As Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention kicked off, we got to see why the Democratic Party is celebrating their status as the party of inclusion. While we got a taste of the Democratic Party’s diversity with speeches by keynote speaker Julian Castro, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Newark (NJ) mayor Cory Booker; the night was still mixed with party bigwigs.
But tonight, the night was dedicated to the women of the Democratic Party as they were highlighted throughout the night with notable speeches by Sandra Fluke and Elizabeth Warren.
Fluke as of now, most remembered as the subject to a misogynistic and vitriolic rant by right-wing commentator Rush Limbaugh; took the floor to much fanfare. If last night was any indication though, Mr. Limbaugh might have made a grave mistake as he put a face to a controversial measure. Fluke might not be the greatest speaker that the Democratic Party has to offer, but she came across as highly intelligent and passionate about women’s right issues.
Fluke, who has now graduated from Georgetown Law School, voiced why she supports President Barack Obama as opposed to Mitt Romney, in light of the controversy she found herself in the middle in.
Your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs,” Fluke said. “Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party.”
Romney was widely criticized earlier this year when he responded weakly to Limbaugh. “I’ll just say this,” he told reporters. “It’s not the language I would have used.”
Fluke contrasted Romney’s reaction to that of President Obama, who embraced and defended her after the incident.
“Our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters — not his delegates or donors — and stands with all women,” she said. “And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here — and give me a microphone — to amplify our voice. That’s the difference.
The crowd went wild when Fluke also warned that under a President Mitt Romney, the future “looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past.” The crowd, diversified not only by ethnicity but also by gender, might have been witnessing the continued rise of a future star within the party.
Fluke, only 31 years of age, downplayed her story saying that it was only noteworthy because it took place in front of Congress and highlighted the fact that she believes other women are “shut out and silenced” nearly every day.
While the crowd loved Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, it took a while to the party to really start going after the huge Day One. Fluke though, started bringing the crowd to their feet throughout her speech and the crowd only got louder when a progressive rock star took the stage.
Elizabeth Warren, running for Senate in Massachusetts against vulnerable incumbent Republican Scott Brown, took the stage and struggled early to keep the wild crowd controlled as she announced “I’m Elizabeth Warren….and this is my first Democratic Convention”.
In a way that might not be popular with partisans on both sides of the aisle, Elizabeth Warren is to the Democrats as Paul Ryan is to the Republicans. Both do have personal charisma and unique charm, but the big thrill both sides get is the fact that they are policy wonks. Warren has earned a reputation as a “middle class warrior” and she kept the focus on policies and plans throughout the duration of her speech.
Her speech might have only been a tick over 15 minutes, in which the crowd intermittently chanted “Warren! Warren!”, began by marveling over the next speaker; former President Bill Clinton by praising his marriage to Hillary Clinton in which she called one of the “coolest women on this planet” which received even more wild applause and then a shout out to her native Massachusetts delegation.
Warren then discussed the plight of the middle class in this day and age, in which she described her personal story on the “ragged edges of the middle class” and how hard her parents worked to provide for their family. Then she highlighted her career in education and how grateful she is “down to her toes” that America gave her all the opportunities in the world.
Soon, she launched into attacks on Mitt Romney and the current rhetoric of the Republican Party which is focused on limited government. She spoke how government was there for her, and also focused on not just helping the nation today but how it was there to build for the future. She then delivered her most scorching remarks on the current state of affairs in America in which she stated that “people feel like the system is rigged against them….and here’s the painful part: they’re right, the system is rigged.” before launching into an attack on how much oil companies, Wall Street CEOs, etc. demand entitlements.
This is where Warren really started hitting her mark as she was clearly more at home discussing the fall of the working class as opposed to anything else. Elizabeth Warren would discuss how people who “work their tail off everyday”, currently struggling and fearful of the future, don’t “stash their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes”; a clear rebuke against Mitt Romney.
But the not-so-veiled attacks on the former Massachusetts Governor did not stop there as Warren continued to talk about how the current economic system is “rigged” against the small, everyday working person. She also praised President Obama for spending “his life fighting for the middle class” and for trying to create a “level playing field” to encourage more competition.
Warren’s sharpest rebukes against Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan came here though when she launched into why Mitt Romney is not the right person to lead this nation.
And Mitt Romney? He wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. But for middle-class families who are hanging on by their fingernails? His plans will hammer them with a new tax hike of up to 2,000 dollars. Mitt Romney wants to give billions in breaks to big corporations—but he and Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucher-ize Medicare, and vaporize Obamacare.
The Republican vision is clear: “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.” Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people.
