Michelle Obama says she works out to the song, “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae. So do I. It’s an upbeat energizing mix about straddling the inherent tensions in life. But, it’s interesting to think how she must feel gearing up for tonight’s convention. She is facing a bit of a tightrope walk at tonight’s Democratic National Convention. Sing President Barack Obama’s praises too wildly and she could appear out of touch with the sense of disappointment and hardship a lot of voters see in the job market and in the economy overall. Focus on it too much and she could sound defensive.

What an interesting week it will be. Three core groups that were part of the wave of excitement that swept the first African-American President into office – women, Independents and students – are not necessarily mute this time around. But, there is no mistaking they are subdued.

Romney didn’t get a bounce out of last week. Even if he didn’t get a pop for his particular speech, which I thought he might, there’s no doubt his wife and Paul Ryan resonated with viewers. Some are questioning whether conventions really ever result in a significant bounce anymore. John Kass, of the Chicago Tribune said last week it isn’t that voters who went for Obama in 2008 haven’t decided whether they are satisfied or disappointed with the President, it’s that they are still getting to know Romney. 

The Democrats and the Republicans have opposite platforms.  So, once again, both parties appear to have failed to consider that what voters want most is for their to be bi-partisan progress. The Democrats have put gay marriage and abortion at the top of theirs, in part you could argue, because they want to downplay the economy. I wonder why Republicans had to put either issue on a platform when the truth is the economy is paramount this time around. Did they really need to announce to all those women and Independents the official party line on social issues?

Click here for a look at both parties’ platforms according to the New York Times.