Convention Notes 2012: Democratic Convention

Overview:

Overall, I would say that the Republican Convention was well-organized with a strong focus on the economy and the American dream. The speeches were consistently good, occasionally better than good. Romney and Ryan presented a plan (with problems).

The Democratic Convention ranged from inane to brilliant. The speakers President Clinton through Biden were strong. There was a focus, but it was mostly negative: "women are getting a raw deal" and "Romney stinks." Obama did not present any specific plan.

I tend to go with positive visions; I despise whiny feminism; and I detest divisive pandering populism. Right now, I hope better things for and from Romney than for and from Obama over the next few months.

PBS did a great job. I actually found Iffel and Woodruff better co-hosts than Lehrer (sorry Lehrer!). They were better at keeping conversations rolling. They asked fairer questions. They made communication-based comments--which, of course, I love. Kudos!

Convention Notes are written in reverse chronological order, the latest incident/speaker first. These are not "live" notes in the sense that I listen to every speech or publish the moment something is said. Mostly, my notes are an overview of each convention's tone, attitude, and communication decisions. I do try to focus on the WAY people communicate than the specific arguments being made.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH

11:00 P.M.

President of the United States Barack Obama:

So wise not to do the stadium thing!

You know, all these politicians with strong marriages are really something else!

"Yes, you do have to go to school in the morning." Okay, I was about to write that I'm not a big fan of the "kissing babies" aspect of politics but that was cute.

Obama has a nice deep voice. (But nobody has James Earl Jones' tones!)

His message is kind of blah at this point, however. And I don't think Obama should go after the RNC. The DNC's attacks on Romney have been so RELENTLESS. Having Obama go after Romney so soon in his speech just makes him look petty.

He wants more time to employ "bold experimentation like Franklin D. Roosevelt."

Ack. Ack. Ack. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the author of Big Daddy government. Ack!

All week, the DNC has been accusing Romney and Ryan for not having a concrete plan. So will Obama have one?

Nothing concrete so far. Lots of platitudes.

"Climate change is not a hoax."

See what I mean about old-school? The challenges to man-created climate change have gained credence and voice in the last five years. The DNC seems more and more lost in the 1980s and 1990s.

More platitudes. Obama is very good at delivering them, and they are well-worded. Still, in face of the RNC's claim that Obama is out of touch with the economy's problems, the platitudes just aren't enough.

As in 2008, Obama is going to do EVERYTHING!

"[Romney] won't tell us how he will end the war in Afghanistan. I will."

How, Obama? Tell us! Tell us!

He didn't. But he's going to use the money to build stuff in America.

He will reform the tax code.

What's this business of "spending money on tax breaks"? Tax breaks simply take less money from people. The money doesn't belong to the government. It belongs to the people (yes, that includes rich people).

He will protect Head Start. Keep students in college.

He won't turn Medicare into a voucher. No elderly person should spend his/her life at the "mercy of Medicare." Based on my dad's medical issues this year, a person in the hospital is at the mercy of the institution paying the bills, no matter who that is. (There's lots and lots of Medicare hoops, believe me.)

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Sorry, but I'm not hearing anything concrete. Lots of "we believe" statements. Everybody will be happy. Everybody will be fed.

Everybody will eat cake.

"My fellow citizens: you were the change."

Everybody will eat cake and feel good about themselves. Yep, he's painting a picture of pure pandering populism.

Obama has failings, but he won't tell us what they are.

"I'm hopeful because of you." (See populist pandering above.)

Obama has powerful delivery. But no way can the DNC claim that Obama presented a more concrete vision than Romney and Ryan. HE DID NOT.

10:00 P.M.

So Biden is speaking tonight.

Dr. Jill Biden speaks.

She teaches at a community college! Good for her!!

She says nice things about her husband.

The Honorable Joe Biden: Praises his wife. Nice. Actually, his words about his wife are some of the most authentic I heard in both conventions. 

"I want to take you inside the White House."

This is what Laura Bush did for her husband in 2004; her image of W. was quite affecting.

"The one thing I learned about Barack is the depth of his heart, and he learned the depth of my loyalty to him." That is quite touching.

