Day 1 – The gathering…

So if there is a single word to characterize yesterday’s events at the convention it is nervous. I don’t think I’ve felt so much nervous energy since the grade 8 mixer/dance in my first week of high school. Moreover, I’m not talking about the candidates, they and their staff are too busy organizing and strategizing to be nervous… I’m talking about the convention participants. It’s like a Canada25 forum on the first day, everybody knows (or at least wants to believe) that it is all going to turn out, but no one can see how we are going to get there…

Dean’s speech – which I was very much hoping would get pretty tactical about how to use the internet to drive policy and youth engagement in campaign – was disappointing. I’m not sure how Dean and the democrats can talk about a ‘strategy’ that won them the midterm election when it was a Republican collapse, not Democrat ingenuity, that landed voters in their lap. That said, stylistically he was definitely among the best speakers of the night. That he spoke some decent French and was unafraid to make fun of himself definitely warmed him to the crowd. After being introduced by this super-cheesy video about himself, he definitely seemed embarrassed and, in a nice recovery move, opened his speech by noting the video was one ‘his dad might actually watch and his mom might actually believe.”

But, the show stealer was Bill Graham’s son who, in a thank you speech for his dad (who served as interim leader), seemed to evoke the most genuine emotion (and laughter) from the audience… But then who can resist a speaker with lines like: “such as the time I called my Dad from Fallujah as the marines were preparing to invade and having him say ‘shhh, we can’t talk right now I’m going into the White House!’ It’s just too bad he couldn’t do anything to alter the marines plans.

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