Here is what's unusual about the lineup of Democratic convention speeches. Usually each convention features one very strong speech, sometimes two. Barbara Jordan with the keynote at the Democratic convention in 1976. Teddy Kennedy with his memorable (though damaging to Jimmy Carter) "the dream will never die" speech in 1980, bidding farewell to his presidential aspirations. Ronald Reagan speaking to Barry Goldwater's supporters at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1964, beginning his own presidential aspirations. Barack Obama serving a similar function in 2004.
I don't know of any parallel to what just happened for the Democrats in Denver, where a series of speakers all performed at the top of their form, notably:
- Hillary Clinton, doing as much for "party unity" as she plausibly could, with her best delivered speech of the whole campaign cycle;
- Bill Clinton, reminding everyone in the party (and much of the country) of why he had won two terms; giving Barack Obama an implicit lesson on how to cast the choice in this election; and erasing in 30 minutes 98% of the problems he had created for himself in his party over the previous year;
- John Kerry, speaking with an intense, tough, terse contempt for Bush administration policies that would have gotten him elected four years ago;