Thursday, July 29, 2004

DNC Thursday 4-6 

NOTE: Transcripts and videos of speeches can be found at  (DNC is a little slow in posting Thursday's links).

As you may have noticed, I’m not doing a lot of in depth analysis of the text of the speeches.  You can get the text (or video) from the official convention site, and you can get analysis everywhere.  Think of me as your color commentator for this final day of the convention.

National Anthem, Sergeant Dan Clark, Massachusetts State Police – My goodness that was a dramatic rendition.  The audience seemed to dig it, but I kept having visions of Nelson Eddy and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or like he was trying to pump up the troops to take Iwo Jima.  Hey, whatever it takes to stir Democrats into action and retake the White House come November. 

As the color guard was marching off, I could here the guy calling the cadence, and the guy in back clearly was off.  He kept stuttering his step, trying to get in synch, but just couldn’t do it. 

James Socas, Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (VA) – This guy. Puts. Too. Much.  Emphasis.  On words.  And phrases.  And his hand gestures remind me of an infomercial pitchman.  Plus he repeats.  He repeats.  Opening phrases too much.  He also needs to figure out how to keep the mic in front of his mouth as he turns to address the various areas of the arena.  “This year, we will take back our country.”  Okay, I’m all for that.

Jack Ford, Mayor of Toledo, OH – When he greeted his “fellow Ohioans,” it sounded like he was greeting his fellow biones.  Has Mayor Ford had full face botox injections?  His expression is totally flat.  His point is that we all must fight with all we have to get Kerry-Edwards elected.  He went so far as to describe it as a “hand-to-hand” battle.  I’m not sure I want it to get to that level. 

Kwong Kow Chinese School Drum Ensemble, Boston – These kids look like they’re having a blast, particularly the one in the center who seemed to be the leader.  All but one of them are girls – The Girl would be so happy to see a stage full of girl drummers.  But she works until 5:00. 

Rep. Corrine Brown (FL) – “God is good.  All the time God is good.”  That’s an unusual opening.  She’s very proud of having spoken out on the House floor in protest of the handling of the 2000 Florida election.  Her comments were stripped from the Congressional Record, so apparently she’s going to repeat them here.  Why were they stripped from the Record?  Was it because she didn’t use proper grammar?  Because she’s flubbing it quite a bit here.  I like her analogy of the Democrats to Drive and the Republicans to Reverse, and that we need Kerry-Edwards to Drive us forward into the future.  Ooo – visual aids (pink slip).  “May God continue to bless America.”  At least she’s not repeating the same closings. 

Fernando Ferrer, Former Bronx Borough President, NY (1987-2001) – Continuing the themes of hope and opportunity.

Jean Carnahan, Former U.S. Senator (2001-2003, MO),  – She’s proud to have served in the Senate with Senators Kerry and Edwards.  They will fight for “those who have no voice.”  She seems like she could be a fiery speaker, but is holding back.  And she’s very beige.  Good closing though.  Quotes Carl Sandberg: “We are Americans.  Nothing like us ever was.” 

Francis Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, MO – He needs a new hairstyle.  “The home of the world’s largest brewery.”  Good thing temperance isn’t making a comeback at this convention.  “Yet children will continue to be left behind if the federal government fails to meet its obligations.”  Another slam at the inadequately funded No Child Left Behind program.  He wants a government whose priorities are children and strong, healthy families.  Does his vision include embracing gay families.  At least more than the convention has? 

C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President, New York – Nice suit and pearls.  She knows about struggle, but also about hope and how hope can lead to success.  She’s giving a good speech, with good delivery, but what’s with the two doofuses standing behind her, pointing and chuckling at something in the audience?  Can’t someone tell them they’re on camera?

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ) – He has a very distracting vocal habit of adding “heh-heh” or something like that at the end of a sentence when he’s going to take a pause.  Protect families, protect the country.  He’s the second one to compare the building of firehouses in Iraq with the closing of them in NYC (Fernando Ferrer was the first).  He pronounced “Kerry” like “Curry.”  Would that be the Curry-Masala ticket?  Blah, blah, blah.  Does he know there’s a microphone, and he doesn’t have to shout himself hoarse? 

Rep. Jim Davis (FL) – What an odd tie.  It’s red, with overlapping diagonal stripes, kind of like a plaid but not really.  Another slam at No Child Left Behind.  He ended rather abruptly, and didn’t get much of a response. 

