DENVER -- For months, the magic that once surrounded Barack Obama's presidential candidacy was lost in a fog of petty politics: the negative ads, the Clinton dramas, the degrading of Obama to the status of a mere "celebrity," the back and forth with John McCain over who is an elitist and who is a flip-flopper.
The McCain campaign has done all it could to bring Obama back to earth and to dissipate the sense of possibility he once inspired. But in defiance of his opponents' efforts to discredit the very idea of mass rallies, Obama grabbed the magic back last night as an Invesco Field crowd of some 80,000 roared around him in the sweep of spotlights in the night.
His message focused on bread-and-butter empathy, on harnessing John McCain firmly to President Bush's views and record, on a lengthy list of policies that stood as an answer to critics who say his campaign is longer on inspiration than on specifics. It was a speech aimed less at stirring the faithful, though no doubt it did, than at persuading and reassuring those who harbor doubts.
If it did nothing else, this week's Democratic National Convention served as a reminder of the historical import of Obama's nomination and the astonishing transformation of the country in just three generations.
The Democrats adopted the civil rights plank that Humphrey called for -- and a group of Southern delegates walked out and formed a breakaway segregationist party.