I like Stevie Wonder, and I used to really love the guys behind him, Take Six. And I don’t want to begrudge a party having musical groups perform at the convention. (The GOP has gotten plenty of mileage out of Lee Greenwood.) But this is the third of four major musical acts tonight (will.i.am and John Legend, Sheryl Crow, and now Stevie; Jon Bon Jovi later). We’re in prime time.
But a political convention isn’t Lollapalooza. (And when it comes to the brief documentary films in between speakers, I’ve seen fewer sick people on Grey’s Anatomy.) Maybe the presence of so many musical stars makes people feel good feelings towards the Democratic Party, and maybe they think, ‘if will, Sheryl, Stevie, and Jon are Democrats, maybe I should be one, too.’ But I don’t think so. Hollywood and the music industry have loved the party for a generation, and it doesn’t always work out well for either.
And to a certain extent, if you’re worried that Obama is a bit of a lightweight, not ready, too glib, too enamored with ethereal speeches and touchy-feely talk of “hope,” then seeing a bunch of rock stars singing about how Obama makes them feel hope isn’t really going to move you. Is tonight being pitched to those wavering voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin?
I can’t help but suspect that Team Obama is going with what they’re best at – spectacle and pageantry. The packed stadium, the rock stars, thousands upon thousands chanting his name… Ironically, at a time when disgruntled folks in the focus groups are saying they’re tiring of the glitz and glamor and want specifics and details, saying “it’s time for a change,” all the Obama campaign has to offer is “more of the same.”