Obama's concern doesn't automatically translate into smart political moves. I personally can believe that he means well. But a note about politicians' concerns for us plebs: a concern for plebs doesn't mean that the politician trusts the plebs. Henry VIII (sorry for the comparison, but it is so useful) claimed he was acting for the average Englishman when he cannibalized the monasteries. Doesn't mean the average Englishman wanted Henry VIII paying too close attention to him or his household. 

Can't anyone talk about Obama without attacking Romney?

Am I reading this right: Obama bailed out bankrupt, big-business car companies? That's not a good thing.

"[Romney's] approach may bring the highest profits, but it's not the way to lead from the Oval Office."

Did Biden really just say that? Way to make the Republicans' argument for them!

Biden stumbling over himself doesn't bother me or make me think he doesn't mean what he is saying, etc. I'm smart enough to figure out what he means. What is cute about Biden is that he really doesn't understand how Romney would think that bailing out bankrupt companies is a bad idea--how can anyone who loves cars think that?

I know Osama Bin Laden got taken out on Obama's watch but considering the Democratic resistance to W.'s War on Terror, I just can't give the DNC credit. Bush, Jr. truly went out on a courageous, heavily-criticized limb to put that War on Terror in motion. Maybe it was right. Maybe it was wrong. But in my book, he gets the credit for everything that followed, no one else. (And I didn't go after him from a left or right position when he was in office either.)

Romney's position on Osama Bin Laden during the primaries was actually pragmatic. But it wasn't a smart position for a politician to take.

Biden is going after the Republican "plan." This is a mistake. Clinton did the job of attacking the Republican plan last night. Biden got the arena excited about Obama; he should have ended there.

And going after outsourcing is silly. The international job market IS the future of the economy. This argument makes the DNC look positively reactionary.

(Softly) Stop talking, Biden. You've sold the candidate. Stop talking.

He did end on a strong note. But the speech was way too long.

9:15 P.M. 

It has occurred to me that the DNC might be making a large mistake by not admitting that things aren't going well in the economy. Clinton did the best job of all the speakers trying to combine the message "we are better off" with the perception "things are worse." But by continually arguing that Obama has made things better, the DNC actually might be distancing themselves from the undecided voters by not admitting that things need to change.

Obama could handle this by presenting a plan. Even Yahoo News expects this!

9:10 P.M.

PBS spoke to the opposition, a Republican giving the RNC's views. The Republican Governor actually did a strong, level-headed, soft-voiced job of pointing out the true state of the economy. He dealt with the "war against women" by pointing out it is a contrived argument. Good for him! "Of course [Obama] is going to change the topic." Absolutely!!

Kudos to PBS for doing this (they spoke to a Democrat spokesman during the Republican Convention). 

9:00 P.M.

John Kerry speaks. He isn't much of an iconic image. But I don't suppose the DNC could really not have him talk. 

It's hard to take Kerry seriously about, well, anything. But especially on foreign policy. This is actually not based on Kerry's campaign but on a very funny paragraph in an P.J. O'Rourke essay about Kerry going to some foreign country and walking around looking concerned while not actually doing or saying anything.

In his favor, I think he really believes what he is saying. I think Clinton was just showing off ("you know I should still be your president; really, you know it"). But Kerry is a believer in Obama's right to rule.

"Ask Osama Bin Laden if he is better off than he was four years ago." Well, he's dead. But it's a good line.

Kerry is really attacking Romney, especially for waffling. Methinks the gentleman does protest too much. I suppose there is something cathartic here where Kerry can work off his anger at being depicted as a flim-flam one-dimensional politician by attacking a man he imagines to be more of a flim-flam man. Sorry, Kerry, but Romney still has more substance than you.

Kerry is actually being quite mean. Yuck.

Maybe the DNC figured they could have Kerry give this speech because, unlike Clinton, he has absolutely nothing to lose.

And I just don't buy Kerry or the DNC as hawks. And why go out of one's way to offend military people? Many of them are Republicans.

This speech was the biggest piece of phoniness I've heard in this convention--not because Kerry didn't believe it (he did) but because the man saying it has all the political substance of Kraft cheese. I could excuse that if he wasn't so cruelly mocking about Romney. Booo.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH

11:00

President Bill Clinton sells Obama. He addresses the RNC's position regarding government. He is now going to argue that business and government should work together. Interestingly, he just made the RNC's case for it. But at least he's being honest about what the RNC actually said.

