City of Roses
Hi everyone! Sorry I've been away for a week. The Democratic Convention was the reason I've been away, watching vigilantly to see what they hope to accomplish and where their party is heading to use the resources in my campaign to move Bush out of office.
I put together my report card for each major speaker during the four days of the convention in order:
(This is on a four-star scale)
********SPEECH REPORT-CARD: FIRST NIGHT********
(This is on a four star scale)
Al Gore: 1 1/2 Stars: C'mon, Al, every Democrat (and deep in the stubborn minds of some Republicans too) knows you truly won the election, not just by the popular vote but by the electoral too, having been robbed of Florida by Katherine Harris and Database Technologies! We all know the injustice of the last election, but you'll only lose credibility by continuing to push the needle through. You at least deserve some points for bringing about how we should translate the injustice into positive fusion by electing John Kerry, but please, we all know well Bush's presidental-run record will be 0-2 come November (or 1-1 if Bush does actually win).
Jimmy Carter: 2 Stars Jimmy Carter has never been a great public speaker, but despite his lack of enthusiasm in tone, he does always know how to make a strong one-liner worthy of being a bumper-sticker anthem. ("In the world at large, we cannot lead if our leaders mislead."). I can understand how the extremism thing may turn off some moderates, but it will be effective sinew for other voters determined to vote Democratic this election year.
Bill Clinton: 3 1/2 Stars Once again, Bill's speeches effortlessly resonate with a strong tone and convincing enthusiasm. This is certainly no exception, as Bill Clinton achieved his goal; to make sure this is about Kerry and not Clinton, and speak as a citizen, a "foot soldier", rather than the president again. He made some harsh comparisons to the two parties, nevertheless his positive tone was most overwhelming, with a strong, passionate tone filling the punchline "Send Kerry!".
Ted Kennedy: 2 1/2 Stars For a speech from average standards, it was pretty good. But by Ted Kennedy's standards, it couldn't help but be a disappointment. It sounded more like a history lesson on American values and culture than a speech. Ted Kennedy displayed mastery of empathy in his speech when running for office in 1980, but here, he fails to be human enough. So many great quotes and convincing descriptions, and witty tongue-in-cheekers like the Boston Tea Party slur (no worries for trouble pronouncing "suburb"! but it doesn't quite accomplish what many were hoping for. They were hoping Ted Kennedy would once again represent the "liberal Lion Heart". This year, he will be overshadowed by Obama and Clinton.
Howard Dean: 3 Stars Howard Dean set out and accomplished just what everyone expected. To encourage his delegates and more liberal Americans that Kerry is the man. He kept it short and sweet, and there is nothing particularly memorable of his speech, but he did what he had to do and there's nothing to lose there.
Barack Obama: 4 Stars We may have just heard perhaps one of the best speeches in the past quarter-century! What makes this newcomer so moving is that he's very human and you feel his pain, you feel his empathy. You can emphasize with how his father struggled in Kenya, and his grandfather had dreams for his son, which were fulfilled and gave his father a college education and a new dream in America. There, you truly can emphasize that his presence on the stage WAS unlikely. But it happened! He expresses how the "faith in the simple dreams" has shaped America and all those who never would have made it possible elsewhere but found the light here.
You feel his empathy dripping in every young man he's met in Illinois, from the father in Galesburg, hopeless in knowing how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on, to the young women in East St. Louis who have the ambition and good grades but can't go to college, to Shamus in East Moline, Illinois, wondering if he's getting back all he gives his nation.
Finally, he is able to effortlessly move to those he meets into emphasizing with John Kerry, and how his lifetime of service is example to how far the simple dream can take you, and how having witnessed the simple dream, he can now share it amongst others. With keeping criticism of the Bush administration to a trickle, he reveals a massive call to the "politics of hope". And with the way his energetic, convincing tone rings, there truly is a place for the skinny kid with the funny name in America too. And that part of the speech literally made me tear up!
Ron Reagen: 3 Stars Just like Howard Dean, he had only one priority to cover in his speech, and he set out what he hoped to accomplish. Address a topic without intending to make it political. Again, his speech won't be memorable, but he did shed light on the topic and accomplished his mission.
Teresa Heinz Kerry: 3 1/2 Stars Many were probably worried that both the "shove-it" comment, plus the fact she was speaking in a scripted form would not bring her speech justice. She overcame both obstacles by offering a deep, heartfelt speech resonating with her compassionate but also strong spirit. Sharing her history, it is inspiring too, like Obama, how she has come to be a success story in America.
