Dr. Saundra Curry Ardrey is the Department Head for Political Science at Western Kentucky University. She is attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, this week. During the week, Dr. Ardrey will be providing a Kentucky perspective to the activities at the Democratic National Convention.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
The Democratic National Convention chair Debbie Schultz is steering a tightly run ship. Every speaker is on message. Forward. Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Health care reform. Forward. Marry who you love. Women make their own choices. Forward. Strengthen the middle class. Forward. This is the message the Obama campaign wants Americans to hear. And so far, every speaker has stayed on message.
The Kentucky delegation especially appreciated the remarks by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that highlighted the contributions of rural America. “Their labor puts food on our table and fuel in our gas tanks.” According to Vilsack, Obama understands the challenges that rural communities and families face today; protecting their middle-class way of life. He did not stray from the message.
By far the chief messenger for Wednesday night was former President Bill Clinton. He took the platform and the Convention erupted with cheers, applauds and an admiration that was palatable. “I want to nominate a man whose life has known its fair share or adversity and uncertainty”. With those words Clinton placed into nomination President Obama as the 2012 Democratic candidate for president.
Clinton reminded delegates that Obama “inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators”.
Clinton left no doubt that he fully endorsed the re-nomination of Barack Obama. After the speech, President Obama surprised delegates by joining – and embracing - Clinton on stage. The relationship between the two men that at times in the past has been strained seemed to be all better last night.
What’s on tap for tonight? Democrats had planned to open its Convention to the public, at least 65,000 of them. But Mother Nature and the remnants of Isaacs forced a change in plans. Organizers of the DNC decided early Wednesday morning to move the President’s acceptance speech from Bank of America Stadium back to the Time Warner Arena. This was disappointing news for the thousands of volunteers and community folk. A group of young volunteers from Bowling Green and Warren County took it all in stride. For them, it was “alright” not to see Obama in person. They said they had a full Convention with lots of unforgettable experiences. They participated in the Youth Council caucuses where they learned how to mobilize their peers back home.
What can you expect from President Obama’s speech tonight? No doubt, he WILL STAY on message. While Obama has some serious economic vulnerabilities he should taut a few domestic achievements such as the Fair Pay Act, a health care reform law; and his foreign policy achievements – ended the war in Iraq; caught and killed Bin Laden. It will be interesting to see how he reminds Americans of the successes yet remain humble and sensitive to the discontent still brewing across America. There’s a lot riding on this speech for it will set the stage for the next sixty two days of campaign politics.