Howard Dean's speech was half concession, half endorsement. He got an amazing reception as he entered the stage, and he made a few references to the primaries, but the bulk of his speech was an application of his principals of democratic renewal to the Kerry/Edwards ticket. I was disappointed he didn't make any self-referential jokes about the Dean yell or the recital of state names, but it was interesting. The C-SPAN cameras kept going over the Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in the audience, and HRC's reaction seemed muted. </li>
Barak Obama gave the most inspiring speech I've heard yet in this convention. He told his own story, about how his father came from Kenya to the US, married a girl in the midwest, served in WW2, and worked hard to provide him with the potential for greatness. He did a great job of connecting his own biography with an optimistic story of America as a place of opportunity and fairness.
Ron Regan gave an odd talk about stem cell research. This was obviously very important to him, and the policy of the current administration is hard to defend. However, it's hard to believe that he would be getting such a prime spot to push this view if he wasn't the son of former president Ronald Reagan. The speech also clearly avoided any mention of Bush, Kerry, or his dad, and while it made a call to action at the end, it was a non-specific call to support stem cell research when voting on the president.
I wasn't expecting a lot out of Theresa Heinz Kerry's talk; in fact, my first observation was that her outfit was ketchup-colored! However, she really won me over. Again, biography was a big part of the talk; she grew up in Africa and participated in the early protests against Apartheid in South Africa. This immediately gave her a lot of credibility in my eyes. Then, she articulated a vision of how America is viewed in the world as a moral power, and how our current policies are damaging our reputation and destroying our special position as the world's example. That really made me like her. She addressed her critics triumphantly, in my opinion, saying that she wanted to see a world where a woman with opinions is just considered smart and not out-of-line. Yeah!