Slow Night at the Democratic National Convention
Date posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Looking ahead to the next three days.
For the second straight week, my Tuesday morning responsibility of recapping Monday night developments leaves me with little to say. Last week, it was a hurricane. This week, it’s a more compact Democratic National Convention. Once again I am relegated to a preview. (I urge everyone to check back over the next few days when the more talented Anthony Resnick, Ben Hoffman, and Stephen Kurczy weigh in on developments.) I’ll use today’s space to reiterate and condense what the political bloggers and I are looking forward to these next three nights.
Tonight: I combed over our responses from yesterday’s roundtable. There is nothing tonight to which we looked forward. (That sound you heard was the ball hitting the floor.) Still, tonight features Michelle Obama, who’s always a pleasure to see, hear, and fantasize losing an arm wrestling match to. Like Ann Romney, she serves as a classy, popular surrogate, untouchable by the opposition. In her speech, I expect her to remind us that Obama the President is also Barack the Father and Barack the Husband. While so many others will try to impress the President’s greatness upon us, Mrs. Obama will be the only to remind us that he’s human.
Wednesday: Wednesday night features Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who is trying to take the seat back for the Democrats from Republican Scott Brown, who filled the late Ted Kennedy’s seat. Ben Hoffman called her speech his most anticipated, explaining that she “has the ability to forcefully and succinctly explain liberal economic beliefs. It was her ‘you didn’t do it alone’ shtick Obama was mimicking with his ‘you didn’t build that’ speech.” Anthony Resnick also declared his “love” for Warren which, for the moment only, is unrequited.
The big speech tomorrow, of course, is that of former president Bill Clinton. Anthony and I both very much look forward to hearing from someone who’s “been there, done that.” Presidents Carter and H.W. Bush seem too old for this sort of thing, while President Bush II is still too unpopular for the Republican Party to embrace. Clinton is politics’ megawatt star; indeed, he might even be the world’s most beloved politician. When he speaks, you should listen.
Clinton might be the world’s most beloved politician. When he speaks, you should listen.
Thursday: On Thursday night we’ll have The Ticket, which early in the evening will comprise of secretly hoping that Biden goes off-script as we count down the minutes until President Obama. (John Kerry, the Democrats’ ill-fated 2004 nominee, will also speak, which reminds us of the oft-forgotten rule that it’s always a good idea to have a loser speak on your biggest night.)
And then it’s the Big Kahuna. Do you realize that only twice in the last 20 years have we had a sitting president accept re-nomination at his national convention? President Bush in 2004 and President Clinton in 1996. I expect an extra jolt of electricity in the Time Warner Cable Arena.
I’ll leave you with some words from the political bloggers regarding the President’s speech. Don’t forget to check Construction throughout the week for daily updates!
Anthony Resnick: “I’m really struggling to figure out what President Obama will or should say on Thursday. There are so many conflicting needs. He needs to sound hopeful about the future and proud of his record without sounding delusional or out of touch with how most Americans view the current state of affairs. He needs to renew his call for unity and say, ‘We as a people will restore this nation to prosperity,’ without saying, ‘I as a leader have not done enough.’ He needs to say, ‘I have a better plan than my opponent for solving this nation’s problems’ without making people think ‘Okay, where has it been for four years?’”
Stephen Kurczy: In response to the question of whether Obama can recapture the hopeful spirit of his 2008 campaign: “Yes, he can! . . . The bigger question is how. I’d say that a key step in avoiding delusion is in looking coldly at the state of your surroundings, and for Obama this means a sober assessment of the U.S. economy and employment. It’s bad. Say so.”
Ben Hoffman: “His message needs to be, ‘Here’s what we tried to do to help people. Here’s what we’re still trying to do to help people. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t easy, especially with Republicans refusing to help out, and if they get their way and win this election, things will right back to where they were before.’
Ian Cheney: “It could be the last big speech of his political career. Since speaking is such a strength of his, it feels like a ‘leave everything out on the field’ situation. Does he have a throwback moment in him? We’ll know on Thursday night.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that the venue for the Democratic National Convention is Bank of America Stadium. The correct venue is Time Warner Cable Arena.[pinit]