For the past two weeks, politicos from sea to shining sea have been tuning to C-SPAN to watch unadulterated footage of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa, Fla., and Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, N.C.
These conventions are basically a policy wonk’s Olympics, Oscars and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show all rolled into a span of three days.
With the aid of social media, even those who hate politics were exposed to the events; both conventions filled up Twitter’s trending topics list each night they were televised. With so many eyes on the conventions, the political parties had to present their best faces to the public.
Regardless of your political orientation, you have to admit, the Democrats presented their narrative better.The atmospheres of the two conventions couldn’t be more different; the only common element was that they were both about President Barack Obama.
Sure, the RNC pulled together a roster of excellent speakers.They spoke about overcoming personal adversity through hard work, and why another four years of President Obama could be dangerous for the United States—but none inspired a rallying cry around the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.
As Rachel Maddow pointed out, “[New Jersey Governor Chris Christie] waited 1,800 words into a 2,600-word speech to even bring Romney up.” The convention’s keynote speaker didn’t even talk about Romney. The entire convention seemed more like a platform for 2016’s prospective candidates to shine, than a call for unification.
In contrast, the DNC was all about Barack Obama. The speakers wove personal stories into their speeches, but focused more on the party’s platform and the accomplishments of the president. Their speeches and enthusiasm reminded me of Friday Night Lights, “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”
The Democrats effectively rebutted all attacks made against Obama’s presidency throughout this campaign season, from John Kerry’s zinger of “ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off than he was four years ago” to Bill Clinton’s off-teleprompter speech that took on every single argument the Romney campaign made.
The overwhelming message throughout the DNC was, “change is slow, but we’ve made progress and we can’t go back.” I think that was just enough to revitalize the 2008 voters disillusioned by the slow pace of change. I believe the DNC solidified the election for President Obama.
If anything, we will get to see more Clint Eastwood versus wooden chair conversations.