Even in a scripted format, it still sounds very much like the ambrosia we hear from Teresa's heart. Some may argue that she spoke too slowly, and that is understandable. Nevertheless, she speaks from the heart, which we seldom see in politics sadly nowadays.
Jesse Jackson: 3 Stars Though his speech was only ten minutes long, it was a notabl speech of the evening. Jesse highlighted what the overlooked Maya Angelou's speech from Tuesday covered; civil rights accomplishments, and the hope in further fulfilling them. His speech spoke of deep hope, just what everyone needed to hear.
Al Sharpton: 2 1/2 Stars Al tackled a similar theme to Jesse, only with more negative shots at Bush. Al had some pretty strong, witty one-liners, but he kind of exhausted himself with the rhetoric. He mimicked muc of what Jesse had said earlier, and tried to put it in his own words. Still, his rhetoric sounded like the Al Sharpton we are accustomed to, and you can't mark him down for that.
John Edwards: 2 1/2 Stars To be honest, I almost feel like giving him 2 stars by his standards.
This was a very disappointing speech. First, he is noted for his ability to articulate hand gestures effortlessly in his speech and smile at the right times in small community gatherings. Last night, he failed on both. He used the wrong gestures at the right times, and smiled on serious issues, making it seem like he was smiling at a funeral.
Then, though he covers himself to some degree, if you have kept up with him, it sounded like nothing new to your ears. All he covered from Kerry was his service in Vietnam, but none of the other 35 years that many are anxiously waiting to hear.
Finally, he couldn't help but sound like a Republican at times. He seemed kind of grumpy (of course I understand he had a cold the last few days) and it really affected his mood, in seeming as optimistic as he usually is. He sounded very militaristic, especially with the controversial "we will destroy you" line against terrorist organizations.
The thing that saves the speech from being a total sham is his vocals, which still sound familiar and display how articulate he truly is. Even with a lack of meat for either Kerry or himself in his speech, his articulate nature makes him sound strong.
This is not the John Edwards we've known and loved over the past six months, and his folly here is just what may limit the bounce for the Democratic ticket.
John Kerry: 3 1/2 Stars: John Kerry restored confidence to where John Edwards may have broke some in more liberal potential voters Wednesday in his well-polished speech.
Though Kerry will still have to confront the "flip-flop" issue during the next three months, he worked some of Bush's criticisms against Bush in his speech:
"I am proud that after September 11th all our people rallied to President Bush's call for unity to meet the danger. There were no Democrats. There were no Republicans. There were only Americans. How we wish it had stayed that way."
"Now I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities -- and I do -- because some issues just aren't all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished, certainly doesn't make it so."
He also displayed empathy:
"What does it mean in America today when Dave McCune, a steel worker I met in Canton, Ohio, saw his job sent overseas and the equipment in his factory literally unbolted, crated up, and shipped thousands of miles away along with that job? What does it mean when workers I've met had to train their foreign replacements?
America can do better. So tonight we say: help is on the way.
What does it mean when Mary Ann Knowles, a woman with breast cancer I met in New Hampshire, had to keep working day after day right through her chemotherapy, no matter how sick she felt, because she was terrified of losing her family's health insurance.
America can do better. And help is on the way.
What does it mean when Deborah Kromins from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania works and saves all her life only to find out that her pension has disappeared into thin air -- and the executive who looted it has bailed out on a golden parachute?
America can do better. And help is on the way.
What does it mean when 25 percent of the children in Harlem have asthma because of air pollution?
America can do better. And help is on the way.
What does it mean when people are huddled in blankets in the cold, sleeping in Lafayette Park on the doorstep of the White House itself -- and the number of families living in poverty has risen by three million in the last four years?
America can do better. And help is on the way."
And, Kerry beamed through on an issue that has been in Bush's favor, faith.
"And let me say it plainly: In that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country."
But moreover, Kerry rounded up his speech with his persoanl views on what patriotism, family, and his nation has meant to him in his long career of service, which drew awe to a majority of commentators.
My only main criticism of his speech was his noticable attempt to be like Clinton in his use of hand gestures. He increased the use of them throughout the speech, and it was at times distracting. However, this well-written speech distracted that flaw with an impressive closure to this convention.
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20