzo, sorry, i’m at 250th of a second at f/2.8 with the long lens. no tripod for me down on the floor…

  • bystander

    These are powerful images Alan. Thanks for them. Excepting the last image, of course, I am taken with how intent the audience appeared to be. I’m especially appreciative of the images of the Old Lion. It would not seem that he will be with us much longer.

  • Mona

    Alan Chin, You are AMAZING!! A big thank you!!

  • Nathan

    Jean: I wasn’t saying she needed to do anything else, it was an observation about what it was. I think it was a great speech. First lady pending speeches are almost always fluffy, They are usually also dreadful because the fluff has the ring of a bad Hallmark card. Liddy Dole’s in ‘96 was painful. MIchelle Obama did a fantastic job at humanizing an otherwise extremely formulaic and dull event (meaning the convention as a whole). And she did it by breathing life into extremely worn tropes about integrity, family honor, hard work, and the American Dream. That is not a small thing. So my apologies if it seemed like I wanted something else from her. I didn’t and no one should. She took what is normally a very ineffective speech genre and made it sing.

  • jean

    Thank you, Nathan. I am jean, as we also have a Jean. I think I just objected to ‘fluffy’. Fluffy: “Light or frivolous” “lacking depth or precision” “light and airy” (well, maybe). Your description of her speech just didn’t match FLUFFY. Call it semantics. But thanks for the response. A pleasant surprize!

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