And he uses his own presidency to sell the Democrats as pro-job. The guy is smart.

He argues that the far-right hates Obama. Unfortunately, the rhetoric from the far-right, which makes me cringe, is hard to live-down by more moderately-spoken conservatives. But I don't think that anyone but Clinton can argue that people at the DNC don't hate Romney.

He's being nice about the Bushes. Good for him.

Romney and Ryan are being presented as a "faction"--this goes along with the word "ideological" used last night. However, I'm not sure that pointing out how different Romney and Ryan are from the supposedly "cooperative" Obama is going to turn people against them.

He paints the Republican Convention as full of honorable people who love their families. (Is this guy planning to run again?)

He has pointed out one major flaw in Ryan's plan: how is the U.S. going to pay for it?

But he isn't saying much about Obama except we should give him a chance to finish the process he started four years ago. "We're better off than when he took office." That may be technically true, but I don't think that's most people's perception.

"Too many do not feel [the improvement]. I had the same thing happen."

So basically, Bill Clinton came on stage and sold . . . Bill Clinton.

Did Obama really save Detroit? Was it a good thing that Detroit was saved? It has been the most consistently mentioned positive item on Obama's "resume."

Clinton deals with the big issues:

Healthcare: The Republicans say it is a disaster. Clinton argues that individuals and businesses have gotten refunds through the plan; insurance companies have lowered their rates; more young people are insured; millions of seniors are receiving preventative care; insurance companies will soon have millions of new customers.

He did not address being forced to get healthcare insurance against one's will.

Medicare: Regarding Obama "robbing Medicare," Clinton claims there were no cuts to benefits. What Obama did "to save money" was take money from somewhere but nobody really wanted that money anyway.

Clinton just quoted Ryan. For a guy who is supposed to be promoting Obama, Clinton sure is giving his opposition a lot of press. I don't suppose Clinton read the memo about "I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell my name correctly."

Or he does know. Clinton is totally capable of playing both sides of the fence.

Welfare Work Requirement: Republicans claim Obama wants to weaken the welfare work requirement (that Bill Clinton put into place): Obama gave waivers to governors as long as they have a credible plan.

Why is Obama giving exceptions to state governments? Do presidents do that?

Tax cuts: Clinton Romney and Ryan are promoting tax cuts (to wealthy people). Their budget doesn't balance. Romney and Ryan want to cut programs.

He keeps talking about his first election--so I figured out where Clinton is coming from: if you still love me, you'll vote for Obama.

The speech was frankly quite good. Clinton did a better job selling a positive/long-term image of Obama than all the previous speakers. Well, he did a better job actually trying to address the Republican positions than all the previous speakers. In all honesty, I found it easier to listen to than attacks on Romney and Ryan's supposed anti-feminism. I'm not sure how factual his factoids were, but at least he actually talked about the economy!

As I guessed, Obama came out on stage to be seen with Clinton. This convention is all about pairing Obama with iconic images.

10:45 P.M.

It fascinates me that Clinton is speaking. He was, all things considered, a rather moderate president, far more moderate than the current president. And he wants to be loved. By everyone. All of America. As president, this actually made him prone to govern by poll--which isn't automatically a bad characteristic in a president.

But Obama is not beloved. Despite the speakers at the DNC. So why is Clinton tying himself to Obama?

Because he has no choice really.

10:30

Elizabeth Warren talks about hard-working people who are suffering because the "game is rigged against them." That perspective loses me immediately. Life is hard. There's no reason to turn it into a conspiracy. "Their fight is my fight, and it's Barack Obama's fight too." What does that mean?

Ah, it means the populist argument. This is such a tiresome, adolescent argument. Do these people really think that painting the world as small business owners versus arrogant bankers even begins to address the issue of debt and expensive programs? Rather than persuading me, I'm left (yet again) with the feeling that the DNC is not prepared to make hard choices or even recognize the world as it is. It's a fog of imagery: Romney wants to give tax cuts to billionaires. (I don't have a problem with that actually. Better someone gets the tax cuts than nobody.)

