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CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

While the media fiddle, the Democrats are burning with glee

August 28, 2008|Mary McNamara | Times Television Critic

Karl Rove defending Bill Clinton from a disparaging Sean Hannity; Bill Clinton telling the thousands of conventioneers chanting his name to "please stop it, please sit down," so he could anoint Barack Obama; Joe Biden honoring his white-haired mother for telling him to bloody the noses of the bullies who picked on him; Obama telling Hillary Rodham Clinton that she "rocked the house" -- despite the best efforts of the television news outlets, it was a great night for Democratic television. Specifically, it was all so well planned, you almost couldn't believe it was the Democrats.

Since the party's primaries began, the media have tried to call the election long before the polls even opened, much less closed. They hit a fever pitch in Denver, where cable commentators desperate to fill news hours with anything but what was actually happening talked themselves hoarse prognosticating. James Carville carped that the Democrats weren't taking big enough swings at John McCain, Chris Matthews fretted about wounds that would not heal, Brit Hume dampened whatever enthusiasm he witnessed.

Meanwhile, in the Pepsi Center, a convention of admirable orchestration has been taking place. Long considered something of a spoiler, Hillary Clinton pledged herself and her supporters to Obama and managed to look terrific wearing an orange pantsuit. Wednesday night, Bill Clinton arrived to a seemingly uncontrollable ovation (so much for the boos predicted by many pundits), spit in the Republican Party's eye and answered the is-Obama-experienced question by noting that the same criticism was leveled at him and it seemed to turn out all right. Biden passionately outlined the goals of an Obama-Biden administration and then, as if he could not bear to stay away from such a great party, Obama himself arrived, a day ahead of schedule.

Yes, it would have been nice if any of the networks besides KCET had chosen to run John F. Kerry's speech rather than endless analysis of Bill Clinton's speech, but I guess we can't have everything. We'll just have to settle for Karl praising Bill on Fox News for so clearly articulating the goals of his party. And really, that's enough for one lifetime.

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mary.mcnamara@ latimes.com

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