Democrats Hit Home Run After Home Run
The Democratic National Convention has wrapped up in Charlotte, North Carolina. While the media grapples to unearth and inflate fake "controversies" over nothing (seriously? A completely written passage omits the meaningless phrase "God-given"? WHATever.), it's clear that the DNC was a rousing success. Ratings show it had a higher viewership than last week's Republican convention. And no one got upstaged by an aging actor prattling to an empty chair.
In fact, the contrast between THEIR doddering actor and the Hollywood actors who spoke at the DNC was stunning. The eloquence of Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria, and especially Kerry Washington revealed that this cadre of young women known mostly for their beauty and their on-screen portrayals are also thoughtful engaged citizens.
Of course, everyone is talking about the headline speeches, and each of the major speeches was a major hit: the President's tonight, President Bill Clinton's yesterday, and First Lady Michelle Obama's Tuesday. Each added a significant layer to the message of who we are as Democrats.
We hear all the time what brilliant messagers Republicans are and how we Democrats are too muddled, too complicated, too wonky, too unclear. The last two weeks have blown that out of the water. Can anyone tell me what the Republican message was? The Democratic message was clear: we will only make a better, stronger nation by working together to make everyone better and stronger. Or as Sherrod Brown's 2006 campaign slogan had it, "We're all in this together."
It contrasts with the message the Republicans are sending out by insinuation which is "You'll have to scrape by alone." Theirs is a world in which nobody helps anybody else. This is what Frances Strickland talked about when she spoke about messaging to this year's RootsCamp in Columbus — and this is the exact conclusion she presented about what the underlying messages are: people helping people vs. selfish self-interest. I thought the speakers this week all made that clear. We'll see what the voters think.
Outside of those headline speeches, each day had a couple of real winners. The first day Ohio's own Ted Strickland lit the place up with his fiery speech, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro told his own engrossing story.Yesterday the highlights for me were Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus with her dissection of the Paul Ryan budget and Cuban-American journalist/Talk show host Cristina Saralegui who was blunt and funny and told the crowd "No protesting! Voting!"
Today's highlight for me, other than the President's speech, was that of Senator John Kerry. He started off a tad slow, using an oratorical voice and stepping on his applause, as if he were in a hurry. But by the end of the speech, he was hitting zinger after zinger, saying things like "Before Mitt Romney debates Barack Obama on foreign policy, he needs to finish the debate with himself" and "It isn't fair to say Mitt Romney doesn't have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position. "
He said that Romney's trip abroad "wasn't a goodwill trip — it was a blooper reel." He even tossed the "flip flop" grenade about "being for it before he was against it" that was used by the media to wreck his own 2004 presidential campaign right back in Mitt Romney's lap.
Some folks online were commenting that if we'd seen this John Kerry in 2004, he would be President. We did see it. I heard this John Kerry speak numerous times here during that campaign — warm, articulate, even funny. Sadly, the media had a narrative they wanted to push — Kerry as the stiff, flat, charmless patrician — and they ignored and distorted who he really was.
The speeches I've mentioned are all well worth watching online. They contained both policy meat and visionary scope.