"Romney and Ryan would vaporize Obama Care." Well, I hope so.

"Romney said corporations are people. No, Romney, corporations are not people."

Um, reality-check, yes, they are. This ain't The Matrix. (Although wouldn't it be fun if Hugo Weaving showed up? "It's the guy from The Matrix.")

Brooks thought the 10:00 speeches would be more aimed at the undecided middle-class. I dunno. Warren's speech isn't positive or inclusive. It's a populist argument about how awful Romney is. (And equal pay for equal work.)

How effective is the populist argument? I loathe it, always have. I'd say it was a canny move since Obama can't make many positive arguments regarding his presidency. But I'm not sure that the DNC cares. Put simply, the DNC can't stand the "ideological" stance of Romney and Ryan. Which may actually end up selling Romney and Ryan.

8:30 P.M.

David Brooks is doing a good job tonight with questions! He just asked the guest in the PBS box why the DNC is focusing more on gay marriage and reproductive rights than on the economy.

He's made strong points tonight in his gentle urbane way.

8:20 P.M.

But I've finally figured out the DNC's theme: women. Seriously. I never would have guessed--mostly because I don't see myself as a member of a beleaguered minority. The repeated statement of the evening is: "Being a women is no longer a pre-existing condition." I would just put it down to this night's specific theme. But "women's issues" were discussed Tuesday as well.

The sub-text to "being a women is no longer a pre-existing condition" is "due to Big Daddy holding our hands." Which doesn't strike me as particularly feminist.

But that's not what's thrown me. What's thrown me is, Okay, apparently, the DNC believes they have located a weak spot--Romney and Ryan's conservative attitudes regarding abortion and Planned Parenthood (and their affiliation with conservative mainstream churches?). I just can't imagine this is a smart move. Can an election really be won just on "women's issues"?

8:00 P.M.

I looked up voting statistics. In 2008, slightly more women voted than men, but not by much: 51% to 48%. 18 to 24-year-olds made up 12%. 25 to 44-year-olds was 36%. 44 to 64-year-olds was 34%. Young voters may love Obama (debatable: in Maine, they love Ron Paul), but 12% just ain't that comparative much (65+ is 16%). 

Mark Shields made a point that I've been pondering all week--apparently weather has cancelled Obama appearing in the stadium tomorrow. Shields thinks the weather-folks did Obama a favor: appearing in a huge stadium at a time of economic turmoil was NOT a good idea. I've been thinking this for two weeks!

The fact that the DNC even considered it, however, goes along with my overriding point: they keep doing the same-old-same-old: bring out the women to squawk about abortion; rent a big stadium; refer to Democratic icons; sell populism. All this rather than responding to the conditions of the world around us.

7:55 P.M.

Caroline Kennedy is in the PBS box. I actually quite like her. She's got grace and poise and a friendly demeanor.

(Though when she says that last week the Republican Convention didn't show-case success stories of working-class people, my thought is, "Did you watch it?")

But she isn't shrill or lacking in a sense of humor. Kudos.

7:45 P.M.

And it's the Parade of "Democrat women from the Senate." Really, DNC, this is so old-school. Why not parade out the men? Why not parade out the senator's pets? (THAT would be WAY more interesting.)

These female speakers are really selling the equal pay for equal work theme. Setting aside whether this is even as big a topic as the speakers claim, I'm not sure this is wise. American families are worried about the economy. A husband with a well-paying job is not a liability.

This is the second evening where the main theme of the conference has been: "Women should be treated more fairly. Women should have reproductive rights" (i.e. rights to abortion). Um--men make up 50% of voters.

And not all women are Democrats. And not all women consider these issues the most important issues. It seems a tad . . . narrow. What is the DNC thinking?

7:30 P.M.

Nancy Pelosi: "When you go to the polls, vote for Medicare. Vote for President Obama. When you go to the polls, vote for Social Security. Vote for President Obama. Democrats trust the judgment of women."

You know, if she had said, "Democrats trust the judgment of Hispanics," the press would be all over the statement for its implicit racism (are Democrats implying that Hispanics are inherently untrustworthy? that a special effort needs to made--a kind of white man's burden--to trust Hispanics?). So why are these statements still being made about women? 

