[Program Note: Due to getting sick in the middle of the Democratic National Convention last week, we are woefully behind in posting convention articles. We do apologize for this lapse, and regret the inconvenience. Below is the second night's response from our roving reporter, Malcom Fox. I'll have some further thoughts on the convention as well to post here, so I hope everyone isn't already tired of hearing about it already. Again, this was due to illness and could not be avoided.]
-- Chris Weigant
Democratic National Convention, Night Two
What a disappointment from the Democratic Party. All of the excitement generated by the sensational lineup of speakers was extinguished by the dull repetitive speeches that made up the majority of Night Two of the convention. The common denominator was "Romney is an inadequate candidate." However, all Democrats know of Romney's inadequacy -- I would go so far as to say the majority of the American public knows. The mass appeal of the previous night was the amount of positive focus from the Democrats with the occasional jibe at Romney from speakers like Castro and Patrick. Speakers spoke about Obama in generic ways without detailed explanation of his successful policies. In addition, the regular Joe Shmoes who occupied an unnecessarily large time slot trashed Romney. The ordinary citizens should talk solely on how Obama's policies benefited them like yesterday, not point out Romney's negatives. The two motifs of small business aided by the government and women's equality reigned supreme throughout the night. The momentum gained by the performance of the previous night was squandered by the overly negative critique of Romney throughout the entire night.
During the process of the early speakers Democratic whip Steny Hoyer called out the Republican House for constantly stalling and impeding Obama's policies to fix the country. A large series of politicians, judges, ordinary Americans, and even a nun followed him. All seemed to focus on women's equality even after Cecile Richards gave a moving and invigorating speech that sealed women's rights for the night. The following speeches felt gratuitous and instead of repeating positive issues and crediting Obama, they took shots are Romney that just propelled the negativity of the night to a Republican-level equivalent.
However, after a dull and painfully slow period of time Christina Saralegui gave a sassy and emotional address that stressed America to back the "Dreamers" that Obama fought for with the DREAM Act. She drilled home her message of voting at all costs and making America hear you on Election Day.
Unfortunately, the Democrats couldn't restrain themselves from going after Romney with three people, all of whom worked at an ex-company that had once been owned by Bain Capital. Each gave a relatively similar story in which their company was ruined by Romney while he profited off their failure. He cost Americans jobs, broke Tiny Tim's leg, and probably even talked about Fight Club. I have no love for Romney, but such a exaggeration of negativity demoralizes the entire base and moves the focus from Obama's outstanding accomplishments to Romney's shortcomings.
Luckily, any depression I felt immediately expunged itself when Sandra Fluke walked onto the stage with an air of confidence and a professional demeanor. She brought fear into the lives of all women when she described the future that Romney would make happen. Fluke stressed the possibility of a Romney election being more likely than people thought. In one of her strongest moments she depicted a future in which women would be silenced by the Republican government. However, she adamantly stated that women will not be silenced on November sixth.
As she glided off the stage to emphatic applause, the crowd roared to a new level with the arrival of Elizabeth Warren. Although she was unknown to me I quickly understood the excitement of the crowd as she meticulously described each and every way she was grateful to the United States of America. Her incredible intelligence shone through the entirety of her speech. She took personal responsibility for the suffering of the middle class and announced that their fight was her fight. She stuck to her conviction that the system was rigged for the working class, and with the help of Barack Obama the middle class would recover. Warren emphasized that Obama understood the average American's struggles because he went through them himself. In the highlight of the speech Warren built momentum against corporations by resoundingly telling the crowd "People live, people die, and that matters."
Warren gave a speech that reflected her poise and brilliance. However, in fairness, she had no place even being on the same stage as Bill Clinton. In general, there are very few people living who have business being on the same stage as President Clinton. The thunderous applause rained down the instant Clinton appeared on stage. Clinton used his speech to draw many parallels between himself in President Obama. Some may attack Clinton for being egotistic; however he is the most seminal Democrat alive, and as Obama becomes increasingly similar to Clinton, the more people will have faith in the Democratic Party.
Clinton opened by sympathizing with Obama for inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression. He asked Americans to empathize with the president and give him four more years, because Clinton got four more years and gave America a surplus to show for it. Having been in the convention center during his speech I can't adequately describe his ability to speak for a crowd, a sentiment that is lost in the transition to television. I will say that Clinton attempts to speak directly to your soul. He inspires every confidence you have and dispels any ounce of doubt in your body. Throughout the entirety of his speech he attacked Republicans on every misstep during Obama's term. To my pleasure he announced that the Republicans live in an alternate reality in which they depict Barack Obama as a small-business-hating communist who will raise taxes to destroy the world. Clinton then pointed out how he raised taxes and the economy was better off for it. For anyone watching from the home I'm sure the speech lost a lot of its splendor.
Clinton spoke for an even fifty minutes and at least half of it was about himself. Regardless, Clinton is and always will be one of the most masterful speakers in history; I'm just disappointed he could only serve two terms. The Democrats were able to salvage a night that left me feeling unsatisfied thanks to the outstanding performances by Warren and Clinton. I wish they had focused on the economy and Obamacare and how Obama will create reforms to further impact the economy and change the tax code, however.
-- Malcom Fox
Follow all of Malcom's convention reports: from his own blog.