Joel Mowbray reports: Democrats have a good night

Joel Mowbray (jdmowbra@erols.com) reports from Denver:

Yesterday was the kind of day Democrats were hoping for. What started withHillary asking the delegates to nominate Obama by acclamation ended with the nominee embracing his running mate on stage after Biden’s very solid speech.

To no one’s surprise, Obama’s unannouced visit a day before his nomination address sent the audience into a tizzy. (Interestingly, Bill Clinton had a longer ovation, though he clearly stoked his and Obama did not.)

Joe Biden had genuine command of the audience, kicking off with an effective presentation of his personal story and closing with an enthusiastic pitch for Obama — but he wasn’t the best Biden to take the stage.

His son Beau, Delaware’s attorney general, gave a moving, impressive introduction. As TV audiences saw from the close-ups of Michelle Obama and others during his address, Beau moved plenty in the audience to tears. The tragedy of his mother dying in a car crash after his father’s 1972 election (but before having been sworn in) is obviously powerful stuff. Beau’s delivery, however, made it even more so.

Yet as good as both Bidens were, Wednesday’s last hour might have felt anticlimactic in the wake of Bill Clinton’s gem had it not been for Obama’s surprise embrace of his running mate to cap off the night.

Last night was the night Democrats had to have. Stories about the first two evenings were dominated by the discord between Teams Hillary and Obama. This was reflected in the mood inside the arena and in the late-night parties afterward. Party conventions are normally pretty raucous affairs, and the passion is usually palpable. That joyous mood had been missing, though it seems Democrats are now at least back to where they should have been at the week’s outset.

Democrats finally have a reason to smile, even if it took them two wasted days to get what they needed. For the first time, convention-goers seem truly enthused. They are not back to the dizzying highs of Obama-mania during his March winning streak, but they’re happier than they’ve been in a while.

Yet even with the renewed Democratic optimism, the bar is low enough that next week the once-unthinkable could happen, as GOP spirits could be as buoyant as the Democrats’.

That’s far from a given, but the mere fact that it’s even possible shows just how much the dynamics of this race have changed since spring.

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