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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Convention-al Thinking: Day 1 - "The Work Continues"

Note: My coverage of the Convention is limited to whatever text the Internet gives me, and morning news shows like Good Morning America. I apologize if my coverage isn't all encompassing or anything like CNN or Fox News. I'm here to offer analysis and punditry, not the value of Joe Biden's house.

Opening night at the Democratic Convention took a tone that disappointed James Carville. A tone that, "has no message", in his view of events, which was evident by his words on CNN last night:

"Well if this party has a message it has done a hell of a job of hiding it tonight I promise you that...You haven't heard about Iraq? You haven't heard about John McCain?"

He reiterated such a message with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America this morning. I think that Mr. Carville needs to see last night's opener as merely a first act of what's to come. There will indeed be plenty of time for talk about Iraq and McCain as the convention wears on, and if there's any teeth to be bared we can all be sure Hillary Clinton will be the one to start the fang show.

In my opinion, last night's opener was a reassurance to the Democratic supporters. They could have talked about Hillary trying to steal the spotlight. They could have bitched about McCain being a cranky old coot who likes to use attack ads as a means of topical discourse. What did they do instead? Michelle Obama talked about how her family is as American as you and me. One of her statements appealed to the ails of today, which surprisingly enough was covered positively through the Arizona Republic's article, "Michelle Obama showcases husband at Democratic convention":

"He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks, just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, just like we did. And like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had for themselves."

This alone says that the Obama camp has not forgotten the working class voters, as well as voters from an older generation. One that had to make the same sacrifices to provide a future for its children. A sacrifice most of the younger voters don't remember, because they come from times where things weren't as rough economically. A message the younger voters would do well to carry with them and older voters already remember when facing the economic crises we face today. Either way, the cross generational appeal of the message is apparent.

It also says that the Obamas don't need to be on the defensive 24/7. The Democratic Party has inspired, and is currently reviving a feeling of hope. Nothing said that better than when often joked about, but still respected senator Ted Kennedy showed up on the convention floor last night, and issued a modified statement similar to the one he made at the convention in the 1980's:

"The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on."

I know the man isn't the most respectable in the bunch, but just the way he actually showed up at the convention, physically standing in the room and delivering a speech, is quite inspirational. He could have just as easily done a satellite appearance. He could have prerecorded his speech. He could have even has Caroline Kennedy put in his two cents into the evening. But he decided a physical appearance was what was called for. That itself was a symbol of triumphing adversity, which has been this party's legacy: a legacy built by his brothers back in a golden era for the party.

Even the protesters at the convention were laid back, and hopeful. According to the LA Times article, "Protesters at the Democratic convention take a low-key approach", non violent demonstrations involving folk singing were the order of the evening. How often these days do you read a story about political protests, and read a line like this:

"The only sign that the midday gathering Monday was anything other than a run-of-the-mill congregation of local leftists was the dozens of police in riot gear, staying under spruce trees to avoid the brutal sun."

Negativity was not needed for the opening of the convention. Sure, it could be labeled as a soft sell, an evening clinging to nostalgia about the way things were, it could even be labeled as one big love fest for the Democratic cause. Well, coming from a former bitter Republican, I say that the message of last evening was hope. It was that America needs to stop being on the offensive with one another. There's important work to be done, issues to face, and a choice to be made. Again, there's plenty of time to launch a systematic attack on McCain's policies, standings, and personality. The Democrats have the first move in the game, it's important they don't mess it up by marching into the convention, guns blazing, torching McCain's reputation haphazardly, only to have him stand right up and defeat them with his "credibility".

I would say that it is important tonight to keep that feeling of hope and positivity alive. However, it is the second night of the convention, and Mr. Carville does have a point. Issues need to come into the foreground, only it should be a gradual process. Tonight, Hillary Clinton is on the schedule of speakers; and this afternoon should be her formal "release" of delegates to go and vote for Barack Obama. Why this "release" should be happening is beyond me. She lost fair and square, and her followers should just accept it. She seems to have, very gracefully in fact. Michelle Obama even acknowledged her work in the primaries, and the fact that she created, "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling." Senator Clinton should use this new found respect to rebuff the PUMA's (Party Unity My Ass) and show Chris Matthews that she is indeed not a "wacko", by building sincere party unity. Of course, this is what any other political correspondent would tell you, and I'm sorry if I'm just preaching to the choir here. I have to use my fucking Poli Sci degree somehow.

I'll close by saying the big push should be saved for the final night of the conference. Al Gore, Governor Bill Ritter, and Senator Obama themselves should be the three to bring the biggest message of the convention. They should be the ones that hit the hardest with their words. And most of all, they should be using the time they have between now and Thursday to build a case so great and so powerful against McCain's campaign, that he doesn't have a leg to stand on when the Republican convention opens on September 1st.


Anonymous said...

Didn't James Carville work on Hillary's campaign? I don't think he's the most impartial commentator, here.

Mr. Controversy said...

Yes, he did. However, he was not talking about her campaign specifically, he was talking about the convention itself being soft on issues. With Hillary's speech last night, McCain was finally being brought into the forefront. Whether there will be full on attacks now is beyond me.

Kurgan said...

Did you see the pic of Carville sporting his Puma's?

Mr. Controversy said...

No, I did not, but at this point in the convention the man is so thirsty for blood I can't help but think he'll hire out some real live pumas to tear up the convention floor.

*Crosses fingers* Please eat the Fox News Correspondents.

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