james debate
james debate

Sunday 31 August 2008

There was a lot of pressure building up to the DNC this year. For starters the media has been playing up the split in the Democratic party as a result of the fallout from a bitter primary season. It now seems that most of this was overhyped and over played, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worrying about it a little bit, if not for the prospect of the GOP stealing those votes (which I find highly unlikely) than for simply losing the votes from our party this November.

obama dnc democrat nomination barack

On top of this McCain had slowly but surely started to claw his way back towards Obama in the polls this summer, making up for a rather pitiful start after clinching the nomination by hitting the Democrats hard with relentless (and often ludicrous) attack ads and carefully staged reactions to summer events like the issues in Georgia (read my last post for an overview of how absurd that was). And it's because of all this that an awful lot was depending on the Democrats giving a good showing in Denver this summer, when Obama finally made his landmark nomination, the first ever for an African American, official.

Going into this event, the Democrats had one big thing on their side: the complete and utter lunacy of the Republican party. The fact is that there is absolutely no justifiable reason for anyone to still think that the GOP knows what's best for us, and yet they have done a fantastic job of selling themselves to the public, and downsizing their opposition. All the Democrats really needed to do was to clearly and definitively explain why another term for the GOP would be a disaster, and to get enough attention from the people of America so that they would all see it. They had 'reality' on their side, the trouble was making sure everyone could see that.

To this end you have to say they gave a pretty good effort. Spread across 4 days with many many speakers and performers, they weren't all winners, but there was enough substance there, enough style there and enough heart and emotion to make things very very difficult for the GOP in the aftermath of this convention.

We start off with Michelle Obama winning over a nation and showing us exactly what a first lady should be. In this speech she was so top notch that people speculate that this not only pushes Obama's stock up, but indeed gives her own career a push, opening up a path for her to get into politics, and thus cement the Obama family's place amongst Democrat royalty along with the Clintons and the Kennedys.

Even more moving than this was the speech on the same day by Democrat talisman and all time legendary legislator Ted Kennedy making a shock appearance despite his recent surgery and battle with terminal cancer. His doctors advised him not to go, but so strong is his belief in Obama, as it has been since he made the shock endorsement of him over Clinton in the primaries, that nothing was ever going to keep him away, as he vowed to still be there, on the senate floor next January, working under President Obama, touting him as the Kennedy of this generation, that once in a lifetime political figure who can really change things for the better.

So far so good. On the second day it was time to put to bed all the stories of disunity in the party, which Hillary Clinton pulled off perfectly with a fantastic speech in which she fully endorsed Obama and reminded her supporters that anyone who really believed in her wouldn't go and vote for someone with the opposite policies (and in doing so gave the immortal line 'no way, no how, no mccain').

Day 3 saw Bill Clinton give his two cents, to the biggest ovation of any speaker at the dnc. Here is a man who represents success in the Democratic party; someone who had two terms as President and is remembered as one of the best (and lets all remember the 'too inexperienced' jibes the GOP used back then too). Believe you me, if he could run for a third term they'd all vote for him.

Also on that day was the big nomination itself, in which Hillary herself was brilliant in calling for Obama to be nominated by acclamation, rather than go through the roll call of all the delegates. Joe Biden received a similar acclamation as vice president and then proceeded to give his big acceptance speech, which was also very well handled. Biden even went on the attack against McCain which was damn nice to see. The problem the Dems have had so far is taking the high road. GOP uses dirty tactics, and a large portion of America is dumb enough to be impressed by that, like it or not, the Democrats need to do it a little bit too, and so it was nice to see Biden getting his hands dirty (and being far more concerned with little things like facts than mccains attacks!)

This speech was followed by a shock appearance by Obama a day earlier than expected (watch til the end of the speech) to rapturous applause.

Then of course, came the big day. Obama's acceptance day. This will go down as one of the most impressive speeches ever in politics. The entire day was special.

A giant stadium packed to the rafters with 90,000 people; live concert performances from the likes of Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder. Big speeches from the likes of Al Gore and Bill Richardson. Then, at long last after a week of tense build up, with all the pressure of the summer's events resting on him, Obama makes his dramatic appearance to the dulcet chords of U2's 'City of Blinding Lights'.

He followed this with the best speech of his career. And for a man so well renowned for his oratory ability this is saying an awful lot. He simply ticked all the boxes; he went into intense detail over all of his policies to respond to the common (and unfounded) GOP critique that he has no specific policies (which ironically are more detailed and defined than mccains), he healed wounds with old Clinton supporters. He even went on the attack against McCain, letting him and everyone else in the country know that he's ready for battle, sort of a 'bring it on' message, which was very much needed.

It was a breathtaking speech and one which has earned himself unanimous kudos from everyone, democrat and republican alike. Anyone who still has any doubt about what Obama will bring to this country need only watch this speech and all will become clear. It's no wonder he has shot ahead of McCain in the polls again.

Coming up next week is the RNC, will it have a similar effect? I'm sure it'll help the GOP but i doubt it'll be anything like this. For starters they just don't have the funding that the Dems have, despite using the national campaign financing system and taking under the table donations from special interest groups and lobbyists. Secondly they just don't have the support among well known or influential politicians or celebrities to bring a lot of clout or showiness to an event. Lastly just look at the last big event, when McCain gave his victory speech and his numbers in the polls plummeted shortly thereafter (and if you watched that speech i think you can see why).

We'll see.

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