Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention

We probably won't be doing any live-blogging of the proceedings in Charlotte, but we'll be doing a lot of writing about the convention. (I was on vacation during the Republican one, which is why Richard was handling lead-blogger duties. In Prince Edward Island, my favorite place in the world, I just didn't want all the Republican lies and distortions, all the ugliness and brutality, to ruin the wonderful time I was having.)

So stay tuned, and keep coming back, for a lot of new posts from us. Already Wednesday is lining up to be a very busy day.

Having just watched much of what happened this evening, here are some quick thoughts:

-- Ted Strickland is hilarious, and amazingly quotable. More on that tomorrow.

-- Deval Patrick gave a remarkably eloquent and moving speech. Here are some highlights:

The list of accomplishments is long, impressive, and barely told... With a record like that and a vision that powerful and hopeful, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office -- and neither should you.


We believe that government has a role to play, not in solving every problem in everybody's life, but in helping people help themselves to the American Dream. That's what Democrats believe. That's what Americans believe. And if we want to win elections in November and keep our country moving forward, if we want to earn the privilege to lead, it's time for Democrats to grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe.

Republicans are already twisting this to mean that Democrat think it's all about government and more government, but of course that's not what Patrick said. What he said -- and this was echoed later by Julian Castro (more on that in a moment) -- was that government (the government of "We the People," let us not forget, a democratic government, not the authoritarian one Republicans seem to think rules the country with an iron fist) has a key role to play in helping those who can't help themselves, those who, for example, lack the fortune and privilege into which someone like Mitt Romney was born, that it can help level the playing field and provide opportunity to those who simply would not otherwise have any.

That is indeed what we believe, and we should not shy away from expressing it.

-- Julian Castro is being called a rising star, but to me he's already there. It's just a matter of how high he can go. He was outstanding in giving the keynote speech tonight. A great speech, a great performance. Clearly, the point was to reach out to Latinos, who are already overwhelmingly supportive of Obama, but more broadly he effectively drew the sharp contrast between Obama and Romney, between the Democrats and the Republicans. On the one side, the president's side, is hope and opportunity, and indeed Castro's success, along with that of his twin brother Joaquin, who introduced him, is a story of opportunity and making the most of it. On the other side, the Romney-Ryan side, is privilege and, I would add, brutality, a celebration of Hobbes's state of nature as channelled through Ayn Rand.

Very, very well done.

-- Michelle Obama. What can I say? She was amazing. (Wolf Blitzer said something like, "She didn't hit a home run... uh, she hit a grand slam." I agree with the assessment, and appreciate the sentiment, though his knowledge of baseball is embarrassingly limited, it would seem.) It was the most powerful speech, and quite possibly the best speech, I've ever seen (or heard) by a first lady or would-be first lady, but really it stood on its own as one of the best convention speeches ever delivered by anyone, far superior to the "we're not really a couple o' rich douchebags" speech by Ann Romney last week in Tampa, reaching out to women, with whom Republicans are at war, but more generally making a truly compelling case not just for her husband but for what he stands for, what he fights for, for what they stand and fight for together, alongside their fellow Democrats.

Michelle can make an awesome case for Barack. And that's just what she did tonight, capping off an exceptional day for the Democrats.

What a way to get the convention rolling.

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  • Deval Patrick's rousing speech was the highlight of the evening, eclipsing even Michelle Obama's as powerful as that was. It must have fired up the democratic base as few others have done in recent memory. Never heard him speak before, but I thought he was phenomenal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 AM  

  • The mere fact that all these people can talk about how they have made it from humble beginnings - proves that you DO NOT need the government to be part of the American Dream. Hard work, brains, drive and anything is possible. Castro did not refer to all the gov't handouts he and his family got, he talked about hard work. Make sense. Maybe he is really as republican.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 PM  

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