I am not a big admirer of Hillary Clinton as a pure politician, but I thought she did very, very well last night. Her speech was brilliantly crafted -- a credit to her speechwriters -- but after some fits and starts, she delivered it superbly. No wooden laughs or phony heartiness. Yes, it was the usual list of "to-do's", but it fit how she had been presented to the convention: as someone who would know what to do, and would get it done. I have four observations, only one of which is critical:
I thought this was a very good speech, well-crafted, well delivered. Clinton seemed a touch off balance at the beginning. I wasn't sure if she was unsettled by scattered heckling or simply needed to get her footing. In any case, she managed to get that footing in fairly short order. My first takeaway is what she didn't do. She didn't 'relax' or 'stop shouting' or 'show a softer side.' She gave a politician's speech with a politician's demeanor, which was entirely fitting. That is who she is. That's what she's doing. It worked.
11:21 PM: "She said that what worried president Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started, not by big men with self control and restraint but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride."
11:24 PM: "There is no other Donald Trump. This is It." (This is the thing virtually everyone talking about a pivot never got.)
11:27 PM: "Yes the world is watching."
11:35 PM: "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."
10:40 PM: "From Morning in America to Midnight in America."
An artful rebranding of FDR's immortal line.
(I thought Clinton started shaky but has quickly gotten her footing.)
(A more artful than I expected painting of the picture as Trump as potential strongman. Not the buzzwords, but sole power, leadership principle over democracy.)
11:01 PM: "I believe that our economy isn't working the way it should because our democracy isn't working the way it should."
(Going into this speech I didn't think Clinton needed to hit it out of the park. I thought she'd be unwise to try. That's not what people are looking for from her. I think she's giving just the speech she should. One thing I find notable is that I heard a lot of pundits say she would or would have to deal with the email issue - and in some fairly literal way. Perhaps something is still coming. But from a brief glance at her not being a natural politician, she hasn't touched it at all. It unapologetic, it's straightforward.)