Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Convention Thoughts...

Hillary Clinton gave a very good speech. Yes, it did not include a line about why Barack Obama would be a great commander-in-chief. Yet, in most every other respect it managed to walk the fine line between being a passionate recitation of why she ran for president and a fairly convincing assertion of why her supporters need to vote for Obama in the fall.

Perhaps the best part was closer to the end where she managed to glide seamlessly between discussing the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights to reminding people of the work of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Yeah, there was a certain amount of self-serving in that imagery (as if common political problems are on a par with with helping slaves run away). However, the two historical anecdotes, helped create an image of the shared progress of women and blacks. Nice touch.

Will the PUMAs buy it? Let's see.

As good as Hillary's speech was, I thought Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer was remarkable. You don't have to buy into Democratic Party views on energy policy to see why Schweitzer is likely to be a real political rock star for some time. The prepared text in no way does him justice. So, check the video. The guy is a natural showman. He was the only speaker who clearly was having fun from the minute he opened his mouth. He also manage to master the ability of moving around at the podium, making regular eye contact with various parts of the audience -- and never losing his place in the teleprompter. When he told the audience to stand up to tell the "petro-dictators" that America wouldn't continue to be held captive by them, the place went wild. It should be noted that -- according to the DNC's schedule, Schweitzer was only supposed to speak for five minutes. He ended up going fifteen. Not sure that was his fault or the programs, but the end result was that Hillary's speech finished at 11:05 PM on the East Coast, technically out of the 10 o'clock prime-time slot. Will her supporters feel dissed?

Again, we'll see.

Finally, from what I saw of the other prime time speakers (PA Sen. Bob Casey did slightly above average, while VA ex-Gov. Mark Warner was "OK" as the keynote speaker; he correctly noted that he wasn't going to make anyone forget Obama's speech four years ago) -- the real interesting surprise was Alabama grandmother Lily Ledbetter. She sued her employer Goodyear over pay equity. She won in the lower courts, but lost in the Supreme Court, which in a 5-4 ruling, stated that Ledbetter hadn't filed a claim of pay inequity against Goodyear in time.

Now, put aside the exact details of the case. What was smart on the part of the Democrats was to have a very sympathetic older lady framing a Supreme Court issue that wasn't related to abortion. "Barack Obama is on our side," said Ledbetter, . He is fighting to fix this terrible ruling, and as president, he has promised to appoint justices who will enforce laws that protect everyday people like me." Ledbetter is an ideal messenger to reach those women who may have concerns about Obama, but understand the importance of the Supreme Court (it was no coincidence that Ledbetter mentioned, by name, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent).

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