Although Edwards seemed a bit tight and hoarse, I thought he did quite well, I really liked his two Americas theme. I've read about it of course, but this was the first time I'd heard it and it was much more powerful and inclusive than media reports had let on. I especially liked the "civil rights is an american issue" statement.
Finally, the Dems have clued in: politics is about identity and projecting the identity that is attractive to the voters, in short--what type of America do you want to live in? I even heard Howard Dean mention George Lakoff during an interview.
Policies are nice, but you need to hook them up to something overarching and sustaining and for most people this boils down to who "we" are and who "we" want to be. For as successful as Clinton was, it seemed that it was due more to his innate charisma and political instincts than a conscious grasp of the importance of "identity" (for lack of a better word). For too long we've let the GOP dominate this discourse, whether overtly (moral majority) or covertly (dirty Harry). A better America: more equal, just, rewarding… I think a lot of "swing" voters will line up for that, particularly given the alternative… but we've got 30+ years of brainwashing (librulz=elitists snobs) to undo.
Choice bits from John Edwards' remarks at the Democratic convention
"...Decisive. Strong. Aren't these the traits you want in a Commander in Chief?
We hear a lot of talk about values. Where I come from, you don't judge someone's values based on how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they've spent their life doing...."
"...For the last few months, John has been talking about his positive, optimistic vision for the country — talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.
But we've seen relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming — don't we — more negative attacks.
Aren't you sick of it?
They are doing all they can to take this campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road...."
"...I have heard some discussions and debates about where, and in front of what audiences we should talk about race, equality, and civil rights. Well, I have an answer to that question. Everywhere.
This is not an African-American issue, not a Latino issue, not an Asian-American issue, this is an American issue. It's about who we are, what our values are, what kind of country we want to live in...."