2004 Redux: A Democratic Convention Without a Message?

"Well, if this party has a message it has done a hell of a job of hiding it tonight I promise you that," James Carville said on CNN Monday night (see ABC's The Note). "I look at this and I am about to jump out of my chair."

What Carville was referring to was the absence of a negative narrative about John McCain. There was emotion last night with Senator Edward Kennedy's appearance and Michelle Obama scored points by telling her personal story. But as Carville lamented, going back to 2004, the Democrats' streak of not bashing the GOP record at Democratic National Conventions now stands at five nights.

In 2004, the Democratic convention was anemic when it came to a message, focusing mostly on John Kerry's Vietnam war service. A few weeks later in New York, the Republicans on the other hand were forceful and consistent with their narrative, repeating over and over again September 11, the threat of danger, the need for a strong leader in a time of change, and the weak, wobbly, elite nature of John Kerry. (See clip above.)

After watching last night's three hours of speeches and coverage, I am hard pressed to come away with a central theme or narrative. Even worse, while McCain has a master negative narrative on Obama, ("He's the biggest celebrity in the world and not ready to be president,") the Obama team seems to be still searching for a similar strategy to use against McCain. Is it four more years of Bush? Is it a wealthy Senator out of touch with the economy?

What do readers think? Is the Democratic convention already off to a failed start?
Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less