Bill Clinton has never been better than he was Wednesday evening at the Democratic convention, which climaxed with the nomination of President Obama as the nominee for the November elections. Clinton has a rare gift of explaining complex matters to ordinary people, and that’s exactly what he did. He’s a personable chap and has a tendency to convince the listeners that they should listen closely. “Sit down,” he tossed off, and we heard a sequence of similar constraints. At “Sit!” television and Internet viewers saw Michelle Obama, first lady lead the crowd in heeding his admonition. As to that, Clinton received rapturous applause when he praised the president for having the good sense to marry Michelle. Mrs. Obama on Tuesday wowed the crowd with stories of her life with Barack.
Former President Bill Clinton went on about arithmetic, job creation, and a wealth of other matters, clarifying the previously muddy waters. He concluded to standing cheers with a judgment that at this point we all must agree that indeed, we are better off than we were four years ago.
An interesting development of that evening of speeches and nominations stemmed from the fact that within the last few days the Democratic platform had been altered from the 2008 wording in two subtle but important ways. In the amended platform, gone was the strong wording that the American Democrats view Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The president’s stated position has always been that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The platform would have been amended to read, “The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”
The other modification had to do with references to God. “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential” was altered to eliminate the reference to “God.” Obama registered surprise when he was advised of the platform change. There may be a time when the majority opts for a clear distinction between government and religion, but in view of the strongly religious deportment of the framers of our nation and our Constitution, that time has not come. In any case, the platform changes were reversed and the earlier wording retained.
Convention chairman Antonia Villaraigosa was adamant that the president was firmly behind the 2008 wording and not supportive of the changes. There was an awkward point when Villaraigosa called for a verbal vote from the delegates present regarding reversion to the original wording; he was intolerant of the changes and sought to immediately undo them. He said that a two-thirds majority was needed. From the viewpoint of those viewing worldwide, there was doubt that even a 50/50 majority was achieved. Villaraigosa repeated the request for the vocal vote three times and finally asserted that the two-thirds majority had been achieved. Watchers must consider acoustics and placement of microphones before reaching any conclusions, but speculation is that we will hear more on this issue in the coming days and weeks.
Well versed in such issues is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is currently working with global leaders in the far East. Reports mention that secretary Clinton watched a recorded version of her husband’s speech shortly after it aired.
Clint Eastwood and his amusing chair sequence at the Republican convention notwithstanding, it appeared that the Democrats had considerably more to say than the conservatives, and the convention as a whole held our attention. In addition we were spared from listening to repetitive personal attacks. The Republicans seem unaware of the current influx of voters far better versed than in previous years, sophisticated voters indeed, living in an age of Internet conversation, and a lively “blogosphere.”
It should be interesting to see the president speak tonight as he accepts the nomination.
Photo: CBS News