"Bells & Whistles" is the phrase applied pejoratively to the US Presidential process. Anyone watching the final night of the Democrats' love-in at a Denver NFL stadium would have recognised its accuracy. US conventions are not conferences; they do not debate or decide policy. Instead it's all about spectacle & PR. There were the celebrities (Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crowe, etc.) & the cheerleading, but anyone hoping for what passes for normal political debate would have been disappointed.
Having said that, Obama's speech was, by US standards, rather substantive. Details were sketched out on domestic & foreign policy & the liberal blogs lapped it up, particularly the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ ).
So, too, did maverick film-maker Michael Moore (http://www.michaelmoore.com/ ), who declared for Obama earlier in the summer.
However, the headlong dash to acclaim The Candidate at what right-wing blogs wittily dubbed "Barackopolis" (were they Doric or Ionic columns?) attracted a dissenting voice in the form of Ralph Nader. Talking to the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/28/ralphnader.uselections2008 ), Nader fired off a couple of verbal bullets which clearly found their target:
"Obama 'keeps talking about change', Nader told guardian.co.uk. 'But when you look at his policies...is he for change when he wants a larger military budget?
"Is he for change when he doesn't challenge the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for corporations?'"
This was a point taken up by a blogger for the Firedoglake blog (http://www.firedoglake.com/ ) on a guardian .co.uk video piece by Oliver Burkeman (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/oliverburkemanblog/2008/aug/28/democrats2008.uselections2008 ).