DNC 2016- Day 1
It is Day One for DNC 2016 in Philadelphia at The Wells Fargo Center. The Democratic National Convention which will formally nominate Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the party’s President and Vice President candidates arrives in the “City of Brotherly Love” under the specter of some controversy. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee Chairperson announced on July 24 that she will be resigning at the end of the Convention in the wake of a WikiLeaks release of 20,000 emails which revealed that Democratic National Committee officials and staff members were showing favor to Hillary Clinton over her rival Senator Bernie Sanders (VT).
The Convention’s opening night is filled with a roster of diverse presentations. Tonight’s top speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders, First Lady Michelle Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA).
We will also hear speeches from Senator Cory Booker (NJ), who at one point was considered to be on Hillary Clinton’s short list for Vice President. Unions will be well represented with speeches from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. Immigration will also have a prominent place in the agenda with speeches from Karla and Francisca Ortiz of Las Vegas. Karla is an American citizen but Francisca, her mother, is undocumented, and Astrid Silva, an undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child.
DNC 2016-Day 2
DNC 2016 Day 2 (July 26, 2016)- It is Day Two for DNC 2016 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Democratic National Convention 2016 began its first day under a cloud of controversy. Democratic National Committee Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz who had resigned her position in the wake of the WikiLeaks release which revealed that Democratic National Committee officials and staffers were showing preference to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for presidency over that of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, was not able to gavel in at the convention. That honor was given to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the secretary of the Democratic National Committee and the former Mayor of Baltimore. Ms. Rawlings-Blake achieved some notoriety following the Freddie Gray incident where she famously talked about giving rioters “space to destroy”. Ms. Rawlings-Blake actually forgot to raise the gavel and had to return to the podium following her opening speech.
The evening was intended to be Bernie Sanders’s night. Sanders found himself in a very difficult position throughout the day. Every time he told the crowd about the importance of supporting Hillary Clinton for president, he was booed by his own supporters. During his convention speech, Sanders had a signature moment when he told the audience, “I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process,” Sanders said. “I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am.” This moment drove home the point that Sanders ran an extremely competitive race and achieved primary results that blew the roof off of all expectations surrounding his candidacy. The speech also demonstrated both Sanders’s emotional maturity and sense of humor.
The evening also included a speech from First Lady Michelle Obama who is extremely popular among Democratic voters. She received a standing ovation when she said that she stood with Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, Mrs. Obama also told the audience, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great,” Mrs. Obama said. “This, right now, is the greatest country on earth.” These remarks have a hollow ring when one recalls that during her 2008 convention speech for her husband’s first election, she told the American people “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.”
The evening also included a speech from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, where she basically painted Hillary Clinton as a champion of the downtrodden and Donald Trump, as greedy person out for himself, a familiar theme which was reiterated throughout the evening. Senator Cory Booker (NJ) delivered an engaging speech. My favorite line from his speech was his reference to an African saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — Simple but compelling words. Senator Booker is clearly a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Day Two of DNC 2016 promises to be very exciting.
Tonight’s headliner is former President Bill Clinton. . The evening also includes speeches from representatives of “The Mothers of the Movement”, an organization which came into being in connection with Black Lives Matter. The program also includes speeches from 9/11 survivor Lauren Manning and first responder Joe Sweeney.
DNC 2016-Day 3
DNC 2016 Day 3 (July 27, 2016)- It is Day Three for DNC 2016 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Last night, our nation made history when we nominated the first woman candidate for the office of President of the United States, former first lady, former Senator from New York, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. This moment took place during roll call: After all the delegate votes had been counted except Vermont which had passed, Senator Bernie Sanders announced,” I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party.” Sanders’ call for all Democrats to get behind Clinton as the candidate was especially poignant given the many Bernie Sanders supporters who were protesting at the convention.
Former President Bill Clinton was the headliner last night. Many have commented that he appeared frail and was less of an orator than he had been in the past. However, his speech was still compelling, and it was interesting to hear the story of his first meeting with Hillary when they were law students at Yale, especially in light of everything that we now know about the Clintons and their many scandals. Clinton described his spouse’s ability to be put into any situation and be able to handle it. “This woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything.” She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is,” he commented.
Hillary Clinton has always been ambitious and a hard worker. The question is about the nature of the agenda that she is advancing. Day 2 of the DNC focused on all the work that Hillary did to help children, women, the disabled, and other disenfranchised individuals. A lot of emphasis was put on her years right out of law school when she worked as an advocate for children. No one has ever said that Hillary has not helped people, but she has also lied, cheated, and violated laws. Her political misdeeds cannot be whitewashed with old photos of a young public interest law attorney.
The evening also included speeches from former Minority Leader from the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi who was joined on the dais by the Democratic women of the House of Representatives, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Actress Meryl Streep and Mothers for the Movement, a group connected to Black Lives Matter. The evening included a moment of levity when actress Elizabeth Banks appeared on the stage in silhouette to the music of Queen’s “We are the Champions” — a Saturday Night Live type spoof of Donald Trump’s entrance at the RNC in Cleveland last week.
Tonight’s agenda includes the headliner speech from President Barack Obama. The evening also includes speeches from Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton’s Vice President selection Senator Tim Kaine (VA).
