OK, I have the TV on FoxNews, a 12 pack of beer, and a cyanide capsule just in case I need it. I think I’m ready.
First, before the snark-fest begins, some serious analysis. This needs to be a homerun for John Kerry. His pick of Edwards didn’t give him much of a bounce. If he’s not up by at least 10 point at the end of the convention, considering that Bush has the airwaves all to himself throughout all of August, he’s going to be in trouble. This is a make-or-break speech, and if it doesn’t work, Kerry could see himself in serious trouble just as the election begins to truly heat up.
Kerry has to tell the swing voters why they should vote for him, not against George W. Bush. The Bush-haters are going to vote for him regardless – but they can’t carry him to victory. Kerry has to find a message, and after four days of contradictions, he’s going to have a tough time of it. Barack Obama’s quite brilliant speech said we’re one America – John Edwards says there are two. The Democrats are trying to paint themselves as optimists, yet they’re also trying to argue that America has never been more troubled. Kerry will emphasize the idea that character is made of actions, not words – yet he is notorious for being on both sides of any given issue.
Kerry has to wow everyone. He has to set the tone for the campaign and create the right message. It’s going to be a tough job for anyone – but it’s critical not to underestimate Kerry. This is going to be a close election, and Kerry could indeed strike one out of the park. The campaign could turn on this speech, which is why it’s the only part of this convention that really matters.