Those of us who follow politics more regularly than the average American often consider ourselves, given our familiarity with the political landscape, in a fine position to judge a politician’s speech. And perhaps we are.
We are not, however, in much of a position to gage how a speech resonates with those individuals who only tune into politics when election time rolls ’round — and even then with considerable disinterest.
The general consensus — on both sides of the political aisle — is that First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a humdinger of a speech Tuesday night. But, can we really determine if it will make a difference?
Reviews of former President Bill Clinton’s address were mixed. “Democrats in the convention hall may have loved Bill Clinton’s speech last night,” writes Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner, but most thought it just went on too long. And that, pundits are certain, will cause people to lose interest. Carroll’s colleague Michael Barone finds the Arkansas native
. . . better suited to the task of instilling talking points than any other Democratic speaker I can think of. But, as he implicitly conceded in his asides, this stuff can get complicated and incomprehensible.
The National Review’s Rich Lowry likes “the instinct to make a wonky case for the president on substance“, but does that resonate with the voter not inclined to politics?
Would those voters buy Clinton’s argument, which Ed Morrissey calls “about the only argument that can be made for Obama, and the one that Obama’s self-assessed grade of ‘incomplete’ suggests — that four years wasn’t enough to fix the huge problems created by the economic crisis“?
Lowry is “not sure how much it will help Obama”. Perhaps, Clinton would have been more effective if he pointed the specific plan his fellow partisan had laid out to “fix” those “huge problems.” But, much of his plan for a second term remains “an open question“, with many of the priorities he has floated far from the concerns of the American voter.
We can’t really tell how Bill Clinton’s speech will play with the voter disinclined to politics. Or whether Mrs. Obama’s, for that matter, will resonate. The real issue is whether the incumbent can convince wavering voters that he has a good plan to end the current economic malaise. And that he has not yet done. Maybe tonight he will.
ADDENDUM: Seems the Washington Post has been fact-checking the Democrats, but will their reports gain as much currency as did the “fact-checking” they did in Tampa?