DNC 2016-Day 4
DNC 2016 Day 4 (July 28, 2016)- It is Day Four for DNC 2016 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Last night’s program included the much anticipated speech from President Barack Obama and true to form, the 44th President did not disappoint the sea of supporters assembled. The speech was both an endorsement for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the presidency and the first of perhaps many speeches in his farewell tour to his eight-year presidency.
President Obama’s speech was both poignant and filled with some humorous moments. He emphasized that as Secretary of State, Clinton has already been in the Oval Office:
Hillary’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits. That’s the Hillary I know.
President Obama added, “That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.”
President Obama got a laugh from the crowd when he addressed former President Bill Clinton, “Sorry, Bill, but it is true.” The President had another humorous moment when he discussed campaigning against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. He described Hillary as doing everything that he was doing except that “like Ginger Rodgers, she was doing it backwards and in heels”. The joke was funny but the analogy was a little off given Mrs. Clinton’s penchant for pantsuits.
President Obama also used the speech to discuss his own legacy as president and to thank the American people. “Time and again, you’ve picked me up. I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me.” The President further commented,
And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me – to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.
President Obama did not shy away from taking digs at Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. “America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.” The President further added,” Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix.” The anti-trump messaging was also front and center in the speech delivered by Vice President Joe Biden who said of the real estate magnate and former reality TV star, “His lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in a phrase that I suspect he’s most proud of having made famous, ‘you’re fired’.” The Vice President also described Trump as being the least prepared candidate in history to deal with national security and further went on to say, “We cannot elect a man who exploits our fears of ISIS and other terrorists. Who has no plan whatsoever to make us safer.”
Following President Obama’s speech, he was joined on stage by Hillary Clinton and the two exchanged an embrace and a kiss. Many pundits thought that the optic of Clinton joining President Obama on the stage versus joining her running mate Tim Kaine was an unusual one. After all, the team is not Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama, it is Clinton-Kaine. For his part Kaine, the current Senator from Virginia who was previously the state’s governor, delivered a typical acceptance speech which had all the right content but little sizzle. But perhaps that’s why Hillary picked him. Similar to the Trump-Pence duo, the ticket has only room for one bigger than life personality.
Tonight is the final night of DNC 2016. The evening’s headliner is former first daughter Chelsea Clinton who takes the stage to introduce her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first woman nominated for the presidency of The United States.
Hillary’s Acceptance Speech-High on Theatrics, Low on Substance
On July 28, 2016 history was made when Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination to be their candidate for president of the United States. She is the first woman to receive this honor. Much has been made about the historic significance of this nomination. Perhaps more effort should have been put into creating a dynamic game changing acceptance speech which included substantive policy content and a vision for America’s future. Instead, the audience was treated to a lackluster speech which was peppered with broad platitudes versus a tangible discussion of Mrs. Clinton’s past successes or blueprint for America. Mrs. Clinton says that the Republican nominee Donald Trump offers no solutions. Well, she didn’t either.
Mrs. Clinton’s entrance on the dais had some memorable moments. First, she was introduced by her daughter Chelsea Clinton. The world first met Chelsea Clinton when she was twelve years old. She is now a 36-year-old Stanford educated mother of two who plays a prominent role in The Clinton Foundation. Ms. Clinton, who many have described as a potential future candidate for higher office, delivered a feel good speech from the perspective of “a proud daughter”. She spoke of her parents teaching her “to do whatever I could to change what frustrated me, what felt wrong. They taught me that’s the responsibility that comes with being smiled on by fate.”
As for the speech itself, Mrs. Clinton had several effective exchanges. The one moment where she appeared genuine was when she said “The truth is, through all these years of public service, the ‘service’ part has always come easier to me than the ‘public’ part.” She lacks her husband former President Bill Clinton’s charisma and warmth. She always looks like she is trying too hard to appear warm. She also had a few noteworthy jabs against Donald Trump which will make for good sound bites including, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” Mrs. Clinton also scored with “Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.” Again kudos to the speech writer.
The last night of the Democratic National Convention 2016 offered a lot of spectacle including musical performances to satisfy multiple generations from Carol King to Katy Perry. However, there was nothing new communicated. In her speech, Mrs. Clinton instructed the audience, “Look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of Americans.
And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.” Yet, if you asked an average American before or after Mrs. Clinton’s speech what specific accomplishments Hillary Clinton has that qualify her to be the president of the United States, they would be hard pressed to deliver an enumerated response. She also promised that she has laid out her strategy for defeating ISIS. What strategy is that? A continuation of the failed policies of President Barack Obama or something new? We don’t know.
Here is the bottom line. Americans feel less safe than they did seven and half years ago. Mrs. Clinton has not said or done anything that builds confidence that she has what it takes to restore a feeling of security. And her acceptance speech did nothing to change that perception. Mrs. Clinton’ s having visited over 111 countries during her tenure as Secretary of State just doesn’t cut it. And of course, in 2012, four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens were killed in the raid in Benghazi under her watch. As the world knows now, Hillary Clinton told one story to Chelsea Clinton about the reason for the deaths and told another story to the American people including the parents of the dead. Mrs. Clinton’s now famous “what difference does it make?” response when questioned about the inconsistency in her account is still very disturbing to many Americans. Many question her ability to keep us safe.
Now that the balloons have dropped in Cleveland and in Philadelphia, it is time to move on to the real competition for the highest office in the land. Suffice it to say the one-on-one debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump promise to be very interesting!