In his acceptance speech, Mitt Romney answered two questions: am I human? Am I scary?
Tonight, President Obama faced two equally urgent questions: will things get better? And how? Those questions, he did not answer. President Obama continued, less effectively, the work of President Clinton and Vice President Biden in attacking the Republicans. But his positive agenda? It smelled of the lamp. It proceeded from some seminar about communitarianism, not from the lived life of people under economic pressure. Joe Biden, for all the derision aimed his way, spoke to such people in language meaningful to them. Ninety minutes later, I can still remember what Joe Biden said. What did Obama just say? Yes he threw some hard punches at the Republican team. That job, however, he did not need to do. It had been done. But if he wins? What happens then? He had a lot to say about the programs he'll continue. Not enough about the future he offers.
In general, the Democratic convention has been much more effective and appealing than the Republican. The Republican neglect of the themes of patriotism, of the wellbeing of the soldiers who served in America's longest wars, was both astonishing and appalling. But at the center of any nominating convention is the nominee - and where was he? How much of him lingers afterward?