July 27, 2004
DNC, Day One: Jimmy Carter for President
Although Amy痴 Robot was not one of the blogs given press credentials at the Democratic National Convention, thanks to the magic of cable news that won稚 stop us from commenting on the happenings over at the Fleet Center. And as Amy noted, we don't even have to make out with Wolf Blitzer to get good seats on the floor.
Emily's Highlight of the Night:
Amy will give her impression of Bill Clinton's prime time speech below. Even the Post couldn稚 think of any sharper dig than that he値l prove a hard act for Kerry to follow. I値l say - looking at the open-mouthed, teary young delegates one would think they were watching a Backstreet Boys concert or a Chris Heinz striptease rather than our former president.
But as the Day 1 highlight, I知 linking to the most powerful, effective speech of the night � Jimmy Carter痴. It brought me to tears, people. It was sharply critical, hopeful, and called for the unity not just of the American people, but also of the world. It made me shake my fist in the air. And he almost, but not quite, called our current president a terrorist. Anyway, he said it better than me. Go ahead, read it.
Amy's Day 1 Overview:
Al Gore: Nice sublimation of all his anger and frustration that he has managed to positively redirect, probably through extensive Zen meditation and therapy. I don't know who his image coach is these days, but his speech was more exciting and engaging than just about anything he did 4 years ago. Maybe Naomi Wolf did more harm than good.
Jimmy Carter: Good move using Jimmy Carter, probably the most unassailable figure in the Democratic Party. He's an elder statesman, he's a Nobel Peace Prize winner, he's a Navy veteran, he's a Christian, he's from Georgia, and he's a Democrat. It's hard for anyone to take issue with him and his views. He says things like this, "And so I say to you and to others around the world, whether they wish us well or ill: do not underestimate us Americans. We lack neither strength nor wisdom," and everybody loves him. He also issued direct criticism of the Bush administration that was harsher than what anybody else could get away with. And then, he talked with Jim Lehrer up in the PBS box, and spoke beautifully. He even got the normally stern conservative commentator David Brooks to get all giddy when asking him questions about Islamic extremism. Pretty good for an 80 year-old man.
Bill Clinton: And then everybody fell over and died for Bill Clinton, again. I imagined millions of Americans, especially in the midwest and south, saying to themselves, "So that's why my parents were Democrats." Clinton reminded everybody what the party was all about. He used a lot of specific examples of policy differences and the way they play out in people's lives, and presented some of the most sensible and moral reasoning for voting Democrat that I've heard. He looked good too: Mark Shields commented that he looked younger than he did at the 1996 re-election convention.
Tonight, PBS will air all the speeches, but the other networks are going back to their regular summer rerun programming. (Of course, last night Fox didn't even offer the one hour of coverage that the other networks did.) Howard Dean speaks tonight, as do Janet Napolitano, Ron Reagan and Barack Obama, an Illinois State Senator who's running for U.S. Senate. Also speaking tonight is Teresa Heinz Kerry; people predict her speech to be a little strange, and I predict that she will start cackling at least twice.
Here's a picture of delegates playing air guitar on their Kerry/Edwards signs.