POLITICAL CONVENTION WATCH
A few observations on the Democrats in Denver
DNC VS THE NEWS MEDIA. What the DNC is trying to accomplish and what the news media wants to accomplish are at odds. The DNC is trying to unify loyalties around Barack Obama after he unexpectedly bested Hillary Clinton--the once hands-down favorite to win the party's nomination--in the primaries. The news media is doing its dead-level best (with some help by Republican plants and Republican pundits) to fuel the discord for the sake of tantalizing story lines.
MAJOR POWER SHIFT. Do you realize we're watching a major shift in power within the Democratic Party? It is moving from a Clinton base to an Obama base. It is moving from a white majority to a thoroughly diverse constituency. It is moving from control focused in an older generation to leadership influence shared with a younger generation. It is moving from 1960's-era perspective and battle lines to a new millennial outlook and policy formation. Such major shifts are not easy and not pretty.
UGLY ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO. For whatever hurt or bad feelings Hillary's supporters feel because their candidate lost--fair and square--to Obama, whatever "disenfranchisement" or unfairness her supporters may claim, just imagine the scenario had Hillary managed to finagle a narrow but questionable win over Obama. The low-level angst we are witnessing is kid's play compared to an unmitigated mutiny if Hillary had, by hook or crook, wrested the nomination from Barack.
MOVING TOWARD THE CENTER. We are also witnessing a Democratic Party that is making one further step from its traditional liberal platform. Stalwart Republicans may not appreciate this, but Bill Clinton took the party a major step toward the center of the political spectrum. He was a centrist and an economic conservative. In many ways, Clinton positioned the nation to be a champion in a post-Cold War world economy and global reality. At this convention, the Democratic Party will pass a platform that continues its movement toward the political center. And it will put forward a candidate for President who truly represents the next generation in national and international leadership. While the right will still try to paint Obama and the Democrats as big-spending, tax-raising liberals, new DNC leadership is trying to effectively reframe pressing national challenges and offer a viable alternative to the same ol', same ol' politics of left and right.
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