If the first two days of this convention are a preview of the rest of the campaign, on Nov. 5 Democrats will be singing "Happy Days are Here Again" as they plan for four more years.
The first day was dedicated to ordinary people (not politicos!) talking about their lives and how federal policy impacts them. Christopher Reeve, paralyzed in a riding accident, called on the President to invest more money in spinal chord research. Superman gave a super performance.
In the middle of all the speeches there was a bit of commotion on the floor. Closer inspection revealed Vice-President Gore weaving through the delegations shaking hands and giving hugs. Highly unusual! Most nominees wait until a least Wednesday to show up (I speak from experience) but Gore has not only been sitting in the audience enjoying the spectacle, but working the crowds off-site. Nothing fires workers up more than a little personal attention. And these delegates were getting more than a little, not only from the Vice President, but from Hillary and Tipper as well!
Tuesday was a day that the media was looking forward to and many of us party regulars were dreading. Jesse Jackson and Mario Cuomo were to address the convention--old line liberals who were angry with the welfare reform bill. Congressman Tony Hall, a pro-lifer, was set to discuss his views on the controversial abortion issue. And of course Hillary Clinton was to present her views.
Will Rogers once said, "I don't belong to an organized party--I'm a Democrat." If only he were alive to witness this Convention!
Tony Hall spoke of his views on abortion and talked about how at one time, he was not comfortable in the Democratic Party because if seemed to share these views, fewer sought to tolerate them. Now, with inclusive language in the Platform, and the willingness of people to accept diverse views, he was glad to be part of the Democratic family. Unlike the Republican convention, where Colin Powell's description of himself elicited boos and cat-calls from delegates, Democrats in the hall silently waved "pro-choice" signs, and courteously listened.
Jesse Jackson was vintage Jesse Jackson, firing up the troops with eloquence. But the rhetoric was no longer simply rhetoric but a paen in praise of diversity. Welfare reform would be reformed in a second Clinton term.
Mario Cuomo did not disappoint either. He too spoke to the welfare bill but focused on congressional races. When he ended, many of us felt relieved--we were worried that perhaps there might be a split within the party, but Jesse and Mario didn't let differences erode us.
And then came Hillary. Welcome back Hillary--the media focused on how she stacked up vis-a-vis Liddy Dole, and they found Dole's performance superior. As a performance, it was. But on subtance, Hillary produced.
Stephan W. Fogleman
Last night I got a chance to meet Al Franken and Kevin Nealon, Sam Donaldson and George McGovern. I may be showing that this is my first convention with all this name-dropping, but I am overwhelmed by the world's focus on this great event. I'm sure there are a lot of people who would love to be here, and I am here to tell you that you CAN.
I started volunteering as a Delegate in March. I know there's a lot of political "junkies" like myself hitting this site, and I just want to beg you to get involved as a volunteer for the Democratic Party. There's too much on the line to stay at home--and there are plenty of extremists on the other side all too willing to sacrifice their time and energy to electing those with a frightening agenda. I hope I see you on the floor in 2000. God Bless and go Orioles!
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