PBS Hosts Gore-Won and Obama-Christ Talk

Liberal attitudes emerged on the PBS convention set in the runup to Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday night. When right-leaning pundit David Brooks suggested after Al Gore's remarks that it was too bad Gore ruined his chance to be president in 2000 by listening too much to consultants, Mark Shields snippily suggested Gore really won: "Al Gore is a remarkable figure. I'm not sure why he blew his chance. He did get half a million more votes, of course, in a popular election than the man who eventually became president by the Supreme Court decision."

A while later, the PBS historians panel discussed convention history, and Peniel Joseph suggested the Hillary delegates had decided to come to the Messiah: "What we saw last night was Hillary Clinton herself putting Obama over the top and many of these delegates who vowed never to vote for Obama publicly came to Jesus, so to speak, and said they were going to vote for Obama now."

After Wednesday night's convention program, Brooks insisted John McCain should select former Democrat Joe Lieberman as his running mate. On Thursday, Brooks added: "I think it's important he pick someone he's comfortable with, and you know, there's rumors he's talking about Mitt Romney. That would scare -- [pause, as if he was trying to avoid dropping an S-bomb] -- the devil out of me. I just don't think he likes Mitt Romney....you gotta live with this guy."

UPDATE: After the speech, PBS reactions were almost completely positive from the officially selected historians and pundits.

Peniel Joseph declared "Barack Obama has really catapulted America into its 21st century multicultural future, whether Americans are ready for it or not."

Richard Norton Smith thought Obama had the agility to escape any pesky attempts to label him as a liberal: "Over and over, he talked about common ground on issues that have been so divisive – abortion, gun control, gay rights – and implicit in all this is the search for a more civil, more workable if you will kind of government. It’s going to be very difficult, it seems to me, for people pin him with the label ‘conventional liberal’ or maybe even ‘conventional Democrat.’ Mark Shields chimed in that Obama "did acknowledge the desire for common ground there, for reasonable – not the traditional knee-jerk liberal position on them."

Michael Beschloss said Obama’s address was better than John Kennedy’s convention speech in 1960: "I think it’s going to be a very powerful help to his campaign."

David Brooks was the only skeptic, saying he was "not wowed" by the speech as he has been by Obama speeches in the past, that "it was a mistake to go outside," that the speech was too long and was "a bit of a disappointment."

PBS Mark Shields
Tim Graham's picture