It's a laundry list of been-there-done-that. The Democrats haven't addressed any of the financial shenanigans that Republicans mentioned in their convention (but then, that's not really their job; the job of the convention is to sell a platform to the party).

David Brooks just lobbed a low-ball question at a Democrat congresswoman: "Why did the House lose its majority two years ago?" She boggled. Seriously. Boggled. Her answer: People wanted a faster fix. They stayed home.

Ah, the cute sadness of wishful thinking. Voters never vote wrong in Democrat-world; they just vote mistakenly: they were bamboozled, so they stayed home; they would have voted differently if they realized how hard we are working (see White Man's Burden above).

He lobbed a really interesting question: "Why did Michelle Obama not tell the success stories of both her and her husband?" Oh, come now, Brooks, you can't expect politicians to go dismantling their populist images when they're working so hard to create those images!

7:00 P.M.

Here is the weirdest thing I've encountered so far: according to the schedule, Biden won't be speaking tonight. That is so strange. Wednesday is ALWAYS VP night. Instead, Bill Clinton is winding up the evening. This does dovetail with my theory that Obama (and Biden) are being sold not on their own merits but on their group of friends (I refrained from first writing "clique"--see I'm trying to be more objective).

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4TH

I can't say that I know what the Democratic Convention is selling other than Mitt sucks. Maybe . . . diversity is good? but no concrete, stable image or vision of America. A kind of warm & fuzzy amorphous vision floated through the speeches this evening--but the vision was underscored by an immense distaste for Mitt. I'm not surprised. Just a little more disillusioned by the party in power (yes, Democrats, I mean you).

11:00 P.M.

President's Wife: Michelle Obama

I always like the First Ladies. Most of them are real ladies. We'll see how Mrs. Obama fares in her speech

The parties are battling right now over Horatio Alger stories: I had to walk uphill both ways in ten foot snow drifts to work for less than minimum wage in order to get ahead!

I can't say Michelle is helping me know Obama better. She's delivering a bunch of platitudes. I liked Ann Romney's image of five boys arguing in a house on a rainy day. There's a little of that in Michelle Obama's speech, but mostly, she's saying stuff like "he's such a good man whose life experiences have made him who he is."

Um. Okay, never mind.

Thursday, I'm teaching my business students about not using redundant language.

She is running down the party line of Obama's "achievements." I haven't noticed anything revealing or unique. She believes what she is saying. But while I may not like Obama's policies, I do believe he is a good man. I would be open to a personalize account of his struggles. This speech isn't personal. It's a list of iconic images. I wanted something like this.

The PBS guys are positive about the speech. I thought it fell short. It was passionate--Michelle Obama had conviction--and got the floor riled up. But it didn't make a rather aloof man any more real to me.

Hmmm, an election where two extremely reserved men run against each other. This is getting kind of weird.

10:30 P.M.

Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Julian Castro

Discusses his mother and grandmother--these types of speeches (the ones with personal stories) are the most effective. He is selling the image of America--hard work, independence--that speakers sold in the Republican Convention.

"But we recognize there are things we can't do alone."

True. But this statement lacks resonance. What exactly does "not alone" mean?

I think this guy is under-selling himself (and his mother and grandmother). He wants me to believe that he and his brother graduating from Ivy League Schools was some kind of fluke; everyone in Texas could have done it if there was just enough education in America.

Where did he get the drive? The funds? In his Wikipedia article, he does credit affirmative action with helping him get into Stanford and Harvard but doesn't explain why he aimed for law school in the first place and how he managed to survive there. He is ignoring that ineffable sense of self and ambition that Republicans were trying to capture in their own convention.

"[The Republicans] told a few stories of individual success--" they told A LOT of stories of individual success actually.

And . . . another attack on Romney.

What are these guys selling? No to Mitt Romney? Well, that's . . . insubstantial.

Castro just played the "keep jobs here" card. I've never agreed with this--no matter what side was advocating it. International trade is inevitable. Jobs being shipped overseas (in both directions) is what happens when communication shrinks a world. China may rule us all eventually. Get over it, people. Rome rose and fell and rose again in a new guise. That's real flexibility.

