Last night Democrats officially nominated Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate … and then her husband wowed ’em. (More)
“I move to suspend the rules”
I usually skip national convention nomination roll call votes. The outcome is usually a foregone conclusion, and to get there you have to sit through this:
Secretary: “North Calichusetts, you have 48 votes. How do you cast your votes?”
Spokesperson: “The great state of North Calichusetts, home of the pickled beet, birthplace of Enid Thingamabob, the inventor of the whatchamacallit, proud fans of the world … champion … Bostamento Squirrels … first in the nation to require sneeze shields over salad bars, first in the nation to ban leisure suits, and the first in the nation to use nonskid paint on pavement stripes … is proud to cast 18 votes for Senator Ralph McRunnerup, and proud to cast 30 votes for the next … President … of the United … States … Eleanor Riggggbeee!”
Okay, I made up the part about the Squirrels. But it’s usually one thick slice of Americana cheese after another, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, plus all the territories….
But last night was special. Last night state after state – and the District of Columbia, plus all those territories – talked about the people that make the U.S. such a great nation. They spoke of their historic women and people of color, their Native American nations, their immigrants, their struggles, and their triumphs. Together, they wove a tapestry of progress, inclusion, and hope.
Vermont passed and waited until every other state had announced their votes. Then their delegation spokesperson handed the microphone to Bernie Sanders:
Madame Chair, I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules. I move that all votes, all votes cast by delegates be reflected in the official record, and I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee from the Democratic Party for President of the United States.
“The Real One”
Several speakers followed, and many were very good. But the highlight came when former President Bill Clinton took the stage:
Well, Bill Clinton managed a successful walk on the rhetorical high wire once again. The very first line was risky given the back story, but it was a grabber and unlike any ever heard at a Convention before: “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl.”
What followed was probably the most amazing love story ever presented in a political speech. He spoke about how they met, and why Hillary left him speechless. He spoke about how she worked in Yale Law School’s legal aide group, spent a summer internship interviewing migrant workers for Sen. Walter Mondale, and helped the Yale New Haven Hospital develop procedures for suspected child abuse cases. He spoke about how she helped shut down segregated academies in Alabama, registered Hispanic voters in Texas, and worked to change South Carolina’s prison policies for juveniles. All while still in law school.
He talked about how she advocated for disabled children in Massachusetts, and opened the first free legal aid clinic in Arkansas, and founded the Arkansas Advocates for Families and Children. He spoke about her work to enable physicians assistants to offer primary health care in rural areas. He spoke about how she copied a program from Israel to help parents teach preschool children. And most of that while she was a working mother.
He detailed how she had spearheaded more positive policy changes before she turned 30 than most elected officials do in their entire careers. He called her “the best darned change maker I have ever met in my entire life.”
Then he said this:
Look, this is a really important point. This is a really important point for you to take out of this convention. If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure of change is how many people’s lives are better, you know it’s hard and some people think it’s boring. Speeches like this are fun.
Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, well, we need to change. She’s been around a long time, she sure has, and she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.
I can tell you this. If you were sitting where I’m sitting and you heard what I have heard at every dinner conversation, every lunch conversation, on every lone walk, you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.
He spoke of her accomplishments as a U.S. Senator, and as Secretary of State. How she helped negotiate the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the historic climate change agreement in Copenhagen, and improve AIDS treatment in Africa.
This was a very different Hillary Clinton than the one Republicans howled against last week. And her husband explained why:
Now, how does this square? How did this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can’t. One is real, the other is made up.
You just have to decide. You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.
The real one had done more positive change-making before she was 30 than many public officials do in a lifetime in office.
The real one, if you saw her friend Betsy Ebeling vote for Illinois today … has friends from childhood through Arkansas, where she has not lived in more than 20 years, who have gone all across America at their own expense to fight for the person they know.
The real one has earned the loyalty, the respect and the fervent support of people who have worked with her in every stage of her life, including leaders around the world who know her to be able, straightforward and completely trustworthy.
The real one calls you when you’re sick, when your kid’s in trouble or when there’s a death in the family.
The real one repeatedly drew praise from prominent Republicans when she was a senator and secretary of state.
So what’s up with it? Well, if you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade … a real change-maker represents a real threat.
So your only option is to create a cartoon, a cartoon alternative, then run against the cartoon. Cartoons are two-dimensional, they’re easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard. And a lot of people even think it’s boring.
Good for you, because earlier today you nominated the real one.
Yes, we did. And I couldn’t be prouder, of my party, and of my nation.
Photo Credit: Lucy Nicholson (Reuters)
Good day and good nuts