Conventional Wisdom

DNC Day 4: 'Historic Heft'

Conventional Wisdom

"The truth is that both Clinton and Biden were needed Wednesday night to provide heft to an otherwise lacking Obama resume," writes guest blogger Princella Smith. Smith serves as Chief Advocate for the Platform of the American People at American Solutions, an organization founded by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. She has the first of today's DNC morning-after analysis.

Princella Smith

Initially, I must acknowledge this moment in history. An African American was nominated in full acclamation as the nominee of a major political party. It was touching to hear the words of people I've read about in history books like John Lewis and James Clyburn.

It was inspirational to think of those who fought with Lewis and Clyburn but were not here to speak with them because they had given their lives in the fight. It is a sentiment so unique, that words cannot really express its depth. However, because we are rational human beings, I'm encouraging everyone to use empirical reasoning and not historical emotion when casing their votes. ... Still ... congratulations, America. We are making great strides toward the America that the mothers and fathers of civil rights fought and died for ...

Well, Bubba was asked to prove that he is a team player, and he did. His speech didn't overshadow Hillary's (a future candidate), or Biden's (the Vice-Presidential nominee). He did what he needed to do to show a unified face and attempt at getting his party behind Obama.

The truth is that both Clinton and Biden were needed Wednesday night to provide heft to an otherwise lacking Obama resume. It's kind of hard to talk about Obama for three days when there is so little to say other than he has the ability to organize and galvanize people. Though, those are good traits for a leader to have, being Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation in the world will require more than ground galvanization.

The Clinton / Biden heft show leads me to the next observation. Critics of this week's convention — including myself — said that too much time was given to the Clintons. I thought it brilliant on the part of the Obama staff to bring Barack out on a surprise appearance after Biden's acceptance speech as an official "turn the page from the Clintons" moment. After all, his image had been seen very little over the course of the past three days.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I come from a white mother and a black father, similar to Mr. Obama. I am not an African-American. I am bi-racial. Mr. Obama is bi-racial, or mixed race if you prefer. I take great offense when, every day and all day long, people disparage Mr. Obama's and my own racial footprint by ignoring 50% of his identity.

To put this simply to those at and the media outlets nationwide: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is on your plate. It is not a jelly sandwich. It is not a peanut butter sandwich. It is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The racism and ignorance involved with any other connotation or label is phenomenally insulting. You owe Mr. Obama's mother a public apology for completely disregarding her genetic and parental contribution to her son. And considering that she raised Mr. Obama herself---same as my white mother---her influence is even more poignant.

I am too young to have been around for the days of overt and predominant public racism, but I feel absolute disgrace when an entire nation displays such an amazing amount of cruelty and disregard.

Sent by Aaron Gregory | 11:58 AM | 8-28-2008

President Clinton made an important point when he said that the Republicans said he was too young and did not know enough about foreign policy in 1992 when he became president--the same tactic they are using against Sen. Obama. Recycled smearing that history has proven wrong.Clinton has also said that all presidents learn on the job.

When George W. Bush ran for office, he borrowed Colin Powell's credentials (every photo op together)to boost his thin commander in chief and foreign policy experience. After he got into office, and Powell disagreed with him about the Iraq war (and was later proven right) he was dumped in favor of Rumsfeld.

Clinton learned well, Bush did not.

McCain has 26 years in Congress with very little to show for it except the Keating 5 scandal and McCain-Feingold. He has not govern, and is spending his candidacy reneging on policies he formerly supported.

Sent by Glenda | 1:22 PM | 8-28-2008

I've been enjoying the pageantry and drama of the DNC, but my husband is continually annoyed by the lack of content in speeches. You say that Obama does not offer enough in himself to support three days of speeches. I wonder why, then, the speakers aren't talking through Obama's and the Democratic party's platform? Surely there is enough in that to support many different speeches. If there is not enough in the past for the Obama team to talk about, why not talk about their vision of the future?

Sent by Lauren | 2:31 PM | 8-28-2008

Clinton & Biden were needed because EVERY party nominee has needed support, every election. It has nothing to do with resume.

The REAL point is why has it taken so long for that support to surface? Why is this particular nominee being treated differently? Why haven't the party brass lined up as usual? Who knows about the Clintons and others but we do know the old guard is partying it up at the soul fair, patting themselves on the backs for making Obama possible, after they shunned him for not kissing the ring (then whine about being 'snubbed').

David Gergin put it best, for the last 16 weeks since the primaries ended, Barack has been at it alone, no surrogates out there, nothing till now.

Governor Warners speech was excellent in speaking to the future, about technology , global competitiveness and how it relates to job exporting & everyday lives. And Former President Clinton did a masterful job framing the last 8yrs and where we've gone.

One of the problems is much too much time has been used placating & stroking Clinton & her supporters instead of attacking the Republicans and reinforcing the case to the American people.

Maybe people are missing the content because there's too much darn information flashing across the screen. Facts, sound meter, schedule...But because of HD, I've been TVOing CNN...are other networks doing the same?

By the way, TVOing is great..just fast forward pass all those spin pundits!

Sent by Jon J | 4:53 PM | 8-28-2008

Princella, you have great courage and spirit. A woman of convictions. Wish this world had more of you.

Sent by jfrankenstein | 1:43 AM | 8-31-2008