The DNC in CLT: Party (Democratic) Time in the QC!

It’s time to Break It Down!

The nation celebrated Labor Day on Monday, and by the end of this week, the Political Conventions will be in the books.  In other words, the 2012 Presidential Campaign will be underway in earnest.

Now it may seem a little strange to suggest that the rhetoric, animus, and negative ads can get any more pervasive,but yes they can…and they will.  Traditionally, Labor Day is thought of as the time when the big guns come out, and things get really serious.

In reality, Mr. Romney just received the Republican nomination last week.  Before last Thursday night, he was, technically, only the Party’s presumptivenominee.  As such, despite the near certainty that the results of the GOPPrimaries would be validated, rules dictated that he could not gain full and complete access to the treasure trove of funds available to the nominee.  Funds that will in large measure be used to augment Super PAC’sby creating and airing negative ads that obscure, dissemble, or boldly lie about President Obama and his record.

Governor Romneyand his hand-picked partner, Congressman Ryanare now the GOP’s official Champions.  They will be pulling out all the stops to secure the prize Senator Mitch McConnell,Senate Minority Leader, first gave voice to December 7, 2010 when he said:

“Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny

Senator McConnell’s position, while troubling in its own right, is not the first indication of the active resistance to President Obama’s tenure from the far right.  No, going all the way back to the transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s January 16, 2009 Radio Show, we find what may have been the genesis of this unbridled anti-Obama sentiment.  During that show, the host noted receiving a request from what he described as a major print publication, asking prominent politicians, statesmen, scholars, businessmen, commentators, and economists to weigh-in with a 400-word opinion expressing their hopes for the Obama presidency.

Almost as an afterthought, the requester added, “We would love to include you.”      

After his trademark prologue, Mr. Limbaugh replied:

“Okay,I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.”

For those of you with some sense of history, it’s important to note, just for the record, January 16, 2009 was four days before Senator Obama was inaugurated.  Not four days after; not even the day of the inuaguration.  Before the guy ever set foot in the Oval Officeas Commander-in-Chief, the die was cast. .  That fact alone symbolizes how long-held, how deeply entrenched, and how irreducibly intractable is the nature of this insidiously hateful spirit.

Now this may sound personal, trivial, and lacking citation.  I feel you, because frankly, after watching the onslaught of GOP ads that alter the facts, or worse, simply fly in the face of them, I have an expanded appreciation for well-researchedrationally presented documented information.With that in mind, I offer my most pointed observation (with source).

In his new book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S.House of Representatives, Robert Draper lays out in fairly specific detail how on the night of President Obama’s inauguration, a group of Republican lawmakers and strategists (including Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and Newt Gingrich) met at for a private dinner at a swanky Washington establishment known as The Caucus Room.  While there, they crafted what they envisioned (and subsequently executed) the steps they hoped would accomplish several ends, including:

·        Ensure that President Obama and his policies failed

·        Take steps to return Republicans to power

·        Challenge every bill and every campaign

·        Attack incoming Secretary Geithner

·        Assail Congressman Charles Rangel

·        Show united/unyielding opposition to the President’s economic policies

·        Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airways

·        Win the House in 2010

·        Go after President Obama relentlessly in 2011

·        Win the Senate and the White House in 2012       

What a chilling Top 10 List!  From South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson’s infamous “You lie,” to the ridiculous notion of Mr. Romney’s deceptive assertion, that he actually hoped Mr. Obama would have succeeded, Republicanobstructionism has been rampant, and we now know, planned, purposeful, and designed to promote negative consequences.

The Republican National Convention convened last week in Tampa.  This week, the scene, and the Party shifted to Charlotte (the Queen City)where the Democrats have landed.  The GOP Light Show, which ended last Thursdaynight, provided Governor Romney a 1-point bounce, according to a CNN Poll yesterday.  The CNN Poll preceding the Republican Conventionshowed 49% of like voters lining up behind the President, and 47% for Mr. Romney.  The post-Convention poll showed both the President and Governor Romney at 48%.

So it is, with 62 days remaining, the race is a dead heat.  Both sides understand what is at stake, and there is every reason to believe it can be just this close on the morning of November 7th (day after the Election).

Everyone knows the now famous phrases that emerged from the 2008 Obama Campaign, “Change We Can Believe in,” and Yes We Can!  But the campaign also spurred another less well known catch phrase; Fired up!  Ready to go!  For several months, the media has pointed to an enthusiasm gapamong Democrats.  Just as important, that same media has observed that this campaign has evolved into a test of exciting and turning outrespective bases.  It is clear, if you still believe in the change, and continue to think, yes, we can, you better be “Fired up and ready to go!”

This week it will be critical for Team Obama to showcase aConvention that fires-up the President’s base, and helps Democrats go close the enthusiasm gap.  Last night was the first evening of live TVcoverage for the Democrat’s Convention.  I watched with interest, and came away with one interesting (to me anyway) anecdote.

Last week, Ann Romney, Willard’s wife, gave a speech at the GOP ConventionCNN commentators, without exception, praised Mrs. Romney for “knocking it out of the park.”  She gave a good speech, no doubt.

Last night, Michelle Obama, the President’s wife, gave a speech at the Democratic Convention.  As usual, I watched CNN’s coverage.  Imagine my surprise when two CNN commentators refused to say Mrs. Obama knocked it out of the park…or anything approximating that.  One of the naysayers, Ari Fleischer, is a Republican Strategist, so I suppose I understand his unwillingness to concede a simple point.The other, David Gergen, has worked in several Presidential administrations (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton), and is presented as having a balanced perspective.  Last night, his leaanings were evident.

Just to be clear, I believe Mrs. Obama “knocked it out of the park.”I understand her in-house audience was essentially the choir, but certainly no less so than Mrs. Romney’saudience last week.  Fair is fair.

The optics and production valuesof the Democratic Convention were clearly superior to the first night of the GOPeffort in Tampa.But in keeping with the theme of fairness, there are reasons for that.  Hurricane Isaac undoubtedly took some of the verve out of the Tampaassembly.  Moreover, as I noted when discussing the 2008 Election, because of the individual Party rules, there are many more Democratic delegates and alternates than Republicans.

That differential led to theTime Warner Cable Arena having the feel and look of a full house.  It also didn’t hurt that the Democrats chose a slate of speakers who stuck to their talking points; Cory Booker, Ted Strickland, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Rahm Emanuel, Julian Castro, and Michelle Obama all sang from the same page of the same hymnal, “Re-elect Barack Obama.”  Several of the Republican speakers seemed to have been rolling out their own dry runs for 2016.  Others were just not compelling speakers.

Still, there are two more nights; it’s not over yet.  Also, the high wire act is scheduled for Thursday Night.  That when the President is scheduled to accept the Nomination and make his acceptance speech…not at Time Warner Arena, but at Bank of America Stadium.  The inherent risks include filling a football stadium and the possibility of rain, or worse, violent thunder showers.

There’s a back-up plan of course.  In a worse case scenario, the final night’s activities will be moved back to the Arena, where the event can take place in a dry setting, and without danger.  Of course, that would nullifytens of thousands of convention credentials and deprive those participants from seeing the President and Vice President receive their nominations, and make their speeches.

In summation, this is a big week in politics.  I hope you tuned in last week, and that you will do so again this week.  If it helps you get through it, have a bag of popcorn; enjoy the show.  Regardless of whether you caught last week’s production, don’t miss “The DNC in CLT:Party (Democratic) Time in the QC!”

I’m done; holla back!

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