"Ready for dinner"
So, obviously, the key question coming in to the first night of the Democratic Convention was how Michelle Obama would do in her big speech. And I’m genuinely interested to know — what did you all think? Did you like the speech? Did she do what she needed to do politically? Will it have an effect on the race?
As for my take, well, I thought she was great, that what she said was exactly what she needed to say, and that she delivered it extremely well. Some people would sound rehearsed giving a speech like this one, but Obama sounded authentic and utterly sincere. And, importantly, she seemed warm and likable. That’s important for her, because — like the wife of a certain previous Democratic candidate who was a stronger woman than the typical political spouse — she’s been the target of a lot of the venom directed at her husband, and could potentially have been a detriment to his campaign if she did not show the country that she is not the caricature that’s been drawn of her. And, of course, by giving her family’s story the way she did, she made herself and her husband seem more familiar, more like your next-door neighbor and less like the Other that some people believe Barack Obama to be.
I know some people who were skeptical of the idea of having the candidate’s wife deliver such a high-profile speech, but I think it’s now clear why the Obama campaign made this decision, and it certainly seems like history will judge it to be the right one. Now, will it have a real effect on the electorate? That I’m not ready to predict, and a lot will depend on whether she was preaching to the choir or whether people who could be swayed were watching tonight.
Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.More Alex Koppelman.