No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.
She then launched into why she supports President Obama as she stated that he believes that nobody should get “a free ride or a golden parachute” and how President Obama believes that “I can’t believe I have to say this in 2012—a country where women get equal pay for equal work” which drew even more applause.
After highlighting her past as a Methodist Sunday school teacher and quoting her favorite scripture (Matthew 25:40), she briefly mentioned former Sen. Ted Kennedy (whose replacement is Elizabeth Warren’s current opponent) and his focus on the future before clearing the stage for the night’s featured speaker, Bill Clinton.
If anyone ever doubted Bill Clinton’s popularity, well their worries/thoughts should’ve been completely vanquished when he took the stage last night to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” which has sort of become synonymous with the former President and Arkansas Governor.
Bill Clinton spoke for nearly 48 minutes, and like Warren, his ability to charismatically discuss politics and policy was simply astounding. There’s a reason why Bill Clinton was the political rock star that he still remains to this day, and his ability to metaphorically look every single person in the eye is impossible to recreate.
Clinton began by stating “We are here to nominate a president, and I’ve got one in mind” which drew immediate applause from the partisan audience.
After highlighting a few quick reasons on why he supports Barack Obama personally and politically, Clinton launched into a scathing attack on the current Republican Party and even how it contrasts against the Republican Party of the 1990s that tried to impeach him from office.
Clinton, who was praised for the high levels of job creation that occurred under his watch during his Presidency, stated his amazement that President Obama fixed the mess he was left when he took office.
In Tampa the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was pretty simple: We left him a total mess, he hasn’t finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in.”
“They want to go back to the same old policies that got us into this mess. They want to cut taxes for high-income Americans more than President Bush did.”
Clinton then used a Ronald Reagan line against the GOP: “As another president once said, ‘There they go again.’
Using a Ronald Reagan quote against the Republican Party? Don’t worry, the former President was just warming up in his scathing rebuke of the Republican Party and his lavish praise for the Obama administration and current Democratic Party. He then praised President Obama for being able to forgive a grudge and would highlight the fact that his bitter primary rival, who happens to be Hillary Clinton, even got a highly important job in his cabinet.
As time wore on, you could tell that Bill Clinton was loving his importance as perhaps the most important surrogate that the Obama re-election team has. In an era in which American workers are reminiscing about the “good ole’ days” that they felt like occurred under Clinton’s watch, you couldn’t help but feel the nostalgia sweeping in as the conventioneers eagerly listened to Clinton.
He then stated that no President could’ve fixed the mess in four years, and signified that President Obama was inching the country into a positive direction. While Clinton didn’t necessarily overstate or understate the struggles that Barack Obama has had since taking office; it could have some negative ramifications.
Bill Clinton spent much of his speech highlighting the 90s, blasting the GOP and constantly praising Barack Obama. But yet, you couldn’t help but think that “man, times were REALLY good under President Clinton, huh?” and Clinton might’ve left room open for Republicans to state “you were better off 20 years ago than you are today” which isn’t something President Obama probably wants to hear in the future.
Another key notation from Clinton’s speech was that there seemed to be a rough draft that was on the teleprompter but Clinton instead deviated from the script for the most part. Whatever tinkers he made on the fly, they were definitely successful in terms of appeasing the audience.
Then Clinton, who famously saw his wife’s “HillaryCare” fail in Congress in his Presidency, then praised the Affordable Care Act passed under President Obama in the beginning of his term. After touting some facts and figures about people who are now covered under the ACA, Clinton would state that “Are we better off because President Obama fought for health-care reform? You bet we are.”.
Clinton’s speech didn’t really attack any individual by name, but the subliminal shot at Paul Ryan was clearly heard by everyone when he called out the Congressman and running mate of Mitt Romney for his brass by attacking “a guy for doing what you did” in response to the Medicare cuts.
As his speech winded down a tad, Clinton then brought up welfare reform and rejected the notion of President Obama stripping the work requirement for welfare, a false attack that the Republican Party has used over the past months before blasting the “massive tax cuts” Mitt Romney would showoff in his Presidency. Clinton would ramp up his job as “attack dog” when stating that “We cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double-down on trickle-down.”
After closing his speech, Bill Clinton posed for some pictures before President Barack Obama came out and the crowd roared as the two posed for photos together. The planned exchange had to be a win for the Democratic Party as it continues to highlight the often “frenemies” relationship the two have had.
But the fact remains, Bill Clinton was the best man to speak for President Barack Obama and his popularity will only continue to ignite in his post-Presidency.
Now will it work in November?