By the way, there was a nasty crack about Republicans not caring about people suffering from Hurricane Issac. The REPUBLICAN, NOT Democratic website, has a Red Cross link to give aid to the Relief Effort, and it was up even while the Republican Convention was going on.

9:45 P.M.

PBS finally got an interesting guest in the booth: the Democratic Governor of Montana. They've mostly been interviewing people who planned the convention about how great the convention is. Very boring.

The governor is a down-to-earth fellow. He actually made the "if a chief executive can't fix things in eight years, it is time to move on" argument. Um, why eight? Why not four?

Obama family members just spoke. I just realized how few family members spoke at the Republican Convention. I didn't miss them because I think it was wise not to have them. I think the DNC is working off an old-playbook.

9:30 P.M.

Lots of talk about Detroit--not sure why.

The economy is pretty much being ignored--except for the claim that we are better off than four years ago. Well, I'm not. (But I'm not going to blame Obama or Bush, either.)

9:00 P.M.

ObamaCare is defended by a mother and a little girl brought up on stage with her father and sister. The baby sister is crying. Oh, my goodness, just go kiss some babies!

8:45 P.M.

Kennan gave the pro-abortion talk.

A woman who wants an abortion shouldn't be required to get a ultrasound? Why is that bad? I'd think that getting an ultrasound would ensure the procedure going well. But maybe the idea is that ultrasounds will give pregnant women warm and fuzzy feelings about the fetus, and they won't abort. But why is it wrong for a woman to really think though her decision?

My opinion here is formed by Star Trek.

What's really interesting, though, is that in an effort to distinguish Obama from Romney, his more liberal agendas--gay marriage, abortion, the environment--are being emphasized. How will this go over with moderate Democrats who are strongly in favor of conservative moral issues?

"Women in America cannot trust Mitt Romney."

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME!

The Honorable Tammy Duckworth gave a good speech, much more similar in type to the Republican speeches--a personal story followed by an ideological stance--than the speeches so far.

Lincoln Chafee has just defined "liberal" as the government helping you do things. Christopher Hitchens must be rolling in his grave.

8:30 P.M.

Hey, this is fun! The Democrats are selling the "America is diverse" image, which is admittedly a nice image. Rep. Polis included "Mormons" in his speech. He also included Republicans. So I'm going to give him kudos as truly believing in his diversity ideology.

But how fun is it that the phrase: "Jews and Catholics, gays and straights, Muslims and Christians" now includes Mormons?!

8:15 P.M.

Kerry's convention, honesty, was far more bearable (I even said nice things about Obama in 2004!).

8:00 P.M.

Video of Ted Kennedy.

Basically, this is a night of iconic images, both verbal and visual. This is not a bad idea. Running Obama based on what he represents iconically, not what he has actually done or said, is pretty darn intelligent. 

And yet the video about Ted Kennedy went after Romney personally. The RNC's videos last week didn't do this (why advertise your opposition?). Plenty of speakers spoke about Obama's record but other than Clint Eastwood (mentioning "lawyers"--heh), few people, if any, attacked Obama's background.

By the way, that doesn't mean Obama's background is somehow "better" than Romney's in some strange moral sense. It just means the DNC is incredibly intolerant.

And frightened.

7:45 P.M.

So far the speakers are selling the image of Romney as a fat-cat indifferent to the middle-class versus Obama who "walks with us." These opposing images are pure populism: images, nothing more. But they are powerful ones.

There's also a continual use of the word "ideological" (in a negative sense--directed at Romney & Ryan).

The use of keywords/phrases is an important part of any communication strategy. The keywords/phrases with the RNC were "success" and "turn the page." ("We built it" never really did catch fire.)

So far, the DNC appears to be using "ideological" and "Obama walks with us." I question the first. It isn't really a catch-fire phrase outside of certain circles. However, within those circles, it is very powerful. The second is silly. But strong.

7:30 P.M.

Carter's Video

I actually think Carter IS still a gentleman. He is 87!

7:15 P.M.

BAD FEMINISM

I'm trying to be objective, but BAD FEMINISM happens to be one of my soap-boxes. I hate so-called tolerant liberals telling me that I should be a good lil' woman and vote the "right way."

The DNC just did something it did in 2008. I thought it was silly then. I still think it is silly: Parade the Democrat "women of the House" across the stage to talk about issues from the 1970s.

