Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Democratic Convention Night 2

It was the second night of the Democratic Convention with all eyes on Hillary and all thoughts on party unity. Beyond that, the speakers tonight spent an inordinate amount of time on the reoccuring theme that drilling for oil and exploiting our resources is all just an evil plot. Lastly, the keynote speaker, Gov. Warner, got demoted from his time slot for refusing to attack John McCain.

Whenever I hear Hillary speak in her incredibly grating tones, it effects me just like fingernails down a chalkboard. At any rate, her speech was the big event of the evening. It seemed a very carefully couched monologue with an eye towards 2012.

You can find the text of Ms. Clinton’s speech here. Her speech was as much if not more centered on herself than on Obama. She used her speech to paint herself into the feminist Hall of Fame. Beyond that, she listed her many policy positions, noting that Obama has the same positions.

I was listening for her to endorse Obama as having the experience necessary to be Commander in Chief and the judgment necessary to deal with our foreign policy challenges. Those are the gaping holes in Obama's resume that she so effectively exploited during the final primaries. And there is no question that those are the weaknesses hurting Obama’s campaign at the moment. But I heard none of that from her tonight. Seemingly her only message beyond self promotion was vote for Obama as better than the alternative. She said just enough to innoculate herself from any charges that she undercut Obama.

Even though Hillary mouthed the words "party unity" and stated that she now supports Obama for President, she did Obama no great favors this evening. It is an open question just how much of an impact this will have on the polls and, more particularly, on the PUMA wing of the party. My gut feeling is that it will not have a substantial impact on either.

Various other speakers spent a lot of time talking about energy policy and the futility of drilling for oil. I was amazed that they are still pushing that at this point. I hope the RNC is smart enough to make one night of the Republican convention nothing but a primer on oil and the utter fantasy being spun by the left on both supply and demand and the current cost and viability of alternative energy. We are at crunch time on energy. Failure to start the process to exploit our resources now will have potentially devestating effects on our economy years into the future.

The only other thing of note was the decision to bump Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, out of the prime slot just before the Hillary speech. Indeed, Gov. Warner was named as the Democrat’s "keynote speaker," not simply for his oratory, but because Virginia is a key state in play this campaign. The reason for the bump – apparently Gov. Warner has some ethics. This from the blog at the Weekly Standard:

Bill Kristol calls in from the Pepsi Center. . . . Mark Warner was originally scheduled to speak in the 10 o'clock hour in primetime before Hillary Clinton, but Warner was moved to the less desireable pre-primetime bloc because he apparently refused to turn his speech into an attack on John McCain. . . .

Recall that Warner was given the primetime spot because the Obama campaign expected Virginia to be in play. Now apparently they think attacking McCain is more important. A touch of panic?

Read the entire post.

And so ends Day 2. The real fun is tomorrow when former President Clinton takes the stand. I really hope he loosens up with a few martinis before that one. I really do want to hear him repeat the words "Chicago thug."

Update: According to the Washington Post, many of the PUMA's remain unconvinced:

Hillary Rodham Clinton's most loyal delegates came to the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night looking for direction. They listened, rapt, to a 20-minute speech that many proclaimed the best she had ever delivered, hoping her words could somehow unwind a year of tension in the Democratic Party. But when Clinton stepped off the stage and the standing ovation faded into silence, many of her supporters were left with a sobering realization: Even a tremendous speech couldn't erase their frustrations.

Despite Clinton's plea for Democrats to unite, her delegates remained divided as to how they should proceed.

There was Jerry Straughan, a professor from California, who listened from his seat in the rafters and shook his head at what he considered the speech's predictability. "It's a tactic," he said. "Who knows what she really thinks? With all the missteps that have taken place, this is the only thing she could do. So, yes, I'm still bitter." . . .

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