Thursday – A New Hope
The final day of the Democratic National Convention started with a touching moment. Former representative Gabby Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed by a would be assassin a few years ago, led the recital of the pledge of allegiance. Giffords was forced to resign from the House earlier this year in order to focus on her physical therapy. It was a touching moment that left few dry eyes in the building.
Thursday saw a parade of impassioned speakers, including former Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry. Senator Kerry gave what I thought was the best speech of the night, and the second best of the convention. He turned the “are you better off than you were four years ago” question that Republicans have been hammering President Obama with on its head, when he stated that they should ask Osama Bin Laden if he was better off then he was four years ago. Kerry attacked Romney head on, and gave what was probably the strongest speech of his career.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the president, and gave a strong performance. Biden used his typical folksy charm mixed with fiery rhetoric to get the crowd pumped. He of course shouted out his now signature line, that Osama Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive. It was a great speech from the Vice President, and his opponents underestimate him at their own risk.
President Obama capped the night with his acceptance speech. Obama’s speech was low on details, and came off as a very safe statement. He spoke as if his case had already been made, and he was just there to seal the deal. Given the strong performances that proceeded him, that may not have been a bad idea. Interestingly, neither the president nor Mitt Romney outlined their plan for the next four years. We will now have to wait until the debates to hear what these men have planned for America’s future.
Overall, the convention did what the Democrats needed done. The delegates inside were fired up, and I’m sure the base was charged by the fiery speeches delivered during the week. This is going to be a base election, and whichever candidate can get their side to vote in greater numbers will emerge victorious. I think both sides managed to do this, but I would give a slight edge to the Democrats simply because they seemed to be more passionate about their candidate than the opposition. Republicans seem to be more galvanized by their dislike for President Obama than they are by their love of Mitt Romney.
Wednesday – Return of the King
First bit of big news on Wednesday is that the DNC is moving President Obama’s speech indoors. The speech was scheduled to be at Bank of America stadium. The stadium is outdoors, and now the DNC is afraid it could be affected by the weather. BoA stadium can hold nearly 74,000 people, and the DNC was planning on the stadium being full, so now a lot of people will end up missing the speech live. The Obama campaign has promised to make it up to those that won’t get to attend.
The next big development of the day was the DNC’s decision to put “God” and “Jerusalem” back in the platform. There was some controversy about the fact that God was not mentioned in the platform, and that Jerusalem was not mentioned as the capital of Israel. President Obama himself apparently stepped in and demanded that they be reinstated into the platform.
Wednesday saw a continuation of the themes started on Tuesday night. Several female speakers were brought out to speak on women’s issues, with Sandra Fluke being the headliner for this segment. The DNC brought in some former Bain Capital employees who had been let go after the venture capital firm bought their place of work. With this move, the Democrats are hoping to undercut Mitt Romney’s narrative that he created jobs in the private sector.
The prime time hour saw Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren speak. She received a big ovation from the crowd, as Warren has become a hero in the Democratic Party for her stand against Wall Street and financial corruption. She spoke at length about the system being rigged, and how President Obama had put measures in place to help repair the damage created by Wall Street. At one point, the crowd was loudly chanting her name.
The main event was of course former President Bill Clinton. The big dog spoke for nearly 50 minutes, giving a commanding defense of the Obama record. Bubba’s usual combination of facts and charm were on full display as he countered point by point the attacks that Republicans have leveled at the president. In perhaps his most important argument, Clinton stated that no one, not even himself, could have solved the economic crisis in three years.
Clinton covered nearly every facet of the political spectrum, answering attacks about Medicare, Obamacare, the stimulus, and the deficit. He left no stone un-turned. His performance was nearly universally hailed, with even some Republican pundits declaring that this could be the night the tide turned in Obama’s favor. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen.
Once Clinton was finished, President Obama came out to meet him on stage. It was a move I predicted in a conversation with my father earlier in the day, and a great move by the president. Being seen with Clinton on stage will help transfer the feelings voters have towards Clinton onto Obama. Clinton did it verbally in the speech, and by showing up together on stage they did it visually as well.
It was a great night for the Democratic Party, as President Clinton gave the strongest defense of their ideals imaginable. No politician in this country is a popular as Bill Clinton. Tonight’s speech likely left many wishing there was not a two term limit for president’s, because I am guessing many would gladly vote for Clinton right now.
Tuesday – The Empire Strikes Back
The opening night of the Democratic National Convention was all about two things: defending Obamacare, and women’s rights. Speaker after speaker talked up the Affordable Care Act. The DNC did a good job of making an emotional pitch by bringing in regular folks to tell stories of how the health care law had changed their lives. Their only mistake was not saving some of the stories from the prime time national TV audience.
Women’s issues were also front and center, and the DNC had plenty of women on hand to speak. Everything from the right to choose and fair pay was discussed. The evening was capped by First Lady Michelle Obama, who gave a strong speech in which she gave a little back story on her and President Obama. The First Lady made the appeal that President Obama wants to help the working people of America, and that he understood their pain because he had lived it as well.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gave a strong performance as well. His speech mirrored Marco Rubio’s in some ways, as well as many other Hispanic immigrants to this country. Castro spoke of the need for investment now for prosperity later, with a strong emphasis on education. He tore into Mitt Romney and his policies, and pumped up President Obama as the man to lead the country now.
The speech of the night goes to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. The man who took over the state after Mitt Romney left office took some shots at his predecessor, but was strongest in his stirring defense of President Obama. The governor said the Democrats needed to have some backbone, and it was time to stop the opposing party from trying to bully them around. His speech was rousing, and he got one of the largest ovations of the night.
It was a strong opening night for the Dems. The online world was buzzing from the convention. There were nearly as many tweets about the DNC (3 million) on the first day than there was for the entire RNC event (4 million). Michelle Obama’s speech got double the amount of tweets per minute (28,000) than even Mitt Romney (14,000) was able to attain. At least for one night, the enthusiasm gap was shortened.
This week, the Democratic Party hits Charlotte, North Carolina to nominate Barack Obama as their presidential nominee. The DNC is pulling out the heavy hitters for this convention, with former President Bill Clinton set to give the headline speech on Wednesday. Other notable speakers include Vice President Joe Biden, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, First Lady Michelle Obama, and of course President Obama.
The Democrats released their party platform on Monday. Many ideas that have become synonymous with the Democratic Party were included, with the noted inclusion this year of support for same sex marriage. The president came out this year in support of gay marriage, and now it has become one of the party’s causes.
Within the platform is a glimpse of the president’s re-election strategy. Women’s issues and immigration reform are front and center, as both women and Hispanics will be key voting blocs for the president. Obama already has large leads with both groups, but he must both maintain those leads, and motivate the voters to come out on election day.
We will have coverage of the event all week, both on this webpage, and on The North Mobile Post Radio Show via Youtube. Check back for continuing coverage.