Political conventions are heavily scripted and hardly ever make news. But the Democratic and Republican conventions did have their share of surprises. Here are my favorites:
2. The press, even liberal commentators, admitted that Obama had bombed. Sure, there were bitter-enders who claimed all was fine, but the cable TV talking heads and the vast majority of columnists were brutally honest. MSNBC personalities were downright glum.
3. Knowing the president has a problem with pro-Israel voters, the Obama campaign made a mess for itself by fiddling with platform language and then allowed the matter to fester for two days. The display of booing and confusion when the language was reinstated may be the most memorable thing about the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Even more surprising, Obama did not mention Jerusalem and gave short shrift to both Israel and Iran in his speech.
4. The gap between the GOP bench (including Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Artur Davis) and the Democratic bench is striking.
5. The Democrats largely ignored unemployment. Granted this is a sore subject, but the lack of empathy and the dearth of policy proposals to address the problem were glaring, giving validation to Mitt Romney’s claim that the president has no plans to get people working again. Ignoring the problem won’t make the August jobs numbers (only 96,000 jobs added) any less horrible.
6. Elizabeth Warren’s speech was a dud. The darling of the left was surprisingly stiff and unoriginal in her remarks, leaving one to wonder what the fuss is all about. The near-comical exhortations of Jennifer Granholm were more entertaining.
7. Condi Rice gave one heck of a speech, earning kudos from the left and even her critics on the right. We continue to doubt that she will return to public office, but one never knows. The kind of reception she received can be intoxicating.
8. There was widespread sentiment that these conventions need to be trimmed or eliminated entirely. Even the media and the pols who have selfish interests for wanting to perpetuate these anachronistic events seem to have thrown in the towel.
9. The Obama team waited until the last day to cancel the stadium event. No balloons, lots of bored reporters writing scathing accounts. For a campaign that ran so well in 2008, the 2012 Obama team is arguably the weaker of the two campaigns at this stage in the race.
10. Romney may get a bigger bump from the Democrats’ convention than the Republicans’ convention, especially with today’s putrid jobs figures.