Wow! Did you SEE that last night? I don’t have much of a sense of how the National Democratic Convention came across to the people of the USA but I can say that, without any reservation whatsoever, the people in the arena were positively ecstatic.
Republicans should be particularly glum this weekend. The further Democrats progressed into their convention this week in Charlotte, N.C., the more glaring the shortcomings of last week’s GOP convention became. By the time the last of the confetti fell on the Democratic convention floor, it became frustratingly clear that the most compelling speaker in Tampa, Fla., had been Clint Eastwood’s chair.
The highlight of the night in terms of the speeches was, of course, not Vice President Obama or even President Obama. It was former Michigan Governor and my friend Jennifer Granholm. If you haven’t seen this, you NEED to see this:
The entire auto industry, and the lives of over one million hard-working Americans, teetered on the edge of collapse; and with it, the whole manufacturing sector. We looked everywhere for help. Almost nobody had the guts to help us – not the banks, not the private investors and not Bain capital. Then, in 2009, the cavalry arrived: our new president, Barack Obama!
He organized a rescue, made the tough calls and saved the American auto industry. Mitt Romney saw the same crisis and you know what he said: “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” Sure, Mitt Romney loves our lakes and trees.
He loves our cars so much, they have their own elevator. But the people who design, build, and sell those cars?
Well, in Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator; the workers get the shaft.
The only time when the crowd was louder than when Granholm spoke was the very end of the President’s acceptance speech. Granholm all but stole the show.
Gabby Giffords leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance was another highlight, an exhibition of great courage and strength and patriotism unlike any I have ever seen.
The amount of effort and fearlessness that it took for Congresswoman Giffords to do what she did is hard to convey. Her good friend DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, was by her side, the whole time.
Of course, Vice-President Biden knocked it out of the park. He went off-script about as much as President Clinton did the night before and he was completely genuine and convincing in the comments he made.
Finally, President Obama, always the calm voice in the room, made a compelling appeal for four more years to complete his work. As was pointed out so many times over the past few days, the mess that he is cleaning up was nearly a decade in the making and will not be wiped clean in just four years but we are well on our way. When President Obama finished his speech, the crowd in the arena was absolutely deafening.
For Anne and I, this was our first national convention and it was an amazing experience. I come away awed by the level of effort, coordination and planning that goes into an undertaking like this. The switch of venues for the last night was incredibly disruptive, yet things went off without any noticeable hitches. As someone covering the convention but also interested in experiencing a bit of the fun, we spent the day covering it, hauling around our laptops and iPads and with Anne carrying around over 30 pounds of photographic equipment. Then, after the speeches had ended at around 11 and we were able to get out of the arena, we would go out to one of the many receptions to have some drinks. The earliest we got back to our hosts’ home was last night — actually this morning — when we got in at 2:00 a.m. Then it was up again at 7:00 a.m. each morning to do it all over again. It was physically challenging but the excitement of it kept us moving.
Anne has thousands of photos and we’re on the road back to Michigan. We’ll have more posts with her photos along with more reflections and observations about the convention over the next few days so be sure to stop back.
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