Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DNC Opening Night Part I: The Undercard Speakers

[Democratic National Convention] Part of the advantage to not being at the Democratic National Convention here in Denver, is that if you're at home watching, you pretty much just get to see the heavy hitters. Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama had the Pepsi Convention Center on their feet and chanting. And another speech by 30 year Iowa Republican House member Jim Leach raised the flag for bipartisan support of Obama past being just a cliche in the speeches of others.

Oh and there were others, in reality the three stellar speeches mentioned above were good but in whole barely made up for like the bajillion crappy speeches that opened the convention since it started at 3 in the afternoon.

Most were well meaning, people who used to work with Obama or were followers cured of their political apathy by the influence of Obama. But most speeches were formulaic regurgitations of the same platitude. Slight (and I mean slight) variations on the same message. No politics as usual, change we can believe in, change we need, change we deserve, not four more years of the same.

(New prediction: Guest appearance of David Bowie in all denim singing "Changes")

Then Ted Kennedy spoke. Man I feel like an asshole for my earlier fun poking at the guy. The ailing Kennedy after a touching (and I mean touching, sorry its hard turning off my sarcasm sometimes) video roused the convention with a call for pushing for universal health care. Kennedy's style, even in his fragile state still hearkens the mind to the oratory one imagines you would hear from a classic Roman senator throwing heart and soul into defense of the Republic.

"This is not about just victory, but about renewal of our nation," Kennedy said.

Leach soon after echoed a similar thought. While being a proud conservative, Leach had no qualms in his ringing endorsement of Obama. Calling his campaign a "clarient call for renewal" in the country.

Leach pointed out that the previous administration had not only done under the country but had demolished classic conservative standards. "The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that never attacked us. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts."

Leach was the real deal and made from a conservative standpoint a strong case for Obama, a "transcendant" leader to heal the partisan divide. Noting that historically liberals and conservatives all recognize that "in troubled times, country comes before party."

For the full text of his speech check it out here.

The main act of course was Michelle Obama's speech (see next blog) but for major points Kennedy and Leach made a strong bi-partisan case for Obama to deliver on change without making it a cliche. Their one-two combination should be one the party should work to deliver again and again for a November knockout.

One thing they should definitely not rely on is, the oratory of House Speaker nancy Pelosi. She came in trying to get the crowd into doing a big chanting thing about "McCain is wrong!" Which seemed tacky and ineffectual. Not to mention the fact that the all white (one piece?) suit she wore made her look like she should be the captain of Star Trek Voyager. Oh well, I suppose she could be considered the future of the party. (Eric S. Peterson)

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