Thursday, September 6, 2012

DNC Day 3: The Good and Bad (and Ugly)

The Democratic Party's biggest star took the microphone Wednesday - and wouldn't let it go. Guess who's among the winners and losers of the day?

The Good:

Bill Clinton: At 11:03 Wednesday night, President Bill Clinton grabbed the stack of papers that was supposed to be his speech but was really only a guide, and said: "That brings me to health care." By then, his speech already had gone over the time allotment.

At 11:14, he said, "Let's talk about the debt."

Backstage, President Barack Obama probably didn't mind at all.

There will be no better endorsement offered to Obama this election. Clinton was his usual mesmerizing self and more. He methodically tackled the Republicans position by position - from health care to jobs to welfare. He was thorough and passionate, scholarly and charming. "Y'all need to listen," he said more than once. On Paul Ryan attacking Obama on Medicare: "It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did."

Yes, we all remember Clinton's failings. But on this night, to this crowd and beyond, he was a perfect complement to Obama in personality and style. Both of the presidents, like all great speechmakers, can make the big point in simple ways that resonate. But Wednesday, Democrats needed Clinton also to be the sensibility to Obama's soar. Forty-eight minutes later, he'd done just that.

The Bad:

So, we checked the weather forecast this morning - you know, just in case anyone was thinking of making some evening plans. Nothing's changed - 30 percent chance of rain all evening, 20 percent by the time Obama takes the stage. In other words, September in Charlotte.

We've already said we think Democrats blew it Wednesday by moving the president's speech from Bank of America stadium to the arena. We get the concern about lightning, and we understand the worry about optics if everyone decides to avoid a potential storm and show up at 9, clogging the lines and leaving seats empty. All of which were considerations - or should have been - months ago.

Democrats, of course, don't want to go around disappointing 65,000 people, so they'll offer the suddenly ticketless a conference call with Obama this afternoon. That pales with the history of seeing the president accept the nomination, so there understandably was some dismay Wednesday from those who volunteered or stood in line for the opportunity.

There also was some thoughtfulness. Said Teresa Meyers of Waxhaw, who had waited in line for tickets for nearly eight hours: “I may not be in the arena, but I will be there in spirit.”

And the Ugly:

We thought we'd already covered this: No Nazi references, people. Direct or indirect. On Monday, it was the chair of the California Democratic Party linking Republicans to Joseph Goebbels. On Tuesday, it was a Kansas delegate linking Republicans to Hitler.

And now, South Carolina Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian compared S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to Hitler's mistress. Harpootlian, commenting on Haley appearing at an RNC news conference in the basement of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, told S.C. Democrats that Haley "was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun."

Harpootlain declined to apologize later, instead blaming Haley for having "some hurt feelings."

Peter St. Onge


Anonymous said...

Can we put out a call to never call Obama "the world's greatest orator" again? Obama, like every other person alive, will never be in Clinton's league in this regard. Comparing Obama's oratory skills to Clinton is like comparing Lassie to a lion.

Clinton's speech was rife with exaggerations (which party created how many jobs) and half-truths (Medicare), but every political speech from both parties is guilty of that. He is amazing with his ability to rise to the occasion. It was the best speech of either convention, and Obama has no shot at topping it tonight.

As for the Nazi comparison, that's nothing new, and none of the largest media outlets are going to call him on it. They will all categorically scream that any opposition in any form to anything Obama believes or proposes is 100% racism, but a Democrat is free to call Republicans Nazis and gets a free pass. In fact, I'll be more surprised if Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow doesn't say that Harpootlian didn't go far enough.

Vito Andolini said...

Nikki Hailey is not even classy enough to be lumped in with the nazi's.