Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DNC Day 2: The Good and Bad (and Ugly)

It was the first day of speakers at the Democratic National Convention, but there was plenty happening everywhere. Who had good days and bad days?

The Good

Democrats: Until the first speaker walked forward Tuesday on the big blue stage of Time Warner Cable Arena, Republicans had a firm grip on the national messaging of this convention. (Hope you're not tired of that "better off than 4 years ago" question, because it's not going away.)

But the lens turned toward Democrats Tuesday night, and they showed off what's always been their strength - a diverse lineup of speakers that showcased this party's strong message of giving everyone a chance to succeed. There were plenty of Mitt Romney jokes, but there also was reminder after reminder that without Barack Obama as president, the America that you saw on stage and in videos would be plenty worse off.

Republicans will make sure - as they should - that the economy doesn't leave the political discussion. But on Tuesday, Democrats did a powerful job of putting a face on it.

Anthony Foxx: If Charlotte's mayor decides at some point that he no longer wants to be Charlotte's mayor, he didn't hurt himself at all Tuesday. His short, elegant speech hit all the right notes on Charlotte and Barack Obama.

Julian Castro: So we know that by now that no one is going to match the keynote speech that young Barack Obama gave at the 2004 Democratic Convention, right? You don't re-create moments like that, even if you're the young, hotshot Latino mayor of a flourishing city.

But San Antonio's mayor showed why Democrats think he's a potential star. His speech was more task oriented in the time it gave to Romney than Obama's in 2004 (oops, there we go again), but it also was an artful blend of personal story and purpose. Castro told a familiar tale of humble beginnings, but he more importantly reminded America that, as always, it needs to be patient with its immigrants and others who struggle - and that such patience and investment can pay off.

"In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or a marathon, but a relay," he said. That's the kind of line that gets you remembered.

Traffic: Sure, there were moments of messiness, and yes, people complained that officers at one intersection sometimes didn't coordinate well with colleagues at the next one. But did anyone expect Tuesday's commute to be better than most Tuesdays heading uptown? It was.

Ted Kennedy: The night's biggest roars? They went to the old lion, who died in 2009 but passed the torch one more time to Obama on Tuesday in a moving, funny, powerful video that had members of the audience chanting "Teddy, Teddy."

You're sure to see at least one element of that video nipped and tucked into a political ad: Kennedy's brutal dismantling of Mitt Romney in their 1994 U.S. Senate race debate. Said Kennedy then about Romney's wavering on the abortion issue: "On the question of the choice issue, I have supported Roe v. Wade, I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice."

The Bad

Bev Perdue: The Democratic party clearly wasn't spotlighting North Carolina's governor Tuesday. Perdue got a speaking spot, which is customary for the governor of the host state, but it was buried early in the evening schedule, between rousing Newark mayor Cory Booker and someone's poignant personal story. Perdue's speech was unremarkable - perhaps fitting for her final significant public moment as governor.

And the Ugly

We thought everyone knew this by now: Don't compare the other party to Nazis. Even if it's not a direct comparison, but a similarity to something a Nazi may have said. Really, don't.

In a story published Tuesday, veteran Kansas delegate Pat Lehman criticized Republicans for saying voter ID laws were designed to combat voter fraud. “It’s like Hitler said, if you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big lie, and if you tell it often enough and say it in a loud enough voice, some people are going to believe you,” Lehman said.

It's another example that extremism is not partisan. But it might be catchy. On Monday, John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, likened Republicans to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Soon after, Burton left Charlotte for California for a previously scheduled dental surgery, the state party said. Insert foot in mouth joke here.


John said...

" Don't compare the other party to Nazis."

Amen! Unless someone has ordered the deaths of 6 million people and caused the deaths of millions more... you just highlight your own ignorance of history by comparing anyone to Hitler or the Nazis.

The only similarity is to the period between the Depression and WWII when American Nazi sympathyzers used class warfare and anger at rich Jewish business people and the banks to fuel their agenda. It failed then and will fail again!

Aron Stelmach said...

17iAnd the liberal democrats are compared to Socialists, which is evident. Did we forget about the "Red Scare?"