Thoughts on the Democratic National Convention

Posted: August 28, 2008 by Rick Hogaboam in Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Well, Barack Obama has just finished his much anticipated speech in front of thousands of folks, and millions of more viewers. I want to go back to day 1 and offer my humble thoughts on how effective the Demcorats were at this convention.

Day 1 – Michelle Obama…I would say that Michelle did well at providing her own narrative, which contrasts the negative perception that she is an angry arrogant elitist. She has made some comments stating that our country is mean and that she is now proud for the first time in her adult life because of how people are responding to her husband’s candidacy. I would give her some grace on those comments…I think she is just so proud that America is supporting her husband. I could be wrong. Anyhow, I would say that Michelle provided an affirming self-narrative but that it lacked in defining her husband’s narrative…which apparently wasn’t the goal. People want to know more about Michelle and her speech accomplished that.

Day 2 – Hillary…She spoke mostly about herself, her support for Democratic principles, her opposition to John McCain, and her support for electing Barack Obama. I thought her praise for Obama was solely because he is a Democrat who shares most of her ideals…I didn’t take it as high praise for Obama the man, but more as support for Obama as the Democratic nominee….which after all was what the party needed.

Day 3 – Bill Clinton…he spoke for a long time and supported Obama because it would restore the success of the 8 years under Clinton. Bill reminded folks that he is the predecessor and the model for success. I took his endorsement of Obama as self endorsement of his 8 years in office and says that Obama is the best hope to regain those ideals. For a certain segment of the Democratic party, this was needed.

Day 4 – Obama…Theatrical and inspiring. I admit that Obama’s speech was good for his party, however for the more discerning independent voter like myself I thought he was being dishonest with the views he opposed and engaged in “non-sequitur” connections. One such example for his opposition to a Constitutional Amendment for a definition of marriage between one man and one woman is that it would be wrong to deprive a gay person from being able to visit their gay partner in the hospital. This was a total non-sequitur. He is using an emotional illustration while not dealing substantially with what’s truly at stake in granting equal rights on sexual preference. There are other such examples of Obama’s use of emotionally engaging illustrations…but what do you expect? This is a speech to rally your troops…not to engage in substantial discourse…that is left for the debates.

One other thing that I found ironic was his criticism for McCain’s lack of delivering energy legislation in his many years of service. Well, the same criticism could be pointed at his own running mate in Biden and in himself with his support of Bush’s energy bill when it was in fact McCain who opposed Bush’s energy policy.

Obama did the job he needed and raised the bar for the Republican Convention. McCain will have to “sell” himself as the straight talker who walks the stage with no telepromptor and looks in people’s eyes with passion and makes a case for himself. If McCain fails to counter Obama’s success tonight, Obama may take a 10 point bounce into the first debate where it would put McCain in a do or die situation to make this campaign a fight. Stay tuned…


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