After a well-executed Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., it is now time for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The Democrats are already responding to the Republican convention, and changing their speaker lineup: According to Donovan Slack of Politico, the Democrats are adding women and minorities to their roster, which I take to mean that the Republican convention was effective. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s speech was presidential — it wouldn’t be hard to imagine her giving that if she were the nominee. Just as stirring was that of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Some left-wing critics noted that the RNC stage was more diverse than the RNC delegation; I ask, would you prefer it the other way around?
I’m afraid that that’s the case with the Democratic National Convention. As Matt Yglesias tweeted, "[the] DNC lineup exaggerates whiteness of the party relative to its actual voting base."
One good way to judge the confidence of a campaign is to note how often it uses ad hominem attacks. The more ad hominems, the less confident they must be.
The Democrats’s schedule of speakers is interesting. Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is scheduled to speak on the first day of the convention. I will be interested to see the reaction to his speech, because Mr. Booker reminds me a lot of a younger President Obama. He is young, black, and at least pays lip service to healing the partisan divide in this country. His speech will be a test of whether the country is jaded with this sanctimony yet.
President Jimmy Carter, to whom Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney subtly compared Mr. Obama during his acceptance speech, will not be present. Neither, tellingly, will Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is on the opposite side of the globe, visiting the Cook Islands, Indonesia, China and Russia. She has become a popular figure as Secretary of State, and would be a valuable asset at the convention; presumably her position as Secretary of State forbids her to participate. Given her presidential ambitions you can’t help but see her distancing herself from the convention if the guidelines of the State Department allowed her participation.
Her husband, however, will be there, which, surprisingly, will probably not hurt the Democrats focus on women voters. Bill Clinton is, despite his sins, highly popular with women.