Monday, September 03, 2012

And now the Democrats' Turn....

The convention will be full of piety to Democratic party values, with some interesting speakers.  You can see the list here; the schedule will eventually be posted there.  I have seen high touting of the merits of the keynote speaker, Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, about whom I know very little.  Congressman John Lewis is one of the most emotionally compelling speakers, in the manner of Rev. Martin Luther King, so feel yourself fortunate if you happen to catch his.

It will be interesting to see if Joe Biden puts his foot in it--I doubt he will stray from his script, but there is always an element of risk when Biden speaks. Biden has a bit of an edge in the sense that the other two people I would consider to be early major candidates for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are not on the list of announced speakers, so he should do his best to look future-Presidential.  It's not that Madame Secretary's too busy, as far as I know, or that Cabinet secretaries are not allowed: Interior Secretary Salazar and HHS Secretary Sebelius are on the list.  I do expect to see HRC on the dais when her husband wraps up his speech (and I hope he can keep it to the scheduled length).

There is really only one important speech in the week, though, President Obama's.  He is truly a great speaker, and I expect his rhetorical gifts to be fully present in a speech that he will largely compose.  I do have some advice for him (and here I echo the wise suggestions of Donna Brazile and Matthew Dowd--yes, that Matthew Dowd, Republican political adviser, whom I saw agreeing--amazingly--on George Stephanopoulos this week):  Do not dwell on the past failures of the Bushites; you can mention, but do not spend much time, on the shortcomings of this House or Congress more generally, the insanity of the national Republicans, or the Tea Party movement, and how they have hindered the public policy of the last two years (others will do plenty of that).  Instead, do spend a large percentage of the time recounting the successes of the first administration,* then move to the programs left to do, the future, and what you will do.  Obama must give people a handful of good reasons, ones that people will understand, for them to vote to give him another term.

I think Obama and his people know this, and I expect he will do no less.

*Apart from the Affordable Care Act, taking out Osama and a number of other nasty folks, ending "don't ask, don't tell", implementing key provisions of the Dream Act through Executive order, rebuilding America's standing in the world, exiting the Iraq War and setting the plans to exit the one in Afghanistan, he should not be afraid to say that the worst was avoided in our exit from the Great Crater, and that jobs have been added for some 30 months in a row.  That last one will give way to a good transition to what must still be done.

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