SEVEN HOMES, TWO SPEECHES
Just one week ago, John McCain had all the momentum. Then he strangely didn't remember how many homes he owned. That silly little mistake opened the door; it reminded the Democrats that two can play at the attack-politics game. After all, what is attack politics but the willingness and the ability to capitalize on silly little mistakes.
Of course, as we all know, a few little openings like that won't by themselves be enough for the Party of the Donkey to take back the White House. The Democrats first need to unify, and then they need to show WHY they're unified. That required two great speeches. The first would have to be delivered by Hillary Clinton -- she, divisive Hillary, would have to be the unifier. Ironic, but true. Two nights later, Barack would have to explain why all Americans should unify behind him instead of a former war hero who is also a more experienced, more accomplished statesman.
Blissfully, I can report that tonight, Hillary did her job. It was an excellent speech. I found myself wishing she would get off the stage and march right into the studio of "Morning Joe" and tell Mr. Scarborough that if he really thinks she wants John McCain to win this election (like Scarborough has been saying for months), he knows where he can stick it. The proof as to whether Scarborough has been right or not will be played out in the upcoming weeks. Will Hillary become a regular on shows like his and tell America why we need Barack Obama and why we can't afford to have John McCain? Or was this speech a won-hit wonder designed simply to maintain her personal reputation? I think she's earned the benefit of the doubt tonight. I think we can assume that she's going to take her new-found Obamamania on the road. We'll see.
In any event, now it's Barack's turn. Can he show us that he has a second act? Can he regain the same quantum of magic that he brought to his speeches in January? Or, at the very least, can he give us the sense that he is a good man of sound judgment who will identify the country's greatest needs and build one coalition after another in order to meet them?
For the moment, it's not about what WE can do, it's about what HE can do. I can't wait for Thursday night to find out.