Sunday, July 25, 2004

DNC Preview Part I

As most politically savvy readers are aware of, Monday is the first night of the 2004 Democratic National Convention. This year, it is being held at the Fleet Center in Boston. This will be particularly memorable considering that Massachusetts is the home state of presumptive nominee John Kerry.

I encourage everyone to watch at least some of this Convention. I’ll cede that the Convention has lost much of its importance. The last memorable Convention was in 1980 when Ronald Reagan considered naming former President Gerald Ford as his running mate. When the dust settled, Reagan ended up choosing George H.W. Bush. The modern primary system typically yields an unquestioned nominee. In the old days, delegates would go into smoky rooms and contemplate the party’s ticket and platform. Today, the Convention is more of a formality. Nevertheless, it can provide for some memorable moments.

Viewers should probably watch C-SPAN or PBS if they want full, uninterrupted coverage. If punditry is your thing, MSNBC or CNN might be the choice. The networks will air one hour each at 10:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Monday night will be highlighted by two former Presidents and one another that should be President today. Former Presidents Carter and Clinton will give speeches, along with former Vice President and 2000 Election victor Al Gore. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be on stage to introduce her husband, the former President. Other notable speakers include DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Rep. Kendrick Meek of Florida, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. In all, 14 speakers will present on Monday night. I’m watching to see what kind of speech Gore will deliver. Will it be the type of scathing address he’s given at functions? Or will we see the Gore that ran for President? The talking heads will be quick to rip him apart if he gives a fiery address. I predict that the DLC will force him to give a mundane, uninspiring speech.

Tuesday will not have the star-power of Monday’s address, but it’s still makes for great viewing. Ron Reagan will speak for about seven minutes on the issue of stem-cell research. Don’t expect to hear him get too political, though. Reagan cares deeply about this issue and won’t waste his time on partisan politics. Massachusetts’ Senior Senator, Edward Kennedy, will give an address as well. Kennedy is always one to motivate the Democratic base. I give Kennedy much credit for helping Kerry win January’s Iowa caucuses. Twenty-four years after his last Presidential run, Kennedy is still revered by Democrats and Progressives. Governor Howard Dean is speaking, as well. See my comments about Gore, and replace “Gore” with “Dean”. Should be interesting to say the least. The keynote speaker of the Convention is Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama. Theresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of the presumptive nominee, is scheduled to speak. Her son Chris will also be on stage. The rest of the cast that evening consists of former Presidential candidates and Congressional speakers. Among them are Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Rep. Richard Gephardt, former Ambassador Carol Moseley-Braun, and Rep. Mike Honda.

That’s it for the first two days of the DNC. Tomorrow, I’ll report about Wednesday and Thursday’s festivities. The highlights of those two days are the acceptance speeches of Sen. Kerry as nominee and Sen. John Edwards as his running mate.


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