Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Democratic National Convention - Day 1

As Christopher Walken’s SNL character, The Continental, would say, ‘Wow-weee, Wow, Wow, Wow!’

If this is the kind of tightly scripted, impact achieving sort of prime-time Convention that the DNC’s Terry McCauliffe has in store for the next three days, the other networks may consider breaking into their steady stream of reality shows and mid-summer replacements!

I only checked in with the Fox News coverage briefly, twice, to find a brave Illinois Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, and it looks like the network’s floor reporters have been outfitted with the same apparatus I saw on Dan Rather at the Dem Convention of ’68, in Chicago. And, it did not go unnoticed that CNN is obviously the party’s cable news outfit of choice, given their Jack Nicholson-like perch on the Convention floor for Wolf Blitzer and Larry King.

And, I’m back to pundit-hating MSNBC’s Chris Matthews! There he sat with his rating’s bottom dwelling partner Joe Scarborough, trying to massage and manufacture controversy at every break. Yes, Teresa Heinz Kerry forgot that she did use the word ‘un-American’, but not in the context that the partisan Pittsburgh reporter was fishing for. But, Matthews would not let it go, and I swear it crawled at the bottom of his network’s feed every ten seconds, for an hour. Mr. Hardball continues to prove that his appeasement of the Right, and by not fessing up to the credibility of the Democrat’s case (and what his fans expect), is the basis of his unpopularity.

I’m guessing all the leading lights of the Bush/Cheney press attack squad, were lounging in Fox News’ Convention Green room. I actually saw one, second-stringer RNC mouthpiece describe the Bush administration’s policy on CNN, as ‘progressive’. It was a tough nite for a dour and grumpy Sen. Bob Dole, as he weighed in after every speech from an undisclosed CNN location. Yet, it was nice to see him comment honestly as to the impressive nature of the night’s speeches, then recover nicely for a number of funny zingers, that he is known for.

From the day John Kerry morphed into the ‘presumptive nominee’, media pundits and desperate Republicans never failed to point to polls of American voters expressing unfamiliarity with the Senator. And, as if on cue, they would then insist that his Convention acceptance speech would become that much more crucial, if not his last chance. However, tonight’s impressive showing by the Dems illustrates a key element, that they may have overlooked or discounted.

And that is, what effect the other 10 hours of Convention coverage over four days, will have on voters. From the beginning of the Howard Dean candidacy, arrogant Republicans (unchallenged by a pliable media) dismissed an energizing Democratic Party base as a bunch of radical Liberal Bush haters, safely sequestered in cyberspace. Now, America is getting a good look as to what all the fuss was about.

From what I’ve gleamed, all of tonight’s speeches were vetted thru the DNC and the Kerry/Edwards camp – with the exception of President Carter’s and President Clinton’s speeches. If the move of those in charge was to not shy away from direct (and numerous) criticism of this administration’s tenure, but, rarely mention Bush by name – brilliant move! Unfortunately, for the Republicans now, it takes the ‘Bush’ out of the soundbite, yet in no way weakens the message, or who it’s aimed at!

I saw two speakers deliver the most impressive messages I’ve seen from them, ever – Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton. In less than 25 minutes, they dispelled any air of politically rivalry and competition - wishful notion Conservative pundits have been trying to make stick since the beginning of this campaign. And, only a Robert Novak would disagree, that they clearly evoked the passion and seriousness of mission that has clearly energized the Democratic Party. With levity and self-deprecation, the importance of this election has also figured into true closure for Al Gore. Then, Hillary’s speech made me start figuring out what year, in sets of fours’, may be her year.

With evidence of true wisdom, the most unlikely speech of the night would be that of former President Jimmy Carter. With the forcefulness of a leader who has learned from similar difficulties we now face, his clarity should not, and cannot, be lost on the American electorate.

The Republicans amended the Constitution in 1951 (22nd Amendment), in order to prevent Franklin Roosevelt’s hold on the White House from ever being repeated. It is possible, that this will be the only comfort today’s GOP can salvage from this evening.

Just as assured one could be of a Micheal Jordan performance returning from his first retirement, Bubba, the Big Creep, Slick Willie, or as we’ll never forget, the 42nd President, did not disappoint. Just as tonight’s speakers offered up funny and poignant soundbites to choose from, the first Black President supplied the powerfully effective ones. Four years ago, the Republicans worked hard to lower expectations, when it came to the man who gave you the ‘seven minute freeze out’. And, they are working just as hard today, to raise the bar that John Kerry (compared to Clinton) will never surpass, as was their plan all along.

When we finally arrive at Kerry’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, if this evening is any indication, the American voters will have no choice, but to take the Democratic Party in the context of not just one man.

Cause, it took just one man to get us into this mess, and clearly it will take what the Democrats are offering as a whole, to get us out.

Posted by Bert M. Caradine at July 27, 2004 4:57 PM