(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/09/AP366101356776_370x278.gif)The Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched its 2012 Convention as America’s National Debt reached a record $16 trillion. A number of big controversies weighed heavy on the event, but little of that meant anything to the people occupying Charlotte, North Carolina’s Time Warner Cable Arena, as they loudly applauded strong speeches given by First Lady Michelle Obama and an up-and-coming politician from San Antonio, Texas.
“Forward” was the slogan of Tuesday night’s DNC convention – possibly the entire convention. It’s no coincidence that it’s also the slogan of the MSNBC news channel, a channel whose commentators make wild accusations at Republican leaders. Speakers from the convention labeled the GOP backward, but none of the negative attacks could hide the gaffes and controversies taking place prior to the speeches.
Following the end of the RNC convention, the reality of skyrocketing unemployment and high food and gas prices has allowed Republican leaders to ask the question, “Are we better off now than we were four years ago?” This has put Democrats on the defensive, most of whom have trouble answering it, one of whom – Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley – answered “No.” This, along with President Obama’s grading of himself with an “incomplete” in his handling of the economy, has provided Republicans with a couple of tremendous talking points.
As well, the Democratic Party platform was approved with some disturbing omissions. There was not one mention of “God” in it, and regarding the nation of Israel, there was no mention of Jerusalem being the capital of the Jewish homeland, no mention of Israel being America’s strongest ally, and no mention of Hamas as a terrorist organization. All four of those issues were part of the Democrat platform in 2008 – missing in 2012.
The platform aside, speakers at this year’s DNC convention focused on various themes. One was the “war on women” theme, using such issues as abortion, contraception and unequal pay in the workplace to make the point. Another one was the “class warfare” theme, painting Republicans as only caring about the “rich,” while shunning the middle-class and the poor. And yet another was the need for more government funding, thinly veiled within the word “investment,” such as investment in public education.
Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and one of the early speakers, stressed the need for education. He stated, “Our nation cannot continue to be the world’s number one economy, if we aren’t committed to being the world’s number one educator.” It’s a very noble statement, but does he mean by it that government should continue to throw money at a failed Department of Education, as the Obama administration has, or does he mean that government should encourage competition with schools, something that Republicans would agree with?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had two targets in his speech, Mitt Romney and the Tea Party, which he claims has taken over the GOP. He stated, “We must stop the Tea Party before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues, who leave no room for reason or compromise…” He might have been citing the Debt Ceiling compromise vote, where some Republicans wisely voted “No,” because the debt raise was nearly four times the accompanying agreed cut in spending.
A video of former President Jimmy Carter was shown, which was interesting as Paul Ryan and other Republican politicos have been publicly drawing comparisons to his and President Obama’s failures. In the video, Carter says, “Dialogue and collaboration are once again possible with a return of a spirit of trust and goodwill to our foreign policy.” Could he be talking about the Palestinian militants who he openly sides with? Or maybe Iran that moves to build nukes, while Obama and others call for (empty) diplomacy with the terror-supporting country?
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar painted a glowing picture of Barack Obama’s energy policy, while the President, in reality, has had an assault on domestically produced gas, oil and coal. Salazar claims that Obama is bringing America to energy independence, but actually the opposite is the case. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that “ObamaCare is a badge of honor.” She must have really felt that way, because she kept using the derogatory term [ObamaCare].
A video was shown honoring the late Ted Kennedy, which showed old footage from when Kennedy beat Mitt Romney for U.S. Senate. The video was introduced by Joe Kennedy III, a young Kennedy who is aiming to replace Barney Frank in the U.S. House of Representatives. The president of NARAL, Nancy Keenan, followed the Kennedys, brazenly stating that because of Mitt Romney’s Pro-Life stance on abortion, “Women in America cannot trust Mitt Romney.”
There was a touching moment, when Tammy Duckworth, a congressional candidate and military vet, walked off the stage bearing her two prosthetic legs. She lost both of her legs during a combat mission in Iraq.
Mayor of Chicago and Obama’s first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, called Obama a “once in a generation President,” because he believes Obama has done such a wonderful job “tackling” every major problem that was handed to him, working off the President’s “blame George Bush” theme. Another theme used was the “outsourcing of America,” which former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland exploited. Not mentioning how many jobs have left the U.S. during Obama’s four years, Strickland said Obama is an “economic patriot” and Romney, an “outsourcing pioneer.”
Duval Patrick, the gubernatorial successor to Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, gave a fiery speech listing what he considers to be Romney’s failures as Governor. During his speech, he stated, “It’s time for democrats to grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe.” This line, calling into question Democrats’ resolve, garnered a huge amount of applause.
The keynote speech given by Mayor of San Antonio, Texas Julian Castro was lauded by many, compared to Marco Rubio’s speech introducing Romney at the GOP convention. Both are considered up-and-coming Hispanic stars in their respective parties. Yet, Rubio’s parents shunned the evil of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and embraced the American dream, while Julian Castro’s mom, Rosie, whom he referenced and praised many times during his convention speech, was a leader in the extremist anti-American La Raza movement.
Michelle Obama ended the night with a strong speech. She attempted to soften the president’s image and make him seem as though he is a man whose life goal is to help the downtrodden in our society. She stated, “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” If that is truly the case, then we can figure that Barack Obama is little more than an anti-capitalist big spender who makes the world a more dangerous place to live in.
Of Michelle Obama’s Tuesday address, Charles Krauthammer of Fox News stated, “I thought it was a great speech, but I didn’t buy a line of it.”
David Brooks of the New York Times commented that he was surprised that economics and the debt, huge issues on the public’s mind, were not being discussed at this convention.
Wednesday night should be interesting. Already, one of the speakers – U.S. Senate candidate from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren – is being accused of lying about her ancestry. She claims that she is a Native American, and at least one group is demanding she show proof.
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