Thursday, July 28, 2016

We Are Not Afraid

Of Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech at the DNC, the New York Times: Mrs. Clinton radiated confidence, from her pungent delivery and easy laugh to the unusually expressive ways she shifted her tone and delighted in her own best lines. She smoothly acknowledged her own limitations and trust issues as a public figure and forcefully challenged Mr. Trump over his claims that he alone could fix America’s problems."

Here are some of the more widely quoted passages:

"America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together."

Of Trump: "He’s taken the Republican Party a long way … from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.”He wants us to fear the future and fear each other. Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid."

Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.”We say: “We’ll fix it together.”

"It’s true … I sweat the details of policy — whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs. Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid — if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president."

On breaking the "glass ceiling" by becoming the first woman nominee of a major party"...because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.  When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit."

Speaking of Trump's acceptance speech: “He spoke for 70-odd minutes — and I do mean odd.”

After noting all the foreign countries where Trump products are manufactured: "Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again — well, he could start by actually making things in America again."

"Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

"I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started — not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men — the ones moved by fear and pride."

And my personal favorite:

"Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” No, Donald, you don’t."

Clinton's speech had such high points and touched a lot of bases--such as the Bernie base of the party, everyone in the Democratic coalition, with an appeal to Republicans and Independents.  It was one of her better efforts, in delivery and content, even if as a speech it had no discernible structure and seemed to leave a thought before it was completed.

It did however sum up the message of the convention.  Those who saw only this speech got the essential message, and for those who saw them all, she tied them together.  But just as Bill Clinton spoke for President Obama in 2012 in a way he could not for himself, President Obama returned the favor in 2016 to Hillary Clinton.

As for doing what it needed to do, Politico's board gave it a thumbs up. Here's the transcript and video.

Hillary and--hey, isn't that Kareem?
Jonathan Chiat agreed that the convention was a success, and added: Clinton showed that she is level-headed, respectful of others, intelligent, well-informed, and very tough. In an election where sane and competent could form the basis for a rousing endorsement, she displayed more than enough.

Clinton's speech continued the theme of optimism, and this was not lost on stalwarts of old Republican campaigns, among others. Conservative columnist David Brooks began by noting that Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party.  He did so in terms of patriotism, religious and middle-class values, and American self-rule.  Brooks concludes that by clearly being the party of optimism, the Democrats should win--unless, as Trump is betting, that under pressure of fear, America has changed completely.

Politico agreed, referring to earlier speakers this evening who might have been--or actually were--welcome at a prior RNC.

This is also pretty much the conclusion of Alex Altman at Time: Dissent aside, the Democrats staged a convention that was as carefully coordinated as the Republicans were haphazard. They lured A-list names, while Trump’s “showbiz” soiree subsisted on D-list celebs. And their sunny vision, some Republicans conceded, was a stark contrast to the gloom and doom Trump peddled...

The back end of Clinton’s speech was an extended argument that Americans still prefer a steady pro over a swaggering amateur to clean up those problems. “In the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great, because America is good,” Clinton said. “He’s offering empty promises. And what are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country.”

Was it poetry? No. But the history of presidential elections suggests optimism usually prevails. Clinton is betting that as strange as this one has been, the rule will hold once more in November."

Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine concluded:

  Any way you look at it, Hillary Clinton ended the convention the leader of a (largely) united party that has appropriated much of the old Reaganesque mood of optimism and patriotism Republicans long called their own, while avoiding a complacent agenda. She has probably earned as much of a public opinion "bounce" as Trump enjoyed immediately after his convention, and perhaps more, and has taken the fight to him in ways that could well provoke the kind of unforced errors at which he excels."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great summary.