The Democrats raise the stakes
By featuring Cecile Richards and Sandra Fluke, they turned the spotlight on the social issues where the right wing's theocratic totalitarianism is most dangerous, but where liberals have often seemed hesitant or embarrassed about making any strong defense of individual freedom. By featuring Elizabeth Warren, they turned the spotlight on the greatest single threat to this country, the issue Warren has made her own -- skyrocketing inequality and the growing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the financial parasite class.
By choosing speakers associated with the solid left on these issues, the party may have risked alienating some centrist voters, but it also signals the base that it will actually stand for things it has preferred to fudge or de-emphasize in the past. This will, of course, raise expectations if the party does win.
Bill Clinton's speech has been criticized for being too long, but I think this misses the point. Remember, not many people are watching the conventions on TV to hear the speech as delivered. What Clinton did was to provide a point-by-point rebuttal to the various major lies and distortions which form the basis of the Republicans' case, and to confront head-on the Congressional Republican obstructionism that has stymied Obama's efforts to revive the economy. These are things that desperately needed to be said, and they have now been said by a figure who remains broadly popular and credible nationally. Clinton provided an arsenal of quotes which can be deployed both defensively and offensively, across TV and the internet, on many fronts against the enemy.
Obama Diary blog has several videos. Andrew Sullivan live-blogged day one and day two and has reader and blogger reactions to day one, and a round-up of reactions to Clinton. See also Liberal Values on day one and day two, Politics Plus on Michelle Obama, Progressive Eruptions on Clinton, and more from The Reaction and PM Carpenter. Rank-and-file Republicans comment on day one and day two.