Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Use What You Got
Day 1 of the Democratic Convention came to a teary finish last night; legacy, vision, possibility were the themes of the evening. CNN pointed out that the Dems still haven't learned how to play dirty, foregoing opportunities to blast the Republican leadership of the past eight years to strike a concilliatory tone. The Dems message: "We're just like you, only better, and you need us to lead."
First up in the Primetime telecast was Caroline Kennedy, who walked on stage to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" blasting in the background. She introduced her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, as the people's tireless Senator, one who has fought to make education, fair pay and healthcare a right for all (he also helped end Apartheid?). And then a video on Senator Kennedy's achievments and legacy played with images of him commandeering a massive schooner against snippets from fiery speeches. Sadly, the lavish production just made me think of The Old Man and the Sea, but I did tear up.
And then came Michelle Obama, South Side Girl, and once again, she won my heart. It's a very long way from Chicago's south side to the marquee speaking spot at the Democratic Convention, but Michelle told her story in a way that didn't make her achievements remarkable but instead attainable for everyone. Why haven't you gotten a degree from Princeton yet?
The juxtaposition of elder statesman against boot-strap accomplishment was brilliant and is at the core of the Democratic Party's value system: give people a chance and watch them do great things. But then again, isn't that Hillary's story, too?
OK, Team Obama, you scored points on Day 1. But, while you guys are playing the "See How Much Better Things Can Be" card, know that the GOP is certain to remind Americans just how bad things can be and will point to Osama, Obama, gay marriage and universal healthcare as the harbingers of the Apocalypse.
The Dems have three days to paint a stark picture on our future, let's see if Hillary takes the dialogue in that direction tonight.