It is so demimonde/Southern belle/debutante/prom queen erk. It was weird in 2008. It's weird now and bizarrely patronizing. It's like when the DNC sends me brochures telling me to vote on "Women's Issues." So, what are those? Not the War in Iraq? Not health care issues for men (I have male friends and family members)? Not immigration? I'm a women so I'm only supposed to care about health care issues for women and supposed unequal pay (which is a WAY more complicated topic than usually discussed)?

This "parade" of sycophantic barbies is NO comparison to the tough, smart, savvy female governors and politicians who spoke--NOT paraded--at the Republican Convention. There was nothing individual about the different Democrat female speakers' claims. They spouted a bunch of political cliches plus unwarranted stereotypes about the supposed "home" of women (that is, in the Democratic Party) that I find completely offensive.

I'm breaking my own rules about labeling, but I've encountered way too many so-called tolerant liberals who want to put me in a box because I'm a woman. As Camille Paglia would say, Real women need to deal with real men in order to grow up. This means dealing with men who might have old-fashioned ideas about women but respect toughness, NOT with men who claim to be feminists but really can't stand women who think differently from them or with men who baby women into feeling good about themselves rather than expecting them to be tough.

Okay. Sorry. Back to the speakers.

7:00 P.M.

The convention hall looks like the sports stadium it is. Granted both halls have been sports stadiums, but the DNC convention hall LOOKS like one, mostly because of the huge video screens.

Mark Shields is such a loyal Democrat. David Brooks will often step back from his political point-of-view and start talking objectively. Mark Shields rarely does. It makes him cute. It also makes him kind of silly. So, he'll mention the ABC poll and then dismiss it in the same breath (Obama has dipped in the polls).

Henry Reid is selling Obama as a guy who makes the tough calls. I admit I forgot about this approach. It's actually the best approach with an unpopular president; he isn't unpopular because he's done dumb stuff, but because he makes the unpopular choices!

And . . . Reid goes on the attack: the Republicans have done nothing but stand in the way of Obama. The Tea Party has taken over the Republican Party and, boy, they are just raining on everyone's parade.

AND . . . he just played the populist card. Have I mentioned how much I despise this card? AND . . . he just went after Mitt as unknown, wealthy, non-transparent, and ideological.

So, pretty much, everything the Republicans said would happen in the Democrat Convention is happening: ATTACK THE EVIL RICH PEOPLE! It's such an awful approach. Unfortunately, it is also somewhat effective. Attack ads do work.

Pre-7:00 P.M. Remarks

So, in all honesty, I'm not looking forward to this convention (although I am curious and will try, however poorly, to be somewhat objective). Both parties have a tendency towards extreme either/or rhetoric: choose our side or the whole country gets flushed down the toilet! But liberals--not Democrats--tend to whine more. Right-wingers will call down the wrath of God; liberals will complain about how unfair everyone is being. I find it easier to listen to fire & brimstone than to listen to matches & vinegar--put-upon matches & vinegar moreover. (Exception: Right-wingers do tend to whine about political correctness.)

However, this is an entirely personal reaction and partly a product of living in blue territory (although Maine is more eggplant than blue or red). I can appreciate that another person might find the right-wing rhetoric more grating than the left-wing rhetoric (tone aside, they are quite similar).

I am looking forward to Clinton's speech--since he is more used cars salesman than whiny aristocrat. In fact, I'm hoping Hillary speaks too. The Clintons, for all their faults, are bred-to-the-bone-don't-burn-your-bridges-stupidly politicians. This makes them far more bearable than their more idealistic colleagues.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Convention has already lost (more) points with me by making it almost impossible to track down a week-long schedule of speakers by hour. They have released Tuesday's podium schedule. But not Wednesday's or Thursday's (as far as I can discover). The Republican Convention schedule was not easy to locate, but the week-long schedule of podium speakers had been released to the press by Tuesday.

Um, guys, the GOP is already saying you can't run a country. How about running your convention more efficiently?

The Honorable Henry Reid and First Lady, Michelle Obama will speak tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Carole S.9/04/2012

    Good luck tonight! I don't know if I can watch much of this convention at all but I'm looking forward to your comments!

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