2004 Redux: A Democratic Convention Without a Message?
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
"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?
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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