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?

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Why 'upgrading' humanity is a transhumanist myth

Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.

Videos
  • Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
  • Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
  • Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
Keep reading Show less