"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.
* 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.
"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.