Rep. Steve Israel (NY) – He seems like a nice guy.  I bet he’d be entertaining at a cookout.  He did an odd thing by saying “As Senator John Kerry has pledged, ‘If I am president…’” and then continued the quote, which included another iteration of “If I am president.”  It sounded like he’s running for president himself.  Lots of God blesses for everyone. 

Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA) – “We came here seeking a president who respects the primacy of the United States Constitution and its bedrock principles of liberty, justice and equality.”  His eyebrows are motionless. 

Sen. Jack Reed (RI) – Kerry will increase the size of the military and make sure they have body armor and armored vehicles, but will build coalitions.  Big focus on military and intelligence.  This guy was refreshing – he didn’t open with a long litany of his own accomplishments, and didn’t end by asking God to bless America, the people, the troops, the delegates, their families, their pets, the loading dock workers, or their pets. 

Winning entry of DNC’s American Made Convention Ad Contest (selected by public internet voting) – the opening reminds me of old Soviet propaganda film.  Nice catch line – “Not left, not right, but forward.” 

Rep. John Lewis (GA) – The politics of hope, the politics of the possible.  “It does not matter that our foremothers and our forefathers all came to this great land in different ships.  We all are in the same boat now.”  Very high level inspirational speech, not much substance.  I think he would have done better with a bigger audience. 

Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer SEIU and Teri Murphy, registered nurse and member SEIU Local 199 (Dubuque, Iowa) – Somebody needs to cut off Anna Burger from her caffeine supply.  Maybe it can be forwarded to Teri Murphy.  They said stuff about healthcare.  And asked us to stand with them.

They’ve picked up the transitional pace quite a bit this evening.  Speaker off, speaker on, speaker off, speaker on.  The previous evenings had much more down time during which they’d pan the crowd. 

Sen. Byron Dorgan (ND) – Is this the official hairstyle of middle aged legislators?  Nice suit, though.  Jobs, energy, farmers.  He’d like a rural version of urban renewal.  This guy defines vanilla.

Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer AFL-CIO – He talked about JOBS.  Seriously, he must have used the word a couple of dozen times, and each time pronounced it JOBS.

Sen. Carl Levin (MI) – What was the point of wearing reading glasses, especially perched way at the end of his nose, if he wasn’t going to use them?  They just make him look like Ben Franklin.  He’s the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Maybe he’s used to wearing them during hearings so he can look down at the witnesses through them and look intimidating.  Maybe he just forgot he had them on.  Military policy and wise restraint.  He tried to get people fired up, but I don’t think it’s in him.

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA) – Wow, that is one bright red, heavily accessorized jacket.  She’s on the House Armed Services Committee, so she pretty much repeated what Sen. Levin said.  Maybe they could have spread the two of them out a bit in the lineup.  The background crowd noise seemed to be a little louder while she was talking.  Perhaps it’s just that more delegates are arriving, though. 

Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) – The announcer is a Boxer fan, judging by the voiceover introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, give a hearty round of applause for United States Senator Barbara Boxer of California.”  And they did.  Now she looks relaxed in front of a large audience.  She looks like she’s talking to the people, instead of simply orating. 

Has “God bless ____” become a mandated part of each speaker’s text?

Gov. Gary Locke (WA) – With hard work and opportunity, anyone can succeed in America.  “America has the technology,” and we can rebuild it.  Okay, I paraphrased, but I think I captured the spirit. 

A number of distinguished speakers officially nominated John Edwards for Vice President.  What a surprise.  More of the same.  To be honest, I was a bit behind the live broadcast at this point, and Tivo’d through some of them once it was clear it would be more of the same.  He was then nominated by acclimation.  Call me a sentimental American sap, but I got kind of choked up when the delegate moved to nominate by acclimation, and when the crowd roared in response to the request for acclimation.  Yeah, I bitch and moan and pick and criticize, but at the core I’m just like most of the speakers.  I love what America can be, and I believe in the idea that is America. 

 Rep. Michael Michaud (ME) – He said some stuff.  He was boring.  I tuned him out.  My legs are stretched out on the ottoman, and my two cats are piled on my feet, keeping me warm and cozy.  How can this dull and uninspiring speaker hope to compete with that? 

It must be time for me to get away from the tv for a few minutes.  Thank you, Tivo!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:51 PM