Going into their convention, Democrats had a disadvantage the Republicans did not. The GOP base is fired up to vote against Obama. The Democrats need to get theirs fired up to vote for Obama. The advantage Democrats have is it is easier to get people to vote for someone than against them. But too much of the Democratic base hasn’t been engaged thus far in the president’s reelection and that could imperil it.
Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton delivered show-stopping speeches to set it up for President Obama to make the case he deserves four more years. The speculation was which Clinton would show up in Charlotte. Would it be Bad Bill looking to stick a shiv in the back of the guy who blocked his wife’s bid for his old job or Good Bill rallying the faithful to help Obama join him and Harry Truman as the only Democratic incumbents to win a second term since FDR?
It took 48 minutes for him to say it, but Clinton left no doubt he’s all in with Team Obama and squash any speculation he wasn’t. Obama and Clinton have had a prickly relationship, but with his ringing endorsement of the embattled president and shredding of the Republicans, Clinton is poised to become a significant asset to Obama’s campaign.
Michelle Obama’s job was tougher than the one Clinton had. He had to say the things about the opposition in the way a former president can that a current one can’t. Bill had to draw the distinctions between Obama and the Republicans. Michelle had to reach out to disillusioned and disappointed Democrats to remind them, yes, there is are good reasons to show up and vote for her husband.
More than a few amateur psychologists such as D’nesh D’Souza have attempted to put the president on the couch trying to figure out why he hates America so much. He doesn’t, but they are too full of hate for him to realize it. With the First Lady, they can’t question her “Americaness” so they hit on her as being “angry.” The go-to move for right-wingers too lazy or too stupid (or both) to understand the Obamas is to write him off as uppity and her as angry.
Stereotyping Michelle is a way to minimize her intellect and beauty. She has been hammered by her critics as snobbish, materialistic, bossy and nosing into the dietary habits of American’s children. It’s amazing how low they will go not to take Michelle seriously. She has more grace, charm and smarts in one finger than most of the haters do in their entire flabby bodies.
She is also thought of as being the true liberal in the marriage or at least more than her husband. That’s a sentiment shared by Salon’s Joan Walsh:
There are Democrats who believe Michelle Obama carries the torch for liberalism, and reminds her husband what he came to Washington to do, when his Beltway advisers may be telling him something different. Tuesday night she spoke to those Democrats, who may not be as enthusiastic or optimistic as they were in 2008. She told them she loves her husband even more than she did four years ago, because of all that he’s done for the country – and maybe helped them to love him a little more, too.
All the professional and amateur “fact-checkers” will comb through every last word of their speeches looking for exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies of a Paul Ryan level, but a fact is not the same as the truth and what Michelle Obama said about character and what Bill Clinton said about the economy Obama inherited was the gospel truth.
The First Lady said, “I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.”
President Clinton said, “President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.”
Today is the last night of the Democratic National Convention with Joe Biden and Obama himself ringing down the curtain with perhaps the two most important speeches of their political lives. What they say doesn’t have to be as good as what Bill and Michelle said, but it would go a long ways to waking up the base if it’s every bit as good
If the Democrats don’t come out of their convention energized and mobilized to send Mitt back to one of his six homes it won’t be because the Big Dog and the First Lady didn’t do their part.
Motivation? Yeah. They built that.
- Michelle Obama’s message: The president is just like you (thegrio.com)
- DNC Dispatch: Bill Clinton Shows Dems How it’s Done (wnyc.org)
- What if Michelle Obama ran for office? (politico.com)