NPR logo DNC Day 3: 'Big Game Player'

Conventional Wisdom

DNC Day 3: 'Big Game Player'

Conventional Wisdom

"Conventional Wisdom" brings you perspectives from both sides of the aisle each day. What did News & Views guest blogger Princella Smith think of Hillary Clinton's DNC address? In short: "a masterful Clintonesque calculation." 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.

Princella Smith

Short notes:
* Governor Warner: Had the keynote, but not extremely inspiring.
* Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT): Sure to be a rising star in the party. Displayed a gift for rousing the crowd that was a little unexpected.

Hillary Clinton:
"She's a big game player, and that was a big game speech." — John King of CNN

I agree with John King but for a few different reasons. After Sen. Clinton's address, she had even more of her followers wishing that she were the nominee: wondering what more they could have done to get her elected. I will have to say, that even though I absolutely disagree fundamentally with Sen. Clinton, she deserves her props for being so cleverly shrewd in her presentation. Put bluntly, there are very few people who could have pulled off what she did.

What do I mean? Think about this: It had to be one of the hardest things in the world for Sen. Clinton to stand on that stage and speak at a convention that she felt would be hers for so long. It had to be tough to have to make a speech on behalf of someone she campaigned against so intently, on top of having her own words used in commercials as fodder by the McCain campaign and being accused of only caring about her own self interests and not the interests of her party.

So, what does she do? She made her case for why she ran for president. She espoused her feminist beliefs. She attacked McCain in a way that no one has really done in the two nights of the conventions, showing her heft on the national stage.

Most cleverly of all, she spoke for her party as the best party to change the status quo. All of this WITHOUT speaking to Sen. Obama's readiness to be Commander-in-Chief. (Maybe Bill will tomorrow.) She gave homage to Biden's abilities and said that Ms. Obama would make a great first lady, but she NEVER spoke of Obama's abilities. Quite frankly, her lines about Obama were very generic, but she spoke so cleverly that it passed as an attempt to unify. It was as if she presented Obama as the lesser of two evils: saving face so that her political future wasn't ruined and so she would not produce anymore one-liners for McCain campaign commercials.

To top it off, as soon as she was done, her Web site updated with a banner reading: "LET US UNITE" at the very moment her speech ended. A true MC — Masterful Clintonesque calculation.
As I stated earlier, many of her supporters were left with the feeling that Obama would have to earn their votes. They cheered. They cried. They listened — intently. I watched a tearful African-American female Clinton supporter speculate on camera whether or not she would vote for Obama or stay home. "He will have to show me," she said. "Look, you just saw it! That was presidential," she cried.

One thing is for certain: our argument at American Solutions is validated. Americans want substance from their leaders. Rhetoric alone just won't cut it. Unfortunately for the attendees in the Pepsi Center, neither Clinton nor Obama are championing the views of a truly American Platform of the American People.



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.

Governor Warner: Had the keynote, but not extremely inspiring.

Unfortunate but typical, substance gets overlooked for clever lines & hype. Taking nothing away from Ms Clinton's wonderful speech, but Governor Warner's speech, as David Gergin alluded to was RIGHT ON. There was no build up, hype or excitement, wondering what he was going to do or say, etc. So none of that anticipation.

Of course the constructs of race/gender and the associated emotions, images & symbols play well, like letterman vs Charlie Rose, I'm not discounting that, but....

Technology and the global economy was put front and center, talked about in very relevant ways, tangible to lives and to what this election is all about. The future, how competitive Americans will be and how we will respond. Because unless we address THIS issue of a new economic playing field infused by technology, how will we new-form education, pay for universal healthcare, etc., etc.

Those middle-American, blue collar workers (who complain of their jobs being shipped overseas) SHOULD have been listening closely so they'll know what to demand from leaders. It was a speech that is about 20yrs OVERDUE. To the contrary of what politicians tell you including Barack, no jobs are 'coming back', no amount of regulations will keep jobs here. Responding to a new economy with innovation, new industries and competitiveness is the only viable strategy.

But it's been over the heads of the LUDDITES (who have either been overwhelmed by it all or totally misfiring in response) so one would expect the usual suspects to pooh pooh it as, well not very inspiring. Again it's been over their heads, they haven't & don't get it.

Outside of the supreme court, EVERYTHING flows from adjusting to & responding to a new economic model. It's THE one quantifiable engine that drives everything from education to healthcare to energy to transportation right on down the line.

Families can't form or exist without it.

Which drives home the point about how smoke screen secondary issues like Race, gender, gay marriage, faith, abortion, etc....take up far too much of the discussion.

So not very 'inspiring' but when the euphoria fades and Monday morning reality sets in (Or what Hillary & Barack mean when they say it isn't going to be easy) something needs to be there as a guide. The Governor's speech offered a glimpse and should have wet a few appetites.

Sent by Jon J | 1:13 PM | 8-27-2008

lol @ that sister that was crying for Hillary. Hillary compared to Barack is not presidential. The way she addressed the foreign relations questions during the debates concerned me. She seemed like she would lose her cool and be overly aggressive. Barack seemed to use a more level headed approach and smoother delivery which will make foreign leaders more receptive to his ideas. Not this "I'm tough and you will listen to me" jive that we've had for the past 8 years.

Sent by rasir | 7:02 PM | 8-27-2008

The poster rasir stated, "She seemed like she would lose her cool and be overly aggressive."

I agree. I also would not vote for someone who has no candid respect for herself. Any person that stays married to a spouse who commits adultery is no better than the adulterer. Hillary sold her soul to the devil. She is a hypocrite when it comes to women's rights issue. You cannot separate how a person conducts their marriage and running for president. If Hillary had divorced Bill. She would be president by a landslide.

Sent by Kipersting | 1:59 PM | 8-28-2008