Almost Underway

Good morning. A quiet morning in Las Vegas, sun already blasting in the pre-work-day skies. Joe Biden is Barack Obama’s vice presidential nominee. Denver Police are already breaking out the pepper spray to subdue the protesters. And now, as the general election campaign actually, finally, mercifully, begins, the tenor of the rhetoric begins to move toward its inevitable climax. To wit, Michelle Obama spoke last night at the Democratic National Convention about the “improbable journey” of the Obama campaign to date, about her love of family, about change.

It is, what would we call it? Articulate bluecollarness? Eloquent Populism? The American desire to appeal to the masses and establish your intellectual bonafides. We like our rhetoric soaring and practical, boundless and modest. Politicians are always walking one tight rope or other when they speak; Michelle’s was to establish her “I love my country” bonafides (for those who doubt them), without pandering. To this she succeeded, concluding with a rousing “God Bless America,” as a cover band played “Isn’t She Lovely?” as she finished. But I admit I like Michelle best when she gives off the air of being critical of the country. It's refreshing.

Surprisingly, In the midst of her busy schedule, she was kind enough to dash me off a quick note, a textbook example of the politician’s art:

Todd —

My mom, the girls, and I left home in Chicago and got to Denver yesterday. What a beautiful city! The convention started this morning, and everyone here is getting ready for the big week. All the work you've done is at the heart of what's happening here, and our team filmed a short video to give you a look behind the scenes at the convention center.

It was nice. Clearly she loves her daughter and she even complimented me on all the hard work I’ve done. A great way to start our trip to Denver. I mean, I haven’t actually met Michelle, but we both have spent some time in cerebral Hyde Park on Chicago’s South Side. More later.


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