Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day One at the DNC: Did You Know Mitt Romney Has a Swiss Bank Account?

  1. Both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney attempted to make the same speech, one a little light on substance but which sought to demonstrate how their husbands in spite of their power and status are just like you, just like us. The problem with Ms. Romney’s speech was that we had to status disbelief in order to make some of her plays to poverty credible. Perhaps he did once eat pasta and tuna suppers in a little flat, but he’s the son of a millionaire who in turn became a multi-millionaire with multiple offshore accounts, four houses, and a car elevator. But when Mrs. Obama spoke of the guy who’d picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door, the humanising attempt was all the more credible because we know he really did work his way up from nothing, that he really did start his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods. She might very well be his best advocate, on matters like this anyway.
  2. I don’t know that Julian Castro’s speech was the best of the evening — it was a little scattergun at times — and I can’t be sure if he’s prepared for a presidential run in 2016, but as a keynote address it was certainly an improvement on the egotistical mess Chris Christie gave to the RNC last week. It has a good balance of the three things required of the keynote speech: introducing the speaker to the nation; hammering the opponent; and praising your guy. The biggest applause line: When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, “No.” Actually, Mitt Romney said, “Yes,” and now he says, “No.” Governor Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain’t pretty.
  3. If Martin O’Malley was positioning himself for a run for the highest office in 2016, then he failed more likely than not. Rather, the convention floor was far more fired up by Lilly Ledbetter, and then Gov. Deval Patrick who ignited delegates by occasionally playing fast and loose with the fact, on education and gay marriage, and with lines like, “I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office—and neither should you”. Patrick might make a fine presidential candidate. O’Malley, a cabinet member, perhaps.
  4. Barack Obama never worked a day in the private sector and Mitt Romey has a Swiss bank account.
  5. That Ted Kennedy tribute video (to be posted on this blog later today) killed me. His absence from this year’s convention leaves a gaping whole in the schedule, and his non-presence in the United States Senate at present is palpable at a time when bridging the divide between the parties in order to secure America’s future is more necessary than ever before. On the plus, the next generation of the Kennedy clan is emerging on the national scene. His great-nephew, the grandson of Bobby Kennedy, Joe Kennedy III, is running for Congress in MA-4.
  6. It was gratifying to see the Democratic Party take a strong stand on abortion rights, so much under siege in contemporary America. This will no doubt continue as the convention progresses, as the party attempts to secure enough of women voters to tip the balance in their favour. My only concern for the Democrats, of course, that this emphasis on the divisive matter of abortion will further alienate conservative, rural Democrats who have slowly drifted away from the party since the end of the Clinton presidency.
  7. And finally, I read yesterday that James Taylor will be playing the final night of the convention. I do not know the length of the playlist, up given that it will need to be upbeat, he might very well play “Your Smiling Face”, “How Sweet It Is”, or even “Shed A Little Light” or “I Will Follow”. Further, since the convention is being held in his home state of North Carolina, expect to hear either “Carolina In My Mind” or, less likely, “Copperline”.