Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Teddy's Farewell and Michelle's Introduction: DNC Night 1
For those of us who've been following Barack and Michelle's story what we saw last night was nothing new, but the platform of the 2008 Democratic National Convention placed their narrative in a whole new light. For the first time we saw the most popular national party cheer, and rally behind an African-American family and the starkness of the images; the standing ovations, the tears and the laughs displayed that we have reached a turning point in American history. If you watched Olbermann and Matthews gush and tear up at the end you could tell that something had happened; it was a watershed in our country's politics and it seemed pretty apparent that what the Democrats had hoped for last night: that the Obama's could re-introduce themselves to the American voters, was a complete success--no matter what rain Fox News could drop on this event. It's become clear, at least to this writer, that Michelle completed the first goal of the DNC, which was to prove to the American public that her story is their story and that she and Barack, not John McCain, shares American values and the 'pull yourself up by your own bootstraps' mentality. You'll find that not everyone believes her. Some people will assume that everything from her narrative to the kids hamming it up at the end was completely fake. So be it. There is nothing you can say or do with naysayers. But for the rest of us the entire spectacle was extremely emotional and honest.
Furthermore, considering some of the issues the Obama's are having with the Clinton side of the party, I think Michelle's speech went a ways to wooing them to Barack's side. Her praise of Hillary Clinton came off as natural and admirable, but beyond that her story seemed like a liberal success. To paraphrase Chris Matthews, if you believe that social reforms can make a difference, if you believe that sometimes hardworking people need help to get on their feet then the Obama's are proof that such things can work. Coming off of the heels of Teddy Kennedy's speech (another emotional moment), Michelle made it clear that it was proposals such as those the Senator pushed in his tenure that has made this moment possible and it will these same programs that Obama will strengthen and continue. Yes, Rove and Pat Buchannan were correct that Michelle didn't really make an effort to extend a hand to conservatives but it's become apparent with the selection of Joe Biden that this ticket is finally going to take the chance that Americans are liberal and want what liberals, and only liberals, can offer. It's a gutsy proposition but after the past two presidential defeats this might be the time for that particular strategy. After all, watching the entire Obama family up on stage last night with the nation around them it has become apparent that now is the time for miracles.