If you missed night 01 of the DNC2012 – here’s the one paragraph summary:
“Democrats opened their convention here on Tuesday night with two simple messages for voters: Mitt Romney does not get it, and President Obama does. A parade of Democratic officials spent the first hours of the gathering detailing a political indictment of Mr. Romney, blistering him as being out of touch with the middle class and intent on taking the country back to the policies that caused the economy’s problems…The speakers here pounded Mr. Romney on immigration, on health care, on Medicare, on foreign policy, on the 2009 auto bailout and on his tax policies, which they said would benefit the rich at the expense of the working class and cause the same kind of economic damage that they said Mr. Obama had worked so hard to undo.” Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times.
I was underwhelmed by Julian Castro’s speech. I thought Ross Douthat’s article at the NYTimes said it best. “Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, was perfectly charming and perfectly forgettable: a minor league talent with some major league potential rather than a Democratic version of Chris Christie.” In contrast, Michelle Obama’s speech was a towering shot meant to reignite the passion of four years ago. She crushed it. Granted, the First Lady had a much easier path to creating excitement that did Ann Romney, who had to start from scratch. Michelle Obama only needed to remind people what it was that they liked about Barack Obama to begin with. Still, the First Lady made a touching and compelling case for why she thinks her husband is reliable and deserves a second term. It might just have worked. Some of the other issues highlighted were:
Opportunity: The problem with the “I built my business” narrative can be summed up in one word:Opportunity. The president handed the R’s a placard filler that will surely excite the base of their party, but they cannot win on that issue in the general. Democrats tapped into the opportunity theme last night, accentuating the fact that it is a sacred honor to make sure opportunity is there for the next generation. The Republican narrative sounds more like “every man for himself.” The first lady accented a different theme say, “And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
Immigration: The Dems can win on this issue alone. It could swingFloridato the blue. The reason this issue works so well is that it dovetails with the opportunity narrative. “If a family in this country struggles we cannot be content with our family’s good fortune, because that’s not who we are.” The Dems have positioned themselves to be able to say that they are not for “every man for himself” but rather for “all of us are in this together – and that includes are Latino brothers and sisters.” I think that’s a winning issue for them.
Jobs: The D’s seem like they are going to try and run on this issue, but I think it’s going to be a tough needle to thread. The way they went about it last night will not work, because it’s too misleading. The simple truth is that the job market is awful and too many of the jobs that have been added back are low paying. It’s a net loss on this issue for the D’s. I look for this theme to transition to more of what Obama has in his stump speech – accentuating growth in manufacturing jobs and a strategy for adding more jobs.